Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Lemon Bars

Transcribed from the beautifully hand-printed recipe that a colleague generously prepared for me after I inquired about this luscious treat she brought to work and shared with us. December, 1992. H/T “Linda Barr”.

2-1/2 c all-purpose flour, divided

1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted

3/4 c (1-1/2 sticks) butter, cut into large dice

1/2 t baking powder

4 eggs, beaten

2 c granulated sugar

1/2 t lemon zest, grated

1/3 c lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Whisk together 2 cups of flour and the powdered sugar. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles meal. Spread the mixture in a 9x13x2 inch baking pan, and firm and flatten to form a crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned. Whisk the eggs, sugar, zest, and juice together in a bowl and then incorporate the 1/2 cup of flour and baking powder. Pour over the crust and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes, until lightly browned and set. Let cool on a metal rack. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into bars. Yields about 2 dozen bars.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Italian Sausage, Onions, and Red Peppers on a Sub Roll

Quick, easy, and tasty! Emulates the state fair staple but substitutes sweet red pepper for the unripe green pepper.

2 4-oz sweet Italian sausages

1 c yellow onion, sliced thinly through the poles

1 c red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, julienne sliced

2 T vegetable oil

1 t kosher salt, divided

1 t yellow mustard, divided

2 sub rolls, split from the top

Heat the oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet to 350 F. Add the peppers and a pinch of salt. Fry quickly for 2 minutes. Add the onions, season, and continue frying until the onions begin to soften. Add the sausages to the middle of the skillet and continue frying. Turn the sausages after they have browned on the first side. Continue until browned on the second. Warm the rolls in the microwave. Place a sausage in the middle of each, mound up the vegetables, and lightly decorate with mustard. Serves 2.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Cornmeal Muffins

his recipe, revised from an online example, yields 12 moist, flavorsome muffins in 30 minutes. Developed Spring,

1 c all-purpose flour
1 c cornmeal

1/4 c white sugar

2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1 egg

1/4 c vegetable oil

1 c milk

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease muffin tin with vegetable oil spray. In a large bowl, whisk together corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a measuring cup, beat egg, whisk in oil and then stir in the milk. Combine egg mixture with dry ingredients with a spatula until smooth. Spoon batter into a prepared muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Yields 12.


Sunday, April 2, 2023

Mexican Style Rice - Stovetop Method

This recipe produces a product similar to what is served in many Mexican restaurants in the US. Similar to our microwave version.
1 c long-grain rice

1 T vegetable oil

3/4 t tsp salt

1 t ground achiote

1 t ground cumin

2 T dry onion

1/4 t granulated garlic

1/4 c prepared tomato salsa

1-3/4 c chicken stock

Heat the oil in a saucepan, stir in the rice and salt, and cook over medium for a few minutes until the rice becomes opaque. Stir in the achiote, cumin, onion flakes, and garlic. Heat for 30 seconds and stir in the salsa and stock. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Quick Onion-Mushroom Gravy

Developed March, 2023. Good companion to grilled or roast meats, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, steamed rice, noodles, spaetzle, or open-face sandwiches. 

1 T vegetable oil
2 oz button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 T all-purpose flour
1 t beef dry rub
1 T dry onion
8 oz hot water, divided
1 T beef or onion stock base (Better Than Bouillon™ is good)
1 T porcini powder
1 T tapioca or corn starch dispersed in 1 T cold water

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium and add mushrooms. Fry for a few minutes until they are browned. Stir in the flour, heat for a minute, then add the dry onion, the dry rub, and heat for another minute. Off heat, whisk in a 1/4 cup hot water to form a smooth slurry. Stir in stock base and porcini powder. When incorporated, stir in the remaining hot water, and simmer 5 minutes. Whisk in the starch slurry and heat until it thickens. The recipe is easily doubled.

Variations: Dilute the finished gravy with 1 cup beef stock to make a jus for French dip sandwiches or as a base for hearty soups or stews.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Vegetable Lo Mein

Developed Summer, 2022 from an earlier dry-noodle dish. This version utilizes fresh lo mein noodles purchased at a local pan-Asian grocery.

1 medium yellow onion, thinly cut through poles
1 T minced garlic
2 c baby bok choy, cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces
2 c napa cabbage, cut into shreds
1 7-oz can bamboo shoot strips, rinsed well, and drained
3 T vegetable oil, divided

16 oz fresh lo mein noodles


1 c chicken stock

2 T soy sauce
2 t roasted sesame oil

1/2 t sugar
2 t fish sauce

1 T shao shin rice wine
2 T oyster sauce

2 t tapioca or corn starch

2 green onions, cut on bias

Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a gentle boil. Add the noodles, separating them as they boil. Boil gently for 3 minutes. Drain well, toss with 1 tablespoon of oil, cover and keep warm. Meanwhile combine the sauce ingredients in a cup. To make the topping, heat 1 T of oil sizzling hot in a large wok. Stir fry the onions until they begin to soften. Then stir fry, in turn, the bok choy, napa, onions, bamboo shoots, and garlic, adding oil as needed. When the vegetables are almost done, stir in the sauce and bring to a boil. Then, fold in the noodles, and heat through. Serve in a large bowl, garnished with the green onions. Serves 6. Variation: shreds of meat cooked separately can be added with the noodles.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Roasted Tiny Potatoes

This recipe yields a product that's crusty on the outside and creamy on the inside. Quartering the potatoes doubles the crisp surface area. This easy recipe with limited knife work is well suited for the beginning cook.
12 oz small white or red potatoes (about 1.5 inch across)
2 T olive oil
1 t kosher salt
2 t dry rosemary powder
1/2 t granulated garlic
1/2 t ground black pepper
Quarter the potatoes, place in a bowl, mist with water, cover, and steam in the microwave oven for 3 minutes on high power (1250 W). Preheat the toaster oven to 425 F. Drizzle on the oil, mix in the seasonings, transfer to an 8x8-inch metal pan, and roast for 10 minutes. Turn over the potatoes and roast another 10 to 15 minutes. Serves two to three.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Toaster-Oven Garlic Bread

Winter 2023. This approach streamlines an earlier recipe by combining the topping ingredients into a compound spread. Pairs nicely with soup, chowder, or steamed seafood or offer as an appetizer with drinks at a gathering.

8 oz loaf supermarket French bread

1/3 c soft tub margarine
1 t granulated garlic, divided
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese, divided

In a small bowl, mash the margarine with a fork until softened. In two steps, mash in the granulated garlic, and finally, in two steps, the cheese. Preheat the oven on the broil setting with the rack placed 6 to 8 inches from the coils. Cut the loaf into 3/4 inch thick slices. Cover each with a generous layer of spread and arrange on a 12X9 baking sheet. Grill the bread until the top is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Serves 2 to 4 depending on the menu. 

Monday, January 2, 2023

Dry Rub for Beef

Developed over many years for steaks and roasts.
2 T kosher salt
1 t black peppercorns
2 t brown sugar
1 t dry rosemary
1 t granulated garlic
1 t mushroom powder
1 t dry thyme
Combine the ingredients in a spice grinder. Pulse a few times to form a fine powder. Store in a tight container. To use, dry the meat, sprinkle the rub on all sides, rub it in, cover in plastic, and marinate up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Use one teaspoon per pound.