Thursday, December 27, 2018

Boiled Shrimp for Cold Salads

Developed December, 2018. The method prevents overcooking and yields a flavorsome, tender product ideal for a shrimp cocktail or eating off a fork. A tangy cocktail sauce adds to the pleasure.
1 lb large raw shrimp, shells on
1/2 c white vinegar
1/2 c water
2 T Old Bay seasoning
1/2 t salt
In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, and seasonings to a boil. Briefly rinse the shrimp in tap water and drain. Add the shrimp to the boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand until cool. Drain, briefly rinse, and chill. Shell the shrimp just before serving. Serves 3 or 4 on a bed of head lettuce.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Brick Chicken

This recipe could be titled as "Crispy-Skin Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs" but "Brick Chicken" is more dramatic if less informative. It was adapted August, 2015 from a recipe using chicken breast that appeared on PBS's America's Test Kitchen. Bricks can be purchased cheaply at any home store.
4 large chicken thighs
2 common bricks, scrubbed clean and covered with aluminum foil
Pan Sauce
1 T oil from chicken
1/4 c finely-chopped shallot
1/4 c finely-chopped sweet pepper
2 t flour
1/8 t five-spice powder
1/8 t crushed red pepper
3/4 c chicken stock
2 t apple cider vinegar
1 t fresh or dry thyme
Trim away excess skin and fat. Bone thighs. Poke holes in fatty part of skin. Season each thigh with 1/2 t salt. Place on rack and refrigerate, skin side up, uncovered for up to 8 hours. Dry thoroughly. Place skin side down in 12-inch stainless-steel skillet cold. cover with bricks. turn heat to medium, and fry 7 to 9  minutes until mostly done and crispy on bottoms. remove bricks, Remove weight and continue to cook until skin is well browned and very crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip thighs, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until second side is lightly browned and meat registers 160 to 165 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside but cover loosely so as not to soften the skin.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Lemonade by Ratio

One way to describe a recipe is to list, not amounts by measure, but rather, amounts by ratio to each other. This makes it easy to make a small or large batch. Lemonade depends on the balance of its ingredients and so is well suited to this approach. A 'part' may be a small volume such as an ounce or a cup or even a gallon! It's also possible to prepare lemonade not by volume measure but by weight.
1 part lemon juice
2 parts simple syrup
4 parts cold water
2 parts ice
Mix well in a glass, in a pitcher or in large serving container. For example, to make a single serving in a large glass:
2 oz lemon juice
4 oz simple syrup
8 oz cold water
4 oz ice

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Scallops and Egg Noodles in Cream-Garlic Sauce

Developed December, 2018. Luxury in a quick and easy meal.

12 oz diver scallops
1 t salt
1/4 t white pepper
1 oz each of butter and olive oil
1/2 c thinly-sliced shallot or leek
2 T thinly-sliced garlic
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1/3 c half and half or light cream
8 oz pappardelle or wide egg noodles
Bring two quarts of salted water to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the noodles and boil gently until tender but firm, about 9 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, and keep covered. While the noodles cook, heat the oil and butter over medium in a 12-inch stainless-steel skillet. When sizzling stops, add the shallots, garlic and crushed red pepper, and sauté until lightly colored. Dry the scallops on paper towels and season with salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the scallops. Cook gently until lightly browned on one side, turn and cook the other side. Stir in the dairy, the noodles, and the pasta water. Cook gently 5 minutes with mixing until the sauce is mostly absorbed and the noodles are tender. Add pasta water if needed. Taste for seasoning. Serves two or three generously. Variation: Substitute shelled shrimp or imitation crab meat (surimi) for the scallops. Butter-steamed cauliflower makes a good side dish.

Ben's BLT salad

Recorded December, 2018. Everybody's favorite sandwich without the bread. A Family Favorite.
2 c iceberg lettuce, cut into large cubes
4 strips of ‫crispy bacon‬, crumbled
1 large ripe tomato, cut into large pieces
2 T mayonnaise
1 T milk (or water)
1/2 t salt
freshly ground pepper
Assemble lettuce, tomato, and bacon in a bowl. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, milk, and seasonings together and dizzle on salad. Toss gently to coat. Serves two or three.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Developed November 2018, inspired by a jambalaya enjoyed at a friend's table in October. Packed with flavor and solid nourishment, this comfort food is a Louisiana staple. Lots of ingredients, mostly pantry, but the cooking is straightforward and the dish comes together easily.
2 oz salt pork, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 andouille sausage, cut into disks
4 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and visible fat
2 T vegetable oil
2 c long grain rice
2 T tomato paste
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1 T minced garlic
1 t oregano
1 t thyme
1 t smoked paprika
1/4 t cayenne or 1 t chipotle
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 c hot shrimp stock
2 t salt
12 oz medium shrimp
1 T Old Bay seasoning
In a heavy pan or dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, fry the salt pork until crisp, add the celery, green pepper, onion, and sausage. Cook until softened. Add thighs and partially cook over moderate heat for a 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Increase heat, stir in rice and oil. Fry the rice with frequent stirring for few minutes until it turns milky. Stir in the seasonings, heat until aromatic, and add the tomatoes and hot stock. Place the chicken thighs on top, cover, and reduce the heat to a fast simmer. Tear apart the chicken when done (about 30 minutes), mix into rice. Arrange the shrimp on top, and dust with Old Bay seasoning. Cover tightly and let dish rest for 10 minutes while the shrimp steam through. Combine gently and serve. Serves 6.