Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Toaster Oven Roast Potatoes

Toaster Oven Roast Potatoes with Rosemary
Developed April 3, 2013. Good companion to pork and beef.
5 to 6 small russet or red skin potatoes
3 to 4 T olive oil
2 t coarse salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t granulated garlic
Put the potatoes in a small sauce pan, cover with an inch of cold water, add a teaspoon of salt and bring to a gentle boil. Slowly boil for 10 to 12 minutes, until the point of a sharp knife barely enters. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a kitchen towel to dry and cool. Preheat a toaster oven to 350 degrees F (177 C). When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes lengthwise and, if russets, peel off the skins. Arrange in baking pan with the cut sides down. Drizzle on half the oil, season well with salt, pepper, and garlic. Turn each piece with tongs until well coated. Turn flat side down and roast for 15 minutes. Turn each piece, and return to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes until nicely browned and tender on all sides. Serves 2 to 3. Variation: Include 2 teaspoons of finely minced fresh rosemary with the other seasonings.

Zesty Italian-Style Salad Dressing

Developed June, 2007. Similar to a popular bottled dressing, but homemade.
3 oz vegetable oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 oz water
1/4 t minced garlic
1/4 t dry Italian herbs
1/4 t fresh ground pepper
1/2 t salt
1/4 t paprika
1 t dried minced onion
1/8 t dry mustard powder
1/8 t red pepper flakes
Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a 8 oz bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to combine and let stand 5 minutes. Add the oil, and shake vigorously to combine before using. Store cold. Yields about 8 servings.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Easy French Toast

Recorded December 23, 2013. First prepared by Laura. No muss, no fuss, and delicious.
4 slices white bread (Arnold’s Country White™ is good)
2 eggs
1/4 c milk, half and half, or cream
1 t sugar
2 t brandy (optional)
1/8 t ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg
1/2 t vanilla
pinch salt
2 T butter or oil
Beat the eggs well in a shallow bowl, and stir in the cream, sugar, vanilla, and spices until dissolved. Heat a non-stick 12-inch skillet or griddle to about 325 F. Add the butter.  Soak each slice of bread in egg batter on both sides until saturated, drain, and add to the hot butter or oil. Repeat for the remaining slices. Fry each slice about 3 minutes until lightly browned, turn over, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Top with a sprinkling of sugar, fruit preserves, or maple syrup. Serves two.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fruit Smoothie

Prepared many times over the years. A Family Favorite. Makes a nourishing and tasty quick breakfast or a wholesome in-between-meals snack.
2 c low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 large very ripe banana cut into large pieces
1/3 lb (150 g) each fresh or fresh-frozen ripe pineapple, cantaloupe, and berries (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, or blackberries)
fruit juice to adjust thickness (apple cider or orange juice)
sugar to taste
Add the yogurt to the jar of a blender. Partly defrost each of the fruits by rinsing briefly under cold running water in a colander. Drain each fruit well and add with the banana pieces to the blender jar. Mix by hand with a spatula with the power off. Cover, blend with pulses at successively faster speeds, using the spatula to ensure thorough mixing. Finish by blending on top speed for 1 minute. The volume will increase as air is incorporated. Blend in fruit juice to adjust thickness for pouring. Taste for sweetness, blending in sugar in small amounts, aiming for a balance between sweet and tart.

Crispy Twice-Baked Pancakes Glazed in Maple Walnut Sauce

Developed December, 2013. This breakfast or brunch dish uses leftover pancakes filled with a nut butter between the cakes. This boosts the flavor and balances the carbohydrates with healthy fat and quality protein. Nut eaters live longer.
2 or 3 pancakes
1 T softened butter or low-fat margarine, divided
2 T nut butter (peanut, sunflower seeds, almond, tahini), divided
2 T maple syrup, divided
1 T ground roasted walnuts
Heat a non-stick griddle or large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add half the butter. When the foaming stops, add the pancakes. Spread the remainder of the butter on the top of the cakes. When the first side is hot and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes, flip the cakes and crisp the second side. Remove to a plate. Add half the maple syrup and nuts to the hot griddle and return the cakes. Turn to coat. Place a cake on the plate, spread 1 tablespoon of nut butter, add another cake, and then the rest of the nut butter. Pour the remaining syrup over. Garnish with ground walnuts. Serves one.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ingredient: Quick Mushroom Stock

Developed May, 2013. Porcini powder is sold on the internet or may be prepared from dry porcini mushrooms in a spice or coffee grinder. The commercial product costs less and is more uniform than the homemade version.
1 c water
1 T porcini powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/8 t garlic powder
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t sugar
Mix the ingredients together in a 1 pt microwavable container. Heat on high for a minute. Stir well. Return to microwave and bring to a boil, taking care not to boil over over. Stir. Let stand, covered for 15 minutes to mature. Keeps well. Yields about a cup.

Deviled Eggs

Developed April, 2008. Just another deviled egg recipe but when served at parties they go fast. A Family Favorite.
8 hard boiled eggs
approximately 1/3 c mayonnaise
1/4 t yellow mustard
1/8 t onion powder
1 t dill relish
1-1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/8 t hot pepper sauce
paprika, for garnish
To prepare the eggs, place them in a medium sauce pan, cover with cold water, and add a teaspoon of salt to prevent cracking of the shells. Heat over medium high until a slow boil, cover, and turn off heat. Let stand 18 minutes, drain, cool in cold tap water, carefully shell and chill the eggs. When cold, split the eggs lengthwise with a sharp knife. Remove yolks to a small bowl, and arrange the egg white halves on a platter. Crumble the yolks with a fork until fine, mix in the mayonnaise, and then add the other ingredients. Using two spoons, fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture, garnish with paprika, cover and chill. Yields 15 halves (the cook gets one 'for testing').

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chopped Liver

Prepared December 18, 2013. Reconstructed from memory of mother Dorothy’s dish, prepared for special holidays meals if meat was being eaten.
1 lb (450 g) chicken livers (or calves liver, cut into pieces)
1 large yellow onion, divided
3 T butter or rendered chicken fat (schmaltz), divided
2 to 3 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
2 T brandy (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the livers by removing any bad spots, rinsing in five changes of cold tap water, and draining thoroughly. In a heavy 10-inch skillet over medium heat, melt 2 T butter or chicken fat until foaming stops. Coarsely chop the onion, reserving 2 T as raw and saute until lightly colored and soft, about 8 minutes, and set aside in a bowl. Heat the remaining fat in the skillet over medium heat, and add the livers in a single layer. Salt the livers as they cook. Cook about 3 minutes and turn them to cook another 2 to 3 minutes until they are thoroughly cooked but not hard and overcooked. Add the brandy and flambé it. Gently mix the livers with the onions and set aside to cool. On a chopping board with a large knife or in a wooden bowl, chop the liver-onion mixture in three batches and place in a serving bowl. Don’t be tempted to use a food processor. Mix in most of the chopped egg, finely mince the raw onion, and add it. Taste for salt and pepper. Garnish with the reserved egg, cover with plastic foil, and chill before serving. Present with an assortment of crackers and breads for guests to make their own canapés. Variation: Stuff celery ribs with chopped liver as an appetizer with crunch.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Steamed Chinese Meat Cake

Recorded from memory December 11, 2013. Not often encountered in Chinese restaurants in the US, steaming is widely used by home cooks in China. DrDaddy first prepared this dish in Seattle in 1968, following a simple cookbook, now lost. Reminder: save and dry the skin from your next tangerine.
1 lb pork shoulder
small can water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
1 T dry tangerine skin, soaked, pith removed, and finely chopped
1/4 c chopped pickled vegetable (cabbage, mustard, salt turnip, or the like)
1 t garlic, minced
2 T corn starch
2 T soy sauce
1 t dark sesame oil
Cut meat into large cubes and freeze 30 minutes. With a heavy cleaver on a cutting board or with a food processor chop the meat until it is coarsely but completely minced. Put meat in a shallow bowl, and mix in the other ingredients, and press into a compact cake that fills the bottom of the bowl. Cut down with a knife to form six wedge-shaped slices to make it easier to serve. Place the bowl in a steamer for 20 to 30 minutes until done. Use a pot with a steamer insert or a bamboo steamer in a wok. Cut into serving pieces and top each serving with pan juice. Serves six as part of a Chinese meal.

Batter Fried Smelt

Batter-Fried Smelt on Newsprint
Prepared December 10, 2013. DrDaddy fondly recalls frying up an abundance of smelt that crowded Michigan rivers in the spring spawn. No limit on the catch. This fileting, breading, and frying method yields a product similar to tempura-fried fish.
1/2 lb fresh dressed smelt (about six)
3/4 c all-purpose flour (a low-protein flour such as White Lily® is preferred)
1 egg
1/4 c milk
2 T kosher salt, divided
vegetable oil for frying
Carefully clean each fish under cold running water, and soak in a brine of 1 T kosher salt in a quart of cold water for 15 minutes. To debone the fish, beginning from the tail end, work your thumbs on both sides under the spine, working forward to free it from the fish. Heat a 1/4 inch (6 mm) of oil in a heavy 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over medium high to 380 degrees F (195 C). Beat the egg in a small bowl and stir in the milk. Put the flour and 1 T salt in a 1 gallon (4 liter) plastic bag, and dredge three fish in the flour, then in the egg wash, back into the flour, and then into hot oil, skin side down. Fry about two minutes until lightly browned and turn to cook the other side, also about 2 minutes. Remove to newsprint, brown paper, or paper towels to drain. Salt lightly at once. Repeat for the second batch adding oil as needed and preheating as before. Serves two. Add quick home fries and turnip greens to make a complete meal.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cranberry, Apricot & Raisin Chutney

Developed by Laura for Thanksgiving, 2013. Perfect condiment for rich meats. 
2 12-oz packages of fresh cranberries, washed and sorted
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 c dried apricots, finely chopped
1 c golden raisins
I c orange juice
1 c water
1 c dark brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 t salt
1/2 to 1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 to 1 t chili powder
2 T grated orange zest
Saute onion and shallot in olive oil in a sauce pan until translucent. Stir in orange juice, water, the sugars, and salt. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries, apricots and raisins to the pan and bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly as mixture thickens. Remove from heat, stir in orange zest, and spices to taste. Chill before serving. Keeps well covered in the refrigerator.

Toaster Oven Waffle Fries

Prepared December 5, 2013. Adding the extra oil and semolina half way through roasting gives extra crispness. 
2 c frozen waffle fries
2 T vegetable oil
1 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
1 t smoked paprika
1 t onion powder
2 T coarse semolina flour
Preheat a toaster oven to 450 degrees F (230 C). Spread the frozen potatoes evenly in the pan and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, drizzle on oil, and toss lightly with tongs. Sprinkle on the seasonings and toss gently to coat. Toss with semolina, adding extra oil as needed, and roast for 10 to 15 minutes more, until well browned and crispy. Serves 2 to 3.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fried Chicken Salad

Prepared November 25, 2013. The dish uses leftover fried chicken breast meat.
1/2 lb (250 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast harvested from fried chicken (or rotisserie chicken), small dice
1/2 c celery, small dice
1/4 c green onions, finely crosscut
1 T vegetable oil
3 T lemon juice
2 T fresh parsley, minced (or 1 T dry)
1 t dry tarragon, rubbed
1/3 c mayonaise
salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, mix the chicken with the vegetables. Then drizzle on oil and lemon juice, add the herbs, and mix. Mix the mayonaise in gently, add salt and pepper, and additional lemon juice to taste. Makes about a pint. Variation: Substitute roast turkey breast for the chicken.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How to Roast a Small Butterball™ Turkey

Small Butterball Turkey™ after Roasting
Prepared November 23, 2013 for a pre-Thanksgiving family gathering. The method closely follows the meat packer's recommendations. Butterball™ turkeys are brined with a salty broth-vegetable oil emulsion, which accounts for the moistness, tenderness, and reliability. DrDaddy's mom always roasted BB's after she stopped keeping glatt Kosher and never served a bad one.
10 to 12 lb Butterball™ turkey, safely thawed, carefully rinsed, pin feathers pulled, cool but not cold, wings tucked under, unstuffed

vegetable oil

2-inch-deep roasting pan
flat roasting rack
Thoroughly pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 C). Position the rack in the lower third. Dry outside of bird with paper towels. Spread vegetable oil generously by hand all over the bird. No other seasoning is needed. Breast up. Fold the neck skin under the bird, and close the vent with a slice of bread to keep the interior moist. Place the pan toward the rear of the oven. Roast undisturbed for one hour. Turn 180 degrees, and return to oven. After another hour, lightly tent the breast with aluminum foil to protect the white meat from overcooking. Return to oven. Remove in 30 minutes and check the temperature deep in the thigh and breast. The recommended internal temperature is 175 to 180 degrees F (about 80 C) but many prefer turkey less well-cooked. They aim for 165 F (75 C). Remove from oven, discard the foil and let cool 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serves 8 to 10 generously.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Prepared November 17, 2013. Except for the fresh tomatoes, the ingredients are found in most pantries. Adapted from a recipe by Tyler Florence, a chef on Food Network TV. Can be prepared as traditional or vegan. The roasted walnuts boost flavor and nutrition.
3 medium (about 1-1/4 lb) ripe tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 t salt
1 t sugar
2 c chicken or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 t dry thyme
1/2 t dry tarragon
2 T ground roasted walnuts
2 T medium grind bulgur wheat
4 T butter (or vegan margarine)
lemon juice, to offset sweetness in the vegetables
freshly-ground black pepper
Preheat toaster oven to 450 degrees F (230 C). Cut the tomatoes into large chunks, and spread them and the garlic and onions onto a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, add the salt and sugar, and toss with tongs. Roast 40 minutes, or until well caramelized, turning twice to prevent burning. Transfer the roasted vegetable to a 2-quart saucepan, add the stock, herbs, and ground walnuts. Bring to a fast simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, remove the bay leaves, and, off heat, puree with an immersion blender. Stir in the bulgur and continue simmering until the bulgur is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the butter and  black pepper, and correct seasonings to taste. Serves 4.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Quick & Easy Pierogi

Recorded November 15, 2013. Prepared many times. This recipe was inspired by the dish DrDaddy first tasted at a Bosnian cafe, near Vancouver, BC in the late 1960s.
1 lb package frozen potato-onion pierogi (Mrs. T’s™ are good)
1 cup onion, thinly sliced
1 T sweet paprika
2 T butter
3/4 c sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and lightly colored. Off heat, stir in the sour cream and seasonings. Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil in a 3-quart sauce pan. Cautiously add the frozen pierogi. prying them apart if needed. Return to a gentle boil. After 5 minutes, transfer each as they finish cooking with a slotted spoon to the onion-sour cream sauce. When all the pierogi have been added, return the skillet to medium-low heat, turning gently to cover with sauce. Add a little cooking water to lighten the sauce as needed. Warm through gently. These little pies are tender. Serves 4.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Apple Quick Bread

Apple Quick Bread Cooling on a Wire Rack
Developed November 12, 2013 from an online recipe.
1 c (240 g) sour cream
1 c (180) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1-1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 c dry-roasted chopped walnuts, divided
Preheat the oven to 350 ºF (175 ºC). Whisk together the sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Mix in the leavening agents, salt and spices and then stir in the flour, a half-cup at a time, until incorporated. Fold the apples and half the nuts into the batter, and transfer to a 9 inch x 5 inch greased loaf pan with a spatula. Distribute the remainder of the nuts on top, and press them firmly into the batter. Bake about 60 minutes on the center rack, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then remove the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Suggestion: Slice thinly, broil in toaster oven until crusty, and spread cream cheese on top. A treat!

Ingredient: Dry Roasted Nuts

Recorded November 12, 2013. Dry roasting tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachio, cashews) or peanuts benefits both their flavor and aroma, and may reduce their allergic potential.
1 c nuts (whole or pieces)
1 t vegetable oil (optional)
1/2 t salt (optional)
Preheat toaster oven to 375 ºF (190 ºC). Spread the nuts in a single layer in a heavy metal 8x8 inch baking pan. Mix in the oil and salt, if desired, for snack nuts. Roast for 4 to 6 minutes, until nuts are lightly colored and fragrant being careful not to overcook. Spread on a plate to cool. Use immediately or store tightly covered. Add to salads, cakes, cookies, stir fries, etc. Variation: Grind the nuts when cool in a food processor for easy addition to other dishes such as pancakes, soups, stews, toppings, or as a low-carbohydrate snack by the spoonful.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review: Hit or Miss. Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant, Durham, NC.

Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant
3003 Guess Rd
Durham NC 27705


By Laura, originally published in TripAdvisor.com. Visited August, 2013. 
As a Durham resident, I have frequently dined or had take-out from the Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant on Guess Road. I love going for Dim Sum, but recently have often found service spotty. At times the servers are accommodating and others, like the last visit, borderline rude. Perhaps it was the steady stream of customers that made their morning difficult, but I wish they hadn’t taken it out on us.
On a recent Friday night we decided on a simple meal of Shrimp Egg Foo Young and some Stir-fried Baby Greens. Normally these are both dishes that we enjoy, but our last meal was memorable in a completely negative way. The only shrimp that I had were the few that I picked up from the bottom of the takeout container – the sauce was watery and too sweet. Our greens were properly cooked with the exception of raw chunks of garlic that had to be picked out to make the dish palatable.
What used to be a favorite is moving lower on our list. They used to be the best Chinese restaurant in town – now I am trying to find who else is out there…

Monday, October 28, 2013

Easy Cheesy Biscuits

Developed October, 2013. A couple of these cheesy biscuits, warm from the toaster oven, turns a bowl of rich soup into a satisfying meal, or by themselves, a welcome mid-day snack.
4 frozen buttermilk biscuits (Pillsbury™ is good)
2 T grated sharp cheddar cheese
vegetable oil spray
Preheat a toaster oven to 375º F (190 C). Spray the baking pan generously with vegetable oil. Arrange the frozen biscuits on the pan so that they don't touch. Bake 20 minutes, rotating the pan half way to even out the baking. Remove from oven and let cool a bit to handle comfortably. Split biscuits and spoon a half-tablespoon of cheese between the two halves. Arrange on plate, cover with a plastic lid, and microwave a few seconds to reheat the biscuits and melt the cheese. Serves two. Variation: Top the cheese with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

Hint: Simple Trick to Make Better Coffee

Developed October, 2013. This change in method applies to drip coffee makers that use a paper filter. Simply use two disposable filters nested together rather than one as is customary. This extra layer of filtration removes more fine particles. This addition noticeably improves the clarity and yields a cleaner tasting brew but does not appreciably increase the brewing time or expense. 
Also see, this other hint for better brewing.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mussels Meuniere

Mussels and Fettuccine
Developed October 26, 2013. Adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse.
2 T olive oil plus some to finish
1/4 c shallots or 1 c leeks, sliced thinly
2 T garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 t dry thyme
3/4 c dry white wine
3/4 c chicken or fish stock
2 oz butter (half stick), cubed
2 lbs live mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/4 c chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1/2 lb linguine or fettuccine, cooked al dente
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, saute the shallots and garlic. Add the bay leaves and thyme. When fragrant, add the wine, stock, and butter. Bring to a slow boil. Cook until 1/3 of liquid has evaporated. Drain the pasta and stir into the pan, reserving the pasta water. Continue cooking until the pasta has absorbed the pan sauce, adding pasta water as needed, Then add the mussels to the pan and cover. Steam the mussels until the shells open, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Remove the thyme sprigs, and season to taste. Serve the mussels, pasta, and sauce into bowls, finish with parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and shaved Parmesan-Reggiano cheese. Serves 2 to 4.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Easy Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Prepared October 25, 2013
12 oz bag of fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 c premium orange juice (Simply Orange™ is good)
1 c granulated sugar
1/4 t salt
pinch black pepper
In a stainless steel three-quart sauce pan, bring the ingredients to a boil, mixing with a potato masher as it cooks. Lower the heat and continue mixing and mashing the fruit for about 5 minutes, never leaving the pan unattended due to foam formation. When the berries break open, they release pectins that will gel the sauce when chilled. Stop the cooking when there is plenty of large pieces of fruit left. Cover the pan tightly and cool off heat undisturbed. Transfer to a clean covered container. Keeps months on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Slow-Braised Crock Pot Beef Ribs

Developed August, 2013 by Laura. Beefy, savory, tender.
3 lbs lean center-cut beef ribs
1/4 c bacon fat (or other oil)
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1-1/2 c mellow red table wine
1/4 c soy sauce
1/8 to 1/4 c brown sugar, depending on desired sweetness
1 t salt
1 t ground black pepper
Remove membrane, scrape away excess fat, and cut ribs apart. Heat fat in a large, heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal) over medium heat. Sauté ribs on all sides until browned.  Remove ribs to crock pot, and add onion and garlic to skillet and sauté until translucent.  Transfer onion and garlic to crock pot on top of the ribs. In a bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and pour over ribs. Cook covered in crock pot on high for 3-1/2 hours.  Reduce heat to low for another hour or until tender.  Serve on bed of wide egg noodles.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Black Bean Dip and Spread

Prepared October 21, 2013.
1 15-oz can prepared seasoned black beans (Bush Seasoned Recipe™ is good)
1 T dry minced onion
1 t ground cumin
1/8 t granulated garlic
Heat the beans over medium heat in a small sauce pan. When bubbling, mash well with a potato masher. Mix in the seasonings. Off heat, puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve warm, as a spread on a burrito, or as a dip for nachos or veggie sticks.   
Variations: Mix in a few tablespoons of crema, sour cream, or salsa after preparation.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pan Roasted Potatoes

Pan Roasted Potatoes with BBQ Turkey Thighs
Prepared Sept 22, 2013. Semolina is coarsely milled durum wheat. It contributes to the crispy brown crust. The smoky flavor from the paprika makes this a good side dish for grilled meats.
1 lb small white or yellow potatoes
3 T vegetable oil
1 T butter, cut into small pieces
2 T semolina
1 T smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Place the potatoes into a small sauce pan, cover with water, and salt lightly. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to fast simmer, cover, and parboil 8 minutes. Drain, spread on a clean kitchen towel. [Optional: Cool by fanning to speed things along.] Slice lengthwise and then crosswise in 1/4 inch slices. Toss with seasonings and semolina to coat evenly. Heat the oil in a 10-inch SS skillet over medium high. When smoking, add the potatoes and mix gently with the oil. After a minute, add the butter and mix when melted. Fry 4 to 5 minutes undisturbed until a nice crust forms on the bottom. Gently turn, and finish cooking the other side. Serves 4.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Ingredient: Simple Syrup

Recorded August 30, 2013. Simple syrup is used to add sweetness to cold beverages where solid sugar would be slow to dissolve.
1 c sugar
1 c water
Combine in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir gently until sugar dissolves. Cover, and let cool off heat. When cooled, transfer the syrup to a clean glass container and store covered in the cold. Simple syrup may be used for up to a month. Discard if it is not crystal clear.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bagel and Lox Sandwich

Bagel & Lox Stars at Breakfast
Not a recipe, just a 'serving suggestion'. A recent Sunday breakfast on the screened back deck. A salad of Rainier cherries, champagne grapes, and blueberries, a cup of Columbian Supremo, Norwegian smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, & capers on an 'everything' bagel, and a fresh tomato salsa dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette and a chiffonade of basil from L's herb garden.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rave. A great thermometer at a great price

A reliable, fast, and accurate thermometer is a kitchen necessity for food quality and safety. DrDaddy has used this model for many years and is amazed at how good it is and how cheap. Taylor is an old-line maker of temperature instruments used throughout science and industry.

Taylor 9842 Commercial Waterproof Digital Thermometer

Only 14 bucks at Amazon. Free shipping with Prime. Treat yourself. Only downside is the on/off button. Press it really hard. Keeps it waterproof, almost. NSF. -40 to 450 F. Easy to calibrate.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bacon and Tomato Salad

Devised June 14, 2013. A 'BLT' without bread or lettuce. The applewood-smoked bacon was prepared in a toaster oven. Mayo perfectly highlights the sweet-sour juiciness of ripe tomato.

Bacon and Tomato Salad
4 rashers of bacon, thick cut
6 slices ripe tomato
1 T mayonnaise
salt and pepper
Prepare the bacon using the toaster oven method on this site, draining it well on paper towels. Cut into bite-size pieces. Arrange tomato slices on a plate, top with small dollops of mayonnaise, and season to taste. Serves 2.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Butter Bean and Barley Soup

Developed June 2, 2013. Recorded June 12, 2013. Lima beans and barley bring solid nourishment and savory taste. They form the basis for this rich, hearty, and healthful dish.
1 lb fresh or frozen shelled butter beans (baby lima beans)
2 qt water
2 t salt
4 medium carrots, cleaned and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 ribs celery, diced
1 c yellow onion, diced
1 t garlic
1 leek, white parts, cleaned and coarsely chopped
4 oz mushrooms, diced
1 c cooked cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 oz roast beef, shredded
6 oz cooked chicken dark meat, diced
1/3 c old-fashioned pearl barley (not quick)
1/4 c parsley, chopped
4 green onions, chopped  (optional garnish)
1 T porcini mushroom powder
1 T beef stock concentrate
1 t fish sauce
1 T soy sauce
In a four-quart pot, bring the water, salt, and butter beans to a boil. Cover and cook at a fast simmer for 30 minutes. Add the carrots, onions, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, celery, beef, chicken, barley, and the seasonings. Add more water if needed. Continue simmering about 30 minutes until the barley is cooked and the carrots are tender. Garnish each serving the green onions or more chopped parsley. Serves 8. Suggestion: Salt and Pepper Biscuits make a satisfying side.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Personal Naan Pizza

Naan Pizza for Two
A quick and tasty vegetarian meal using the popular Indian flatbread as the base. The sauce ingredients are combined on the spot, and the olive oil on the bottom produces a crispy rich crust. This recipe is for one loaf of naan.

1/4 c prepared tomato sauce (Hunt's™ is good)
3 t olive oil, divided
1/2 t mushroom powder (optional)
1/4 t onion powder

1/8 t crushed red pepper
1/8 t fennel seeds
1/4 t mixed Italian dry herbs
1 T ripe Greek olives, pitted and coarsely chopped 
1/4 c sweet onion, coarsely diced
1/4 c mild chiles (e.g., cubanelle, Anaheim, poblano, red bell), coarsely diced
1/2 c grated or crumbled cheeses (e.g, feta, Parmesan, mozzarella, pizza cheese)
1 T basil leaves, shredded (optional)
Preheat the toaster oven to 400 degrees F (204 C). Spread 1 t olive oil on toaster-oven pan and use it to coat both sides with oil. Add sauce ingredients to center of loaf, mix together, and spread to the edges with the back of spoon. Distribute the toppings and then the cheeses, finishing with the Parmesan. Top with basil shreds if desired. Bake 12 minutes until cheese melts and lightly browns. Serves one as a meal, two as a snack, or four as appetizers.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Easy Strawberry Mousse

Developed May 7, 2013. Intense, fresh strawberry flavor, creamy richness, a light spring or summertime dessert, and only four ingredients! Leave out the whipped cream for a reduced-calorie or vegan treat.
1 lb fresh or fresh-frozen strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
1/4 c sugar
1 envelope plain gelatin (use vegetable gelatin for vegetarian)
about 1 c commercial or homemade whipped cream (ReddiWhip™ is good)
Stir the gelatin into 1/4 cup cold water to bloom for a few minutes. Place the berries and sugar in jar of a blender. Process at top speed for about a minute until a smooth puree forms. Transfer the puree to a microwave-proof bowl and heat on high power to about 145 degrees F (63 C), about 2 minutes at 1250 watts. Stir in gelatin mixture and return hot puree to the blender jar. Chill until it thickens and reaches about 40 degrees F (4 C). Blend on top speed until volume increases by about 50 percent. Transfer the whipped puree to a bowl and fold in the whipped cream. Divide into serving dishes, and chill tightly covered until ready to serve. Garnish with strawberry slices and tiny mint leaves. Serves 6. Variation. Spoon a small serving into a tiny bowl and freeze lightly. Garnish with mint and a berry slice. Present as an amuse bouche before the meal or a palate clearer between courses.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Avocado Salad Dressing

Recorded April 15, 2013. Prepared many times.
2 T fresh or bottled lime juice, divided
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t coarse salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1 ripe avocado, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
In a small bowl, mix 1 T of juice, and the seasonings, and drizzle in the oil slowly while vigorously whisking to form an emulsion.  When combined, fold in the avocado pieces. Mash half of the avocado with a fork and mix gently to form the sauce. Adjust the seasoning and use at once.

To Prepare the Avocado. Cut a ripe avocado (a ripe fruit will feel soft at the stem end) in half through the stem and blossom ends, and twist to separate. Remove the pit by striking it with a sharp knife and twisting it free. Sprinkle lime juice lightly on the cut surfaces, letting the excess fall into the emulsion. Free the flesh from the skin by gradually working your thumb (or the back of a spoon) between the flesh and the skin around the margin until the flesh is free. Sprinkle juice on the back side, slice into small pieces and gently stir into the lime emulsion. Remove the skin and prepare the flesh as before.

Tomatoes, romaine, radish, ripe olives, and cucumber in avocado dressing
Suggestions. Dresses a tomato and lettuce salad nicely. Add sliced radishes, sweet peppers, ripe olives, feta cheese or artichoke hearts for variety of flavors and textures. The dressing can be used on sandwiches, tortas, and wraps.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Linguine with Clams and Broccoli in Wine Sauce

Developed March, 2013. Variation on a Family Favorite. The dish comes together very quickly, boiling the pasta being the slowest step.
4 T olive oil, divided
2 large cloves garlic, sliced thinly
3 6.5 oz cans minced or chopped clams with reserved clam juice
2 c broccoli florets cut into bite-size pieces
6 oz dry white wine

1/2 T fish sauce (optional)

1/4 c
chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 lb linguine, cooked al dente, about 7 minutes
1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
Start four quarts of salted water to boil over high heat in a large saucepan. Arrange broccoli pieces on a plate, mist with water, season with salt, cover, and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Uncover and set aside to cool. Start the pasta cooking and heat a 12-inch stainless-steel skillet over medium. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil. When shimmering, add garlic, cook 30 seconds, and add the wine. Reduce by half, add the canned clams and clam juice, fish sauce, and the broccoli. Heat to a fast simmer and add the drained linguine, reserving some pasta water. Cook slowly, tossing gently with tongs until most of liquid is absorbed, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Drizzle on the remaining olive oil and a few drops of fish sauce. Sprinkle the cheese, and gently toss with tongs to combine. Serves 4 to 6.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Half a Chicken Soup

Conceived and first prepared March 22, 2013. Reverses the usual order and method of cooking. Speeds up process by using supermarket rotisserie chicken. Yields a rich, flavorsome stock, low in fat and carbohydrates, packed with tender vegetables and egg noodles, and plenty of meat in about an hour.
3 qt (3 liters) cold water
1 large yellow onion, peeled but whole
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into large pieces
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces on an angle
celery leaves, if available, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, cut into large piece on an angle
fistful of parsley, tied into a tight bundle with kitchen twine
1 large bay leaf
8 peppercorns
2 allspice berries
4 whole gariic cloves, lightly crushed
1/2 of a 3 lb (1.4 kg) rotisserie chicken, cut into serving-size pieces, skin and fat discarded, along with the juices within the package
8 oz (225 g) extra-wide egg noodles, boiled 4 minutes in two quarts of salted water, and drained
Place the water and onion in a six-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Prepare the parsnips, and after 5 minutes, add them and the parsley, garlic and spices. Reduce heat to a fast simmer. Prepare the carrots, celery, parsley, and add them after 6 minutes. Cook until the vegetables are about two-thirds done, as tested with the tip of a paring knife. Transfer the carrots, onions, parsnips, and, optionally, the celery, to a saucepan or large bowl. Pour the stock through a wire strainer into the pan and discard the debris. Return vegetables and stock back to the larger saucepan and add the chicken pieces. Prepare the noodles in the smaller saucepan, add them to the soup, and reheat. Continue to simmer slowly for 10 minutes to finish cooking the noodles and to let the flavors mingle. Serves four to six. Variation: Use matzo balls rather than egg noodles.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Farmer’s Market Succotash

Prepared and recorded July 15, 2010. Dish enabled by lovely tender okra, juicy summer tomatoes, baby limas (butter beans), and sweet corn available from local farms. All perfect and cheap at the NC State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. A long haul from Durham, but worth it.
2 oz country ham, finely diced
2 T dry minced onion
3 T low-fat soft margarine
2 t Frank’s Louisiana hot pepper sauce
2 c fresh butter beans
2 c baby okra, cut into small pieces
2 c ripe tomato pieces
1 c freshly cut corn
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak, pick over, and drain the beans. Bring 2 cups of water, the margarine, dried onion, ham, a 1/2 t of salt, and the pepper sauce to a boil. Add the butter 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. Correct seasoning and serves a crowd as a side dish in a country meal.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fried Apples

Recorded Feb 6, 2013. Prepared many times as a side dish for pork [e.g., see logo above] and other rich meats, or as a topping for waffles, pancakes, or French toast.
1 T olive oil, butter, bacon fat, or vegetable oil
1 medium cooking apple (e.g., Golden Delicious), peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
pinch each of ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar
Heat the fat in an 8-inch skillet over medium. Add the apples and cook with stirring, about 8 minutes until almost done. Dust on seasonings, raise the heat and brown, turning often another 2 minutes. Serves 2.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Roasted Asian Vegetables

Prepared January 30, 2013 as a side dish for grilled Asian-style cornish game hens.
1 bunch green onions, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 c snow peas
2 c baby bok choy, diagonally cut
2 c mini sweet peppers, cut into rings
1/2 c enoki mushrooms, cut into 1 inch lengths
2 to 3 T vegetable oil
1 t toasted sesame oil
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T soy sauce
Preheat toaster oven to 400 degrees F (204 C). Toss the vegetables in a 8x8 inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil and sesame oil. Then mix in the other seasonings. Roast for 20 minutes undisturbed until tops are lightly browned. Mix and serve over couscous. Serves 4 to 6 as part of a meal.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hot Chicken and Cheese Sandwich

This recipe extends the tuna melt recipe posted earlier. It's versatile, making it easy to combine various meats, cheeses, spreads, and condiments.
1 large slice of hearty white bread, such as a rustic boule
1 oz Swiss cheese, sliced
3 oz chicken, sliced thin (boiled, roast, or deli slices)
1 oz ripe tomato, thinly sliced
1 oz grated cheddar cheese
2 T piquant mustard
Heat a toaster oven on broil for five minutes. Place the bread on a pan and toast until nicely browned. Apply spread, then the Swiss cheese, then the meat dressed with more of the piquant spread, followed by the tomato slices and topped with the grated cheese. Return to the oven for about 5 minute more, until cheese is melted and browned. Variations: top with parmesan cheese, replace the Swiss cheese with another mild cheese, substitute a horseradish spread for the mustard, use a tangy herb cheese in place of the Swiss, use other meats such as turkey or pork. Serves 1 or 2.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ingredients: Boiled Chicken and Chicken Stock

Prepared January 23, 2013. The simple recipe yelds several pounds of recipe-ready boneless boiled chicken and three pints of rich chicken stock. And treats for a cat or dog.
1 4 lb chicken
water sufficient to cover
1 T salt
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
Set aside the packet of organ meats. Rinse the chicken inside and out under cold running water. Remove and discard any visible fat, or make into schmaltz. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a deep pot and cover with cold water. Rinse the neck, heart and gizzards  and add to the pot, setting the liver aside for another use. Add the salt, thyme, and garlic. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a fast simmer, and cook partly covered for 30 minutes. Using tongs, turn the chicken breast side down, replace cover, and simmer another 15 minutes. Take off heat, cover tightly, and let cool undisturbed at room temperature. When cool, remove from stock to a colander set in a bowl to drain. Remove and discard the skin and any visible fat. Break the chicken apart, harvesting largest possible pieces of meat from the bones. Return the bones and trimmings to the stock. Chill the meat tightly covered for later use. Return the stock, bones, and trimmings to a boil and cook until reduced about half. Pour stock through a strainer to remove solids, and freeze in small lots for later use. Suggested use for breast meat and stock is chicken enchiladas in sour cream-chili sauce.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chicken Canzanese

Not DrDaddy's recipe but too good not to share. It's the spicy flavor profile that makes the dish so memorable. From America's Test Kitchen.
1 T olive oil
2 oz lean salt pork or pancetta, cut into 1/4 -inch cubes
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
8 chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and skin
ground black pepper
1 T unbleached all-purpose flour
2 c dry white wine
1 c chicken stock
4 whole cloves
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves separated, stem reserved
12 whole fresh sage leaves
2 bay leaves
1/4 to 1/2 t red pepper flakes
2 T butter
1 T fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 C), and adjust rack to lower-middle position. Heat 1 t oil in 12-inch heavy stainless steel skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pork and cook, stirring frequently until just starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic slices and cook, stirring frequently until garlic is golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer garlic and pork to small bowl and set aside. Do not rinse pan. Increase heat to medium-high; add remaining 2 t oil and heat until just smoking. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels and season with ground black pepper. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until well browned, 5-8 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and brown on second side, about 5 minutes longer.

Transfer chicken to large plate. Discard all but 2 T fat from pan. Sprinkle flour over fat and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Slowly add wine and broth; bring to simmer, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Cook until liquid is slightly reduced, 3 minutes. Stir in cloves, rosemary stem, sage leaves, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and reserved pork and garlic. Nestle chicken into liquid, skin side up (skin should be above surface of liquid), and bake, uncovered, until meat offers no resistance when poked with fork but is not falling off bones, about 1 hour 15 minutes. (Check chicken after 15 minutes; broth should be barely bubbling. If bubbling vigorously, reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F (150 C).) Using tongs, transfer chicken to serving platter and tent with foil. Remove and discard sage leaves, rosemary stem, cloves, and bay leaves. Place skillet over high heat and bring sauce to boil. Cook until sauce is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 2-5 minutes. Off heat, stir in minced rosemary, lemon juice and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce around chicken and serve. Suggested sides: roasted baby bok choy and couscous.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Creamy Savory Grits

Conceived Jan 18, 2013. This method, unlike the traditional method, combines the liquid and the grain when cold and prevents lumps. Bye-Bye, lumpy grits. Using two kinds of corn gives more textural contrast but is optional.
1 c chicken stock (more if needed)
1 c light cream
1/2 t salt
2 T butter, divided
1/4 c stone-ground yellow grits
1/4 c stone-ground white grits
1/4 t ground black pepper
Stir stock, cream, salt, and grits together in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it begins to steam. Add a tablespoon of butter, lower heat to medium, and continue stirring until the grits begin to bubble and thicken, about 10 minutes total cooking time. Take off heat, stir in remaining butter and the pepper, cover, and let stand 10 minutes to thicken. Add stock if needed to adjust thickness, and taste for seasoning. Excellent side dish at breakfast or as the basis for shrimp and grits, a low-country classic. Variation: chop 2 pieces of crispy toaster oven bacon and stir in with butter and black pepper. Serves 4 to 6.