Thursday, October 22, 2020

Margarita Cocktail

Simple recipe for a refreshing cocktail from scratch.

3 T (45 ml) tequila
1 T (15 ml) triple sec
2 T (30 ml) lime juice
Moisten the rim of a rocks glass with lime juice, and dip in coarse salt. Fill with ice. Add ingredients and stir well. Serves 1.

Kielbasa, Cabbage, and Potato Boil

Developed September, 2020. Fast, easy, and cheap supper.

1 lb kielbasa or similar sausage
1 T vegetable oil
4 c green cabbage, cut into wedges
1-1/2 lb (2-1/2 c) thin-skinned potatoes cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2 T beef stock concentrate (Better Than Bouillon™ is good)
6 peppercorns
2 qt water
Cut the sausage into four pieces crosswise and then each piece in half lengthwise to yield 8 pieces. Heat the oil over medium in a six-quart saucepan.  Fry the sausage, cut face down until browned, flip and brown the other side. Add the cabbage, the stock concentrate, the peppercorns, and the water. Bring to a gentle boil.  Cook 5 minutes, add the potatoes (and onions if using), and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve in big bowls with some of the stock. Offer spicy mustard on the side. Variation: Add a medium yellow onion, quartered through the root, with the potatoes. Serves four generously.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Quick and Easy Tomato-Noodle Soup

Developed August, 2020 from mostly pantry items. Pairs nicely with a sandwich for an easy summer meal. Optionally vegan.
1/2 c chopped celery with leaves
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 c chopped fresh or frozen tomato
2 T dry onion
1 qt water
1/2 t salt
1/2 t thyme
1/4 t celery seed
tomato based pasta soup mix (Knorr™)
1/4 c diced green onions
1 oz deli chicken, diced (omit for vegan)
In a two-quart sauce pan, heat the oil over medium high. Add the celery, lower the heat, and cook covered for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato and dry onion, cover, and cook a few minutes more. Add the water and seasonings and bring to a boil. Stir in the soup mix and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the green onion and chicken. Serves 4 as part of a light meal.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Clams in an Herb and Cream Broth

Developed by Laura, June, 2020, from a dish named "waterzooi", the house specialty at Caprice Bistro, Wilmington, NC. Of Flanders origin, the dish is both fast and easy to prepare.
2 dozen littleneck clams
3 T butter
1/2 c water
1 c white wine
1/2 cup half and half or cream
2 T minced garlic
1/4 c minced shallot
1 green onion, white and green parts chopped separately
2 T minced chives
a fistful of thyme sprigs
2 T flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 T fresh lemon juice
Rinse the clams in cold water. Discard any that are open. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the minced garlic, shallot and the white part of the green onion.  Sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for a minute or two. Add the water and return to a simmer. Add the clams and the remaining green onion, the other herbs, and the lemon juice. Cover the pan and steam gently for about 4 minutes or until all the clams open. Divide the clams into two bowls. Discard the thyme stem, raise the heat and reduce the liquid by one-third. Stir in the dairy, warm gently, and pour the broth over the clams. Serve with a crusty, warm baguette.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Creamy French Toast

This recipe yields a product with a custard-like center and crispy exterior. 
1 T vegetable oil
1 T butter
4 slices white bread
2 large eggs
1/2 c milk
a pinch of salt
1 t sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
Cut the bread in half and heat in a toaster oven at 200 F for 10 minutes to partly dry it. Beat the eggs well and stir in the other ingredients. Heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and butter, and when the butter stops sizzling, soak two pieces of bread on both sides until moist, and add to the hot fat. Repeat for the remaining bread. Pour any leftover batter over the slices. Fry about 3 minutes on the first side until browned. Flip and continue frying until the second side is done. Serves two. Offer sugar, preserves, maple syrup, or fruit sauce.

Tiny Peas and Pearl Onions Steamed in Butter Sauce

Quickly prepare a versatile side dish from pantry ingredients.
4 oz frozen tiny peas
4 oz frozen pearl onions
1 T chicken or vegetable stock concentrate
1 t butter, cut into small dice
1 T water
1/2 t salt
1 t sugar
1 t tapioca starch
Thaw the peas in cold water and drain. Thaw the onions on a paper towel. Combine the vegetables in a shallow bowl, top with the seasonings, and sprinkle the starch over all. Steam for 4 minutes, mix with tongs and steam another 2 minutes, mix and serve. Serves two. Can be doubled.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

27 Jewish Family Recipes, As Is

This text file, other than concealing last names, is presented exactly as I received it from my brother-in-law Dan P in 2006. Dan, an accomplished jazz and classical performer, also enjoyed assembling family photo albums and other mementos of our lives. He copied these recipes from handwritten notes that his family used to make traditional Jewish dishes.  These cooks are all long gone but their dishes are still being prepared.

(from Dan P,,,, Jan 20, 2006
Hi A...,
Take a look at these. Evelyn M... is my Mom. Ann G... was my


1   Grandma G's Virginia Meat loaf
2   Evelynπ's Banana Cake
3   Grandma Morganπ's Donuts
4   Evelynπ's Baked Apples
5   Evelynπ's Brisket
6.  Grandma G's Mandel Bread
7.  Evelynπ's Sour Cream Cake
8   Mocha Squares   Goldie A...
9   Grandma G...πs roast Chicken
10  Blintzes    Grandma G... (They are delicious and easy to make)
11  Matzoh Balls  Grandma G...
12  Lima Bean Casserole   Evelyn M...
13  Pot Lit Jelly  Ann G...
14  Schmaltz    Ann G...
15  Potato Kugel     Evelyn M...
16  Baked Bean Sandwich  ?
17  Giovanna B's Pasta with Basil and Sweet Pepper
18  Risotto   Larry N...
19  Vegetable Soup  Grandma G...sπ
20  Evelynπs Passover Sponge Cake
21  Tzimmes  Grandma G...sπ
22  Baked Stuffed Fish - Grandma G...sπ
23  Passover Chocolate cake - Aunt Irene L...
24  Strawberries Romanoff   Evelyn (for Passover sponge cake?)
25  Babka  Evelyn M...
26  Potato Latkes
27  Kugel Grandma G...


Grandma G's Virginia Meat loaf

Beat 3 eggs till foamy
Add 2 1/2 lbs ground beef
          1 tsp salt
           1/4 cup grated onion
           1/4 cup raw oatmeal
          1 cup tomato juice
           pinch pepper
           lawrys seasoning

Make large patty. Put in greased pan.
Bake 1 1/2 hours in 350 oven. donπt cover.

After first 30 minutes baste with 1/2 cup beef bouillon.
Sprinkle top with ketchup and Brown sugar, mushrooms
and pimento slices.


 Evelynπ's Banana Cake

6 oz margarine
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix baking soda and sour cream separately. Add vanilla and let sit sit.
Cream butter and sugar well. add Eggs, bananas and nuts.
Add flour and mix well. Add sour cream mixture.
Bake 1 hour in deep 9 X 13 cake pan at 350.
Chocolate frosting


Grandma Morganπ's Donuts

1 1/2 cups self rising flour
2 eggs
3 TBS melted shortening
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup sugar and mix until stiff off of spoon
Drop 1 tsp size into grease
1 large coffee can full of crisco (store in fridge)
Brown all over - When done, roll in Powdered sugar


Evelynπ's Baked Apples

6 Roman Beauties

  Heat and pour into pyrex:
      1/2 cup lt caro syrup in pot
      1/2 cup brown sugar
       2 TBS marmalade

Core apples and peel down one inch
put apples in upside down
cover with foil
  375 for 30 minutes
Remove and turn over apples
No foil - put back in for 25 minutes and baste


Evelynπ's Brisket

For 5 lb roast
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup Chili sauce
3 TBS brown sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp salt
2 tsp lawrys
5 lb brisket
1 cup celery leaves
2 sliced onions

Mix salt, brown sugar, chili sauce, vinegar and seasoning salt together.
Pour over meat and let sit in fridge over night.

Tomorrow - Put in roaster, fat side up. Pour marinade over meat.
Cover with celery leaves and onions all around.

325 oven with foil over pot and baste each hour.
Cool before cutting.
Put gravy in fridge and skim

1 hour per lb for roasting


Grandma G's Mandel Bread   Itπs the best

MIX: 1/2 cup  shortening
ADD: 7 eggs
           1 1/2 TBS whiskey
           1 1/2 tsp vanilla
           3 cups flour
               2 cups sugar
               3 tsp Baking powder
               1/2 cup Almonds or walnuts

Cream shortening with sugar.
Add remaining ingredients.
Pour into 4 greased loaf pans 10 1/4 X 3 5/8.
Preheat oven to 350
Bake 35 minutes at 350.
Slice into 1/2 inch slices
Brush with melted butter
Sprinkle with mixture of cinnamon and sugar
Place under broiler in 350 oven for a few minutes. WATCH !!!!!!!
makes 80 so I usually make 1/2 of recipe


Evelynπ's Sour Cream Cake

1/2 lb butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup Brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Add baking soda to sour cream and set aside.
Cream butter and add sugar slowly.
Add  eggs one at a time
Sift flour with baking powder 3 times
Add flour and sour cream alternately to mixture
add vanilla
spread 1/2 of mixture in greased and floured pan
cover with topping
Spread remaining batter on top and cover with topping
Bake in Preheated oven 350 for 45 minutes.


Mocha Squares   Goldie A...

Cream   1 cup margarine
                1 cup sugar
Add         2 TBS Instant coffee
                 1 tsp vanilla
Add         2 cups flour
                 2 tsp baking powder
                  1/4 tsp salt

Fold in      1/2 cup nuts
                   1 cup chocolate chips

Put in un-greased jelly roll pan
Bake 20 to 25 minutes in 350 oven.
Remove and immediately cut into 48 squares
Cool in Pan


G's Roast Chicken

Melt 1/4 lb butter
Add Lemon Juice and Wishbone dressing
Dip chicken in mixture. Remove it and let
sit in fridge overnight

Brown each piece on both sides in broiler
Place in roaster (one layer) and cover with
following sauce.

Boil until celery is tender.
4 diced onions
1 carrot
2 stalks celery
1/2 cup catsup

Bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours
Cover and uncover intermittently for browning


Blintzes    Grandma G...

Makes 24

    3 MED EGGS
    1/4 tsp SALT

           ANOTHER 3/4 CUP  WATER



2 TSP SUGAR (or more)



Matzoh Balls  Grandma G...

2 Eggs Beaten
1/2 cup matzoh meal
1 TBS schmaltz
refrigerate at least an hour
boil in salted water 45 minutes

Donπt look in pot during cooking
6-8 people


Lima Bean Casserole   Evelyn M...

1 large diced onion
1/4 golden pepper diced
1 piece celery diced
4 oz can mushrooms
1 can tomato soup
2 cans seaside Lime Beans drained
4 TBS corn oil
1 TBS sugar
Salt, pepper, celery salt to taste

SautÈπ vegetables in oil
add mushrooms and tomato soup
simmer for 5 minutes
Pour sauce over drained beans
Bake in 350 oven about 2 1/2 hours


Pot Lit Jelly   (Ground Eggplant Appetizer) Grandma G...
(Dec 31, 2005 - I just made this today)

1 egg plant
1 green pepper
1 carrot
olive oil - about 1 tsp

use fork to make holes in eggplant.
Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil.
Place eggplant on it.
Bake eggplant about 1 hour at 350.
It should be flat and oil will run out

Peel eggplant.
Put eggplant, pepper and carrot through grinder.

Add salt and pepper and a little oil


Schmaltz    Ann G...

Chicken fat

Cut up fat
Put in frying pan over slow fire
Cover but leave a crack
Grate in onion and a little pepper

After frying there are crunchy hunks of fat called
gribeness that are the best part.


Potato Kugel     Evelyn M...

4 large baking potatoes - peeled and hand grated
1 large grated onion
4 eggs
4 level TBS flour
2 tsp salt
dash pepper
1/2 cup oil

Heat oil in 2 quart casserole or steel
frying pan at 450.

Mix all ingredients and put in hot oil. Spattering!
Bake at 400 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. very brown.

Serves 7-8


Baked Bean Sandwich

Mash 1 cup beans
Add 2 tsp catsup
1 TBS melted butter
1/4 cup minced onion or celery
Spread on dark bread

You can use bacon


Giovanna B's Pasta with Basil and Sweet Pepper
This is the best!

7 oz pasta
3 TBS oil
1 medium red or yellow pepper
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup water
Knorr chicken bouillon
2 TBS fresh Basil
1 TBS red wine vinegar

In skillet - heat oil and add garlic and pepper.
SautÈ 3 minutes

Add water, bouillon & basil & bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Add vinegar and pour on Pasta


Grandma G's Vegetable soup

Soup bone
1 lb flank
2 quarts water
2 carrots
1 cup split peas
1/2 cup barley
Lime beans
1 can mushroom soup

Cook 2 hours


Passover Sponge Cake   E's

Beat together 6 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs

Add - 1 1/2 cups sugar
            1/2 Lemon juice and rind
             1/2 orange  juice and rind

Put 2 TBS cake meal in a cup.
Add potato starch in same cup to make
1 scant cup. Sift 3 times.
Add flour to egg mixture.

Beat 6 Egg whites (quite stiff).
Fold yolk mixture into beaten egg whites.

Bake in un-greased tube pan 1 hour. Electric stove.

350 10 minutes
325 for 50 minutes

Serve with fresh strawberries on top


Grandma G...sπ

Cook 3 bunches carrots in salted water until almost
tender. 25-30 minutes.

Slice diagonally and place in roaster with 2 lbs chuck and 3 marrow
bones, salt, and water to half cover.

Cover with  1/2 cup sugar
                     1/2 cup brown sugar
                     1/2 cup honey
                      juice of 1 lemon
Cover and and bake at 350 for 1 hour or more.
Turn to 325


Baked Stuffed Fish
Grandma G...sπ

2 whitefish  1/1/2 lbs each

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup celery
1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1 TBS minced parsley
2 cups crushed salty crackers
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning

SautÈπ in butter: celery, onion till golden brown.
Add mushrooms and cook 3 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients.
Season inside of fish and stuff.
Bake with Lemon Juice, melted butter and parsley flakes.
Use sliced lemons
Bake uncovered at 500 for 10 minutes.
Then 10 minutes per pound at 400.


Passover Chocolate cake - Aunt Irene L...

9 eggs
Beat Whites
add 1 1/4 cup sugar

Beat yolks
Add small amount of whites to them
Add 1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 squares melted chocolate
Fold into egg whites
mix together 1 cup of chopped nuts
2 TBS potato starch

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes


Strawberries Romanoff
Evelyn (for Passover sponge cake?)

2 quarts berries sugared
1 pt vanilla ice cream
1/2 pt whipping cream
juice of 1 lemon
2 oz cointreaux
1 oz bicardi rum

whip ice cream slightly and fold in whipping cream.
add lemon juice and liquors and pour over
sugared berries.



Cream 3 egg yolks with 1/2  lb butter or margarine,
add 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour after sifting
  plus 1 tsp salt.

Dissolve 2 pieces of yeast thoroughly in 1/2 cup luke warm milk.
Mix all this together (it will be quite moist) then refrigerate

Next day, divide dough in half and knead slightly.
Roll out 1 piece at a time 1/8≤ thick.

Spread with meringue (be sure your egg whites are at room temperature.
3 egg whites beaten until slightly firm, then add 1 cup of sugar.

Spread meringue on dough; sprinkle with chopped nuts, raisins, (grated
orange rind if you wish} and cinnamon.

Lay each roll overlapping in a greased 9 X 10≤ tube pan.

Allow to rise for 3 hours in a warm place. Sprinkle with cinnamon,
sugar and nuts on top.

Then place in a 325 to 350 degree oven for 1 hour or when really brown.


Potato Latkes    Dan P,,,

2 eggs
5 grated, drained potatoes for 2 people (15 Latkes)
1 grated onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Matzah meal
cooking oil

Peel and grate potatoes and onion
Drain them in colender
Beat eggs and add to potatoes
Add salt and pepper
Add Matzah meal to thicken so you canπt see any liquid

Fry in oil and butter until brown
Blot with paper toweling to remove oil

Serve with sour cream, apple sauce or cinnimon and sugar


 Grandma G...

1 cup long grain rice cooked to directions
5 eggs
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisens
1 quart milk
1/4 lb butter

Mix all ingredients except butter together in a large bowl.
Melt butter in utility pan 9 X13. Pour half of butter into rice
mixture, leaving remaining butter in pan. Pour rice mixture in pan.
Bake 1 hour in 350 oven.
Makes 12 servings

Monday, April 13, 2020

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

OVID-INSPIRED. April, 2020. No-butter recipe adapted from online examples. A new mixing method to prepare the dough has replaced the customary method. The use of a kitchen scale is assumed.

2 eggs
1 T water
330 g dark brown sugar
100 g white sugar
2 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
213 g vegetable oil
312 g flour
300 g dark chocolate chips
Beat the eggs and water in a large bowl. Whisk in the brown sugar and then the white sugar. Stir in baking soda, baking powder, salt, and the vanilla. Whisk in the oil until completely blended. Stir in flour with a rubber spatula and when incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips. Chill dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C). Drop level scoopfuls from a #30 disher (32 ml or 1.07 oz) onto a dark, lightly greased baking sheet about two inches apart. Bake 9 minutes and remove immediately to a wire rack to cool. Permit the baking sheet to cool between batches. Store in an airtight container to retain chewy texture. Yields about 32 cookies.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

No-Knead Sandwich Bread

No-Knead Loaf Has a Soft Crumb
Isolate and bake. COVID Inspired. April 3, 2020.
Adapted from

250 ml warm water + 150 ml cool water
1 t active dry yeast
1 T sugar
2 t kosher salt
525 g all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
1 T vegetable oil
In a large bowl, add warm water (110 F, 43 C), sugar, salt, and sprinkle on yeast. Stir slowly with a stick or spoon handle. After 5 minutes, add the cool water. Stir in the flour, and when incorporated, add the oil, turning the dough over a few times to combine. Cover with plastic film and proof 4 hours in a warm place (about 80 F, 27 C). An oven with the light on is ideal. With the stick, degas, pull, stretch, and fold the dough, sprinkling flour on the outside to prevent sticking. Tip it into a greased 5x9 metal loaf pan and cover with plastic film. Proof a second time for about another hour, until dough rises an inch above the rim. Brush the top generously with olive oil, and bake in a preheated 400 F (200 C) oven for 40 minutes or until top is browned. Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack and let cool before slicing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Pantry Pita Pizza

Put together from ingredients on hand. Wonderfully musical when spoken, this dish was COVID-inspired on the Ides of March, 2020.
2 pita loaves
1 T olive oil
2 T olive tapenade
1/2 c hummus
1/2 c diced tomatoes, canned or fresh, drained
1/4 c ripe black olives, coarsely chopped
1/4 c feta cheese, crumbled
onion powder
crushed red pepper
Steam the pitas until soft in the microwave under a moist paper towel or cloth. Preheat toaster oven to 400 F. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into the oven pan and use it to coat both sides of the pitas. Divide the ingredients on each loaf. Spread tapenade on each, then the hummus thickly, and then distribute the cheese, tomatoes, olives, and the seasonings to taste. Bake 12 minutes or until thoroughly heated through. Serves two.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Beef Vegetable Soup

Developed February, 2020 as a blending of familiar ingredients enriched with beef left over from an earlier meal or purchased at the deli.
2 T vegetable oil
1 c coarsely chopped green cabbage
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c diced celery
1/2 c diced carrots
1 c diced potato
2 T tomato paste
1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
4 oz white or brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 t minced garlic
2 c hot water
2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 c beef stock (Better than Bouillon™ is good)
1 14.5 oz can seasoned black beans (Bush's Cuban™ is good)
2 green onions, sliced
1 T porcini powder
1/2 t fish sauce
4 oz cooked lean beef
Spread potato, carrots, cabbage, celery, and onion on a large plate. Salt lightly, cover and microwave on high for 5 minutes or until noticeably softened. Vent carefully. Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium high and add the tomato paste. When darkened, stir in the garlic and, after 30 seconds, add the blanched vegetables, the tomato, and the mushrooms. Cook until reduced and colored. Stir in the beans, stock, and the water. Heat to a fast simmer for 20 minutes, with occasional stirring. Stir in the beef and heat through. Serves four. Ripped and torn croutons make a nice side.

Beef Shank Braised in Red Wine with Root Vegetables

Developed March, 2020. This hard-to-find, economical cut was purchased at La Superior Carniceria, a Mexican supermarket in Durham during an OLLI 'Foodie Field Trip, an activity now on hold until the pandemic is brought under control.

Beef Shank Braised in Red Wine with Root Vegetables
4 cross-cut beef shanks
1 large onion sliced through the root into eighths
2 ribs celery, cut obliquely into large pieces
4 carrots, roll-cut into large pieces
1 T minced garlic
3/4 c red wine
1/4 c ketchup
2 T tomato paste
2 c hot beef stock
2 bay leaves
8 peppercorns
3 allspice berries
2 T paprika, divided
1 lb thin-skinned potatoes, quartered lengthwise
Preheat oven to 340 F. Salt shanks well, dust both sides with flour, and snip the outside fascia to prevent curling. Arrange meat in the bottom of a covered roaster and top with vegetables, wine, ketchup, spices, and stock. Dust generously with paprika. Roast 25 minutes. Turn meat and vegetables, cover, lower heat to 315 F, and roast for 30 minutes.  Turn, add the potatoes, dust with paprika, and continue roasting covered until the meat is fork tender, about another hour. Replace water as it's lost. Variations: Omit potatoes and serve over egg noodles, or substitute beef cheek or shoulder for shank.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Broccoli Steamed in Soy-Sesame Sauce

This dish is an adaptation of the same technique first applied with tender vegetables. Simply put, freshly-cut vegetables are seasoned, sauced, and steamed in a one-dish process. From improvised steamer to the table in a few minutes.
8 oz (250 g) broccoli crowns, cut into large florets
2 green onions, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 T soy sauce
1/2 t dark sesame oil
1 t chicken stock concentrate
1 T water
1 t tapioca (or corn) starch
Arrange the vegetables in a flat bowl. top with seasonings, add water, and sprinkle on the starch. Hint: tapioca or corn starch in a shaker jar facilitates this step. Place into an active steamer. After 4 minutes, with tongs, cautiously toss the ingredients together. Continue steaming another 5 minutes or until tender. Toss again and serve. Optional: Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

No-Knead Bread in a Dutch Oven

This fail-proof recipe is a direct knockoff of one published by Mark Bittman in the NY Times Cooking section. I assert that placing this useful recipe outside the NYT paywall is fair use, as justified by the present National Emergency. Follow this recipe and virtually anybody can bake a loaf of delicious bread from flour, yeast, water and salt.
3 cups (385 g) all-­purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1⁄4 t instant yeast
1-1⁄4 t salt
1-5/8 c (385 g) water
Cornmeal as needed  
Step 1
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 18 hours, at room temperature, about 70 degrees. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
Step 2 
Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes.
Step 3
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a plain cotton towel with flour or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
Step 4
At least a half-hour before dough is ready put a 6- to 8-quart covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven and preheat to 450 ºF (230 ºC). When dough is ready, carefully remove HOT pot from oven. Remove the top towel, lift the dough from below the bottom towel and turn the dough into the pot, seam side up. Shake HOT pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and return to oven for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is nicely browned. Cool on a rack. Yields a 1-1/2 lb (680 g) boule with a firm crust and a tender crumb.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Cauliflower Steamed in Butter Sauce

Cauliflower Ready to Steam
This recipe, developed along the same lines as an earlier one, yields two servings of tender cauliflower in a smooth, rich sauce in about 15 minutes.
8 oz (250 g) cauliflower, cut into large florets
1 T butter, cut into small dice
1 t chicken or vegetable stock concentrate (Better than Bouillon™ is good)
1 T water
1 t tapioca or corn starch
Prepare an improvised steamer. Put the cauliflower in a shallow bowl, dot with butter, add the stock concentrate, the water, and sprinkle on the starch. Put the bowl in the steamer for 5 minutes. Cautiously, lift the top, and with tongs, toss the ingredients. Steam another 5 minutes or until tender. Toss again and plate. Serves two.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Steamed Vegetable Combo

Developed February, 2020, the method quickly produces a side dish in a savory Asian-style sauce. Vegan or not.
8 oz assorted tender raw vegetables, cut into serving size pieces
1 t soy sauce
1 t roasted sesame oil
1/4 t fish sauce (omit for vegan)
1 t chicken or vegetable stock concentrate 
4 T water
1 t corn or tapioca starch
Pile the vegetables into a shallow bowl. For example, bok choy, spinach; bean sprouts, green onions, shallots, snow peas, sweet peppers, sweet onions, summer squash, enoki mushrooms, and the like work well. Drizzle on the seasonings and sprinkle on the starch. Place into an "improvised steamer". After four minutes of active steaming, cautiously lift the lid and, with tongs, toss the vegetables to coat with sauce. Cover and steam another four minutes. Remove from steamer, toss again, and serve. Serves two.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Ingredient: Dry Shiitake Mushrooms

Recorded February, 2020. Sometimes known as 'forest mushrooms', they can be used in Chinese stir fries and other Chinese dishes. Shelf stable, they are available anytime. Hydrated, they take on a fleshy, savory quality and can be used like the fresh product. The soak water can be used as stock.
40 g (1-1/2 oz) dried shiitake
3 cups (750 ml) very hot water
1 t salt
1 t sugar
Rinse the mushrooms briefly to remove loose dust and place in a heat proof bowl. Pour the hot water over, add seasonings, stir, and cover. Occasionally stir until cool. Use as if fresh. Yields about 240 gram, or 8 ounces. Reserve the liquid for stock.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Ripped and Torn Croutons

Meant as an accompaniment that brings crunch, flavor, and complex shape, these crusts are inspired by a garnish in a potato soup served at Fearrington House restaurant, in the countryside south of Chapel Hill, NC. They're good for salads too, or as a hot, crunchy snack.
1 cup French bread, torn into irregular pieces
2 t olive oil
1 t grated Parmesan
a pinch granulated garlic
pinch of salt
Heat oil over high heat in a small non-stick skillet. When smoking begins, lower the heat to medium high and add the bread pieces. Keep moving for about a minute. When browning of the edges begins, toss with the cheese and the other seasonings. Remove to a plate to cool.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Italian-Style Meatballs

Developed January, 2020 as a versatile component of many dishes. Dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, or, in a crusty roll topped with a spicy sauce, or, in a soft bun topped with caramelized onions, or as appetizers on a buffet come to mind.
1 slice white bread, finely diced
milk to cover the bread crumbs
2 T olive oil, divided
1 c onion, finely diced
1 lb 85% lean ground beef
1 egg, beaten
2 t minced garlic
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1 t dried Italian herb mixture
1 T grated Parmesan cheese
Cover the crumbs with milk and stir to form a smooth paste and set aside. Slowly fry the onions in a tablespoon of the olive oil in a small skillet until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, gently mix the meat with a large fork until it is broken up. Work the moist bread, beaten egg, garlic, and the seasonings into the meat, one addition at a time. When the sautéed onions are cool, fold them in, and chill the mixture for 30 minutes to firm up. Heat a heavy stainless-steel skillet over medium-high and add the olive oil. When shimmering, form meatballs, about 1-1/4 inch (3 cm) in diameter by rolling between your two palms. Rinsing your hands with cold water as you work helps form balls. Add each to the hot oil as you make them, and fry about 6 minutes after the last one was added. Shake the pan to loosen them as they cook but let them brown. With a spoon and spatula, turn to brown on the other side. Remove and cover for later use.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Fresh Vegetable Noodle Soup

Quick first course in a soup and sandwich supper. Four fresh vegetables come together quickly to make a satisfying and nourishing soup.
1 T vegetable oil
6 oz napa cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 c green onions, sliced into half-inch lengths
1/2 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 c coarsely chopped tomato
1 t minced garlic
1 qt water
1 packet tomato-noodle soup mix (Knorr™ is good)
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1/4 t freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 t fish sauce (use soy sauce for vegan)
Heat the oil to shimmering in a three-quart saucepan. Add the cabbage and sauté over medium-high for a few minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and green onions, cook a few minutes more, and add the tomato and garlic. When heated through, add the water, bring to a gentle boil and stir in the soup mix. Cook gently 10 minutes, add the seasonings, and adjust by tasting. Serves four.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Hint: Pretreat ice cube trays with Pam™

To help ice cubes easily pop out of plastic ice cube trays, pretreat the trays with Pam™ or similar product. Treat dry trays by spraying the interiors very lightly. Spray them in the sink or inside a dishwasher to restrict the spray. Then rinse the trays under running water and let them dry before filling. The treatment leaves no visible residue on the ice. Repeat treatment as needed to retain effectiveness.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Spaetzle (German-style noodle dumplings)

Spaetzle Maker (internet)
Developed Spring 2018 from a traditional recipe.
2 eggs
2/3 c milk
½ t salt
¼ t ground nutmeg
2 c flour
¼ c butter or schmaltz
beef gravy (optional)
In a large bowl, beat the eggs well. Stir in the milk, salt, and nutmeg. Half-cup at a time, stir in the flour with a spoon, until all is incorporated.  Let stand 30 minutes to hydrate the flour and permit gluten formation. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a rapid boil in a six-quart saucepan.  Fill the basket of spaetzle maker with the dough, and position over boiling water.  Pressing down on the dough mass, slide the basket back and forth over the grate until the water boiling slows.  Boil a few minutes until the spaetzlen rise and are firm. Lift out with a mesh strainer to a skillet of hot melted butter or rendered fat.  Fry until crusted on bottom, and top with gravy. Serves six.