Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Faux Pho

Authentic beef pho requires long cooking of beef marrow bones and many spices and aromatics. This short-cut method yields a dish similar in flavor and aroma to the real thing but takes less than 20 minutes to prepare.
2 qt water
4 T beef stock concentrate (Better Than Bouillon™)
2 t five-spice powder
4 T fish sauce
2 t soy sauce
2 t sugar
1/2 t granulated garlic
8 oz rice vermicelli
12 oz thin slices of tender beef
Thai basil leaves and bean sprouts (optional garnish)
Soak the noodles in hot tap water. Bring fresh water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in all the ingredients except the noodles and meat. Simmer 15 minutes. Add the noodles and the raw beef. Simmer 5 minutes and serve, topped with basil and sprouts, if desired. Serves four.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Italian Meatloaf

Savory and satisfying, this recipe makes a lot. Modified from a recipe broadcast on Cook's Country (PBS TV).
1 T olive oil
1/4 c thin garlic slices
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 sleeve saltines
3/4 c whole milk
2 large eggs
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
2 oz (1 c) grated Parmesan cheese
1 t granulated garlic
1 t dry oregano
1/2 t table salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
3 T chopped fresh basil

Heat the oil in 3-quart saucepan over medium to 350 F. Add the garlic slices and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the rest of the sauce ingredients, bring to a fast simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Set aside covered, to keep warm. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 F. Treat a 9 X 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place saltines in large zip-lock bag, seal bag, and crush saltines to fine crumbs with rolling pin or a heavy pan. Whisk milk and eggs in large bowl and stir in the crumbs. Let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes and then whisk it to form a smooth paste. Add beef, sausage, Parmesan, and the seasonings and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Transfer beef mixture to the prepared baking dish. Wet your hands, then shape into 9 X 5-inch rectangle. The top should be flat and meatloaf should be about 1-1/2 inches tall. Pour sauce over the meatloaf. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills. Bake until meatloaf registers 160 F in the middle, about 65 to 75 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover, and rest it for 15 minutes. With 2 spatulas, lift the meatloaf onto a cutting board. With a flat spoon, remove excess grease from the sauce. Cut the meatloaf into 1-inch slices, return them to the sauce, and garnish with the basil. Yields about 8 servings.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Baked Apples

A simple, satisfying dessert using four natural ingredients. 
4 firm medium apples (for example, Rome, Gala, Honey Crisp)
4 T brown sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
2 t butter
3/4 c boiling water
Preheat the toaster oven to 375 F. Trim the bottoms flat so the apples will stand upright in the baking pan. With a paring knife cut a cone-shaped opening around the stem and hollow out the core. Sprinkle an 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon into the hole, pour a tablespoon of brown sugar into each apple, and top each with a 1/2 teaspoon of butter. Pour water into the pan and bake 50 minutes or until the tip of knife penetrates easily. Let cool until warm, before serving. A scoop of vanilla ice cream turns this into a special dessert.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Broiled Lamb Chops

Lamb chops grilled under the broiler provide a luxurious meal in a hurry. The spice mixture enhances the savory flavor of the meat.
4 1.5 inch-thick loin chops

2 t olive oil

Dry Rub for Lamb

1 T kosher salt

1 t dry rosemary

1 t coriander seeds

1 t porcini powder

1 t dry thyme
1/2 t sumac

1/2 t granulated garlic

1/2 t black peppercorns

Process the dry ingredients to a powder in a spice/coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Blot the chops dry, drizzle oil on both sides, and then sprinkle the rub on both sides. Use a teaspoon per pound. Store the unused rub in a tight container. Marinate the chops an hour at room temperature. Preheat the broiler to the low setting (if available). Place the rack 8 inches below the elements. Position the seasoned chops on a grill pan. Broil 6 minutes on the first side, turn, and grill another 4 minutes. Check the internal temperature for 125 F.  Rest the chops for a few minutes under a cover. Serves two to four. Suggested sides: kasha and green beans.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Chinese Brown Sauce

Many vegetable or noodle stir fry dishes served in Cantonese-style Chinese-American restaurants are finished with this universal sauce.

1 c chicken stock

1 T soy sauce
1/2 t roasted sesame oil

1/2 t sugar
1/2 t fish sauce

1 T shao shing rice wine
1 T oyster sauce

2 t corn starch

Stir the ingredients together in a cup or bowl until they are well mixed. Pour around the edge of the finished food in the wok or skillet. Stir fry to combine and heat until it thickens. Plate at once.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Quick Waffle Cinnamon Toast

A Belgian waffle maker can turn a slice of white bread into a crispy, sweet treat for breakfast or snack in 60 seconds.

slice of hearty white bread
soft margarine
cinnamon-sugar mixture

Preheat the waffle iron to about 400 F (200 C). Spread the bottom side of the bread lightly with margarine and center on the hot iron. Spread margarine on the top side and sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly. Close the iron, press gently, and bake about 60 seconds. Careful, it will be hot. Variation: Just sprinkle with sugar, no spice.