My Favorite Recipes Former Seattle Chef 2nd Edition
About the Author
From 1975 to 1984 Dave Stiles cooked professionally both in St. Louis MO and in Seattle. He opened the 13 Coins at SeaTac and became their Sous Chef, eventually becoming Head Chef. While Head Chef of the Seattle Trade Center Dave catered to the rich and famous throughout the Seattle area, including former Governor Dixie Lee Ray, Senator Scoop Jackson, Senator Walter Mondale, former President Richard Nixon, Congressman Jack Kemp, The Seattle Sonics, Seahawks, Mariners and many others. Dave finished his cooking career as Head Chef of the now defunct Broadway Restaurant. In 1984 Dave began working for Kraft Foods selling to Seattle area restaurants before going to work for Microsoft. Dave Stiles is now a Digital Mobility Specialist with over 15 years experience working in Business Development, marketing, and wireless consulting. Mr. Stiles managed the Consultant Relations Program for Microsoft during the early 90‘s then operated his own software training company. In 1996 he joined ASIX, a specialized consulting firm in Bellevue WA. In 1999 David joined DMR/Fujitsu Consulting where he managed the telecommunications practice for the NW. While at Fujitsu Dave managed the design, implementation, and maintenance of a complete, enterprise-wide, wireless Field Service Automation solution for Fluor Telecommunications. Since that time Mr. Stiles has spoken and written about the Mobile Wireless revolution in North America and Europe. He continues to cook and write about food and cooking from his home in Shoreline WA.
Note: most of these recipes were written in isolation, not intended to be part of a larger book. Some of the recipes contain some sub recipes that are repeated in more than one entry and differ slightly. Chose the ones you like best. An overall book editing would benefit the flow of the recipes but no time for that these days. I hope you enjoy the entries and eating the results. Send me email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions. Dave Stiles
The Front cover picture: circa 1977 while chef at 13 Coins
I have known Dave for almost 30 years. He came to the 13 Coins as an energetic student of the culinary arts, with little real world restaurant experience. I was the executive chef at Ward Enterprises. Somehow Dave managed to impress me with his intelligence and passion for cooking. In a matter of a few months he was holding down a position as a line cook, making all the soups and sauces for both 13 Coins and the El Gaucho. He joined the Washington State Chef‘s Association, making him one of the youngest members of the association at the time. Gradually he rose up through the ranks, as a working chef in several restaurants around town. I remember him most from his days as chef of the Trade Center in downtown Seattle. The Trade Center was in the old American Can factory and had been converted to a large atrium, the clothing mart, and a major banquet and catering facility. Dave took this small operation and turned it into one of the largest catering operations in the city. It seemed like every week he would be telling me about some big shot dignitary he had cooked for. Dave always had great stories to tell about cooking here in Seattle or in St. Louis, before he arrived in Seattle. One of the funniest stories he related was when then Governor Dixie Lee Ray visited the original 13 Coins in downtown. Some of the waiters and cooks thought it would be a great gag to place a Band-Aid into half-eaten manicotti which had been served the governor. They made a bid deal about how horrified she supposedly was after finding the old Band-Aid in her lunch. Dave, being a very excitable guy anyway nearly went nuts. He jumped and fidgeted in fear, trying to figure out what to do to make it up to the sickened Governor. Finally when they had played it out as long as they could they all busted out laughing; the jig was up and Dave had been completely taken in. Another time at the 13 Coins SeaTac, when Dave was the Sous Chef, the cooks were busy on New Year‘s evening waiting for the strike of midnight. It has always been a tradition to put oil in the pans on the burners, get them smoking hot, then throw in a handful of ice. The resulting flames reached high into the air creating their own little fireworks celebrating the New Year. I had instructed everyone not to participate because it was a new kitchen and no one knew what would happen with the new fire retardant system. Needless to say, my warnings were ignored. At the stroke of midnight the pans were sufficiently heated and the ice cubes were tossed into the pans. The flames reached up five feet or more. Then, absolute silence; the hood system, sensing the high heat, shut down and the fire retardant system kicked in. While most of the jets were pointed towards the cook tops and fan, several were pointed out towards the counter, packed with guests. A thick layer of blue powered foam covered everything in sight, including some of the customers. The restaurant had to shut down for the evening and refund everyone‘s money. For some reason, I didn‘t fire anyone, although threats were numerous. The cooks spent the entire night until late in the morning cleaning blue powder from everything. Tiny remnants of the foam remained tucked away in nooks and crannies for month – a reminder of the disastrous New Year‘s debacle. There were so many other stories that Dave could relate, if you ask him. He relishes in telling those old restaurant stories. The 70‘s were the hay days in Seattle restaurant growth. Many of Seattle‘s great chefs got their start at the 13 Coins. I have always enjoyed Dave‘s cooking and notes about food. It seemed like he would come into the kitchen with a new recipe every day. He‘d try it out and we would serve it up as a daily special. Most were big hits. He is a true culinary pioneer, always ahead of his time, always trying something different, and thrilled when the customer is satisfied. You will enjoy cooking these recipes and sharing them with your friends. Earl Owens – retired Seattle Executive Chef
*Earl Owens died on February 7th, 2006 at the age of 69. He was a culinary giant and did more to influence my cooking than anyone else. I will always remember him as tough but fair.
I come from a cooking family. My Grandmother Gratto and my Grandmother Stiles both were excellent cooks. My mom learned the art of entertainment from the wife of my Dad‘s boss. I grew up watching the lavish dinner parties, the fine crystal, and multi-course meals that my Mom served on Friday and Saturday nights. Entertainment was her gift and she acquired superior skills from a variety of people who wanted to play the socialite in central Massachusetts. When my parents went off each evening to work on the new house they were building I was expected to prepare dinner. At first I followed directions and made what I was told. After a while I began to experiment on my own and those late night dinners were enjoyed by all. During college I helped pay the bills by working in kitchens at school. When my new wife and I went to St. Louis for graduate work I ended up running the food service at a Catholic girls school, cooking for the nuns. Finally I convinced Phil Karos, who owned Boucair‘s Restaurant, to let me work at his kitchen. Boucair‘s was a fancy French restaurant in a St. Louis suburb. That year constituted an incredible transformation from simply liking to cook to understanding the entire process of preparing food for hundreds. I had to un-learn almost everything I knew about cooking. I was fortunate to be able to work under that tutelage of an excellent chef who understood fine soups and sauces. Cooking got into my blood so we decided to return to Seattle. I started working at the 13 Coins Restaurant, which had just opened up near the Airport. I quickly rose up through the ranks to become chef. Cooking is both and art and a craft. You have to love the process of combining various ingredients into something that is both delicious and appealing. Once you begin to understand spices, proportions, and combining ingredients you can make just about anything. Experimentation is critical to becoming a successful cook. You must be willing to fail in order to eventually succeed. You must always be willing to veer from the standard recipe. No offense but I don‘t think accountants make good chefs – cooking is not for the analretentive. Eating is for everyone. The most enjoyable aspect of cooking is watching friends and family enjoy your creations. Seeing the smiles on the faces of people you cook for is very rewarding. I invite you all to cook more often cook with gusto and delight. To do otherwise would be a disservice to the art and craft. I want to thank some of the giants in this profession that have greatly influenced me. Julia Child – as a kid, watching her cooking shows on that old black & white TV fascinated me. Lorraine Stiles – my mom, she taught me how to entertain and got a kick out of seeing me progress. I don‘t think she could believe it when I actually became a chef. Earl Owens – This irascible and cantankerous culinary master was my mentor while at the 13 Coins. He saw something in me and pushed me to the limit. Chris Sarvis – Chris had more fun cooking and entertaining customers than anybody I ever met. He was raised in the business and everything he did seemed automatic. He never missed a beat, never broke a sweat, always enjoying cooking his way through life. Tony Duffy – for the past 4 years Tony and I have carpooled to Microsoft and back, sharing great recipes and eating our way to high cholesterol. Tony reviews the document and he always get‘s the first copy.
Table of Contents
ABOUT THE AUTHOR FORWARD INTRODUCTION TABLE OF CONTENTS COOKING TIPS AND TRICKS POTS, PANS, AND OTHER COOKING INSTRUMENTS SAUCES – A BRIEF COURSE GUIDE TO PERFECT PAN SAUCES BASIC BREAD RECIPE FRENCH BREAD REGARDING YEASTS COOKING MEATS IN BRINE MEAT INJECTOR NEEDLE AND GOOD GRAVY SEAFOOD ARGENTINE RED SHRIMP CRAB BOIL CLAM CHOWDER COQUILLES ST. JACQUES BRANDY OR COGNAC CRAB BISQUE CRAWFISH ETOUFFEÉ GRAVAD LOX SALMON SPREAD MUSSELS IN SAFFRON SAUCE OYSTER STUFFING QUICK NORTHWEST BOUILLABAISSE FISH STOCK – COURT BOUILLON (PRONOUNCED QUAH – BOO YAWN) GARLIC AIOLI ROUILLE PAELLA SALMON EN PAPILLOTE MORNAY SAUCE SAUTÉED LOBSTER – GREAT VALENTINES DAY DINNER SEAFOOD LASAGNA WHITEFISH – CAJUN STYLE BEEF STEAK DIANE BEEF BURGUNDY BEEF GRILLIADES BEEF STEW QUICK BEEF GRAVY SOUTHWEST POT ROAST BEEF STOCK – THE REAL THING SUMMERTIME MEANS BURGERS ON THE GRILL PASTRAMI SAUERBRATEN POTATO PANCAKES SWEET & SOUR CABBAGE SWEETBREADS 13 COINS STYLE JERKED PORK RICE AND PIGEON PEAS BRAISED LAMB SHANKS SAUCE FOR GYROS – TZATSIKI POULTRY & GAME COQ AU VIN ROAST CHICKEN WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES 2 3 5 6 8 9 12 14 17 18 19 21 22 23 24 25 26 28 28 30 31 33 34 35 36 37 39 39 39 40 42 42 43 47 48 49 50 51 53 55 56 58 60 61 64 65 66 66 68 69 69 71 72 73 74 75
DAVE‘S SPECIAL SPICE MIX CHICKEN TIKA HOMEMADE CURRY SPICE MIX – GARAM MASALA DAVE‘S POULTRY SEASONING MIXTURE WILD TURKEY STUFFED BREAST OF CHICKEN (OR ANY GAME BIRD) HOMEMADE ROASTED TOMATOES. PERFECT RICE CHICKEN PARMESAN MOROCCAN CHICKEN TAGINE PRESERVED LEMONS SOUPS CRAB BISQUE GUMBO CINCINNATI CHILI TEXAS STYLE HOT CHILI – LOWER CALORIE VERSION QUICK PEPPER TABLE CHICKEN CHILI CREAM OF CHICKEN BARLEY SOUP PEANUT SOUP CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP TURKEY RICE SOUP MINESTRONE SOUP BEEF BARLEY SOUP POTATO LEEK SOUP CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP SPÉCIALITÉ DE LA MAISON PASTA AND WILD MUSHROOMS MUSHROOM STEAK SAUCE LOW FAT RANCH DRESSING GUACAMOLE NORTH COUNTRY BOILED DINNER CLASSIC BLUE CHEESE DRESSING MAYONNAISE PIZZA – DAVE‘S FAMOUS PEPPER SAUCE SAUCE BOLOGNESE SPAGHETTI WITH CLAM SAUCE CREAMY PASTA WITH BASIL, SAUSAGE, MUSHROOMS, AND SALAMI FETTUCCINI ALFREDO QUICK & EASY PASTA SAUCE MEATBALLS MARINARA MANICOTTI DINNER CREPES THE $.10 CENT COOK. BASIC ASIAN INGREDIENTS EVERY KITCHEN NEEDS BAKED BEANS MAKING BEER AND SPIRITS DESERTS CRÈME BRULEE HOMEMADE ICE CREAM DAVE‘S FAMOUS HOT FUDGE SAUCE PATÉ CHOUX (CREAM PUFFS) BAKED ALASKA WHAT‘S IN MY COOKING LIBRARY? GLOSSARY OF COOKING TERMS
76 77 78 79 81 83 84 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 107 108 109 110 111 111 113 116 117 119 120 121 122 124 124 125 126 127 129 131 132 133 134 136 137 138 140 141 143
Cooking Tips and Tricks
Pots, Pans, and other Cooking instruments
People are always asking me, ―What‘s the best type of pan to cook with?‖ It depends on what you are cooking and what type of cooking you are doing. There are basically six types of cooking; sautéing (pan frying), deep fat frying, roasting, grilling, boiling, and steaming. Sautéing: For sautéing you want a pan that will transfer the heat to your food quickly, ideally nonstick, and light enough to handle easily. In addition, you want a handle that will allow you to put the sauté pan into a hot oven without burning or melting.
Coated, Aluminum: For this I prefer either an aluminum pan with a non-stick lining, such as Teflon or a CalphalonTM anodized coating. Cast Iron: cast iron pots and pans are great to sauté in once they become seasoned. Cast iron pans are inexpensive, conduct heat well, and last a lifetime. The seasoning process is involved and essential. Heat the pan in a hot oven for about ½ hour. Add vegetable oil to the pan and rub it into the pan. Then add coarse salt to the pan and rub the salt into the pan – this acts like an abrasive. Wipe the pan clean and store it covered until you are ready to use it. Repeat the process as necessary. Soon the pan will blacken and become very shiny. Cold Rolled Steel: The cold rolled steel pan transfers heat extremely well, is light enough to be moved easily, can be seasoned to become virtually non-stick, and is inexpensive. These pans take a beating and never show their wear. Eventually they will take on a copper-brown patina and are great for eggs, making quick sauces, braising, and sautéing. Copper: Copper sauté pans with a tin or steel lining are great as well. They transfer heat better than any other material but are very expensive, tarnish quickly, and when lined with tin, wear out quickly and eventually need to be re-tinned – a very expensive process. Boiling: Boiling food is one of the oldest cooking methods, probably second only to roasting. At Sea Level water boils at 212o Fahrenheit. Placing a lid on the pot will raise the temperature a few degrees and shortens the cooking time. Aluminum: large aluminum boiling pots are inexpensive, conduct heat well, and are great for boiling most foods. The only exception is foods that are high-acid, such as tomato sauce. You can still cook high acid sauces in aluminum pots but the foods should be removed from the pot as soon as you are finished cooking it. If the aluminum pot is coated with either Teflon or CalphalonTM you need not worry about the acid content. Enameled cast iron: Cast iron pots are great to cook with but they should be enameled. The only drawback is that enameled pots can chip over time. With hard use the enamel will eventually wear out and will rust if not kept oiled. While enameled cast iron pots are beautiful they are expensive. Steel (stainless): large stainless steel pots are great for boiling. They will not react to any foods and last a lifetime. However they can be expensive. Be sure to buy a stainless boiling pan that has a heavy bottom, which will not warp and holds the heat. Copper: Copper pots are wonderful to boil in because they conduct heat so evenly. However, copper
pots are extremely expensive and once again, must be lined with steel or tin or they will react with many foods. Roasting: A good roasting pan is a thing of beauty. Many good roasting pans also come with an adjustable rack that keeps the food above the bottom of the pan. Roasting pans can be put directly on the burner to begin the braising process then transferred to the oven. Most roasting pans do not come with a lid or cover, however some cheaper older aluminum ones do. I don‘t recommend these – they are flimsy and dent easily. The best roasting pans are anodized aluminum, such as CalpahlonTM. They are light enough to handle well and conduct heat well, although they can be expensive. Some stainless steel roasting pans are great as well but stainless doesn‘t conduct heat as well as aluminum.
Steaming: virtually any pot can be turned into a steaming pan but simply inserting one of these collapsible foldup steamer inserts. They have little feat that allow them to rest above the water and a handle to pull the food up when finished. However, the best steamers are the Asian bamboo steamers. They can be placed over any pot or wok and usually have several layers for steaming different types of food at once. They are cheap and clean up easily. Grilling: Grilling over an open fire is the oldest cooking method known. Our ancestors would take a piece of meat, skewer it with a stick, and hold it over the fire to cook the meat. Grills today have become high-tech, stainless, gas-fired wonders. Some have auxiliary burners, ovens and side tables. However, the simplest charcoal fired grills are the best in my opinion. They are cheap, cook the hottest, and clean up fairly easily. There are essentially three grilling sources of heat. Gas: Gas grills are great because they fire up easily, simply turn on the gas and you are cooking. They also clean up quickly. The drawback to gas is that they simply don‘t get hot enough to really grill with greatest efficiency. Gas grills can be supplemented with wood chips to impart a smoky wood flavor.
Charcoal Briquettes: the modern charcoal briquettes will heat up to 700o F, plenty hot enough to grill effectively. They burn hot, last long, and leave nothing but ash behind. In addition, charcoal briquettes are cheap. They are best for grilling chicken because they don‘t get as hot as real charcoal.
Lump Charcoal (Mesquite): real mesquite charcoal is the best for grilling steaks, meats, and fish. It burns to 1,000o F. Real charcoal doesn‘t burn as long as briquettes and are a bit more uneven due to the random size of the pieces. However, there is nothing better for cooking the perfect steak. Lump Charcoal is also a little more expensive than briquettes. It can be ordered online or obtained at the Warehouse Stores for much less, sometimes in 50 lb. bags.
Sauces – a brief course
Most of the great cooks in the world learn to make a few classic sauces and vary them according to what they are cooking. If you can learn to make a good beef stock, chicken stock, and fish stock you can learn to make hundreds of other sauces based on those three basic sauce starters. Raymond Sokolof‘s book – The Saucier‘s Apprentice is the best single source for all the great classic sauces. Buy it, master a few simple sauces and you will be a good cook. I want to highlight a few simple sauces – called Mother sauces and a few of their daughters. Beef Sauces: Beef sauces begin with a good beef stock; the real thing. The recipe is on page 61. Once you complete the beef stock you can reduce it to make a thickened sauce called Demi Glace or half sauce. It is half as thick as a full reduction called a Glace de Viande. Glace de Viande reduced to such an extent it will hardly pour out. Once you have made your beef stock, strain it carefully through a fine strainer or through cheese cloth. I recommend the latter. Begin reducing this stock until it forms a dark, thick syrupy sauce, about the consistency of a thick soup. It should be clear but rich dark in color, about the color of a chestnut. Now you are ready to make other sauces from this basic Mother sauce. Below is a chart of the primary Mother Sauces, beef, fish, and chicken. There are hundreds more but this is a starter.
Other basic French sauces Check out the article on pan sauces, which was printed in the Seattle Times a few years ago – it is an excellent primer. The sauces listed below are crucial elements of all cuisines especially French cuisine. The French cook can recreate the canon of sauces from a limited set of techniques and ingredients. Here's a quick rundown of some very basic sauce-stuff: Béarnaise: A relative of hollandaise, béarnaise is a reduction of vinegar, tarragon and shallots that is finished with egg yolks and butter. Béchamel: Add milk or cream to a white roux and voila! it becomes a béchamel. Hollandaise: A hollandaise uses butter and egg-yolk as its liaisons. It is served hot with vegetables, fish and eggs -- like on eggs Benedict. Liaison: A liaison, or binding agent, is the base of any French sauce. Sometimes called a binder, egg yolks, butter, flour, and puréed vegetables, are all liaisons. Reduction: A reduction is the mixture that results from rapidly boiling a liquid (like stock, wine, or a sauce)and causing evaporation -- "reducing" the sauce. The reduction is thicker and has a more intense flavor than the original liquid. Rémoulade: This classic sauce mixes mayonnaise, mustard, capers, chopped gherkins, herbs, and anchovies. Roux: Roux, a combination of flour and a fat, often butter, is perhaps the best known liaison. A roux can be white, blond, or brown, depending on ingredients and cooking time. It is used to thicken soups and sauces. Velouté: Mix a white roux with white stock (light chicken or veal stock) and it becomes a Velouté.
Guide to perfect pan sauces
By CeCe Sullivan Seattle Times home economist (note, these are great instructions found in the Food section of the Seattle Times a few months ago. I couldn’t have said it better myself. The Italics are mine)
Pan sauces, unlike the emulsified branch of the sauce family, have a forgiving nature. If the sauce is too thin, it can either be reduced further or thickened with a starch. Or maybe the sauce has been reduced so much, it needs loosening up. Just correct the consistency with a tablespoon or two of water or other liquid. The foundation of pan sauces are the crusty juices that form on the bottom of the pan when food is browned, sautéed or roasted (called Fonds). Here's how to construct an elegant sauce, step by step. 1) Sauté: Meats should first be patted with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Choose a heavy-bottomed sauté or frying pan. In "Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making," author James Peterson advises paying attention to the size of the pan: "When meats are sautéed," he writes, "they should fit neatly into the sauté pan with no extra room. If the pan is too large, so that part of its surface is exposed during sautéing, the meat juices, which are essential to pan-deglazed sauces, will burn. An overcrowded pan, on the other hand, will prevent the meat from browning evenly and may even cause it to release its juices too quickly, so that it simmers in its own juices, rather than browns." (make sure when browning meats not to overcrowd the pan or the meat will only boil in juices, not brown at all. Separate the meat in batches and brown a little at a time) Heat the pan over medium to medium-high heat. (Some burners are hotter than others, so adjust the heat accordingly.) Add the oil or other fat called for in the recipe. When hot, add food and cook without moving until a crust is formed, which should release easily from the pan. Then turn and finish cooking. The food should be a rich brown, but should not blacken.
2) Degrease: After sautéing and removing meat from pan, pour off the fat. (If aromatics are going to be added, a thin glaze of fat can be left on the bottom of the pan.) 3) Deglaze: After degreasing pan, put it back on the heat. Now add aromatics such as minced garlic and shallot, or a mirepoix — a tiny dice of carrot, celery and onion. Sauté about 30 seconds. Pour liquid into the pan; it should come to a boil quickly. Use a spatula to loosen the browned juices, which become the bridge between the meat and sauce, adding lots of flavor and rich color. Deglazing liquids can be wine, broth or stock, or even water, which can be used in combination or alone. For instance, add a small amount of wine to deglaze the pan, then add stock or another liquid. Use a good stock or broth, preferably homemade. But even canned broth can be made richer and more flavorful by simmering for 30 to 45 minutes with aromatics such as onion, garlic, carrot and celery. 4) Reduce: The deglazing liquid is cooked down by at least half, which concentrates the flavor and thickens the sauce. As the liquid cooks down, it will become saltier, so season the sauce after it has reduced. Get a jump on the process by preparing reductions in advance — a timesaver for quick-to-fix dishes. Reduce stock or wine by half, or cream by about a third, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. 5) Bind or thicken: Pan sauces are thickened most often by reduction. But when a lot of liquid is added, as for the gravy made from the drippings of turkey, one of the following binders may help: Beurre manié: With a fork, blend until smooth 1 tablespoon each of softened, unsalted butter and flour for each cup liquid. Add slowly to the simmering sauce, whisking until smooth, and simmer about 5 minutes. Slurries, made with a starch and cold water, are sauce savers that have differing qualities and cooking times.
Flour paste: Whisk together about 3 times the amount of cold water to flour until smooth. Then pour a little at a time into the sauce, whisking constantly. Add just enough to thicken the liquid. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Cornstarch: Transparent sauces, much like those used in Chinese cooking, are the result when cornstarch is used. For every cup of sauce, dissolve about 1 to 2 teaspoons in twice the amount of cold water. Add to the hot, simmering liquid in pan, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook about 2 minutes. Arrowroot: Dissolve 1 to 2 teaspoons in twice the amount of cold water to thicken a cup of liquid. Arrowroot does not need to be cooked to remove its raw flavor and will begin to thicken immediately. Simmer about 1 minute. You may be taking a chance with arrowroot, or any starch, that's been pushed to the back of your cupboard for several years, as its thickening ability will weaken with age. It's a good idea to date the packaging when purchased so you'll have a fresh batch on hand when needed. Sauces can be strained after reducing and thickening for smooth, elegant preparations. But many benefit from the texture given by aromatics, vegetables and herbs. In fact, vegetable or even fruit purées can also be used to thicken sauces. These purees "also contribute flavor, whereas plain starch does not," writes Peterson. "Some purees, such as those made with tomato or green vegetables, contain so little starch that they thicken a sauce simply by adding a large bulk of fine solid particles to a liquid medium," he continues. When left to sit, the sauces may separate, but can be pulled back together by whisking. 6) Finishes: Some wonderful demi-glaces, which are stocks that have been reduced to a concentrated gel-like paste, are available in many supermarkets. A teaspoon added to the finished sauce can add color, flavor and richness. The juices that have gathered around the cooked meat can also be put into the sauce and simmered briefly to thicken. For a glossy sheen and velvety finish, about 1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter can be swirled into 1 cup sauce. On medium-low heat, whisk in small pieces at a time, swirling the pan in a circular motion. When melted, add another bit of butter. Remove pan from heat before the last piece of butter has melted completely. Sources: "Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making," by James Peterson; "A Fresh Look at Saucing Foods" by Deirdre Davis; "Joy of Cooking" by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker.
Basic Bread Recipe
This bread recipe is standard bread, not French or Italian bread. It can be made into an artisan dough simply by leaving out the wheat flour, using standard dry yeast or starter, extending the rise time, and baking on a bread stone in a hot oven, misting the inside of the oven with water a few times before and during the baking process. This is bread your kids will love to eat. It‘s soft, hearty, and flavorful. It is similar to what would have been found baking in country kitchens in America 100 years ago.
Ingredients 5 cups of Bread flour (high gluten flour – found in all supermarkets) 2 cups of whole wheat flour 1 cup of 7 grain blend. Usually found in health food sections of the market (optional) 3 TBS. brown sugar 1 TBS salt 2 pkg. quick rise yeast 3 to 4 cups warm water (90 to 100 degrees F) Mixing phase – 5 to 8 minutes Blend all dry ingredients together, including yeast, in a large mixing bowl or Kitchen Aid mixing bowl. Add the warm water and mix well with a large spoon until blended. If you have a Kitchen Aid, mix at low speed for about 5 minutes using the dough hook. If you are blending by hand, work with the spoon for a few minutes then transfer to a well floured board and work by hand for about 10 minutes. The texture of the dough should be smooth and elastic. It should not cling to the side of the bowl. It should form a ball but not be too dry. This will take some practice. It it‘s too wet, add more flour – too dry, add a little warm water. Rising phase – one hour Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap. You may want to spray a little Pam on the plastic so that the rising bread won‘t stick to the plastic. Let rise for at least 1 hour or until the dough is pushing the plastic wrap up. This is where most people make mistakes – they don‘t let the bread rise long enough. Make sure the rising place is slightly warm, draft free, but not too hot. On top of the fridge is a good place because the air near the ceiling is warmer.
Proofing phase – 35 minutes Roll the dough out onto a floured breadboard. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Knead each piece for a few minutes removing the air out of the loaf. Form into a bread pan sized loaf and place into a loaf pan. I use glass
bread pans because they won‘t impart any metallic taste to the loaf (I also spray the inside of the pans with Pam spray). Once both loaves have been kneaded and put into the loaf pans and let rise again for 30 minutes. Baking phase – 25 minutes Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. The rack should be in the middle of the oven. Just before you place the loaves in the oven, use a razor blade to make a slice down the length of the bread. This lets the steam escape and ensures you won‘t have a blowout hole on the side of the bread, which is not pretty. Once the loaves are done, invert the pans onto a cooling rack and let the loaves cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Analysis phase – 3 minutes The first time you make bread using this recipe will tell you a lot. Was the dough too dry, too wet, was the oven too hot or cool, was it baked all the way through. If there is a doughy spot in the center of the loaf you need to either use a little less water or bake a little longer. The color should be a nice brown, a little darker than the typical golden color. Eating phase – as long as you like You can use all white flour if you want and vary the recipe as you like. Sometimes I add a cup or two of shredded cheddar for great cheese bread. Sometimes I add some herbs for delicious herb bread. It‘s also great with Parmesan cheese and Calamata olives. The sky‘s the limit. Have fun, especially with the eating part.
The wonderful long airy loves, called baguettes, are the envy of every bread baker. How do you achieve this quality bread in your home kitchen? It‘s not easy and requires attention to detail. However, by taking some simple steps you can produce remarkably good French bread in your home kitchen First, use high quality high gluten bread flour. This can be found in most supermarkets. Power Flour is the brand I like and it can be found in bakery supply houses. Additionally, the rise time is significantly increased. Here is my recipe. Mixing Phase On the evening before baking, Combine 7 cups of high gluten flour with 1 cup of rye flour. Add 2 pkg. of standard dry yeast and 1 TBS of salt. Mix together with a spoon. Add 3 to 4 cup of warm water and begin mixing. Use a Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook or knead by hand until the dough forms a ball and leaves the side of the bowl. Continue kneading for about 8 to 10 minutes. The dough should be moist and elastic, hold its shape and not stick to your hands. If you are going to make bread every day or every other day, reserve a fist sized portion of the dough to use as a starter for the next batch. This will insure consistency in the bread. Rising phase Place the dough in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until the dough begins to rise. Transfer the dough to a refrigerator and let it rise slowly overnight. In the morning, remove the dough from the Fridge and let rise for another hour. When the dough has doubled in size, place it on a floured board.
Forming phase Separate the dough into two balls and knead each one separately. Roll out the dough into two long bread loaves. Place a floured towel over the loaves and let rise again for about 1 hour. Baking phase Just prior to placing the loaves into the oven, make 5 angled slices along the length of the loaf. Use a razor for a very fine deep cut. When the oven is at 450, spray the inside of the oven with a water mist and immediately slide the loaves onto an unglazed baking tile. After a minute or so, when the oven has returned to 450, open the door a little and spray-mist again. The oven interior should be steamy. This will give you a nice crusty crust. Bake for about 20 minutes or until you achieve the color you like. Classic French bread is usually a golden color. Evaluation Phase Let the loaves cool on a rack before cutting into. There should be some fine holes and possibly some larger ones. The bread should have a crusty exterior but soft and somewhat chewy, with an extremely fine crumb. There may be small blisters on the bottom crust which contribute to the overall texture. Once again, if the bread is a little doughy, use a little less water, too dry, add a little more water. Keep in mind, it‘s unlikely you will over knead the bread and remember to let it rise fully. The slow rise will have the greatest impact on the texture and flavor. One Last Item – For the Purist The best breads in the world are made in wood fired brick ovens. These ovens can be purchased, in home versions, for under $2,000. The ovens usually come in several large pieces and needs to be mounted on a brick platform to raise the oven entrance to waist level. Most ovens are then covered over with brick and mortar to make them look pretty. While they can be installed in an inside kitchen, many are designed to be installed outside on a patio. A hardwood fire is started in the baking cavity and allowed to burn down to a few coals, with the oven door closed. The inside of the oven reaches temperatures over 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The oven door is opened, the coals and ash are swept away and the oven is ready to receive its first dough. Several loaves of bread can be placed in the oven at the same time. Within 20 minutes they are ready to remove, using a wooden peel. The large ovens can accommodate several batches of bread before cooling off below 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also bake great pizza in brick ovens. The thin crust and the hot bricks cause the dough to blister and bake almost immediately. Some ovens also have a lower chamber where a fire can be started and a Grate can be added to accommodate the baking of roasts, chickens, or just about anything. While the brick oven is expensive, requires lots of work, requires considerable maintenance, wood purchasing and care, it is an amazing way to cook foods and the fire imparts a flavor and heat that cannot be duplicated in the home oven.
Regarding Yeasts Yeast comes in several varieties. Dry packaged yeast comes in two types, quick rise and standard. The difference is that the quick rise yeast has been milled into much finer pieces, almost a powder. This allows the yeast to react and begin rising very quickly. The quality and type of yeast in both packaged versions is the same. Yeast can also be purchased in a moist yeast cake. This yeast also begins rising almost immediately but has a shorter shelf-life than dry yeast. Some contend that cake yeast is more foolproof. This has not been proven and I have not proven it. Natural yeasts are those yeasts which are found in the world around us. Grapes have a natural yeast coating on their skins, which is why crushed grapes begins turning into wine immediately. Many bread experts suggest trying to capture natural yeasts and using them in breads. You can do this by placing your dough outside on a warm sunny day covered with a layer of cheese cloth. After a few hours, you should see some leavening activity. Once the yeasts have been captured and mixed with flour and water they form a starter which can be kept for years if properly cared for. Natural bread starters, sometimes referred to as sourdough, have a strong aroma and produce bread that is chewy in texture. If you are going to bake bread every day or every other day, a natural starter may be your best bet. If you keep everything equal, your bread made with a
natural starter will acquire a flavor profile unlike anyone else‘s in the world. Your unique kitchen bacteria, fungus, yeasts, and oven characteristics will give your starter based bread individual character.
Cooking meats in Brine
Brine cooking has been used for hundreds of years, primarily because it helped preserve meats where refrigeration was at a premium. I have been brining meats for a few years now and regard it as a rustic but flavorful method of preparing meats, especially fowl. This is a two step process, soaking in brine, then discarding the brine and roasting, grilling or smoking. While the method is usually reserved for whole birds or pork roasts, you can use cut up pieces of fowl as well. Just leave them in the brine for less time. You will notice that the resulting meat is very plump, well flavored, and juicier than any meat you have ever cooked. The chemistry involved allows the meat to hold more moisture and retain its juiciness. Moisture loss can be reduced from the typical 30% loss to around 15% moisture loss. Here is a classic chicken dish, prepared using a brine as a first step. Brine recipe 2 quarts of water 1/3 rd cup salt 3 TBS. brown sugar 2 TBS. apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) 2 bay leaves 2 whole cloves garlic 1 TBS. fresh ground pepper 1 whole fryer or roasting chicken Procedure Prepare your brine in a large stainless steel or ceramic bowl. Plunge the chicken, game hen, duck, goose, or pork roast into the brine. You may also brine a turkey but make considerably more brine and use a large plastic bucket to brine the bird. Make sure the meat is covered completely. Add a little more water to cover if necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight. Next morning, take the bird out and discard the brine. Roast the bird in the normal way, with any herbs or seasonings you like. You won‘t need any additional salt. If using cut up pieces, you can flour them, sauté first, then finish off in an oven. I served the whole roast chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and glazed carrots. Rather than making traditional gravy, I simply poured off the excess fat, then use the pan juices. I deglaze that pan with white wine and a little chicken stock, reduced it down, and poured it over the mashed potatoes. It was already well seasoned
Meat Injector Needle and Good Gravy
One cooking tool that has really made a big hit recently is the large cooking hypodermic needle, used for injecting everything from meats to watermelons with a flavorful solution. Here‘s what I use the injector for Chickens/Fowl/Turkeys – great with game birds. The meat of the injected turkey or chicken will very moist and juicy. It‘s my favorite new technique. Make some chicken broth. If you have any chicken bones in the freezer you can make your own stock. If you have to use prepared chicken stock it‘s OK but a bit salty. I make a chicken broth tea by adding a few fresh sage leaves, fresh garlic, pepper, and bay leaf to the broth and steeping it for about 20 minutes. Strain the stock and add about 3 TBS of butter to 2 cups of stock or stock and wine. Mix it well with a wire whip, suck it up into the syringe and inject into the thickest parts of the chicken, turkey, or game bird – legs, breast, etc. You will see the bird visibly swell at the point of injection, when the juice begins to leak out the entry whole move to another spot. Use up all 2 cups for a turkey, a little less on a chicken, etc. I usually make 3 cups of injector broth for my turkey and put the rest in the pan after removing the foil from the bird. Roast the bird in the normal way. For turkeys, I cover with foil for the first couple of hours, then remove the foil to really brown the bird. I baste the skin every 20 minutes using a bulb baster, after removing the foil. Some suggest placing the bird on a rack, above the juices. I don‘t do that. I like the bird right on the pan to really super flavor the bird and add to the leave behind skin bits and pan drippings. I also add a quart of water, or a little more, to the pan once I take the foil off. I also place the neck and other giblets to the pan from the very beginning of the roasting process. The liver and neck meat can be chopped fine and added to the gravy. Once the turkey is done (and I mean really done) remove from the pan and place on the platter. Remove most of the turkey fat. Deglaze the pan with a little extra water or stock over high heat. When it comes to a boil and most of the residue has been scraped off the ban bottom, strain into a 4 quart pan. To thicken the gravy I like to make a roux. Roux is a mixture of equal parts of fat and flour (by weight), cooked for several minutes to get the starchy flavor out of the flour. I like to use the skimmed turkey fat off the stock you just made when you deglazed the pan. The general rule to avoid lumps is to use ―cold roux-hot stock or cold stock-hot roux.‖ I like to pour the cool stock over the hot roux (you can quick cool by adding a few ice cubes to the stock), a little at a time until the desired thickness has been achieved. Some people like a really thick gravy but I prefer one a little lighter, it should just coat the bottom of a spoon. You may want to enrich the stock with a little of high quality paste-style chicken base. I also add a little Worcestershire sauce, dry sherry, and kitchen bouquet caramel color to achieve the desired gravy color. Finally, adjust the salt and pepper at the very end. This is also where I add the finely chopped giblets. This same gravy making process works well with beef dishes as well, especially those with meat with bones in it, such as pork roasts, rib roasts, or lamb roasts. For Turkey, I try to make as much gravy as possible so that you can have some on Friday after Thanksgiving for turkey sandwiches, etc. I like to carve the turkey completely and let people come through the buffet line and select their own meat. I carve the meat right to the bone, taking the meat from every conceivable location, top and bottom. I divide the meat into light and dark on the serving platter. I always reserve all bones for turkey soup, which I make on Saturday after Thanksgiving. I also like to put a little of the turkey gravy in the soup. Enjoy.
Argentine Red Shrimp
We went to Trader Joe‘s because they were advertising these Argentine Red Shrimp (Pleoticus), also called a Langoustine, that taste like Lobster. They are a little sweeter than regular shrimp, don‘t taste quite like lobster, but are very good. They come already peeled and de-veined. Occasionally you can get them whole, head-on, at the fish market. You can also get the small Slipper Lobsters (Scyllarides), which are a true species of lobster, but smaller than their northern Maine cousins (homarus) and have a greenish, bumpy shell. Here‘s how I prepared them. Ingredients 1.5 lbs. of large shrimp (if you are using shell-on shrimp peel and deveined) 3 TBS butter 2 TBS vegetable oil ½ cup flour for dusting the shrimp 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard 3 cloves garlic – smashed to a paste 1 cup white wine 1 pint of heavy cream Directions Make sure the shrimp are very dry. Season with salt and pepper. Lightly flour the shrimp and dust off excess. Melt about 1 TBS. butter in the oil. When the butter/oil is hot, gently drop in the sauté pan to cook. Add a little of the fresh garlic to the pan. Turn the shrimp when golden brown on one side. Don‘t overcook or they will be rubbery. Remove from the pan when done and place on a warm plate with a paper towel on it to absorb excess oil. Beurre Blanc (white wine butter sauce) Pour the remaining oil from the pan. Return to high heat and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add the remaining garlic. Reduce the wine to a syrup and add the cream. Continue cooking until the cream reduces by ½. It will take on a pale yellow color and will coat a spoon. Remove from the heat and add the remaining butter whisking in until fully incorporated. Add the Dijon Mustard. Place the shrimp on the plate and drizzle the sauce over the shrimp. Serve with a nice rice pilaf or fresh pasta and colorful vegetables.
The Crab Boil is a great American feast, often prepared right on the seashore. However you can fix a great crab boil in your backyard with the right tools and ingredients. Here‘s what you need. One large free standing gas burner. A big pot to hold the cooking liquid. A big strainer that fits into the pot. Add plenty of good ingredients. OK, here's how I would do the clam/crab boil thing. Ingredients 5 lbs clams 5 lbs mussels 3 lbs. shrimp, shells on (you may substitute Lobsters or crawfish) 7 or 8 large crabs 5 lbs. smoked Louisiana sausage 2 pkg. Old bay seasoning 4 oz. liquid crab boil Two lemons, cut in half 2 TBS salt 2 tsp. cayenne pepper 5 bay leaves 15 large yellow skinned potatoes 10 ears of corn, husked 2 medium whole onions
5 cloves garlic 1 qt. cocktail sauce - for dipping - 3 dollars 2 cups melted butter - for dipping - 4 dollars Procedure In a large kettle, over a free standing gas burner, bring water to a boil. Add all seasonings and let simmer for 5 minutes. In the large strainer that comes with the kettle place the potatoes, corn, crabs, clams, shrimp, and mussels in that order. Carefully drop the strainer into the kettle being careful not to splash the boiling water over the edge of the kettle or on yourself. Cover the kettle and cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender. Strain all the liquid back into the kettle. When most of the dripping has subsided, throw the ingredients onto a red checkered plastic table cloth, being careful not to spill any of the goodies over the side. Give everyone paper plates and something to crush or crack the crabs. Serve with melted butter for the clams, mussels, crab, and corn, along with cocktail sauce for the crabs. You may also serve lots of crusty bread to sop up all the juices. Dive in; make sure you have bibs for everyone – it‘s a mess but yummy. This could get pretty expensive so distribute the costs among your guests. This should serve about 10 to 12 people.
Go to this site to view the various Washington State Clams that are found on our sandy and rocky beaches during a low tide. http://dnr.metrokc.gov/wlr/waterres/beaches/clam/clamid.htm Always check for Red Tide warnings. Clams are affected by Red Tide and are poisonous. Red Tide will make you deathly ill. The large horse clams are great for Chowder. They should be washed several times in cold water from the tap. You may put a little corn meal into the water to get the clams to purge themselves of any sand. Virtually any clam can be used in chowder, cockles, horse clams, sand clams, and butter clams. This picture features them all. The horse clam is in the center, sand clam on the lower rt. Corner, butter clam on the upper left corner, cockle is at the bottom center.
My Favorite Clam Chowder recipe - makes about five 1 cup servings I have made 100's of gallons of Clam Chowder over the years. But recently, I have been making, a fresher, less thick chowder that I like real well. I usually make it in small batches, fresh, from scratch, and it is well received. Recently we went to Edmonds beach when the tide was -2.1 or something and dug a bunch of fresh clams. They are big, a little chewy, and very flavorful - definitely the best. Ingredients 1 lb. fresh clams shelled (about 3 lbs. in shell 2 to 3 cups of fresh clam liquor (made from scratch, see below) 1 medium carrot cut very fine julienne (long thin strips) 2 stalks celery cut fine julienne 1 medium onion, diced fine 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch cubes 1 bay leaf 1 small sprig of fresh thyme 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 clove of fresh garlic, chopped fine fresh ground pepper salt 1/4 cup, fresh chopped parsley 1 cup 1/2 and 1/2 (you can use heavy cream if you want extra rich) 2 TBS unsalted butter 2 TBS flour
Directions Wash and soak the clams in the sink for at least 1 hour, so that they pump out most of their sand; less time if you buy them fresh at the store. Steam clams in a large sauce pan in either a cup of water or white wine. When the clams are fully open, remove from the liquid to cool. Remove from the shells. Save the steaming liquor (it‘s called it liquor for some reason). Sauté the chopped vegetables in 2 TBS of butter until the onions are just tender. Add the flour and work it into the vegetables. Cook the starchy taste out of the flour for about 3 minutes. Add the clam liquor. You might want to strain it through a clean towel just to remove any sand. The chowder will thicken slightly. Add the seasonings except for the parsley. Continue cooking until the potatoes are tender. Add the cream and parsley and the clams. You may chop the clams if you want. If they are small leave them whole. If they are the ones you dig yourself, they are likely to be very large and a bit tough so you will want to chop them into more manageable chunks. Allow the chowder to simmer for a couple of minutes more.* Adjust seasoning. Serve with good oyster crackers and crusty French bread and either a good cold beer or good chardonnay. *The larger muscle pieces of the horse clam can be pounded a bit to make tender. Don‘t pound the stomach, it will mash all over the place. To eat the stomach or not, is often asked. I have no problem with the large stomachs. The contents tend to be a greenish-gray. The stomach is more flavorful than other parts of the clam but great in chowder. Some people don‘t like the soft texture. It‘s a matter of personal taste.
Coquilles St. Jacques
Sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus) are a favorite of just about everyone. This recipe was a hit in French restaurants during the 60‘s and 70‘s. Large sea scallops have gotten expensive but it remains a special treat. If you can find the whole scallops in the shell you can also add the pink roe to the recipe, which makes it extra rich. I have added the mushrooms which gives the recipe a smoother character. I can usually find the large sea scallops at Costco at a reasonable price. This recipe serves four.
Ingredients 20 large sea scallops (5 per person) 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped fine 1 lb. sliced mushrooms (any kind, but portabella‘s are too strong) 1 shallot, chopped fine (green onions can also be used) 1 and ½ pint of heavy cream 5TBS unsalted butter ¼ cup good brandy* Pinch of nutmeg Pinch of cayenne pepper Salt and white pepper to taste. Directions Soak the scallops in the cream for 3 hours. Strain the scallops well and reserve the cream. Melt 3 TBS of the butter in a sauté pan, being careful not to not burn. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until the shallots begin to get translucent. Dry the scallops on paper towels. Season the drained scallops, with salt and pepper. Add the scallops to the pan, one or two at a time. You don‘t want the scallops to steam, but brown slightly. Cook for about a minute on each side, removing each one as they are browned, to a warm plate. Add the mushrooms and cook thoroughly. Season them with a little salt. Remove the mushrooms from the pan. Add the brandy and flame. Then add the cream to the pan. Reduce the cream by ½. It should take on a pale yellow color, thicken slightly and coat a spoon. Add the nutmeg and cayenne. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Finish the sauce with 2 TBS of the unsalted butter, whisking it in off the heat. Return the scallops and mushrooms to the sauce. Coquille St. Jacques should be presented in a small round baking dish or gratin dish. Ideally, you should sprinkle a little ground French bread crumbs on top of the scallops and mushrooms, and brown slightly under a broiler. Garnish with fresh chives.
Brandy or Cognac
Cognac is made exclusively from grapes. It comes from a clearly defined region of France, around the town of Cognac. Its outstanding environment is unique in the world. With its chalky, stony soil and sunny temperate climate the region is perfect for vine growing.
The traditional vineyard of the Cognac region is divided into six growing areas (crus in French), each with its different characteristics. To ensure the exceptional quality of its cognacs, The best varieties of cognac uses only eaux-de-vie from the first four crus, those which have the best topsoil and very chalky subsoil. The grape variety covering most of the vineyard for the production of cognac is called Ugni Blanc which produces a fruity, light white wine ideal for distillation. Cognac is not just a spirit but an eau-de-vie which keeps the essence of the initial wine, losing none of its pleasant, much sought-after aromas. Distillers in the Cognac region have been using the double distillation method since the sixteenth century. Throughout the winter, until the end of March, the copper alambics (pot-stills) work continuously to turn the wine into eau-de-vie. The first distillation yields a distillate called brouillis, which concentrates the richest floral aromas. The brouillis is then distilled. This second distillation gives a more refined and stronger alcohol named the coeur or heart. It takes nine liters of wine to produce one liter of eau-de-vie de coeur. This coeur . is a crystal clear eau-de-vie, which will become cognac after a long and natural maturing process. The slow and natural ageing in oak casks develops the aromas, flavors and colors of Hennessy cognacs. While ageing, the eaux-de-vie lose some of their strength and volume. Each year, about 2 % evaporates from the barrels. In Cognac this is dubbed 'the Angels‘ Share'. Evaporation eliminates the very volatile substances, leaving those that give the eaux-de-vie their bouquet. A great cognac is the result of many eaux-de-vie of different origins and ages, and with various characteristics, that are assembled over time by our master blender.
Bisque is a chowder that has all the chunky vegetable pieces strained out. It is a rich, thick, smooth soup that is very flavorful with the primary ingredient standing out from the flavors. Ingredients 1 to 2 lbs. fresh crab meat, depending on the number of people you are serving. I suggest using whole crabs and remove the meat from every nook and cranny – save the shells for stock. If you can find fresh live Dungeness crabs, all the better. Then you can steam yourself, cool, remove the crab meat, and save the cooking liquid for the stock. This basic recipe can be used for lobster bisque, shrimp, crawfish, etc. ½ medium onion, rough chopped 2 stalks celery, rough chopped 1 medium carrot, rough chopped 1 quart fish stock, shrimp stock, or shrimp stock enriched with crab shells 1 pint whipping cream 6 TBS unsalted butter 1 TBS tomato paste ½ tsp thyme 2 tsp. paprika 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you like) 2 cloves garlic, smashed fine ¼ cup sherry 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce Procedure In a quart of shrimp or fish stock, add the shells from two or three crabs, preferably from the crabs you just removed the crab meat from. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain into a sauce pan. Sauté the chopped the vegetables in 3 TBS butter until just clear. Add flour to the sautéing vegetables to form a roux. Pour the stock over the vegetable/flour mix and cook until the soup thickens. Add the tomato paste, thyme, and garlic to the soup. Add the cream and simmer until the sauce reduces a little and the sauce thickens again slightly. Add the sherry and Worcestershire sauce. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Finally add the crabmeat and simmer for a few minutes more. Serve with oyster crackers or toast points. Garnish the bisque with a teaspoon of fresh crab meat right in the center of the soup. Some also garnish with a dollop of sour cream, or both. Bisque can be served with either a rich oaken chardonnay or even a full bodied red, such as a Cabernet or Syrah. Enjoy.
Etouffeé means ―smothered,‖ which refers to the sauce and seafood smothering the rice below, although in this picture, the scoop of rice sits on top of the etouffeé. Etouffeé is another one of those peasant dishes, made popular by restaurants in New Orleans, although it is certainly popular among the Cajuns in all of South Louisiana. Like its cousin Gumbo, etouffeé is a poorman‘s dish. Whatever was hanging around the house was thrown into the gumbo or etouffeé to make it taste good while the farmers were out in the fields. The wet swampy areas they worked in were full of mud-bugs or crawfish. Crawfish taste a little like lobster but are a bit more earthy, since they are a fresh water crustacean. Here is one recipe that I especially like. Today they are mostly farm raised and cooked by the hundreds for their tail meat. It takes a lot of crawdads to make one pound of tail meat. Ingredients Shrimp, Crawfish, crab, - about 1.5 lbs of shrimp or crawfish tails, shells removed (use the shells to make the stock) Celery – two stalks, - chopped fine Green peppers – 1 medium, chopped fine Onions – 1 medium, chopped fine Green onions – 3 green onions (scallions) chopped fine Garlic – 8 cloves, chopped fine Bay leaves – 1 bay leaf Cumin – 1 tsp Filé powder – 1 tsp Chili powder – ½ tsp. Salt – to taste Cayenne pepper – ¼ tsp or more if you like HOT! Worcestershire sauce – 1 tbs. Tabasco sauce – several good splashes Brown roux – about 3 oz. of each, oil and flour, perhaps a little more Chicken or shrimp stock (crawfish if you are using crayfish instead of shrimp) – 2 cups Dark beer – 1 bottle Parsley – ¼ cup, chopped fine Tasso, Andoullie, - 8 oz. chopped fine (Tasso is a delicious, heavily smoked ham with a peppery rind, found in Louisiana; Andoullie is a smoked garlic sausage from the same. Either can be used, Andoullie is easier to find than Tasso. You can substitute a good dry cured ham for Tasso) Make a brown roux by mixing equal parts, by weight, of flour and peanut oil. Cook over medium high heat, watching carefully, and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or wire whisk. Gradually the roux will begin to turn golden brown, light brown, and eventually get the color of dark peanut butter. That is the color you want. Immediately add the vegetables and continue sautéing for about 5 more minutes. Add the chopped Tasso or Andoullie. Add the stock, seasonings, and chopped parsley. When the sauce begins to thicken, add the beer and Worcestershire. Continue cooking for 10 minutes more. Finally add the fish and simmer for about 10 more minutes. Adjust the seasoning. This is a spicy dish so don‘t be afraid to use plenty of Tabasco or cayenne. A
good shrimp or crawfish stock makes the dish. Serve over white rice with plenty of crusty French bread, cold beer, or a nice red wine. Shrimp stock Shrimp shells ½ lemon Celery Onion Carrot Bay leaf Whole pepper corns Old Bay Crab Boil In 2 quarts of cold water, add shrimp shells, fish bones, crawfish shells, lobster shells, whatever you have. Add all the seasonings including the Crab Boil. Bring to a boil, skim the scum which will rise to the top. Continue simmering for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Strain the stock in a fine sieve or even through two layers of cheese cloth. Return the stock to a boil and reduce by ½. You can freeze the stock or use it right away.
The question has come up, ―Can you eat raw Salmon?‖ Many cultures do, especially with Native Americans from Alaska and the Arctic Circle. Also Hawaiian‘s have a recipe for raw salmon that is pickled. The reality is that the flavor and fat content of most salmon makes it less of a candidate for eating raw, as in a sushi recipe. However, whenever you eat Lox, you are essentially eating cured (but not cooked with heat) salmon. This Scandinavian recipe for cured salmon (lox) is surprisingly simple to make. Don‘t be intimidated by the idea of making your own Lox. It is easy and delicious. I made some over the weekend and had it on Sunday. The dish takes 48 hours to cure so if you are planning on having it on Saturday you should start on a Thursday afternoon. The curing process pulls the moisture out of the fish, increases the density, and darkens the flesh slightly. The combined flavor of salt, sugar, dill, and pepper is great. Ingredients 1 whole salmon, separated into two fillets with skin and pin bones removed. ½ cup sugar ½ cup salt ½ cup fresh dill, chopped fine with stems removed. Just use the fine leafy tops. 1 TBS fresh ground pepper Procedure In a large stainless steel, enameled, or glass baking dish (9‖ by 12‖ Pyrex works fine) sprinkle ½ the cure mix on the bottom of the pan. Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on the mixture (remember, the skin should be removed). Then sprinkle the remainder of the cure mix on the top sides. Grind the pepper on the fish. Cover with plastic wrap as tightly as possible, directly over the fish. Find a weighted object that is just smaller than the inside dimensions of the pan. I used a ½ case of soda, where the full box was just the right size to fit into my glass Pyrex baking dish. After 24 hours, turn the salmon fillets over. Re-cover with the plastic wrap and weight again. You will notice quite a bit of liquid (brine) has leached out. This is good. Don‘t get rid of the brine until the 48 hours are up. After the 48 hours is up, remove the fillets from the pan and place on a cutting board. Rub the peppery, cure mix off the salmon fillets. Then carefully slice the salmon fillets with a sharp slicing knife. Try to make the slices as thin as possible, ideally around 1/8th inch. Slice at an angle so that the slices are as broad as possible. Practice the thin slice on the first fillet and by the time you are on the second you should be an expert.
Serving Suggestions Use the Lox as you would any Lox. Top bagels with cream cheese and Lox. You may also garnish with capers, thin sliced red onions, and tomato slices. Or you may want to use the traditional Scandinavian mustard sauce. This is a mixture of ¼ cup Dijon Mustard, red wine 2 TBS. vinegar, 3 TBS. sugar, 1 tsp. dry mustard, 2 TBS salad oil, and 3 TBS. finely chopped fresh dill. The Scandinavian method is to serve with their thin dry crackers, the Lox and the mustard-dill sauce.
You can make an entire meal featuring the Lox. Serve with dill pickles, an assortment of olives, pickled herring, an assortment of breads and crackers, as well as cheeses. The Gravad Lox will keep for a week or so in the fridge, tightly wrapped. Another tradition is to serve the Lox with icy cold shots of good Vodka. It is also great with champagne.
Smoked Salmon Spread (sort of ) 10 oz of cooked salmon 4 oz cream cheese or Neufchatel 1 TBS mayonnaise 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce (more if you like it hotter) 1 clove chopped garlic 3 or 4 drops Wrights Liquid Smoke Salt and pepper to taste. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or mixer. It should be fairly smooth. Serve with toasted bagels, toast, crackers, or as a filling in hollowed out cherry tomatoes, on celery sticks, or in mushroom caps. Its also great garnished with finely chopped red onions and capers.
Mussels in Saffron Sauce
The Pacific Mussel (mytilus edulis) is the queen of the anchored shellfish. The small blue bivalves can be found tightly clustered on rocks and pilings all over the Pacific Northwest in the intertidal regions. Do not eat mussels taken from creosote coated pilings as they will be toxic. Cut the mussels from their base and scrape the beard off just prior to cooking. Mussels are free from sand as they do not grow in sandy areas. This recipe should serve 4 adults as an appetizer
Ingredients 4 lbs of fresh Pacific Mussels, cleaned and scraped of their beard. 1 shallot finely chopped (sweet onions or green onions can be substituted for shallots) 1 cup of white wine ¼ cup brandy 1 pint of whipping cream 1 pinch (10 to 15 strands) of saffron Fresh ground pepper to taste 2 TBS chopped parsley 3 TBS unsalted butter (room temp)
Directions Steam the mussels in the white wine. When the mussels are opened (discard any that don‘t open) place on a heated platter and cover with a piece of foil. Save the cooking liquor. In a sauté pan, brown the chopped shallots in a little butter. Add the brandy and flame. Add the cooking liquor, about 3 cups, and reduce to about a cup. Add the cream and reduce by ½, whisking often. Add the saffron and the ground pepper. Remove from the heat and finish (whisk in) the sauce with the remaining 2 TBS of butter. Pour the sauce over the mussels and garnish with a little chopped parsley. Serve with toasted, buttered French bread rounds and a good Chardonnay.
Oyster stuffing is a great Thanksgiving tradition that I serve every year. Most people don‘t like Oyster stuffing but it has a devoted following. Here‘s my recipe: Ingredients 1 jar of large oysters ½ cup finely chopped onions, or green onions ¼ cup finely chopped celery ¼ cup finely chopped carrot. 1 cup chicken stock 3 cups dried bread, chopped fine Pepper Pinch Sage Directions Sauté oysters in a little butter, white wine and the chopped vegs. Chop them up coarsely. Mix with all other ingredients until stuffing is moist but not gummy. Adjust seasoning. Stuff the neck cavity of a large turkey immediately prior to placing in oven to roast. Cook turkey until timer pops or until thickest part of bird reaches 160 F. Remove stuffing immediately and reserve in a warm serving bowl. Simple but delicious.
Quick Northwest Bouillabaisse
I enjoy a good fish stew, especially on cold winter evenings. So, last night I went to the fish counter at my local Fred Meyer and got just enough fish for our family of four. I bought a pound of steamer clams, a pound of mussels, a pound of prawns – shell on, some white fish, cod and snapper and I had some scallops in the freezer. You can make this dish in about 25 minutes, not including the fish stock, and be eating fresh Northwest Fish Stew with the family on those cold winter evenings. It‘s not quite like the Bouillabaisse from Marseilles France, but pretty good. The whole meal was less than $20 dollars, not including the wine.
Ingredients Two bunches of green onions, chopped or two leeks, washed well and chopped fine 4 Italian plum tomatoes chopped rough 1 medium red pepper, chopped rough 6 small red or white Finnish potatoes. Feel free to leave them out if you want to be more authentic; I kind of like them. ¼ cup of Extra Virgin olive oil 2 TBS. Pernod (a licorice flavored liqueur) 1 ½ quart of fish stock 1 whole bay leaf ½ tsp saffron (if you don‘t have saffron or don‘t like it use a TBS. of paprika and a pinch of sugar – I like to add some paprika anyway) ½ tsp. red pepper flakes 1 to 2 lbs. steamer clams 1 or 2 lbs. of white fish, cut into 4 pieces 1 lb. of large prawns (save shells) 1 lb. scallops Any other fish you want to add to the stew. 4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine 1 cup white wine
Directions In a large pot heat up some very good olive oil. Add the chopped onions or leeks, chopped red pepper, Italian tomatoes, and any other vegetables you want. When the onions begin to get clear, add your fish stock. Season the stock with the chopped garlic, bay leaf, saffron, and fresh ground pepper. Add the whitefish at this point and sauté the pieces a bit. At this point you may also want to add the small red potatoes to cook. Or, you can cook them separately and add them later, or not serve with potatoes at all.
When the soup has begun to boil and the vegetables are cooked, add the rest of the fish and the clams. Cover the dish for a few minutes or until the clams have opened up and the prawns are pink. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper (you won‘t need much salt). Serve in a big broad soup bowl with crusty French bread, Garlic Aioli*, or Rouille* and either a sturdy red wine or flavorful beer. Make sure everyone gets equal portions of the clams, mussels, scallops, and prawns, but save a few extra mussels for yourself – you are the cook after all.
Fish Stock – Court Bouillon (pronounced quah – boo yawn)
Boil the prawn shells and any fish bones you have in about a three quarts of water. Add 1 stalk of rough chopped celery, an onion – rough chopped, a rough chopped carrot, a couple of bay leaves, a whole lemon, cut in half, some whole peppercorns, 1 cup white wine, and any other fish scraps you happen to have stored in the freezer or your fishmonger will part with. Unless you go to a real Fishmonger it‘s unlikely that you will find any fish bones. You can also add about 2 cups of chicken stock if you don‘t have enough fish bones. Bring the stock to a boil and skim off the scum. If you have any good clam juice, add it in at this point. I always save the clam juice from the last time we had steamed clams and put it into a plastic bag and freeze. Then I can use it whenever I am making a fish sauce. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 30 minutes. Strain the stock into another saucepan and reduce to about 2 quarts.
3 garlic cloves, chopped 1 large egg 1 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 TBS chopped fresh parsley 1/2 tsp. salt 2 turns freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup olive oil Combine the garlic, egg, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and puree. Add the oil in a slow stream and continue to process until the mixture has formed a thick emulsion. Some recipes also call for bread crumbs added at the end to thicken the paste. Serve with toasted French bread slices. I like to spread the aioli on my bread slice and then dip in the bouillabaisse juices – umm!
1 red pepper, roasted and peeled 2 cloves garlic 1 pieces of white bread torn into pieces 1 egg yolk 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard Juice of one lemon 1/2 cup olive oil Salt and pepper In a food processor, combine all the ingredients, except for the oil. Puree until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Season the emulsion with salt and pepper. Garlic Painting by Tami Oyler
Paella is one of those amazing indigenous, traditional rice dishes, that in many ways, helps define the culture itself. These dishes are peasant dishes and grew out of a need to use up what they had on hand, or could find quickly, mostly inexpensive ingredients, and rice, which would extend almost any meal. For the most part, they were costal dishes, hence the prodigious use of seafood. Virtually every culture has a traditional rice dish of some sort. In Louisiana it‘s Jambalaya. In Italy, it‘s risotto. In China, it‘s fried rice. In Morocco, it‘s chicken Tagine. AND, in Spain, it‘s Paella. All the dishes work basically the same way, except for Risotto. You sauté vegetables and meat in hot oil, add seasonings and rice, some richly flavored stock, and seafood at the very end. The difference between the various examples is in the spices and the types of seafood. Traditionally, Paella used chorizo, the hot sausage of Spain and the Basque region, Jamon Sorrano – the dry cured mountain ham that Spain is famous for, Shrimp, heads and all, whitefish of some sort, clams, mussels, and squid. The spices for Paella rely on paprika, saffron, pepper, bay leaves, and a richly flavored stock, usually made from seafood shells and bones, chicken or turkey bones, and some tomato flavoring. This is probably not a recipe you want to try at home for you and your husband. It is best made in a party situation, outside over a burner, in a large Paella pan, for 10 or more. Each person can bring ingredients and can toss them in the pan at the precise moment. All this contributes to the event and it just taste‘s better that way. Now that you know what makes up a good Paella here‘s the recipe: Ingredients Rice – enough for 8 people, 1 cup will do. I like long grain because it holds its shape better Stock – must be homemade, a recipe follows, about 6 cups Red pepper – chopped fine Onion – one medium, yellow sweet, chopped fine Garlic – about 10 cloves, chopped fine Green onions – on bunch, sliced fine Chorizo – about 1/2 lb, sliced into ¼ inch thick slices Linguisa – same or leave out especially if the Chorizo is very fine. Jamon – about ½ lb. You probably can‘t find any in Seattle so you can use prosciutto instead. Chicken – use thighs or chicken breasts. Cut boneless chicken breasts into 2 oz. pieces Olive oil – about ¼ cup of very good, extra virgin Cayenne pepper – ¼ tsp. Saffron – a good size pinch, between the thumb and forefingers. It‘s expensive but essential, there is no substitute Salt - to taste Black pepper – fresh ground to taste Bay leaf – two whole leaves, remove when done. Clams – 1/2 lb in shell Mussels – 1/2 lb in shell Squid – about ½ lb
Any other seafood you like, shrimp, crab legs, white fish, small lobsters, etc Directions Place paella pan (or any large sauté pan, 12 inches wide or wider) on a very hot gas burner, or paella cooker. When the pan is smoking hot, add the olive oil. When the oil starts to smoke add the chicken and brown on both sides. Keep the heat on high. Add the sausage and vegetables. Cook for a few minutes more, add the seasoning, including the garlic, Cook for a few minutes more then add the rice. Make sure each grain of rice is nicely coated with the oil and seasonings. Add the stock. Begin cooking the rice uncovered for a few minutes or until the stock comes to the boil. Add all the seafood, work it in, and cover the entire pan with aluminum foil, the heavy duty kind. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Finally turn off the heat and allow to set for another 15 minutes. Bring the pan to the counter, remove the foil and serve. Best served with a good red wine, Sangria, or hearty beer and plenty of crusty French bread. Stock: Chicken bones Any fish bones, shrimp shells, lobster shells, etc Turkey bones Bay leaves – 2 leaves 1 stalk of Celery 1 Carrot 1/ medium Onion, cut up 2 cloves of Garlic Salt Pepper Ketchup – 3 tbs. Sherry – 2 tbs. 1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce Directions Place the bones in a large stock pot and cover with water, about 8 quarts. Add the seasonings and rough chopped vegetables, about a pound of vegs. total. Bring to a boil, skim the scum, and allow to gently boil for 30 to 50 minutes. Take off the heat and strain off the stock, throw out the left over vegs. and bones. Return the stock to the freshly cleaned stock pot and bring to a slow boil again. Once again skim of any scum, foam, and fat. When the stock reduces by half, take off the heat and allow to cool. Add the ketchup and sherry. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hrs. or until the fat solidifies on top. Scrape it off with a spoon. You can freeze the stock at this point for use later.
Salmon en Papillote
A great way to prepare salmon is to cook it in a parchment wrapper, in the oven. Any salmon will work with King being my favorite due to its intense flavor. For that matter, any cold water finned fish will work. I have made the dish with swordfish, halibut, and sturgeon. The little parchment bag traps in all the flavors and steams the salmon along with anything else sealed in the parchment bag. I start out with a fairly large circle of cooking parchment, about 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Here‘s the rest of the recipe. It should serve 4. Ingredients 4 14‖ circle of parchment paper 1 fresh salmon fillet, pin bones removed, cut into 8 oz. portions. 2 cups Mornay sauce 6 to 8 oz. of Julienne vegetables, carrots, celery, onions (Julienne means cut in long thin strips, like little match sticks, the thinner the better) 2 TBS. unsalted butter Procedure Butter the parchment pieces on one side. Butter side up, form a bed of Julienne vegetables just below the widest (diameter) of the parchment. Gently place the salmon piece on top of the vegetables. Lightly season the salmon with salt and fresh ground pepper. Top with a rounded tablespoon of Mornay sauce. Fold over the buttered parchment making a half moon shape. Crimp both edges all along the edge of the parchment, forming a sealed half moon bag with the salmon et all inside. Carefully place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 360 degrees Fahrenheit. The parchment sac will expand – balloon if you will and be brown around the edges. Be careful when you open the parchment up as the steam can burn you. The salmon can be eaten right out of its little baking sac or carefully removed onto a plate. Serve with a rice pilaf or pasta, French bread, and the wine of your choice.
1 cup chicken stock 2 cup ½ & ½ or whole milk 3 to 4 TBS roux (butter & flour) 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese 1 pinch cayenne pepper 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce Salt to taste Make a roux, slowly add the chicken stock and milk or cream. When the sauce has thickened add the shredded gruyere cheese and blend in evenly. Adjust the seasoning.
Sautéed Lobster – Great Valentines Day dinner
Lobster has traditionally been associated with Romance, don‘t ask me why. Perhaps because it‘s expensive, and red. Here is a great Lobster recipe that is guaranteed to please both the heart and the stomach. Recipe serves 4 to 6.
Ingredients 2 1lb. - 1b ½ lobsters fresh and kicking (pound, pound ana quata, as they say in Maine) celery – 1 stalk, coarse chopped onion - ½ medium, coarse chopped carrot – 1 medium, coarse chopped brandy – ½ cup tomato paste – 1 rounded tbs. garlic – 3 cloves, chopped fish stock (chicken stock will do if you don‘t have any fish stock) – 2 to 3 cups cream – 1 pint, use heavy cream butter – 4 tbs. cayenne pepper – pinch or to taste paprika – 1 tsp. nutmeg - pinch salt – to taste pepper – to taste (white pepper is best if you have it)
Directions Here‘s the hard part. You have to cut the lobster into pieces, while still alive. You can quickly dispatch the lobster if you pierce the carapace, right behind the head, between the head and thorax. Place the lobster on a cutting board, underside down. Grab the crustacean by the body, flatten the tail, and quickly pierce the lobster as described above, Turn the lobster over and cut lengthwise, beginning at the head and down through the tail. You will need a sharp, heavy knife. Once the lobster is divided into two lengthwise pieces remove the intestine and digestive tract, as well as the brain sac. Cut the lobster in half at the tail. Remove the large claws and feeler legs. You now have 6 pieces plus feeler legs. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tbs. of the butter, do not burn. Add the lobster pieces and begin sautéing until the shells begin to turn pink. Add the vegetables and continue sautéing for another 5 minutes. Now add the brandy. Be careful because the brandy will ignite and could burn you. If it doesn‘t ignite, use a match to ignite. You
want to burn off the alcohol. Simmer for a couple of minutes more, add the stock and seasonings, and tomato paste. When the stock has reduced somewhat remove the cooked lobster pieces from the pan and place on a platter. You can go two ways here. Serve the sauce over the lobster pieces on the platter, lobster carefully arranged, OR, remove the meat from the lobster shells and add to the finished sauce. I prefer the latter. If you chose the latter, put the empty lobster shells back into the sauce and cook for a few more minutes. To finish: Add the cream to the sauce, reduce the sauce over high heat, until the cream begins to form small bubbles and the sauce is somewhat reduced. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve. Whisk in the remaining butter, and adjust the seasoning. Add the lobster pieces, which were removed from the shells (remember that there is a great deal of lobster in the legs, feelers (little legs), and in the body cavity – get it all since the lobsters likely cost a fortune). The best way to get the claw and knuckle pieces out is to use an extra heavy pair of kitchen shears and cut the knuckles lengthwise. Use a rolling pin to roll out the tiny feeler leg pieces. They are sweet and tender. Don‘t waste a single speck. The sauce with the lobster pieces can now be served over pasta, rice, toast points, puffed pastry (very nice touch), or as a soup, garnished with parsley and chives. Serve with an nice buttery, oaken Chardonnay, a Pouilly Fuisse, or even a medium bodied red, and crusty French bread.
Baked Stuffed Lobster
Lobster is great served almost any way you can imagine. One of my favorite recipes is Baked Stuffed. Split the Lobster in half, lengthwise, then top with a lobster/crumb topping, and bake. In this way you can get two complete servings out of one lobster. The presentation is also beautiful and the flavor is delicious. Here‘s the process. This recipe serves 4 people
Ingredients 2 Live Maine Lobsters, approximately 2 lb each. One lobster serves two 3 TBS softened Butter Bread crumbs ¼ cup chopped Leafy or curly Parsley 1 clove, smashed Garlic 1 small onion – chopped fine 1 stalk celery – chopped fine 1 medium carrot – chopped fine ¼ tsp. ground thyme 1 to 2 cups cooked chopped lobster meat (from the claws, knuckles, and pincers of the above lobsters Salt & pepper to taste.
Directions: Split the lobsters in half, lengthwise. If you are squeamish about dispatching a live lobster this way, here‘s a trick. Put the lobster in the freezer for a few minutes. This puts them into a state of suspended animation – they won‘t feel a thing. Cutting the lobster lengthwise is a fairly difficult process requiring good hand strength and a very sharp, hefty knife. Don‘t try this with one of the cheap knives from Ron Popeil. With the lobster on its back, head pointing towards your belt, insert the tip of the knife into the end of the tail and begin cutting down straight through the lobster, finishing with the head. Remove the leg pincers and the claws, with knuckles attached. Remove any innards from the body cavity, saving the tamale if possible. This can be added to the stuffing. Steam or boil the claws, knuckles, and pincer/legs for about 8 minutes or until they are bright red and begin to ooze the telltale white foam from the joints. Allow them to cool. Crack them open with a nutcracker and remove all the meat. Use a rolling pin to extract the meat from the little leg/pincers. It takes a while but is worth it. Chop the meat into small pieces. Sauté the chopped vegetables in a bit of butter until the onions are clear. Mix the breadcrumbs, parsley, seasonings, vegetables, and lobster meat in a bowl. Add the butter and mix well. Lightly butter the exposed lobster meat. Pack the stuffing into the body cavity and along the tail, covering the lobster from head to tail. Place on a sheet pan or cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tail meat is cooked – it will have a white, opaque look. Serve with drawn butter, a crisp
green salad, and crusty French bread. Lobster stands up to both white and red wines. Less dry white wines are especially good.
This is not a traditional Italian dish because Italians don‘t combine seafood and cheese. It is an American version of an Italian idea. However, it is delicious and I have made it many times. It‘s great as a starter or as a main course. This is a very rich dish so I recommend you try it first as an appetizer. Ingredients One box of wide Lasagna noodles, parcooked and drained 4 cups béchamel sauce 1 cup ricotta cheese 1 lb. sliced mozzarella cheese ½ lb. fresh spinach, lightly cooked and drained 20 – 30 fresh Basil leaves ½ cup bread crumbs 3 cloves fresh garlic, sliced 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil 8 large scallops – sliced into 12‖ slices 10 large prawns, peeled and deveined 1 large lobster tail, pulled from shell, cut into chunks. Directions Prepare a classic béchamel sauce (white sauce). Melt 2 TBS. unsalted butter in a sauce pan, add 4 TBS flour and blend, This is called a roux (pronounced roo). The exact proportions are equal amounts of butter and flour by weight. So, four oz. of butter and 4 oz. of flour by weight. Cook the roux for a few minutes, whisking constantly with a wire whisk. Add 2 cups chicken stock and blend in thoroughly until the sauce thickens. Add a quart of cream or ½ & ½ and blend in until the sauce re-thickens. Add ½ cup of finely shredded parmesan cheese, whisking constantly or it will clump. Add 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of cayenne pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Adjust the seasoning with pepper and salt. Set off to the side, but keep warm. Cook the lasagna noodles to 75% done, not too floppy. The noodles will cook the rest of the way during baking. Butter a 9‖ by 9‖ glass baking dish. Layer the noodles on the bottom of the dish. Add little spoonfuls of ricotta cheese, topped with a little spinach and some basil leaves. Drop in a few pieces of the seafood and then pour 1/3 rd of the white sauce over the fish. Top with some mozzarella slices and repeat the process. The final layer should be topped with the lasagna noodles. Drizzle a little olive oil over the noodles and drizzle the remaining white sauce on top of that. Top with the bread crumbs. Place the dish in the refrigerator to set for1 to 2 hours. If you like, you can also make this the night before and take it out about 1 hour before cooking. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes. You should see the sides bubbling and the edges of the noodles should crisp a little. Allow the lasagna to sit for at least 20 minutes. Cut into small squares if you are using as an appetizer or large rectangles for dinner size portion. Serve with a Caesar salad and a good white wine. Feel free to experiment with this dish, using many different seafood types. I‘ve even seen it prepared using oysters. You can also use sun dried tomatoes instead of the spinach. You can leave the spinach out altogether if you like and other leafy herbs can be used instead of basil. This will get you started and you can experiment as you wish. Enjoy.
Whitefish – Cajun style
The people of South Louisiana; the various bayou town, festivals and in local eateries cook seafood more than any other type of food. There are plentiful supplies of oysters, shrimp (pronounced ‗srimp‘) crabs, catfish, crawfish, trout, and redfish. Redfish, snapper, pompano, and trout are often prepared in this saucy manner with tomatoes, trinity (celery, onions, peppers – sautéed), and fish stock. This dish is technically an etouffeé, because the fish is ―smothered‖ with the sauce. The dish can be made with a brown roux or without a roux. It was originally a peasant dish, relying on the plentiful and inexpensive bounty of seafood in the waters all around the fisherman and farmers of the bayou country. It is simple, quick, and very delicious. This dish feeds 2 hungry people or 4 in need of a snack. Ingredients Four large fish fillets (such as from the Red Snapper above) 1 ½ cup trinity (equal parts celery, onions, peppers – chopped medium fine) ½ cup good quality canned plum tomatoes in juice – rough chopped 1 TBS butter or peanut oil ½ tsp. ground bay leaves ½ tsp. cayenne pepper Dash or Tabasco 1 sprig fresh thyme ½ to 1 cup fish stock ½ lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined Directions Lightly season and flour a few fish fillets or a whole trout. Sauté in a bit of butter or peanut oil until just brown on each side. Remove the fish from the pan and add the vegetables and a ½ cup of whole tomatoes in juice, rough chopped. Add the shrimp and cook just until pink. Season the fish with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, a pinch of ground bay leaves, a sprig of thyme, and a ½ to one cup of fish stock or shrimp stock. You can quickly make some shrimp stock from the shrimp shells, a little onion, 1 TBS tomato paste, a TBS of Old Bay seasoning, and water or white wine. Cook it for about 10 minutes and strain it out. If you don‘t have any fish stock you can use some canned or homemade chicken stock. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes and return the fish to the sauce for a minute or two more. Place the fish fillets on a warm plate and top with the sauce and the shrimp. Serve with fluffy white rice, and crusty French bread. The dish should be flavorful, a bit spicy, and aromatic.
Steak Diane is a real crowd pleaser. It was a favorite of my wife and I and was the dish served on our first anniversary, many years ago in St. Louis. The dish is often prepared at your table by a competent waiter. It is difficult to prepare for more than four people since it takes a very large sauté pan.
Ingredients 4 thin (1 inch) thick New York steaks, pounded flat 3 TBS shallots chopped fine 1 clove garlic chopped fine 1 TBS olive oil 2 TBS butter 1 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice ¼ cup whipping cream (or heavy cream) 2 oz of good brandy or cognac 2 TBS green peppercorns, drained 2 TBS chopped parsley, broadleaf works best 2 tsp Dijon mustard ¼ tsp cayenne pepper Pinch of coarse Kosher salt A few grinds of black pepper Procedure Flatten your steaks slightly, to just under ½ inch thick. Season the steaks with salt and black pepper. If you can find a sauté burner like the one to the right it really makes a great presentation to prepare the dish tableside. Add the olive oil and 1 TBS butter to a hot sauté pan. When the butter begins to bubble add the steaks and sauté them for one minute on each side. Add the shallots, garlic, lemon juice, pepper corns, and Dijon mustard and simmer for another minute. Add the brandy and flambé until the flames subside. Add the heavy cream and reduce slightly. Remove the steaks and place one steak on each warmed plate. Reduce the sauce for one more minute and finish with the butter, whisking it in quickly. Turn off the heat and spoon the sauce over each steak. Garnish with the chopped parsley. Server with a good red wine, crusty French bread, and rice pilaf or sautéed noodles.
Of all the great French Bistro food, Beef Burgundy is perhaps the most comforting. Lying somewhere between a stew and a pot roast, it has a level of sophistication and appeal beyond either. First of all, Beef Burgundy is traditionally made with tenderloin so it‘s tender beyond compare. Secondly, the combination of flavors give it a uniqueness that is a hit with just about everyone. Here‘s my favorite way to prepare it. Ingredients 1.5 lbs beef tenderloin, cut into 1‖ cubes ½ cup flour 3 cups beef stock 1 cup good red wine, preferably a highly drinkable Cabernet Sauvignon ½ lb. baby carrots ½ lb. baby onions or small boiling onions 1 lbs. button mushrooms 2 bay leaves 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine 1 sprig fresh thyme 4 TBS. unsalted butter Salt and pepper to taste Egg noodles for 4 people Procedure Brown the onions in butter over medium heat. When the onions are about 50% done, add the carrots and mushrooms. Continue browning until the onions are about 75% done. Remove from the pan and add the remaining butter to the pan. Dredge the cubed tenderloin in the flour, coating completely, and knocking off the excess. Sauté in 2 TBS. of the butter, until just browned. Return the vegetables to the pan and add the red wine. Allow the wine to burn off its alcohol. Add the beef stock. The sauce should thicken a little due to the flour in the pan. Season with the bay leaves, garlic, and thyme. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the whole onions are tender all the way through. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serving suggestions Serve the beef burgundy over the cooked egg noodles and garnish with chopped parsley. You may also serve with little potatoes or even rice. I have also seen the dish served with garlic mashed potatoes on the side. A sturdy red wine and French bread is the perfect accompaniment.
What about Beef Stroganoff? Beef stroganoff is basically the same dish, but prepared in a German style. White wine is substituted for red wine. The carrots are left out and just before serving sour cream is added and blended into the dish. Serve the carrots on the side if you like. The seasonings remain the same. It is also served over egg noodles, garnished with chopped parsley and a dollop of sour cream. What about Hungarian Goulash? Goulash is very similar to Beef Stroganoff and Beef Burgundy. Everything remains the same except you leave out the carrots. The dish starts out the same way, with red wine being used instead of white, as in stroganoff. Sauté the onions and mushrooms in butter or olive oil until the onions are almost tender. Remove from the pan and add the floured meat, browning thoroughly. When browned add the stock and seasonings. At the point you add the wine and beef stock, add 3 generous tablespoons of good Hungarian or Spanish paprika. This gives the sauce its characteristic dark red color. Finally, add the vegetables back into the pan when the beef is tender. Continue to simmer until the onions are tender. Serve over egg noodles. Once again, garnish with chopped parsley and a dollop of sour cream. Goulash is traditionally not made with tenderloin. It is a peasant dish so less tender cuts of meat are used. I have successfully used top round and sliced it thin. It needs to cook a little longer in its sauce, so add the onions and mushrooms back into the dish once the meat is almost tender. You may also use what‘s called, Mock Tender. That‘s the center cut large round piece which is included in a Chuck roast. If you have a large Chuck roast and you can feed everyone in your family with the remaining pieces of the chuck, hold out the Mock Tender and pop it in the freezer. When you get a couple of them, thaw and use for Goulash. Both goulash and stroganoff are great served with cold beer or a good red wine.
A great way to stretch your budget is to use cheaper cuts of meats, slice the beef into thin pieces and pound them thin between plastic. The pounding with a beef mallet is a good way to tenderize the meat. It also allows the meat to absorb any flavors and to hold on to sauces well. I usually start out with a top round roast, eye of round, or even chuck roast. I remove the fat and sinew with a sharp knife, leaving the large lean beef pieces behind. Ingredients 2 to 3 lbs of beef roast – trimmed of fat and sinew. 2 stalks of celery, diced medium fine 1 carrot, diced medium fine 1 medium onion, diced medium fine 1 green pepper, diced medium fine 3 Roma tomatoes, diced medium fine 2 lbs. mushrooms, quartered 8 cloves of garlic, chopped fine 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce 3 bay leaves 4 fresh sage leaves 1 tsp. thyme leaves 1 tsp. cayenne pepper 1 TBS. paprika 2 cups good red wine 8 cups of beef stock 4 TBS. butter 4 TBS. vegetable oil Directions Slice the beef, against the grain into thin slices, often called escallops in French. Pound the beef thin with a meat mallet, in between sheets of clear plastic bag material (take a thick freezer bag and cut the sides out so you can open it up like a book to receive the meat) Set the pounded meat slices aside. Heat the oil and butter in a large casserole pot or large soup pot. Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge the beef escallops in flour, dust off lightly and brown the meat in the pan over high heat. Put only a few slices in the pan at a time so the meat doesn‘t steam. The meat needs to brown up nicely before removing from the pan. Use more oil if needed. Set the slices on a platter. Add the chopped vegetables and seasonings to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions become somewhat clear. Add the mushrooms to that pan at this point and cook for a few more minutes. The mushrooms will absorb any remaining oil so you might want to add a little bit of butter to the sautéing vegetables before you add the mushrooms. Add the red wine and cook for a minute or so to cook off some of the alcohol. Add the beef stock and return the meat to the pan. Push the meat down into the stock. Cover the large pot and place into an oven at 360 degrees F. Cook for 1 hour.
Remove the meat from the pot and place a few pieces on each dinner plate. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce with salt and pepper Cover each serving of meat with the cooked vegetables and sauce. It should be slightly thick, aromatic, and very delicious. Serve over cooked rice, pasta, grits, or with little red potatoes and plenty of good crusty bread and red wine. This is a hearty dish, great for cold winter nights. Note: painting, ―Grillades‖ by Jorg Hermle
I make beef stew every time we have pot roast. I take the left over pot roast, cut it into cubes and mix it with the left over potatoes and vegetables from the pot roast and the left over gravy. I usually add some extra vegetables to give it a little variety. However you don‘t need to have left over pot roast to have beef stew. Here‘s my recipe for Beef Stew from scratch. I use stew meat, chuck, or top round, which makes a great stew. The best way if you are using a nice thick cut of top round is to grill the steak first to get a nice caramelization, then cut it into cubes. Or, you can cut it into cubes and brown the meat nicely on all sides. Be sure to brown the meat in the pan you are going to cook the stew in. Ingredients 2 lbs. of stew meat or top round cut into 1‖ cubes. 2 quarts of beef stock (homemade or canned) 2 TBS. olive oil Carrots – cut into 1 and ½ inch by ½ inch pieces Celery – 1 and ½ inch by 2 inch pieces Whole boiling onions 1 lb. whole button mushrooms Green beans – whole or cut in half Turnip – cut into 1 and ½ inch by ½ inch pieces Potatoes – use small boiling potatoes 2 bay leaves 1 sprig fresh thyme 5 cloves fresh garlic, chopped fine 1 TBS. paprika 1 TBS. tomato paste Salt to taste Procedure Brown the meat. Don‘t try to brown it all in the same pan or it will just steam and not brown. Brown a little in hot oil, remove it from the pan and brown some more making sure to thoroughly brown each piece on all sides. Once browned add the beef stock and a roughly chopped onion, carrot, one stalk of celery, and the seasonings. Simmer the stew until the meat is almost tender. Add the remaining vegetables, including the potatoes and cook until they are just tender. Adjust the seasonings. Thicken the stock with a cornstarch-water mixture to the desired thickness. You may also want to remove the potatoes and mash them. You may want to darken the gravy with a little caramel color (Kitchen Bouquet).
Quick Beef Gravy
How to make beef gravy when you don‘t have any beef stock and you don‘t want to use any of those foul tasting packaged gravy mixes. The best sauces are made from homemade stocks, which can take hours, sometimes even a day to make. Those classic stocks require the browning of bones and vegetables, then boiling the bones in a large stock pot overnight, skimming the residue which rises to the top, straining, reducing, clarifying, and finally reducing again to a naturally thick sauce called a demi glace. These days, who has time for that? There are plenty of packaged gravy mixes on the market but they don‘t taste like homemade gravy, the kind that grandma used to make. However, there are some things you can do to cheat, and get a gravy or sauce that approximates the real thing. Here are a couple of recipes for making acceptable gravy in minutes. It doesn‘t taste quite like the real stuff, but works well enough for most folks, all except those with the most discriminating pallets. 1. If you are roasting a piece of beef, you will undoubtedly have some stock to work with. Remove the roast from the roasting pan and deglaze the pan. This means adding some liquid to the pan, while on high heat, to dislodge those browned bits of crisp and caramelized juices accumulated. To make a better stock, start out with placing some celery, onions, and carrots into the roasting pan from the very beginning. As the vegetables brown they will impart great flavor to the sauce as the pan is deglazed. You can use plain water to deglaze but I recommend a little red wine. Once the bottom and sides of the roasting pan are cleaned of particles, add some water that has been enriched with some prepared beef paste. You can buy jars of beef paste at Costco or other good food markets. Stir the water and beef paste into the deglazing liquid. In a separate pan, make a brown roux. A roux is a mixture of equal parts by weight of oil and flour that is cooked for a time to make the flour particles most receptive to thicken a liquid. When the roux is further browned to the color of peanut butter by slowly cooking the mixture, stirring constantly, over medium high heat until the correct color is reached. The roux is extremely hot at its final state and will burn you badly if you are not careful. When the correct color is achieved, remove from the heat and gradually stir the roux into the simmering liquid in the roasting pan. When the gravy has achieved the right thickness (your choice) don‘t add any more. You can final season the gravy by adjusting the salt and pepper, and adding a little fresh chopped garlic. Then add a tsp. of Worcestershire sauce. You can further darken the gravy by adding a little Kitchen Bouquet, which is nothing more than caramel color. Whisk in a Tbs. of butter just before serving. This gravy will have a nice flavor and will compliment any beef or veal dish. This also works for chicken, but no need to brown the roux when making chicken gravy As I mentioned earlier, it‘s not quite as good as the real stuff, but works well in a pinch.. But, there is an even quicker method. 2. If you don‘t have any roast with its juices to rely on, you can make a quick gravy that works OK. Start out by sautéing rough chopped onions, celery, 1 TBS tomato paste, and carrots in a pan with a bit of butter or margarine. When the veg‘s. have browned, deglaze the pan with a little red wine or just water. Stir for a minute or two, then add some prepared stock. Once again I use some beef paste and 1 can of beef consommé. Season the mixture with a bay leaf, pepper, and fresh chopped garlic. Let the mixture simmer for 3 or 4 minutes. In the meantime, make a brown roux, just as we did in the earlier recipe. Thicken the gravy with the brown roux to the desired thickness. Adjust the seasoning and darken with a little Kitchen Bouquet. You may also add a Tbs. of ketchup at this point. It will give the gravy a little extra zip, sheen, and better color. Finish the sauce with a Tbs. of butter, whisking it in just before serving. Both of these gravy recipes will never substitute for the real thing, but are fine if you are in a hurry. Go ahead and experiment with them to your heart‘s content. The cost of the ingredients is low so if you make a mistake and have to throw it away you have not lost much. You can do the same thing with chicken just
substitute chicken paste. There are some very good prepared chicken pastes on the market made with real chicken bones, etc. If you are cooking a pork roast, use chicken paste, since you probably won‘t find any pork base. Nearly every professional kitchen in the world uses some kind of prepared beef or chicken paste at some point, regardless of what the chef will try to tell you. There are some very good ones on the market, with Minor‘s and Schreiber‘s being two of the better brands. Knorr also makes a good professional stock enhancer. I also frequently use Swanson‘s Chicken stock and Campbell‘s Beef Consommé, which is quite good.
Southwest Pot Roast
Recently I had the Southwest style Post Roast from Desert Fire restaurant. It was delicious. I think I have duplicated the rich, southwest flavors in both their pot roast and in their tasty mashed potatoes. Warning - THIS IS NOT A LOWCAL DISH, AND NOT FOR THE TIMID. Make sure you use real butter, if you don't have it, go get it.
Ingredients 1 3 to 5 LB thick chuck blade roast (or any good piece of beef suitable for two stage or braising, moist cooking method will work) 8 - 10 cups of beef stock or enough to cover the beef (natural is best, but canned or paste will work) 6 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped fine 1 medium onion, coarse chopped 2 medium carrots, coarse chopped 2 small zucchini, cut in thick rounds 2 stalks celery, coarse chopped 1 bay leaf 4 to 6 sprigs of fresh oregano 2 TBS. of tomato paste 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine 1 large red mild pepper (or any other combination of mild southwest peppers) 3 or 4 dark dried poblano peppers. You see them hanging in specialty food shops all the time) peppers, re-hydrated and pureed. 1 small hot pepper, of your choice, remove seeds, chopped fine - add as much as you want, don't overdo it. (don't get it in your eyes) 1/2 fresh ground black pepper Directions Soak the poblano peppers in boiling water. Remove peppers, puree in a blender, add peppers and soaking water to pot roast cooking liquid. In a large cast iron Dutch oven (you may also use a roasting pan), over high heat, with a 1/4 cup of olive oil, thoroughly brown (almost black to get good caramelizing) the roast on all sides, add the vegetables and the liquid to just cover the roast. Add liquid as necessary. Season with the salt and black pepper. Cook the roast in a 325 degree oven, covered or cook on the
top of the stove. After a couple of hours, check for tenderness. When the meat is almost tender, add the garlic and other seasonings. At this point, add fresh carrots, small baby onions, zucchini, potatoes (as many as you need for 6 to 8 people) and any other vegetable you want to accompany the pot roast. Cook the meat until it shreds easily. When the vegetables are done, remove them to a warm platter. Put the drained potatoes and some of the drained vegetable bits from the sauce into a mixing bowl, crush with a potato masher, add 2 cloves garlic, a bit of the chopped pepper, 3 TBS real butter, ¼ cup heavy cream, and 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Whip the potatoes to a mash and season to taste. They should have a distinct garlic/peppery flavor. The sauce should be made from the cooking liquid. Whatever vegetable bits remain in the stock, puree using a blender or electric mixing wand. Make a brown roux by cooking equal parts (by weight) of peanut oil and flour in a thick bottomed pan over med-high heat. Stir constantly until the roux attains a peanut butter color. Do not blacken or burn the flour, if you do, throw it away and start over. Thicken the sauce with the roux to your desired consistency. Finish the sauce with a TBS or 2 of real butter, and adjust seasoning. Serve the pot roast on a large plate with the mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, a healthy serving of the sauce, good thick crusty Italian bread, and a heady red wine. It should be spicy, but not fiery HOT! The sauce should be redolent of peppers and have a rich smooth character. Hot bread spread: combine 1/4 stick of butter, 1 clove of smashed, finely chopped garlic, a tsp. of Dijon mustard, a TBS of extra virgin olive oil, and a dash or two or three of cayenne pepper. Blend in a bowl with a fork until it is a smooth mixture. This is great on the bread with the pot roast, or anytime. It's also good on vegetables.
Beef Stock – The Real Thing
You will need about 10 to 15 lbs. of beef bones, preferably knuckle bones and shin bones. The meatier the better. Additionally, the more bone marrow in the bones the deeper the flavor.
Directions Place the bones in a large roasting pan along with rough cut carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Place the pan in a hot oven, 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. After about 1 hour of cooking the bones and vegs. will take on a dark roasted color, almost blackened. Some of the vegs. will actually burn a bit but that doesn‘t matter. Place all the bones and vegs. into a large 20 or 40 qt. stock pot. Pour off the fat from the roasting pan and deglaze the pan with a few cups of red wine or water. Be sure to scrape the pan and dislodge all the browned bits. Pour into the stock pot. Season the stock with a few bay leaves and some whole peppercorns. Allow the stock to come to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to a low simmer. Skim any scum or foam that rises to the top. Simmer the stock for several hours or even overnight on a very low heat. When the stock has reduced by ½ and has achieved a darker color, strain the stock into another pot. Discard the bones and vegs. You may want to strain the stock at this point through cheesecloth to get a real clear stock. Bring the stock to a boil again and reduce to about 2 quarts. This reduced stock is called a demi-glace. The stock should be fairly dark, rich, and have a wonderful aroma. You can use the stock at this point to make gravies or whatever. However if you want the ultimate, further reduce the stock to about 2 cups of a rich, syrupy sauce called glace de viande. You only need a small amount of this sauce on your dishes as it is so strong and flavorful. When you refrigerate either the demi glace or glace de viande it will become a very solid gelatin. This freezes well for several months. Feel free to add any number of scrap vegetables to the roasting pan and any other bits or pieces of beef or veal. Once they roast up to a very dark color they will impart a great flavor to the stock. This beef stock or demi glace is a classic mother sauce and becomes the basis for many other beef based sauces.
Copyright 2002, Dave Stiles
Summertime means Burgers on the Grill
The other day someone asked me, ―Dave, do you ever eat regular food and not all that gourmet stuff all the time?‖ So I thought I would give you my thoughts on Hamburgers. I believe that a good hamburger is one of the best foods ever created. Burgers are a religious thing for some people, so these are my preferences. Obviously its not ham - it‘s beef. So treat it like beef. Here‘s some thoughts. 1. Don‘t use extra lean beef, it‘s too dry and doesn‘t hold together well. Use at least 20% fat content, most of it will drip away in the cooking process anyway, but during the cooking, the fat transfers flavors to the meat and makes for a better hamburger. It‘s the same principle in Prime steak vs. Choice. The more fat marbling the better the flavor. If you are worried about calories, cholesterol and all, grill some fish. 2. Don‘t fry burgers on a griddle or in a frying pan. First of all, the burger doesn‘t taste as good (although there are some grilled burger aficionados that disagree, I think they are wrong). Secondly, the burger sits in its own fat and the meat absorbs more fat than necessary for good taste. Burgers are best when broiled, over a real flame, charcoal is even better. The heat of charcoal is hotter than any other type of broiling. If you have any apple, cherry, or hickory wood chips available, throw them on the hot coals just before placing the burgers on the grate. The taste is even better. Just remember how good the burgers tasted when you went camping as a kid, cooked over an open flame. I cooked burgers this winter on the grill outside. It was cold and actually snowing once. I had a thick coat on and my son held an umbrella. They were great. Don‘t be a wimp – go outside and cook. 3. The Grate. The broiling grate should be as thick and sturdy as you can find. There are some thick cast iron grills that work best. They hold the heat, make good markings on the burger, and cook the burger quickly. The thin wire ones just don‘t make the grade. You will spend a little more for a thick, heavy cast iron grate but it‘s worth it. Make sure you pre-heat the grate. If you are using a gas grill allow the grate to heat up to smoking temperature. Many grills can be retrofitted with good cast iron grates. Home Depot and other hardware stores sell them. 4. On cleaning the grill. Yah, whatever. If you use a heavy cast iron grate, don‘t use soap and water, it will destroy the ―seasoning‖ that will take place over time. Let the high heat sterilize the grate, then simply brush off the charred bits with a fine wire brush and then oil the grate for use the next time. If you are using a porcelain or chromed grate you will need to clean it more thoroughly, using soap and water. This is another good reason for using cast iron – I hate to clean the grill, but even I can brush it down while it‘s still hot and rub it with a little vegetable oil. 5. Burgers should be well seasoned. Most cuts of beef that make up burgers are inferior cuts. As Emeril says, ―I don‘t know where you get your meet, but where I come from the meat does not come preseasoned.‖ Beef will take a good deal of seasoning without adversely affecting the flavor. Season well with salt, pepper, and garlic just prior to placing on the broiling grate. You may even want to mix the seasonings into the meat in a mixing bowl. This really can enhance the flavor. I like to add Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Mix the burger well before forming into patties.
6. Burgers should be fairly thin. I see people making burgers that are so thick they can‘t possibly be cooked evenly. They look more like a meatball than a burger. Nothing is worse than a crusty black burger on the outside and red on the inside. If the burger patty is formed thin, about ½ inch thick or even less, it cooks evenly and quickly. More of the burger absorbs the smoky flavor from the charcoals. If you want more meat, use two patties. 7. Use a good quality bun, but even better, use French bread, hollowed out a bit to remove some of the excess bread, buttered lightly, and toasted on the grill. The taste is great. If it‘s fresh, it‘s a little crusty on the outside, soft and chewy below the crust. Besides the inner curved, carved out area of the French bread holds the burger better. You should make the thin meat patty a little longer than wide when using French bread. Hoagie bread works well also. If you do use a standard bun, make sure you toast it. That way the bread doesn‘t get too soggy and it adds to the texture of the entire burger eating experience. 8. I‘m not a big fan of too much on the burger besides dressing, tomato, and lettuce. However bacon and avocado is great. I have also put Blue Cheese on my burgers, which is a great taste combination. Some of the other things I see people put on burgers, well I have to ask myself, ―what are they thinking.‖ 9. Cheese. I‘m an American Cheese fan. Cheddar is good, but high quality American cheese is the best because it melts so quickly and permeates the burger for a great flavor combination. Swiss will not stand up to broiled meat and doesn‘t melt well. The best American cheese is ―Old English‖ from Kraft. It‘s a little hard to find but has a great cheddar flavor and all the texture of American cheese. 10. Special sauce. I like a combination sauce, much like the McDonalds special sauce. I slather it on generously. Here‘s the recipe ½ cup mayonnaise ½ cup ketchup 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp salt 1 tsp fine ground black pepper 1 tsp granulated garlic (not garlic salt) 1 tsp granulated onion 2 TBS yellow table mustard 2 TBS dill pickle relish, or chopped dill pickles 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce Mix well. Some like more ketchup, some more mustard, you decide. I like it a bit spicy so I use more Tabasco. Use liberally on both top and bottom of bread. Makes enough for about 10 burgers. 11. Doneness – burgers should be cooked medium to medium well. Even though the likelihood of getting food poison from ground beef is remote, it‘s best to be careful. Don‘t overcook to well done, the burger is dry and the flavor is gone. 12. Burgers should be a little sloppy, that‘s part of the fun of eating a burger. They should definitely not be dry. What fun is that, and besides, you want a good combination of texture, flavor, moistness, and color. All these things contribute to the perfect burger. 13. Shredded lettuce vs. lettuce pieces. I am a fan of whole lettuce pieces. The shredded lettuce can turn very quickly and bleeds water into the bun. The whole lettuce piece has good flavor, texture, and better color. The best lettuce for burgers is bib lettuce. It‘s soft, flavorful and fits on the bun well. Green leaf works well too. Don‘t bother with head lettuce, it has zero flavor and no nutrients (what a joke, discussing nutrition and burgers in the same paragraph). 14. Tomatoes from the supermarket are usually lousy. Go to a fruit market and buy local if you can. Or better yet, grow you own. If you have to use store bought tomatoes use the Italian plum tomato. They have more flavor. Slice the tomato thin. A thick tomato refuses to stay on the bun. 15. Onions. I like sliced onions on my burger but many people don‘t because onions have a pretty strong flavor and it sometimes overpowers the burger. Use a sweet onion like the Walla Walla Sweet or the Vidalia. I prefer the thin sliced vs. thick sliced. However, a nice touch is to thin slice a medium onion and sauté it in a bit of butter or olive oil until the onion is caramelized. Then just top the burger with a dollop of caramelized onion – great taste.
16. What to serve with burgers. I like French fries, but they are sometimes a hassle to make at home, unless you have one of those cool new fangled frying machines with the shortening stored in the fryer and the filter and all. The oil can go rancid pretty quickly so be careful. Baked frozen fries are OK but not as good as the deep fried ones. Chips are good, so is potato salad (cooking good French fries is a whole nother lesson). 17. What to drink with burgers. I‘ve tried all combinations. Beer is a little too overpowering. I usually say, ―Beer before, Beer after, Beer between burgers, just don‘t wash down your burger with Beer.‖ Coke is good, with 7-UP a close second. Red wine is a little too overpowering, and white wine can not stand up to burgers. Iced tea is an excellent choice and the flavor compliments the burger well. It‘s not heavy, not too strong. Lemonade is too tart and is not a good combination with Burgers Well, that‘s my burger story and I‘m sticking to it. Any thoughts drop me an email. Summer‘s almost here, now go out there and broil that burger.
You can easily make your own pastrami and it‘s delicious. The recipe is so simple you won‘t believe it. I start out with a brisket of beef, corned if you like. Ingredients 1 large corned beef brisket, spices removed and dried 2 cups soy sauce 1 TBS Wrights Liquid Smoke ½ cup cracked black pepper Directions Find a nice corned beef brisket and wash away the pickling spices, etc. Dry it off and roll it in rough cracked black pepper. Place it in a pan and carefully pour in a marinade made from it a mixture of soy sauce and Wrights Liquid Smoke. Once the meat is covered leave it for at least 12 hours and carefully turn it for another 12 hours. Remove from the marinade and roast on a rack in a slow oven – 275o F for about 3 hours, covered with aluminum foil. Allow to cool and slice very thin, across the grain.
Every October for many years our family has celebrated the Oktoberfest by cooking Sauerbraten, potato pancakes, and sweet & sour cabbage. The recipe is one that I served many times as a special at the 13 Coins. It was always quite popular. Since my wife is German there is an added reason to prepare the dish. Her Father really enjoyed the Sauerbraten and felt as though I was catering to his German heritage by preparing it for him. Here‘s the recipe. Ingredients 3 to 5 lb. Beef roast, bottom round, eye of round, or even a chuck roast
Marinade 1 bottle good red wine ½ cup red wine vinegar 1 TBS. juniper berries 6 cloves garlic 3 bay leaves 1 large sprig of fresh thyme or 1 tsp. of dried thyme 1 TBS. whole peppercorns 1 cinnamon stick, crushed 3 or 4 whole cloves 1 small onion, rough cut Directions Place the beef in a large plastic, glass, or stainless bowl. Pour the marinade over the beef to cover it. If you don‘t have enough, add more wine. Reserve the marinade because it will be your cooking liquid and the base for the sauce. After 3 or 4 days of marinating (turn the beef each day) drain the beef but save the strained marinade. Season with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in a roasting pan or in a sauté pan. Since this is a braised dish it requires two steps in cooking – browning then finishing the cooking in liquid. Place the browned roast in a roasting pan and add about two quarts of the strained marinating liquid. Cook the beef until tender. Reserve on a platter and make the sauce. Sauce 1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce 2 quarts of the cooking liquid 3 TBS brown sugar 8 to 10 oz. brown roux Make a brown roux by mixing equal parts of flour and butter (or oil) in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Cook the roux over medium high heat stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or wire whip until it achieves the color of dark peanut butter. Gradually add spoonfuls of the roux to the boiling stock that the beef has just cooked in.
When you achieve the desired thickness adjust the seasoning with the Worcestershire sauce and some prepared beef paste if necessary. Adjust for salt and pepper. You may also want to add a little brown sugar at this point to make the sauce slightly sweet. Serve the sliced meat with the sauce covering it. Serve with potato pancakes and sweet & sour cabbage.
Ingredients 3 medium Russet potatoes, peeled 1 green onion, chopped fine 1 egg 1 TBS. salad oil or melted butter 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt ¼ cup flour Directions Shred the potatoes using a rotary shredder, food processor, or box grater. Place the shredded potatoes into a bowl and add the other ingredients. Mix well. Spread the pancake batter onto a pancake griddle, making about 3 inch irregular pancakes. Top with homemade apple sauce. The pancakes should be crisp, more like a thin hashbrown than a traditional pancake.
Sweet & Sour Cabbage
Ingredients 1 small head of white cabbage, trimmed, cored, and shredded ½ head of red cabbage, trimmed, cored, and shredded One medium onion, sliced fine Two apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 2 heads garlic, smashed fine ½ lb chopped bacon 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup apple cider vinegar Salt and pepper Directions Sauté the chopped bacon until it just begins to brown, not crisp. Save most of the bacon fat in the pan. Add the onions, garlic, apples, and cabbage to the bacon. Begin cooking slowly in a large covered pot until the cabbage begins to cook down. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes before adding the sugar and vinegar. Cook for another 25 minutes over low heat until the cabbage is very tender and caramelized. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. If too sweet add a little more vinegar. If not sour enough add a little more vinegar. Taste several times in the cooking process to check and adjust the flavors. It should be mellow with a tang and round sweetness.
Variations You may substitute a good dark German beer for the wine if you like, although I don‘t think it is as good. You may also use beer in the cabbage recipe. If you use a chuck roast you may want to skim off the fat from the sauce after the cooking process. You can garnish the Sauerbraten with a dollop or two of sour cream. The sauce should be pungent, slightly sweet, rich. This is not a dish for the faint of heart; it‘s caloric, rich, and robust.
Server with big hearty red wines or cold German beer. Sauerbraten is also served with baked apples, dumplings, or egg noodles instead of the pancakes.
Sweetbreads 13 Coins Style
Prized by gourmets throughout the world, sweetbreads are the thymus glands of veal, young beef, lamb and pork. There are two glands — an elongated lobe in the throat and a larger, rounder gland near the heart. These glands are connected by a tube, which is often removed before sweetbreads are marketed. The heart sweetbread is considered the more delectable (and is therefore more expensive) of the two because of its delicate flavor and firmer, creamy-smooth texture. Sweetbreads from milk-fed veal or young calves are considered the best. Sweetbreads are highly perishable and must be prepared within 24 hours after purchasing. The first step in preparing sweetbreads is to gently simmer them in acidulated water (water with a little salt and vinegar added) for about 10 minutes to firm them. Then shock-cool in ice water to stop the cooking. Remove the outer membranes leaving only the gray-white nodules for eating. This particular recipe is an improvement on the Creamed sweetbreads recipe I used to serve at the 13 Coins back in the late 70‘s. Ingredients 1 to 2 lbs fresh sweetbreads, blanched and cleaned ½ cup chopped onions ½ lb. sliced mushrooms, any combination of button, shitake, porcini, but not portabella. ¼ cup good brandy 1 clove fresh garlic, chopped fine ¼ cup fresh chicken stock 4 TBS. unsalted butter ½ pint of whipping cream 2 TBS sour cream Salt and pepper to taste Chopped parsley for garnish Procedure Melt 2 TBS. butter in a large sauté pan. Add the onions and sauté for about 1 minute over high heat. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for 2 minutes more. Add the sweet breads and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the brandy and flame. Then add the garlic (always add fresh garlic after flaming so as to not burn). Add the chicken stocks and reduce for a minute, then add the cream and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken slightly. Season with salt and pepper. Pour out onto a heated platter and garnish with the sour cream and chopped parsley. Serve with egg noodles or in a puff pastry shell. Warning: Organ meats are extremely high in cholesterol. This is a high fat, high cholesterol dish and should not be eaten by those on a cholesterol restricted diet or under medical treatment for high cholesterol.
Jerk spices are a Jamaican specialty. The jerk spices were originally used with wild boar and had a preserving quality. Jerk is a mixture of spices. It is the Indian curry of the Caribbean Islands. You can buy prepared jerk spice mixes but it is better if you make your own. Jerk spice is good over pork, chicken, fish, and beef. It is best served with the traditional rice dish of Jamaica. Jerked meats are served with a good Jamaican rice and cabbage slaw. Jerk Spices All spice - 1 TBS, whole and ground fresh (called pimento berries in Jamaica) ½ cinnamon stick 2 cloves sliced Garlic Salt 2 TBS oil 1 tsp. Sage – fresh if you have it, otherwise dried. 1 Habanera pepper (other hot peppers can be substituted) ½ cup dark raisins 3 TBS Brown sugar 2 TBS Vinegar (I like using malt vinegar, but apple cider works well, as does rice wine vinegar) Procedure Chop or puree the peppers until quite finely minced. Grind the fresh spices and the raisins. Mix the spices, oil, vinegar and peppers together to form a paste. Be careful when handling the bright yellow or orange habanera pepper as they are extremely hot and dangerous if you get some in your eye. I recommend using rubber gloves, remove the seeds and veins, which is where the highest concentrations of capsicum is located. You may use the green jalapeño if you like or a combination of several peppers, both mild and hot. I like using three or 4 different peppers, including the scotch bonnet (habanera). Rub the jerk spices all over the pork roast (you may also use on chicken or fish). Allow the meat to marinate for at least 12 hours or overnight. Grill the meat over hot charcoal, or on a gas grill on high. The hotter the better. You want to sear the meat and have it tender and juicy on the inside. You can finish it off in a slow oven once the Pork roast has been seared. Don‘t be afraid to cook pork a slight pink, for all same reasons you cook beef on the pink side – its more tender and juicer. Pork is now farm raised and can no longer be served garbage. There has not been a single case of Trichinosis in this country since the early 1940‘s and that was from bear meat.
Rice and Pigeon peas
1 cup long grain white rice ½ cup pigeon peas or black beans 4 cups chicken stock 1 TSB paprika 1 medium onion, chopped fine 1 red bell pepper, chopped fine 1 stalk celery, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, sliced 2 TBS olive oil yellow food coloring (optional) Procedure Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. I like to use a tall sided cast iron pan. Add the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes. Add the rice and seasonings. Coat the rice in the oil. Add the chicken stock and cover the rice by 1 inch. Place a cover on the rice and allow to come to a boil, tightly covered. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to set for an additional 15 minutes. Take the cover off and fluff with a fork. Serve immediately.
Braised Lamb Shanks
There is perhaps no earthier, aromatic, and flavorful Fall and Winter dish than braised lamb shanks. The meat is tough and stringy but when browned and cooked in a flavorful liquid for 2 hours or more all sinew disappears and the meat becomes tender and juicy. Lamb shanks, like Ox tails require this long cooking process but give up incredible flavors in the process, especially when married with garden herbs, and aromatic vegetables. I first began cooking Lamb Shanks at the 13 Coins; it was the Sunday special there. After 3 hours of cooking the cooking stock with strained, the fat skimmed and made into a roux, and the final sauce was finished with a little mint jelly – typical of the 1970‘s. Here‘s the recipe. Allow two shanks per person, since they tend to be small these days and contain little meat.
Ingredients 6 lamb shanks 8 or more garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped 1 large yellow onion, rough chopped 2 carrots, rough chopped 2 stalks celery, rough chopped 2 tomatoes, rough chopped 1 cup red wine 3 bay leaves 1 sprig fresh thyme 1 sprig fresh rosemary 4 cups of chicken stock Water to just barely cover the shanks. Directions Season the shanks and brown them in a heavy bottomed roasting pan. Allow the shanks to brown completely, even blackening a bit towards the edges. Remove from the pan, drain most of the fat, and brown the vegetables. When the aromatic vegetables are also well browned, return the shanks to the roasting pan. Add the garlic and the herbs. Add some additional coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover the pan and cook in a 350 o F oven. After one hour turn the shanks and continue covering for 1.5 hours longer or until the shanks are very tender, falling off the bone. Remove from the pot and place on a warmed platter. Using a submersible blender (boat-motor) puree the stock and thicken slightly with a little cornstarch slurry. Adjust the seasoning and add the Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Serve with steamed turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, carrots, or a combination of all. Wide egg noodles are a good accompaniment. This dish will stand up to the sturdiest red wine such as a Barbara.
Greek Gyros (pronounced year-ro)
I‘m sure everyone has had the delicious Greek lamb dish, wrapped in those soft pita bread like rolls. Here‘s how you make them at home. Most recently I was advised of the most authentic way to make Gyros. My son and his buddies spent a week in Greece and had these delicious Gyros several times a day! I asked the proprietor of a Greek grocery store how he would prepare gyros if he was using a whole leg of lamb. Here are his instructions.
Ingredients Boneless leg of lamb 2 bottles of beer, not light beer ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 TBS fresh oregano, chopped fine 2 tsp black pepper 6 cloves garlic, 4 of them chopped fine 1 cup white wine 1 lb Feta cheese crumbles 3 TBS coarse kosher salt Procedure Marinate the lamb in the beer for 2 or 3 hours. Remove from the marinade and reserve. Dry the lamb off and rub with olive oil and the spices. Stab the meat in several places and insert cloves of garlic deep in the lamb. Place in a roasting pan and roast slowly at 325 F for 2 hours. Remove from the roasting pan and slice the lamb very thinly. Add the beer and white wine to the lamb cooking liquid and reduce slightly. Thicken the sauce slightly with a little cornstarch slurry. Place the sliced lamb back into the cooking liquid.
Sauce for Gyros – Tzatsiki
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, patted dry in paper towels, chopped very fine 1 cup low fat plain yogurt 2 cloves garlic, chopped and crushed into paste salt and pepper to taste 1 TBS. fresh mint 2 tbs. good extra virgin olive oil 1 tbs. fresh lemon juice allow the sauce to sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour, preferably overnight. Cook up some home-made shoe string French fries or buy some from your local hamburger joint. Place the grilled gyros lamb on a large, fresh soft pita bread, If you have a Greek market nearby you can find the specially made Gyros bread, which is softer and larger than pita bread. Top the lamb with chopped tomatoes, Tzatsiki sauce, Feta cheese, and the French Fries. Place a little ketchup and yellow mustard on the fries (believe me, this is the way they are served in Greece). Wrap tightly in parchment paper so nothing fall out. Eat vigorously with plenty of Greek olives, more Feta, and cold beer or white wine.
Poultry & Game
Coq au Vin
This is the famous French bistro food, chicken in red wine sauce. It was very popular in French restaurants during the 70‘s when French food was all the rage. When thin French cuisine became the rage, it fell from grace. Now that comfort food is in again, it has experienced resurgence in popularity. I have made it many times and still enjoy it on a fall or winter evening. It can also be made with game birds. This recipe serves 8 people.
Ingredients 2 whole fryer chickens, cut up into 4 wings, 4 breasts, 4 thighs, 4 drumsticks. To keep the fat content down you can remove the skin from the thighs, breasts, and drumsticks. 10 small boiling onions, peeled 2 cups flour 3 tsp butter 8 whole cloves of garlic 2 cups of baby carrots 2 lbs small button mushrooms, whole 4 cups (or enough to cover the chicken pieces in the pan) of beef stock or a mixture of beef and chicken stock (I prefer beef stock. If you can‘t get homemade stock, canned beef stock works fine). 1 cup good brandy 2 cups good red wine ½ cup rough chopped pancetta bacon. If you use American bacon, simmer it for a few minutes to take out some of the smoky flavor 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp. caramel coloring (kitchen Bouquet works fine) 2 bay leaves 3 sprigs of fresh thyme Salt and pepper to taste Procedure Sauté the bacon until almost crisp. Add the onions and begin browning until they are well caramelized. Remove the onions from the pan. Add two TBS butter to the pan. Flour the chicken pieces and brown them well on all sides. When they are browned add the carrots, mushrooms, and onions back into the pan. Add the brandy and flame. Be careful not to burn yourself. Sometimes the flames will reach up a foot or two. Add the red wine and seasonings and continue cooking for two minutes. Add the beef stock and cook the dish for another 35 minutes or until the chicken is tender. The sauce will have thickened a little and darkened some. Remove the chicken pieces and vegetables from the pan using a slotted spoon. Bring the sauce to a boil and add the Worcestershire sauce and caramel color. Strain through a wire mesh strainer. Finish the sauce with a TBS of butter, whisking it in. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken pieces and vegetables on a dinner plate and ladle the dark brown sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Serve with a quality, sturdy red wine and crusty French bread.
Roast Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
I love simple meals and comfort food. The roasted whole chicken is one of my all time favorites, but it must be seasoned correctly or it will be bland. I like to serve the roasted chicken with a mélange of pan roasted vegetables as the perfect accompaniment but garlic mashed potatoes are great as well. There are several seasoning combinations but here‘s my favorite. This recipe easily serves 4 adults with plenty of great leftovers for the next day. You can also vary the seasoning by using a more Italian blend of fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage. The roast chicken is infinitely variable. Another trick is to use a kitchen injector needle to inject a broth into the meaty parts of the chicken to make it extra juicy and tender. A previous recipe explained that process.
Ingredients 2 whole fryer chickens, washed and dried, giblets removed 2 TBS. extra virgin olive oil 1 stalk of celery, rough chopped ½ small onion, rough chopped 1 carrot, rough chopped 1 cup of white wine 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 6 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped and smashed 3 TBS Dave‘s special spice mix* Procedure Rub the chickens all over with the olive oil. Rub the chickens with the smashed garlic, including some inside. Now rub the chickens with the spice mix, getting it into all the nooks and crannies. Place the chickens on a broiler pan, not on a rack. Arrange the chopped vegetables around the chicken and place into a 400 degree oven. Cook for 1.5 hrs or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the wings and legs wobble freely. After about 1 hour, add 2 cups of water to the pan. Remove the chickens from the pan and pour off most of the fat saving all the liquid that remains. After the chickens have rested a bit, cut the chicken up into its most prominent parts, two breasts, two legs, two wings, two thighs, and two sets of wings. I like to remove all the chicken from the bones, being careful to get every little piece of chicken and arrange on a serving platter.
The Sauce Deglaze the pan with water or white wine or a mixture of both. As the pan sits on the burner, set on high, dislodge any bits that remain stuck to the pan. The secret of deglazing is to get all he browned bits to give up their flavor. Then strain the juices into a sauce pan. Bring to a rolling boil. Mix two TBS. of cornstarch with about ¼ cup of water. Make sure all the cornstarch lumps are well blended. When the stock has come to a boil slowly add the cornstarch slurry and whisk it in. The sauce will thicken almost immediately. Remove from the heat or turn it down very low. Adjust the seasoning with salt, and add a tsp. of Worcestershire sauce. Roasted Vegetables 4 medium baking or yellow potatoes, cut lengthwise into quarters or eights
1 large whole onion, cut into large pieces 4 whole carrots, cut into large long pieces 2 sweet potatoes, cut lengthwise and into quarters 1 lb. of whole mushrooms ¼ cup good extra virgin olive oil 1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce 1 TBS fresh ground pepper 2 tsp. coarse kosher salt One or two fresh thyme sprigs One fresh rosemary sprig 1 tsp. oregano Procedure Place all the vegetables into a large mixing bowl. Pour the olive oil and Worcestershire sauce over the vegetables and mix well. Spread out onto a large baking dish. Do not crowd the vegetables or pile them up upon each other. They need room to brown all over. Try to get the potatoes to rest, skin side down. Sprinkle with the pepper and salt, liberally all over. Add the herbs. Roast in a hot 400 degree F oven until the potatoes are tender. Serve arranged around the chicken in the middle of the plate and drizzle the sauce over both the chicken and vegetables. Serve with good crusty French or Italian bread and plenty of good white wine or cold beer.
Dave’s Special Spice Mix
In a bowl mix the following seasonings. Store in a jar with a lid and use liberally on chicken, fish, and whatever you like ½ cup of salt ¼ cup ground pepper ¼ cup garlic powder ¼ cup onion powder 1 TBS chili powder 3 TBS paprika 2 tsp. cayenne pepper 1 tsp. cumin 1 tsp. ground thyme
Chicken Tika is a classic Indian chicken dish is one of my favorites. It is a tomato based, creamy sauce strongly flavored with real curry or Indian Garam Masala. The recipe of Garam Masala on the next page.
Ingredients 4 boneless chicken breasts 4 TBS Garam Masala paste 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine 2 TBS vegetable oil or clarified butter (ghee) 1 large can tomato sauce 3 TBS plain yogurt ½ pint heavy cream 1 cup chicken stock 1 TBS red chili paste 1 TBS sugar Salt and pepper to taste. Procedure Grill the chicken breasts over very hot coals until they are browned but not thoroughly cooked. Reserve until the sauce is ready. Heat the butter or ghee in a large saucepan. Add the Garam Masala paste and the chopped garlic. Simmer for a minute or so. Add the tomato sauce and begin reducing for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the cream and yogurt and continue to reduce until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the chili paste, sugar, and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and sugar. Return the chicken breasts to the pan and allow the dish to simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve over or with Jasmine rice with Indian Naan flat bread.
Homemade Curry Spice Mix – Garam Masala
Curry powders of India and other parts of Asia are not a single spice but a blend of many spices. If you have never made your own curry spices you should try it; it‘s so much better than store-bought curry powders. Here‘s a standard recipe for classis Indian Curry. This recipe goes well with any mean, chicken, or lamb. I like to marinate chicken in the spices and then braise them. Or, mix the spices with plain yogurt and marinate the chicken, beef, shrimp, or pork. Then braise. The Indian name for this curry is Garam Masala.
Ingredients 20 Whole Cumin seed 40 Cardamom seed – break them out of the little pods 1 Whole cinnamon bark stick 4 Whole Cloves 20 Whole peppercorns 20 Whole coriander leaves 2 whole Red chili peppers 1 tsp. Turmeric powder 3 to 4 TBS. Ghee (clarified butter) Directions Toast the seeds in a heavy bottom sauté pan until the seeds start to pop and give off a great aroma. Grind the warm seeds and cinnamon bark pieces in a clean electric grinder or mash into a powder using a mortar and pestle. Mix with chopped coriander, finely chopped red chili peppers and a little ghee to make into a paste. The turmeric will give it a golden yellow color. It will keep for weeks in the refrigerator stored in a sealed jar. The taste and aroma is fantastic. Marinate chicken, beef, lamb, or fish in the spice mixture. Broil, or braise. The flavors are great. There are other spice combinations that can be added or deleted but this is the basic curry mix. I like to marinate lamb chunks for a few hours or even overnight, brown the lamb, then slow cook with a stock over the lamb. Sauté celery, onions, carrots, tomatoes in the pot with the lamb, cover with the stock and cook for about 2 hours until the lamb is very tender and the vegetables are cooked to a puree. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. It should be spicy. Serve the mixture over Basmati rice. Server with homemade Nan bread and steamed vegetables. A good chardonnay is great with Indian food, or a hearth red wine like a syrah.
Wild Grouse with Wild Mushrooms
Grouse is one of the most popular game birds in America. It can be found almost everywhere. Its habitat is usually in heavily wooded areas. Grouse nest on the ground and their camouflage is extremely effective – they are nearly impossible to see when sitting on their nest. Grouse live on seeds and small insects. Grouse tastes very similar to chicken and its size is similar to a small frying chicken. The only difference is that Grouse is a bit tougher. It is best to use a two step cooking process, called braising. This will insure a tender and delicious bird. I also recommend soaking the Grouse breasts in brine for about three hours prior to cooking (see procedure for brining meats). This recipe and process works well for pheasant and partridge (chucker) as well. Happy hunting.
Ingredients 4 whole Grouse breasts, split into two and deboned 1 cup flour 1 cups white wine 2 cups chicken stock 1 ½ ounce of brandy 1 medium onion chopped fine 1 small carrot chopped fine 1 lb. wild mushrooms, shitake will work fine. 2 tsp. chopped garlic 3 TBS butter 3 TBS olive oil Dave‘s Seasoning Mix Directions: Remove the Grouse breasts from the brine and pat dry. Split the Grouse breasts and remove the bones and rib cage. Season the breasts with the seasoning mixture. Lightly flour the breasts and sauté in a mixture of olive oil and butter. Reserve 2 TBS. of the butter. When the breasts are lightly browned, remove from the pan and reserve on a warm plate. Add the vegetables and sauté until the onions are clear. Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Return the Grouse to the pan and, over high heat, add the brandy and flame. Add the white wine and the chicken stock. Cook, covered in a 375 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. Add the garlic Remove the pan from the oven and remove the breasts. Reduce the sauce over high heat. Adjust the seasoning. You may thicken the sauce slightly with corn starch-water slurry. Serve the breasts with the sauce covering. I recommend accompanying the Grouse with garlic mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or wild rice. Serve with a sturdy white wine and crusty French bread.
Dave’s Poultry Seasoning Mixture
5 parts coarse salt 1 part coarse ground black pepper 1 part granulated garlic 1 part granulated onion 79
1 part ground paprika ¼ part ground thyme
Recently I hunted wild Turkey in Eastern Washington (that‘s me on the right). It was great fun; the hunt took almost 3 hours before I finally had a decent shot at a young Tom. Wild turkeys have incredible eyesight and are much smarter than given credit for. As soon as the turkey was cleaned I popped it in the freezer for cooking the next week. Wild turkey is extremely lean meat, as are most game birds. They are flavorful but can be a bit dry if not prepared correctly. The most important step is brining the turkey. Refer to my recipe for brining chickens. A large wild turkey should sit in the brine overnight. When the turkey is initially prepped it should be skinned. This makes the cleaning process much easier but removes the skin. As a result you need to provide some fat or the bird will be too dry. Ingredients Wild turkey, skin on or skinned 1 stick of butter ½ lb salt pork Meat injector 2 cups chicken stock ½ onion, rough chopped 1 carrot, rough chopped 1 stalk celery, rough chopped Large roasting pan Heavy duty aluminum foil ¼ cup Seasoning mix Preparation After thawing the bird slowly in the refrigerator wash it off in cold water and plunge it into a brine solution of salt, vinegar, sugar, and water to completely cover the bird. Brine overnight. Remove the bird from the brine and wash in cold water again. Check carefully for any shot entry spots and feel around for shot. Carefully pry out any shot if you find it. Place the bird in a roasting pan, directly on the pan, not in a rack. Add the cut vegetables. Melt the butter. Begin injecting the bird in various locations using up all the butter. Pour any remaining butter all over the cold bird. The butter should solidify almost immediately. Season the bird with the seasoning mix inside and out, especially on the bottom of the bird. Slice the salt pork into very thin slices and drape them over the bird, including over the legs. You can substitute bacon for the salt pork but blanch the bacon first to remove some of the smoke flavor.
Tightly cover the bird and roasting pan with aluminum foil. Roast in a 335 degree F oven. Roast for about 4 hours. Check occasionally and add some chicken stock about ½ way through the cooking process. Remove the foil for the last few minutes. Turkey gravy Make a blond roux (equal parts of flour and fat by weight, cooked over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Do not burn) Add the strained stock form the roasting pan whisking continuously. Remember the rule for no lumps, cold stock to hot roux – hot stock to cold roux. Thicken the gravy. Add 1 TBS sherry. Season to taste. Darken with a little kitchen bouquet if you like.
Stuffed Breast of Chicken (or any game bird)
This is a great stuffed poultry dish with rich Northern Italian flavors that lends itself to Upland Game Birds as well as domestic fowl. Serves 4 adults. Chicken Breasts 4 large boneless chicken breasts or ½ game birds, bone in. Slit the chicken breasts to form a pocket that can easily be resealed. You may also use the hanging chicken tender to keep the stuffing from falling out. Stuffing 1 ½ cup ricotta cheese 8 to 10 sun dried tomatoes – chopped fine. If you want to make your own, see directions below. I often use the ones that come in the jars because they are packed in olive oil, which can be reserved for cooking the chicken breasts. 1 or 2 whole red peppers, roasted with blackened skin and seeds removed – chopped fine (roast the peppers over direct flame until all the skin is blackened, finish in a hot oven for about 10 minutes, place into a paper bag, which is closed tightly. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes or until cool. Remove the skin and seeds) ¼ cup parmesan cheese 2 TBS of softened butter 2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped fine 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped in chiffonnade style (Stack the leaves one on top of the other and roll tightly into a cylinder, like a cigar. Slice the cylinders of leaves crosswise into thin strips) Salt and pepper (stuffing should be well seasoned) ¼ tsp red pepper flakes Mix well with a spoon, making sure the chopped vegetables are well blended into the cheese mixture. Adjust seasoning Process Using a tablespoon, place a large dollop of stuffing into the slit in the chicken breasts or into the cavity of the halved Cornish game hens or game birds (remove rib bones for easier eating). Place the stuffed birds into the freezer for about 10 minutes or until they hold their shape. You don‘t want any of the stuffing to ooze out while cooking. Brush with the oil from the sun dried tomatoes (if you don‘t have enough, add a little good Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and season with salt and pepper. I use coarse Kosher salt because it will keep some of its texture while cooking. When it hits the tongue it gives a mini blast of saltiness, which really accentuates the flavor of the food. Bake in a hot oven, 420 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until done. Don‘t over cook the chicken – nothing worse than a dry chicken breast.
Sauce In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, make a roux of equal parts of flour and butter (about ¼ cup total). Cook the roux for about 3 minutes over high heat to remove the floury flavor. Add 1 cup of cold chicken stock and white wine (homemade stock is best but canned works well also) and begin whisking in rapidly to work out any lumps. When the sauce is very thick, add milk or cream to complete the béchamel (fancy word for white sauce). The sauce should just coat a spoon (not too thick). Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper (white pepper is
nice because it doesn‘t leave black specs in the sauce). Add 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of nutmeg. I also whisk in a ½ cup of parmesan cheese, whisking all the while to avoid any lumps or strings of cheese. Serving Place the stuffed chicken breasts on a plate, top with a nap of the white sauce and accompany with wild rice or fresh pasta, and a nice green vegetable. Fresh asparagus is excellent, steamed and seasoned with salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Serve with crusty French bread and a Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. Enjoy.
Homemade roasted tomatoes.
To mimic a good sun dried tomato use Italian plum tomatoes and slice them lengthwise and place on a baking pan. Season the tomatoes with salt, pepper, and good Ex Virgin Olive Oil. Bake in the oven slowly at 250 degrees F for about 4 to 5 hours, or until the tomatoes shrink, wrinkle, and appear somewhat dry and leathery. Allow the tomatoes to cool and loosely pack in a mason jar. Cover the tomatoes with olive oil and store in the fridge. The oil will become cloudy and thick. To use, let the tomatoes come to room temperature and use just like a sun dried tomatoes. They are great in sauces, pizza, and for stuffing‘s.
More people have trouble cooking rice to perfection than any other common food item. There is a simple formula to remember when cooking rice and it applies to any rice dish except Risotto - one part rice to two parts liquid. I never rinse my rice, unless I am making a pilaf and I want to make sure the rice grains are separate.
Place 1 cup white rice in a two quart sauce pan. Add two parts of liquid, it can be either stock, or a mixture of stock, water, wine, etc. Season with 1 TBS of butter and a tsp. of salt. Cover the pan. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to a simmer or lowest setting for your burner. Leave the pan alone for 20 minutes. When you are ready to serve remove the cover and fluff the rice with a fork. You are ready to serve.
Over the years people have asked me what is my favorite chicken recipe. It changes from week to week but a consistent favorite is Chicken Parmesan with a white sauce instead of a traditional red sauce. This was served at the 13 Coins but with some modifications. I have prepared this dish with many variations over the years and my guests are always pleased.
Ingredients 4 split chicken breasts – pounded thin 4 thin slices of mozzarella cheese Spaghetti or another pasta for 4 people – fresh if possible ½ cup flour 2 TBS fresh chopped parsley 1 cup cracker crumbs 2 whole eggs - beaten 3 cups Mornay sauce ¼ cup white wine ½ cup good quality Parmesan cheese - grated 3 TBS EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) Directions: Gently pound the chicken breasts out between sheets of plastic film or a plastic bag split open on three sides. Reserve in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. Prepare a Mornay sauce. Bread the chicken breasts, first in flour, egg wash, then in bread crumbs. Sauté the chicken breasts for one minute each side or until golden. Place on a baking sheet and top each breasts with the mozzarella cheese. Place in a 475 degree F oven. Deglaze the pan with a bit of white wine and reduce to a syrup. Add your Mornay sauce to the sauté pan, which was just used to cook the breasts. Cook for one minute more. If you are using fresh pasta cook it right before serving. Place some sauce on the plate, a couple of ounces under both the chicken and the noodles. Place the cooked breasts on the sauce and then place the cooked pasta on its bit of sauce. Top the chicken with the grated Parmesan cheese. Top the pasta with some Parmesan and chopped parsley. Serve with a sturdy white wine and crusty French bread.
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
Moroccan recipes are intensely flavorful, bright, and exotic. The Tagine clay cooking pot (also spelled Tajine) is unique to North African cooking and to the south border of the Mediterranean Sea. The Tagine is usually placed right on the hot coals and the dish is cooked slowly for about 1 hour or more. The most unique flavor of tagine chicken comes from the preserved lemons. You can buy preserved lemons over the internet but you can also make your own. There is a recipe for them at the bottom of the page. If you don‘t want to go out and buy a tagine, simply use a large cast iron Dutch oven or some other type of pottery cookware with a large cover. Some crock pots allow you to remove the crockery from the metal heating element that that will work well also. Do not put the pottery directly on the flame or electric burner; it will crack the pottery. If using a gas range, use a flame spreader to disperse the heat, or cook in the oven. There is usually no problem when using hot coals and the direct heat method. Ingredients 8 chicken parts; legs, thighs, and breasts, or any combination 1 onion, chopped fine ¼ cup chopped cilantro ¼ cup chopped Italian broadleaf parsley 2 cups high quality Greek green olives, pitted if possible 4 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped fine 2 tsp. paprika 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped fine 1 or two whole preserved lemon, cut into quarters 3 TBS. juice from the preserved lemon jar Salt and pepper to taste
Procedure Arrange the chicken pieces on the tagine pot or in a Dutch oven. Spread the onions, garlic, and chopped greens and spices over the vegetables and chicken. Arrange the preserved lemons and olives around the chicken. Add two or three cups of water to the pan. Season with pepper and a little salt and cover the dish with the tagine cover. Either place directly on hot coals or in a hot over for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. The idea is not to open the lid of the Dutch oven or tagine until serving time. When the lid comes off, the aroma hits you like a Moroccan night, taking you on a evening with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Serve with warmed pita bread, couscous, and a light white wine.
Wash several whole lemons and cut them about half the way through in quarters. Sprinkle about 1 TBS of coarse salt onto each lemon. Put about 1 TBS. of coarse salt into the bottom of a large mason jar. Stuff the lemons into the jar. If they are large you can usually get three in there. Add a little more salt and about ½ cup of lemon juice. Seal the jar tightly and store in the freezer for about 1 hour, then move to the refrigerator. Marinate the lemons in the salt/lemon juice mixture for about 8 days. The lemons will darken in color and produce a intensely flavored lemony brine. When you open the jar the aroma will tantalize and amaze you. When ready to use, remove a lemon from the jar and wash off any excess salt, if it has not already turned into a brine.
Bisque is a chowder that has all the chunky vegetable pieces strained out. It is a rich, thick, smooth soup that is very flavorful with the primary ingredient standing out from the flavors. Ingredients 1 to 2 lbs. fresh crab meat, depending on the number of people you are serving. I suggest using whole crabs and remove the meat from every nook and cranny – save the shells for stock. If you can find fresh live Dungeness crabs, all the better. Then you can steam yourself, cool, remove the crab meat, and save the cooking liquid for the stock. This basic recipe can be used for lobster bisque, shrimp, crawfish, etc. Ingredients ½ medium onion, rough chopped 2 stalks celery, rough chopped 1 medium carrot, rough chopped 1 quart fish stock, shrimp stock, or shrimp stock enriched with crab shells 1 pint whipping cream 6 TBS unsalted butter 1 TBS tomato paste ¼ tsp thyme 2 tsp. paprika 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you like) 2 cloves garlic, smashed fine ¼ cup sherry 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce Procedure In a quart of shrimp or fish stock, add the shells from two or three crabs, preferably from the crabs you just removed the crab meat from. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain into a sauce pan. Sauté the chopped the vegetables in 3 TBS butter until just clear. Add flour to the sautéing vegetables to form a roux. Pour the stock over the vegetable/flour mix and cook until the soup thickens. Add the tomato paste, thyme, and garlic to the soup. Add the cream and simmer until the sauce reduces a little and the sauce thickens again slightly. Add the sherry and Worcestershire sauce. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Finally add the crabmeat and simmer for a few minutes more. Serve with oyster crackers or toast points. Garnish the bisque with a teaspoon of fresh crab meat right in the center of the soup. Some also garnish with a dollop of sour cream, or both. Bisque can be served with either a rich oaken chardonnay or even a full bodied red, such as a Cabernet or Syrah. Enjoy
The word gumbo (combo) is an African word for soup. This highlights the many influences that make up South Louisiana food. The influences are from black plantation workers, Native Americans, Spanish settlers, and the French speaking Acadian settlers who became the Cajuns. The Cajuns were unique farmers and fishermen of the Louisiana bayous. Cajun food is one of the very few truly indigenous forms of American cooking. Gumbo is usually flavored with filé powder (fee-lay), which comes from ground sassafras leaves. It was used by the Native Americans to thicken their soups and was picked up by the African Americans who settled in the bayous. Gumbo, like so many other Cajun dishes, was a poor man‘s dish. It was set on the stove early in the day and whatever was caught was thrown into the pot. Okra was also used frequently, as it was a common vegetable and gave the soup a slightly slimy texture. If you want to make chicken gumbo only, leave out the seafood and use only chicken stock. Ingredients 1 to 2 cups brown roux 2 stalks of Celery – chopped fine 1 medium onion – chopped fine 1 bunch of green onions – chopped fine 1 green pepper – chopped fine 1 red pepper – chopped fine ¼ cup chopped parsley 3 Italian plum tomatoes, chopped fine 8 cups chicken or fish stock, depending on the kind of gumbo you are making (see recipe below) 3 whole bay leaves ½ tsp. chili powder 2 TBS. filé powder ½ tsp. cumin 1 tsp. thyme 1 tsp. ground black pepper 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you want it really hot) 1 to 2 tsp. Tabasco sauce 1 TBS. of Worcestershire sauce 10 to 20 cloves of garlic, chopped fine, or more if you want it really garlicky 1 lb. Louisiana Andouille sausage, sliced (a good Italian or polish Kielbasa sausage will work fine if you can‘t find Andouille) 1 lb. chicken thighs or breasts, cut in half. You can use boneless chicken breasts for ease of eating but it‘s not authentic. Any combination of shucked oysters, clams, shrimp, redfish (red snapper), turtle meat, crab, crayfish (crawdads) or any other seafood you like.
Procedure In a large pot, make a brown roux by combining equal parts by weight of peanut oil and flour. 1 to 2 cups should be enough. Cook the roux over medium-high heat stirring constantly until the roux reaches the color of peanut butter. Don‘t let it burn or its useless and will give a burned flavor to the gumbo.
When the roux is done, add the vegetables and cook them in the roux for about 5 minutes. Brown the sausage and chicken in a separate sauté pan until the chicken is about 1/3 done. Add to the roux and vegetables. Add the stock to the pot and stir until it thickens a bit add the seasonings except for the garlic Cook the gumbo for about 20 minutes over medium heat to meld the flavors add the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes more begin adding the fish, the white fish first, shell fish, peeled and deveined shrimp last. When the shrimp are tender the soup is ready to serve. It should be only slightly thick and have a greenish-brown color. The aroma is fantastic. Serve Gumbo over steamed white rice with plenty of crusty French bread and cold beer. Stock for Gumbo While you may use canned chicken stock if you want, I like to take chicken bones, cover with about 10 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add a bay leaf, a rough cut onion, carrot and stalk of celery to the stock. Add the peels from the shrimp and any other fish bones you have around. When it comes to a boil skim the brown foam that rises to the top and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain the stock and adjust the seasonings. Bring the strained stock to a boil again and reduce to about 8 cups. For chicken gumbo, leave out the fish parts.
Cincinnati chili is rarely found in recipe books these days. It is essentially a meat sauce served in the style of the great Cincinnati chili houses and diners in the mid-west. It‘s usually not found anywhere else in the US. It‘s characteristic flavor is cinnamon. It‘s not hot chili but very flavorful. It‘s served one way, two way, three way, etc. One way is just the sauce. Two way is over spaghetti noodles. Three way is with a mountain of shredded cheddar on top. You get the idea.
Ingredients 1 large onion chopped 1.5 pound extra-lean ground beef 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 teaspoon ground allspice 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper, more if you like it hotter. 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 TBS unsweetened cocoa or 1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon cider vinegar 1/2 cup water Directions Sauté the hamburger and onions until the burger is completely browned. Add all other ingredients except the garlic. Simmer for 1 hour. Add the garlic and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning for salt and pepper. The amount of cayenne is up to your individual tastes.
Texas Style Hot Chili – Lower Calorie Version
Southwest chili is an American institution. It is the subject of all the Chili cook-off‘s held in the US and around the world. This chili has no beans, it is purely a meat chili in a rich, fiery sauce. Generally it is served with condiments on the side, such as beans, cheese, onions, cottage cheese, crackers, even pasta. It is made like the famous Cincinnati Chili, but without the cocoa powder and much hotter. My current version is made with lean meat and no added fat, so it has all the flavors but much less fat. It is made from chipotle peppers, which come canned in adobo sauce. The chipotle is nothing but a ripe jalapeno pepper which has been smoked and packed in the rich reddish brown adobo sauce. They are very hot so use cautiously, starting out with one or two first. I generally use three but some in the family can‘t eat the chili because its too hot. Ingredients 1 lbs. pork shoulder or butt, trimmed of all fat and sinew, chopped into small ¼ inch cubes 1 lb. ground turkey breast 1 lb. ground beef – extra lean 1 red bell pepper 1 jalapeño pepper, green or ripe 3 banana peppers – ripe 1 jar whole roasted red peppers and juice 2 - 3 chipotle peppers – canned in adobo sauce. 1 large whole onion – chopped fine 8 cloves fresh garlic – chopped fine 1 medium can whole Italian plum tomatoes, chopped 1 small can tomato paste 1.5 quarts of water or canned beef stock 2 tsp. prepared beef base (paste type) 1 TBS. peanut oil or canola oil 1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce 2 TBS. maze or white corn flower 1 TBS. brown sugar or dark molasses 6 or 75 drops Wrights Liquid Smoke 2 TBS. cumin 2 TBS mild chili powder 2 TBS Mexican oregano Salt to taste Directions: Roast the fresh peppers in a hot (450 degree F) oven for about 15 minutes or until the skins begin to blacken. You may also achieve a similar effect by scorching them with propane torch or over the gas burner. Make sure to blister and blacken every nook and cranny of the pepper. Place the scorched or baked peppers in a paper bag for about ½ hour. When cool, remove from the bag and peel most of the skins. Don‘t worry if you can‘t get it all. Chop the peppers coarsely. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the chopped onions and brown to a rich caramelized state. Remove from the pan. Add the meat to the pan, a little at a time to brown. If you put it all in you will simply steam the meat and it won‘t get browned. Once it is all browned, return the onions and all other vegetables to the pan. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Add the tomato products and about 1.5 quarts of water. Add the seasonings except for the garlic. Cook the chili for one or two hours. It will cook down, darken in color and thicken slightly. Add the
garlic and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the corn flour by sprinkling it in and stirring at the same time so it doesn‘t form lumps. Adjust the seasoning with salt. Feel free to adjust any of the ingredients to your personal tastes. This is a dark, richly flavored chili with the intense heat and smoke of the chipotle and roasted peppers. The more roasted peppers you use the richer the flavor. If it‘s summer time and you want to actually smoke these peppers yourself over mesquite wood on a BBQ grill, all the better. Serve with grated cheddar or monetary jack cheese, chopped red onions, crackers, thick slices of homemade bread, grilled flour tortillas, cooked pinto beans, or corn chips – and plenty of cold Corona beer. If you are watching calories skip the condiments and drink light beer. This chili can easily stand on its own.
Quick Pepper Table
Pepper Arbol Anaheim Poblano Ancho Heat index Extremely hot – always seen ripe and red Mild – green or yellow when ripe Mild – dark red Mild Use Used in Mexican dishes and Asian cuisine Great roasted, sweet and mild, used in Chiles Rellanos, Sweet and mild, used in soups and chilies. Very flavorful. This is the poblano which has been dried, flavorful and mild, great in sauces Smoked jalapeño peppers, usually served in abodo sauce. Great in chilies and sauces Small red pepper 10 times hotter than the Jalapeno. Be careful! Hotter than jalapeno, used in pickling, and in many Mexican or SW dishes Long and dark red. Dried used in Mexican moles and sauces Used green or ripe. Used in all kinds of dips, deep fried, etc.
Habanero (scotch bonnet) Serrano
Extremely Hot Hot
Occasionally I like to make a healthier chili, one that everyone in the household will eat. You can use either chicken or turkey. Don‘t use ground meat, it doesn‘t have the right texture. Here is a great recipe for chicken chili that has plenty of flavor and heat.
Ingredients 2 whole boneless chicken breasts 2 TBS. olive oil 2 medium onions – chopped fine 1 large can of diced tomatoes in juice 1 can beef consume 1 small can of diced green chilies 2 cans of white beans 2 cups water 2 TBS chili powder 1 TBS ground cumin 2 TBS corn meal 2 tsp. sugar 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine 1TBS Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp. red pepper flakes – more if you like ½ tsp. cinnamon Salt to taste Directions: Dice the chicken breasts, chop the onions to a fine dice. Sauté the onions in the olive oil until translucent and add the diced chicken breasts. Cook covered for about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, water, chilies, beans, and all seasonings except garlic for about 1 hour over medium heat. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and stir in the corn meal. Continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes. I like to serve the chili in small bread bowls, with grated cheddar and cottage cheese.
Cream of Chicken Barley soup
On these colder rainy days, a bowl of soup and a slice of bread for dinner is just the ticket. For years at the 13 Coins, on Wednesdays I would make Creamy Chicken Barley soup. It was by far our most popular, next to the minestrone. Barley takes a while to cook since it is a tough rubbery grain so it requires patience.
Ingredients 1 one lb. bag of pearl barley 3 quarts chicken stock, either homemade or canned (you may want to enrich your homemade stock with a little paste type chicken base) ½ cup each of finely diced - carrot, celery, onion, and white turnip 1 pint ½ & ½ or whole milk if you think the cream is too heavy ¼ cup chopped parsley 1 to 2 lbs. of cooked boneless chicken breast meat, cooked ahead, cooled and diced fine 1 bay leaf 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine ½ tsp. Tabasco sauce 2 TBS. unsalted butter ¼ cup flour White pepper 1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce Salt to taste Directions Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the barley. Cover the pot. Cook the barley until tender. You may need to add a little more stock about half way through the process. The barley should soften in about 35 to 40 minutes. When the barley is cooked, add the vegetables, reserving the parsley until last. Allow the vegetables to cook for about 5 minutes. Make a roux out of the butter and flour. Cook the roux for a few minutes to cook out the flour taste. Whisk it into the soup a little at a time until the soup thickens to gravy consistency. Allow the soup to cook for about 3 minutes more. Add the chicken, cream, seasonings, and blend well. Adjust the seasoning for salt and pepper. Add the parsley at the last minute.
Peanut soup is one of those dishes that you either like or don‘t. It‘s rich and creamy with a down-south taste that reminds you of Georgia at Thanksgiving time. I like to serve it as a starter before meat dishes. It‘s filling so it could also be a meal by itself. One note of caution – do not use the bland Skippy or Jiff types as they are full of saturated fat (shortening) used to stabilize them on the shelf. Use an extra premium natural brand, such as Adams
Ingredients 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter 4 cups of chicken stock ¼ cup chopped celery ¼ cup chopped carrot ¼ cup chopped onion 3 TBS unsalted butter 1 TBS dark brown sugar ½ pint of heavy cream ¼ cup finely chopped peanuts ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper Salt & Pepper to taste Directions: Sauté the Mirepoix in 1 TBS. butter (chopped celery, onion, carrot) until tender. Add the chicken stock and simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain the vegetables out of the stock and return the stock to the sauce pan. Add the peanut butter, cream, and seasonings to the soup. Simmer for another 5 minutes and adjust the seasonings with salt & pepper. Garnish each bowl with the chopped peanuts and a little chopped parsley.
Cream of Tomato Soup
On a cold fall day there is nothing like homemade cream of tomato soup, redolent with the subtle flavor of sherry and fresh basil. I like to make mine by using homemade chicken stock that I keep in the freezer for just such times. However if you don‘t have any in the freezer make some. I‘ve included the recipe. You can use canned chicken stock, enriched with a little quality chicken paste, but it isn‘t nearly as good. Don‘t scrimp on the cream, it is what makes the soup so rich and flavorful. The mouth-feel of a real cream soup is part of the overall experience. You will never buy Campbell‘s again.
Ingredients 2 Quarts of homemade chicken stock 1 pint of whipping cream 1 large or two regular size cans of diced plum tomatoes in juice 3 TBS tomato paste ¼ cup each of finely diced carrots, celery, onion 2 tsp. paprika 1 TBS. Worcestershire Sauce ½ tsp. cayenne pepper 4 TBS dry sherry 2 TBS butter Two cloves garlic, smashed and chopped fine ½ cup finely chopped fresh Basil (chiffonnade style of cut) Salt to taste Directions Prepare a quality chicken stock starting with about a gallon of cold water, 2 lbs. of chicken bones, a rough cut onion, stalk of celery, and rough cut carrot. Add a bay leaf and a few whole peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and skim off any scum which will rise to the surface. Simmer for about 40 minutes and allow to cool slightly. Strain the stock through a strainer or double layer of cheesecloth. Reduce the stock further to 2 quarts and strain again if needed. Place the stock in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to use skim the solidified chicken fat from the surface. I save the chicken fat to sauté fresh vegetables or to make a roux for chicken based cream soups. There is nothing better. Bring the stock to a boil and add the finely diced vegetables. After about 5 minutes of simmering add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for another 5 minutes and add the cream, sherry, and seasonings. Adjust the seasonings and finish by whisking in the butter. Top with homemade croutons, a dollop of sour cream, or a some more shredded fresh basil. Serve with a crusty French bread and a big chardonnay.
Turkey Rice Soup
Every Thanksgiving, after we have had our fill of Thanksgiving day leftovers I make Turkey Rice soup. I make sure that the day after Thanksgiving I remove all the meat from the turkey carcass and save all the turkey bones, skin, and gelatin that forms on the bottom of the turkey platter. All these bones go into a stock pot and will make a delicious turkey soup. There are so many variations to this soup. Use noodles instead of rice. Add any variety of aromatic vegetables you like. Make it a turkey cream soup if you wish - the possibilities are endless.
Ingredients 4 to 6 quarts of rich turkey stock 1 cup white rice 1 cup chopped celery 1 cup chopped onion 1 cup chopped celery 2 cups chopped white cabbage ¼ cup chopped parsley 1 lb. coarse chipped leftover Thanksgiving turkey 1 cups leftover turkey gravy 2 bay leaves 1 tsp. oregano Directions Place all your turkey bones into a stock pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and carefully skim off any scum that rises to the tip. After about 2 hours of simmering, turn the heat off. Allow the stock to cool and strain through a fine strainer into a large bowl. Place in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 12 hours). Carefully scrape off the fat which has risen to the top of the bowl. Place the gelatinized stock, bay leaves, and oregano in to a large soup pot and bring the stock to a rapid boil. Reduce by ¼th. Add the rice and simmer for 10 minutes more. Add the chopped vegetables, except the parsley. Simmer until the rice is cooked. Add the parsley, turkey gravy, and turkey meat. Adjust the seasoning with salt and ground black pepper. Serve with tossed salad, dinner rolls or crusty French bread, and a good turkey wine; such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, or champagne.
One of the most popular traditional Italian soups is Minestrone. There are dozens of recipes but here is the one that I have used for years. I vary the ingredients all the time using up what I have leftover in the fridge. Feel free to add whatever you like remembering to keep it in the Italian vein. Use fresh basil if you like or any fresh Italian spice. Use fresh whole tomatoes and chop them yourself. You get the idea.
Ingredients Chicken stock – 4 cups Beef consume – 1 can 2 stalks Celery – diced 1 cup shredded cabbage 1 medium Onion - diced 1 large Carrot - diced 4 oz. Chopped spinach – thoroughly drained 1 medium, sliced Zucchini ¼ cup Orzo, Tubetini, stars, or some other small soup pasta 1 TBS Italian Seasoning 3 cloves, crushed Garlic Crushed Red pepper 1 can Garbanzo beans - drained 1 can white beans - drained 1 can diced tomato in juice Olive oil Cooked Italian sausage, sliced (optional) Shredded parmesan cheese Directions In a soup pot heat the olive oil. Sauté the vegetables until just tender. Add the stock, tomatoes in juice, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and add the pasta and the beans. Cook until the pasta is tender. Add the chopped, drained, spinach and sausage. Cook for 5 minutes more. Adjust the seasoning. Serve with a TBS of parmesan cheese and crusty Italian bread.
Beef Barley soup
This is one of the greatest barley soups, popular in the UK, Ireland, and throughout central and eastern Europe. Barley has long been the grain of choice in ancient soups. Often the barley is cooked and the barley water is used for making beer. Early recipes for beer didn‘t use hops as it is a more recent beer making phenomenon. Barley soup is a peasant soup, using what bits and scraps of beef you could find. It‘s a great way to use up leftover pot roast.
Ingredients 1 one lb. bag of pearl barley 2 quarts beef stock, either homemade or canned (you may want to enrich your homemade stock with Campbell‘s Beef Consommé ½ cup each of finely diced - carrot, celery, onion, and red bell pepper ¼ cup chopped parsley 1 to 2 lbs. of cooked beef, cooked ahead, cooled and diced fine 1 bay leaf 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine ½ tsp. Tabasco sauce 1 TBS. unsalted butter Pepper 1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce Salt to taste Procedure Bring the beef stock to a boil and add the barley. Cover the pot. Cook the barley until tender. You may need to add a little more stock about half way through the process. The barley should soften in about 35 to 40 minutes. When the barley is cooked, sauté the vegetables and add them to the soup, reserving the parsley until last. Allow the vegetables to cook for about 5 minutes. The barley will thicken the soup to the proper consistency. Allow the soup to cook for about 3 minutes more. Add the beef, seasonings, and blend well – cook for an additional 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning for salt and pepper. Add the parsley at the last minute.
Potato Leek Soup
Every great cookbook has a recipe for potato leek soup. This is a simple one to make and very delicious, especially on cold winter days. If no leeks are available use good white onions and green onions. Since I usually make this soup the day after I serve a roast, which has been accompanied by mashed potatoes, I usually make a little more mashed potatoes than necessary. If you don‘t have leftover mashed potatoes don‘t worry about it. Ingredients 3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes 1 cup of leftover mashed potatoes if you have them. 4 cups chicken stock (homemade, canned, or use a good quality chicken paste) 1 cup heavy cream 1 or two leeks, trimmed, sliced into thin strips, and washed ¼ lb butter ¼ cup flour 1 bay leaf ¼ tsp. thyme 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce ½ tsp. Cracked black pepper ½ tsp. cayenne pepper Salt to taste Procedure Cut the potatoes into ½ inch cubes. Melt half the butter in a soup pot. Add the leeks and sauté for 5 minutes or until the leeks become somewhat translucent. Add the flour and make a little roux. Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes and mashed potatoes. Simmer until the cubed potatoes are tender. Add the cream and seasonings. Adjust to your desired level of seasoning. Creamy potato leek soup is hearty but sophisticated. It can be served with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped chives. If accompanies by a crusty bread and a good white wine it is a meal in itself.
Cream of Asparagus Soup
Several restaurants in Seattle have offered Asparagus soup from time to time. I made it a couple of weeks ago and it was delicious. It‘s not something you want all the time because it‘s rich but it makes a great starter for a special dinner. Ingredients 1 medium yellow onion, rough chopped 1 stalk celery, rough chopped 1 bunch fresh asparagus, rough chopped. 3 cups chicken stock 3 TBS unsalted butter 1 pint heavy cream 3 oz. high quality blue cheese Sprig of fresh thyme 2 cloves garlic, smashed Salt and pepper to taste Procedure Sauté the vegetables in 1 TBS butter for a few minutes until the onions are sweated. Add the chicken stock and thyme; simmer until the vegetables are tender. Pour the stock and vegetables into a blender and blend until completely pureed. You may need to do this in three batches so you don‘t blow the lid off the blender and scald yourself with hot stock. Return the soup to the sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the cream and reduce slightly. Add the blue cheese and finish the soup with the remaining butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Spécialité de la Maison
Pasta and Wild Mushrooms
In the fall as the wild mushrooms begin appearing in specialty markets it‘s a great time to make homemade pasta with a variety of mushrooms in a Marsala cream sauce. Here‘s a recipe I‘ve prepared many times and enjoy serving to friends and family. Marsala wine is characterized by its fairly intense amber color, and its complex aroma that shows hints of strong alcohol flavor, perhaps due to Marsala's relatively high alcohol content of 16% to 20% Ingredients 1 to 2 lbs fresh made pasta 1 shallot 1 lb fresh wild mushrooms ½ cup Marsala wine ½ pint heavy cream ¼ lb unsalted butter 6 to 8 oz freshly grated, high quality Parmesan cheese Salt and pepper to taste Procedure Make fresh pasta by combining 1 lb all purpose flour (semolina can be used if you have it) and 4 egg yolks. Place the flour on a cutting board and make a little well or depression in the center. Drop the yolks into the indentation and beginning mixing the flour and egg yolk with a fork or with your hands. You may need to add a little water if it is too dry. Once the pasta dough is completely mixed cut in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Unwrap the pasta dough. Divide each piece into two smaller pieces and begin running each piece through the past machine at the widest setting. Fold the past in 3rds and run it through the machine at each successively thinner setting. You may need to sprinkle a little flour between runs to keep it from sticking to the rollers. Allow the long sheets to dry for 10 minutes on a clean broom handle between two chair backs.
You may use any pasta variety you wish although I prefer to lay the long sheets out and cut them into random pieces, generally 1‖ by 2‖ in size. Drop the pasta into boiling salted water. Use a good handful of salt to a large pot of water. The pasta will float to the top after a minute or so. Take it out and drop it right into the sauté pan with the rest of the ingredients. Chop a shallot fine and sauté in 3 TBS butter. Slice the wild mushrooms into thick slices and drop into the pan; sauté until just soft. Add the Marsala wine and reduce for a minute or two over high heat. Add the cream and allow to reduce until the buttery sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter. Add ½ of the grated Parmesan cheese and carefully blend in. Add the cooked pasta and stir carefully. Adjust the seasoning. Place in large pasta bowls and top with a generous portion of the grated parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty Italian bread and a crisp white wine.
Mushroom Steak Sauce
A classic Champignon Sauce is a wonderful combination of mushrooms, brown stock, red wine, and aromatics. A quicker but very delicious version can easily be made using a good canned beef consommé. This sauce is great on meats, chicken, and on hearty vegetables. You can either leave the mushrooms in the sauce or strain the sauce. I like the strained version over large grilled mushrooms or with game. Recently I grilled a thick rib eye and large mushrooms over a very hot mesquite coals. The sauce was great on both. I added the meat juices as the beef rested and the juice from the grilled mushroom caps.
Ingredients 1 lb mushrooms, either button, shitake, portabella, wild varieties, or a combination of all – chopped 1 tsp flour 1 shallot, chopped fine 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine and smashed 1 small carrot, chopped fine 1 can beef consommé 1 cup red wine 1 tsp balsamic vinegar 1 tsp raspberry, blackberry, or grape jam 2 tsp. Dijon mustard 1 TBS canola oil 3 TBS unsalted butter Salt and pepper to taste Procedure Sauté the onions and finely chopped carrot in canola oil, in a medium sized sauté pan until just barely clear. Add the mushrooms and garlic. Sauté for 3 or 4 minutes over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms until completely absorbed. Add the beef consommé (use real beef stock if you wish) and the red wine. Reduce the sauce by half and strain through a fine sieve. Add the Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, and jam. Return to the pan and whisk in the butter, in chunks, over low heat a little at a time. When the butter is fully incorporated keep the sauce in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over very low heat until ready to use.
Low fat Ranch Dressing
Ingredients 1 container (8 oz) non-fat sour cream 2 heaping TBS low-fat mayo 1 pkg. fat free ranch dressing seasoning mix (Good Seasons, Original Ranch) 1 tsp. Garlic powder 1 tsp. Onion powder 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce 2 tsp. Lemon juice or balsamic vinegar Salt – to taste Pepper – to taste Directions Mix well, allow to sit for a few hours or overnight. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. You can also add blue cheese crumbles for a great Blue Cheese dressing. Last night I had this salad and dressing with baby shrimp. It was great. For a more traditional Ranch Dressing use regular mayonnaise, and sour cream.
Guacamole is a great summertime dip or any other time for that matter. Most Guacamole recipes are too complex and use ingredients that no self respecting Mexican cook would ever think of using. Guacamole should be chunky not homogenized. Here‘s my favorite recipe.
Ingredients Wooden salad bowl 3 ripe avocados 2 cloves garlic 3 TBS highest quality Salsa, without corn (make your own if you can) Juice from 1 lime 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce Kosher salt Mexican hot sauce or Tabasco sauce Procedure Cut the avocados in half, running a sharp French knife all around the avocado deep to the pit. Twist the two halves in opposite directions. The avocado will split into two parts – one half holding the large pit. Carefully slam the knife into the pit and twist. The pit should easily come out. Using one of your garlic cloves, thoroughly rub the inside of a wooden bowl until you have nearly saturated the bowl with garlic. There should be little left of the garlic clove after this process. Using a large spoon scoop the avocado into the garlic rubbed bowl. Chop the avocado coarsely with a fork. Add all the other ingredients, including the other garlic clove, which has been smashed to a paste, and gently mix, being careful not to make avocado mush. Adjust the flavor for salt and hot sauce. I like a fairly zippy guacamole. Cover the guacamole with plastic wrap, pushing the wrap right down on the surface of the dip to prevent any air from oxidizing the dip. Air is the enemy of the avocado – it will turn it brown in a matter of minutes. Placing the pit into the dip to keep it from turning brown is a myth; it doesn‘t work. Serve the guacamole either in the wooden bowl or in one of those cool Mexican stone bowls. Serve with good quality corn chips that have been deep fried in corn oil. It‘s easy to make your own. Also serve with plenty of cold beer.
North Country Boiled Dinner
Recently, during a visit to the North Country (Plattsburg, Dannemora New York area), I had a great family ham dinner. The next day my Uncle made a Boiled Dinner from the left over ham. I‘m sure that most places in America have reasonable facsimiles to the Boiled Dinner. This is simply a variation on Corned Beef & Cabbage. However, it is usually made with the ham dinner left over from Easter or some other special occasion. Upper New York state, just east of Lake Champlain has some of the best ham in the country – not sure why. The North Country folks save the ham stock from the original cooking and of course, the left over ham and ham bone. It‘s country comfort food at its best. Ingredients Left over ham with bone in 1 to 2 quarts of ham stock from the original cooking process 1 quart of chicken stock 6 to 8 small boiling onions 4 to 5 medium sized carrots 1 medium turnip – cut in quarters 6 to 8 small red or yellow potatoes 1 stalk of celery ½ head of white cabbage 1 bay leaf Freshly ground black pepper Procedure Trim the remaining meat from the ham, leaving the bone with little meat on it. You should have about 1 to 2 lbs of sliced ham pieces. Bring the ham stock and chicken stock to a boil. Add the bay leaf, carrots, celery, peeled turnips, peeled boiling onions, and thick slices of cabbage to the stock. Add the potatoes – the little fingerlings work well in this dish. Other vegetables such as turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips can also be added. Continue cooking until the potatoes and carrots are tender. The remaining ham stock can be strained and thickened slightly with a little roux to make delicious, reddishbrown gravy. There is no need to salt this dish as the ham stock and ham have plenty of salt already. Serve in a large bowl with a little of each vegetable, some good crusty bread, and cold beer.
Classic Blue Cheese Dressing
This is similar to the Blue Cheese salad dressing I used to make at the 13 Coins. It is thick, rich, redolent of Blue cheese, and delicious. The secret is in the mayonnaise and in the quality of the Blue cheese. It‘s even better if you can use real Roquefort Cheese. The difference is that Roquefort is only made from sheep‘s milk in caves in Roquefort France, nowhere else. The identifying mark is the little red sheep in the oval circle found only on true Roquefort cheese.
Ingredients 1 cup of high quality Blue cheese – more if you like 2 cups Mayonnaise – either Best Foods, Kraft, or make your own. If you make your own use salad oil 1 cup Sour cream 3 TBS. Finely chopped onion – must be extremely fine dice 2 TBS. Finely chopped celery – must be extremely fine dice 2 cloves Finely chopped garlic 1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce Salt Fresh ground black pepper Directions Chop the vegetables. Add the mayonnaise and sour cream. Add all other ingredients and blend well but be careful not to break up the chunks of Blue Cheese. There should be lots of Blue Cheese. Make sure your lettuce and salad vegetables are very dry when you toss with the dressing.
3 Egg yolks 2 cups of good Salad oil (for mayonnaise only you may use olive oil, otherwise use salad oil) 1 TBS. Rice Wine Vinegar Salt to taste (remember, you need enough salt to act as a preservative) Pepper (for a mayonnaise without specks use finely ground white pepper) 2 tsp. Dijon mustard ½ tsp. Tabasco sauce 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Directions Using either a blender or a food processor blend the egg yolks and very gradually pour the oil into the eggs, in a fine stream. It will take a while for all the oil to form the emulsion which is mayonnaise. Don‘t try to rush this process, you don‘t want the emulsion to break or separate. Add all the other ingredients and blend well. Store in a bowl or large mouthed jar in the refrigerator. I like to use canola oil although cottonseed oil is fine also. For a mayonnaise to be used as a topping, not as a salad dressing you may also use olive oil. However, EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) is too strong for plain mayonnaise.
Pizza – Dave’s Famous
What‘s the best pizza in the world? Well, I‘ll tell you one thing, it isn‘t found in Italy or Chicago. It‘s found in New York City at Lombardi‘s in Little Italy, in Manhattan. The reason is simple. The pizza is baked in old brick ovens fired by coal. The temperature is unbelievably hot and the gases given off by the coal fire flavors the pizza in a way which simply can‘t be duplicated anywhere else in the world. I have making pizza for many years. I started out in St. Louis, where I learned to toss the dough in the air as is done in the pizzerias of my youth in Massachusetts. I have perfected my pizza dough and sauce in the years since. While you can‘t exactly duplicate the Lombardi‘s experience you can com pretty close. The key to great homemade pizza is a very hot oven and a pizza stone. If you don‘t have a pizza stone or a large unglazed quarry tile, forget about it. It‘s not worth the effort. Pizza must be cooked in a very hot oven, the highest setting you have, or about 550 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to cook pizza is in a wood or coal fired brick oven. The pizza is cooked directly on the floor of the oven with the burning coals or wood just inches away. The pizza blisters immediately and cooks extremely quickly. The resulting texture and taste is amazing. The crust is crusty on the outside and elastic in the middle. The other key is to use high gluten bread flower for your dough. This will allow you to achieve the elastic texture you desire. One of the most important things to remember in making good pizza dough is to allow it to rise very slowly in the refrigerator, overnight at least. It won‘t hurt the dough to let it rise a couple of days in the refrigerator. This vastly improves the texture of the dough. The sauce is less important to the overall pizza experience. I use a very simple tomato sauce right from the can. I try to use imported Italian plum tomato sauce with nothing else added to the can. If you want to peel, seed, and core your own plum tomatoes be my guest. However the added effort is really not worth the effort. Finally, we must discuss the cheese. It is quite fashionable these days to use fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices. While fresh mozzarella is very flavorful it doesn‘t melt very well. Consequently, I recommend the aged mozzarella found in your super markets. Whole milk mozzarella is best as it is creamier and very delicious. I also use some grated parmesan cheese. I use a blend of 4 parts mozzarella to 1 part parmesan. Ingredients 6 cups Bread Flower 2 cups Water 1 package dry Yeast 1 TBS. Salt
Directions Blend the flour, salt, yeast and water in a Kitchen Aid mixer using the dough hook. If you don‘t have a Kitchen Aid then mix by hand. It will wear you out but it‘s better than any other mixer. I have used a Cuisenart Food processor before but the texture just isn‘t the same and you can only make it in small batches. Add the water slowly allowing the dough to form a ball. The dough mixture should be neither too moist or dry. This may take some experience and practice. Knead in the mixer for about 5 minutes. Allow to rise in the mixing bowl, covered with plastic wrap, for about 1 hour. Remove from the bowl, punch down, divide into two pieces and place into zip lock plastic bags. Store in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to use (no more than two days). When ready to use, take out of the bag and place on a floured board. Cover with a T-towel and let rise for at least one hour. Divide the dough into two pieces (so that‘s 4 pieces for the entire batch). Flatten each round pizza dough ball into a 5 inch round. Gradually use your fingers to increase the size of the pie. If you want to ―throw‖ the pizza dough be my guest. Toss it in the air on the backs of your hands, spinning it to allow centrifugal force to flatten it and catch it the same way. If you can‘t bring yourself to do this, just stretch it by hand but don‘t roll it out. That will destroy the elastic nature of the dough. Once the dough is about 8 or 10 inches in diameter and about ¼ inch thick or even thinner, you are ready to top it. The Sauce 1 large can of Italian plum tomato sauce 1 bunch of fresh basil chopped fine 4 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed and chopped fine ¼ cup finely chopped Calamata olives 1 tsp. Crushed Red pepper flakes ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) Salt Fresh ground black pepper Directions Heat the sauce in a saucepan almost to a boil. Add all the other ingredients and simmer for a few more minutes and allow to cool. Place a ladle of sauce in the center of the dough and move the ladle around in circles ever expanding the sauce on the dough. You should not over sauce the pizza, a thin layer of sauce is sufficient. Baking your pizza pie Don‘t over top your pizza. A simple pie of cheese and salami or pepperoni is the best. Place your toppings on the pizza, sliced mozzarella first, vegetables, meats with parmesan cheese on top. Drizzle a little EVOO on top of the pizza just before sliding it onto the pizza stone.
Make the pizza directly on a pizza peel. A peel is a large, thin wooden spatula. I usually sprinkle a little fine ground white corn meal on the peel so the pizza will slide off easily. Once it‘s positioned above the back end of the pizza stone, give it a little jerk towards you to ease the pizza off the peel and onto the stone. Bake for about 8 minutes in a HOT oven. On thick crust pizza – Chicago Style Don‘t get me started. I‘m sure it‘s great stuff. I‘ve eaten it many times while in Chicago. I‘ve even made it a couple of times. It‘s not pizza, at least not authentic Italian or Sicilian style. It just doesn‘t have the right texture, flavor
combination to qualify as pizza. Call it what you like but don‘t call it pizza because that‘s not what authentic pizza is.
This is a great pepper sauce that can be served as a condiment to many dishes. It is bright, spicy, and flavorful and can be served hot or room temp. Ingredients 2 red bell pepper 1 yellow bell pepper 2 mild banana peppers 1 jalapeño or other hot red chili 3 cloves garlic, crushed 3 TBS Extra Virgin olive oil 1 TBS balsamic vinegar salt black pepper
Directions Roast the peppers over high heat or on the grill. You may also use a blow torch to blacken the skins. I prefer to bake them at 500 degrees F. When the skin is well scorched remove from the heat and place into a large paper bag to cool for 20 minutes. Then carefully remove the paper like skin and seeds. Rough chop the peppers. In a Cuisenart or other food processor, puree the peppers and add the oil, vinegar, and seasonings. Scrape the pepper mixture into a sauce pan with a rubber spatula. Cook the mixture over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until it begins to darken in color and thicken slightly. Much of the water will evaporate and both the color and flavor will intensify. Allow to cool to room temp and adjust the seasoning. Spread on grilled bread, on cooked chicken, grilled meats including fish, or use in pizza. Variations You may want to blend parmesan cheese into the warm pepper sauce, after it has cooked. Add anchovies to the cooked sauce for added zip. This is especially good on salads and pizza or baked into focacia bread.
While Mick Batali (yes, cousin of the famous Mario Batali on Food TV), my Italian friend probably knows this recipe by heart, many of you may not. It is the most wonderful of all Italian sauces, rich, flavorful, filling, great over meat, pasta, and chicken. Obviously it is from the region of Bologna where pork sausages, salami, and prosciutto is famous. This sauce will give your kitchen a wonderful aroma all day. Our bland, ubiquitous version of Baloney originated in Bologna along with many other cured meats. The true Italian version of Bologna is actually very good.
Ingredients 1 lb ground beef 1 lb ground Italian pork sausage 1 lb ground veal (chicken or turkey may be substituted if you can't bring yourself to use veal) 3 small cans of tomato sauce, you may use fresh peeled, seeded plum tomatoes if you want, but the recipe will take much longer 1 can diced tomatoes in juice 1/4 c olive oil 15 cloves garlic, chopped fine 1 bay leaf 2 sprigs of fresh sage 1 small sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped fine 8 leaves of fresh basil, chopped fine fresh ground pepper pinch nutmeg 2 to 4 cups good chicken stock 1 pt whole milk or 1/2 and 1/2 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (the higher quality the better - don't use Kraft saw dust stuff) 3 TBS butter Directions Sauté the ground meats in olive oil for 1/2 hour or more, until browned. Add the tomato products and the stock (add the stock a little at a time over the course of cooking so it does not get too thick) and simmer for about 40 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add all the seasonings and continue simmering for 30 minutes more. Finally, when the sauce is thick and has taken a dark red color, add the milk or cream. Simmer for 20 minutes more. Don't be afraid to cook the sauce a long time, the flavors only intensify. Add the butter and quickly stir in the parmesan cheese so it does not clump up. Adjust the seasoning. This sauce should be very flavorful and highly seasoned. You may add crushed red pepper if you like, but the sauce traditionally is not spicy hot. Serve the sauce over fresh cooked pasta. Cook the pasta - tortellini, fresh made
ravioli, or rigatoni in chicken stock. When the pasta is cooked, spoon it into a sauté pan with a spoon of the cooking stock and a tablespoon of butter in it. The pasta will absorb the stock, this adds greatly to the overall flavor. Add the Bolognese sauce, as much as you like. Serve in a platter, heavily garnished with parmesan cheese. A good sturdy red wine is best and crusty Italian bread. It is also good over sautéed mushrooms, as a lasagna sauce, or even as a pizza sauce. I usually make a large batch, put some in freezer bags and freeze for those times when I don't have time to cook. Thaw it out in a pan of boiling water or in the microwave, serve over quick cooked pasta with a nice salad. I made Bolognese this weekend served over homemade ravioli stuffed with sausage, spinach, and ricotta cheese. Homemade bread, and a bottle of Valpolicella - there is nothing better.
Spaghetti with Clam Sauce
Simple and Delicious Spaghetti with clam sauce This dish can be made in about 12 minutes, including the time to cook the pasta.
Ingredients 2 or 3 cans of minced clams and juice (use frozen or fresh if you have them but canned works great) 3 TBS olive oil ¼ cup chopped parsley ¼ cup fresh basil, shred the leaves 2 cloves, fresh garlic, sliced thin fresh ground pepper salt to taste 1 box spaghetti or linguini ½ pint cream (optional) Directions In a large sauté pan heat the oil. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. add the clams and juice, and simmer for 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and season with pepper, parsley, basil and salt. Toss together until the sauce and pasta is well blended. If you want a creamy sauce, add the cream and allow to thicken slightly before adding the pasta. Place on a platter, serve with a salad, French bread, and a good white wine. Traditionally, the Italians do not top seafood dishes with parmesan cheese, you may if you like.
Creamy Pasta with Basil, Sausage, Mushrooms, and Salami
I have prepared this dish many times for my family, making changes along the way, accommodating it to what was in my refrigerator or what was fresh in my herb garden. However, it usually takes on the same basic form and taste pattern. You may find it works great with your family. It can be prepared in about 30 minutes, unless you make the pasta fresh. I have a little chrome pasta machine, which has been hanging around for about 25 years. It will probably last for another 30. Fresh pasta is so simple to make and with a food processor and pasta machine it is very simple. I usually dry the pasta for about 15 minutes on a broom handle across two dining room chairs. Then drop the fresh pasta into boiling salted water for a few minutes. I use a large Chinese strainer with a bamboo handle to remove the pasta from the water in one big scoop, along with a bit of the pasta water itself. It goes right into the sauce; a handful of Parmesan cheese, a little French bread, and a glass of good white wine – life is good. Ingredients 3 TBS. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) 4 cloves fresh garlic, sliced or chopped fine 1 medium onion, sliced fine 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, quartered 1 medium or two small canned whole Italian tomatoes 1/3 lb. sliced hard salami – cut into one inch pieces 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage – cut into small cubes 1 bunch of basil leaves, rough chopped ½ tsp. red pepper flakes, more or less depending on how hot you like it 1 TBS. tomato paste ½ pt. heavy cream 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, one in the sauce, one for garnishing Procedure Sauté the sausage cubes until browned but not completely cooked. Drain the excess fat. Heat the EVOO in a large sauté pan. Sauté the salami for a minute or two. Add the sliced onions and ½ of the chopped garlic. Sauté for a few minutes and add the mushrooms. Add the sausage. Sauté for a couple of minutes more and add the canned tomatoes (you can use fresh Italian plum tomatoes if you want to go through the process of peeling and seeding). Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes or until the sauce begins to reduce. Add the seasonings including the fresh basil and the heavy cream. Simmer the sauce for about 5 minutes more. The creamy sauce will reduce somewhat. Add the cheese and mix in well. Simmer the sauce for a minute more. Roll out the fresh pasta into long sheets and randomly cut into wide pasta rectangles of no particular shape. Toss into boiling salted water and cook for about two minutes or until the pasta floats on the surface. Remove the pasta and place directly into the sauce. Toss the entire pasta/sauce mixture and serve in large pasta bowls. You may also use dried pasta; any kind that will hold sauce. Garnish with parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.
There is probably more discussion about what Fettuccini Alfredo is than any other dish I know. There are multiple versions of the famous creamy pasta dish and many theories as to its origin. Alfredo di Lelio, was an inspired Italian cook who proposed this new exciting dish in the restaurant he opened in Rome in 1914. It was a high gourmet preparation in the Roman tradition of simplicity. Apparently he created his Fettuccine all‘Alfredo when his wife lost her appetite during her pregnancy. To bring back her appetite he prepared for her a nutritious dish of egg fettuccine with Parmigianino cheese and butter. That probably gave him the idea for his ―triple butter‖ fettuccine. Triple butter is a much richer, denser butter than we can usually get in the States. The quality and taste of the ingredients is the key to success with fettuccine Alfredo. The fettuccine should either be freshly made and as thin as possible, or, if store bought, the best fresh (not dry), thinnest pasta you can buy. The reason is because fresh pasta holds more starch and is softer than dried pasta. As a result, it holds the melted butter/cheese mixture much better than dried pasta. So, forget the heavy cream, the parsley, the garlic, and all the other stuff suggested in the hundreds of Alfredo recipes that circulate around. Take down from the shelf that pasta machine, prepare your fresh fettuccine, and enjoy the simple Fettuccine al Triplo Burro the way Alfredo himself would do them. The key to good Fettuccini Alfredo is in the technique and in the butter. It takes a bit of practice so don‘t be alarmed if the first time you try it the dish isn‘t quite right. Ingredients 12 oz of fresh pasta (if you can make yourself all the better) ½ lb of premium quality unsalted butter (if you can find real Italian Double Butter get it) ½ lb of freshly grated Parmigianino Several TBS. of the pasta water your pasta was cooked in Procedure Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water – do not overcook it, the noodles have to be sturdy enough to withstand the tossing. Do not add oil to the pasta water – this will prevent the pasta from absorbing the butter/cheese mixture. Cut the softened butter into chunks and place in a warm but not hot sauté pan (you really don‘t need a pan at all, just a warm serving bowl). Place the pasta over the top of the butter along with a few TBS. of the steaming, salted pasta water. Begin to gently work the pasta and butter together for 30 seconds or so. Add the freshly grated Parmigianino cheese and continue gently (don‘t break the pasta) working it together with two forks until it comes together in one creamy mixture. If it appears to be a little dry add more pasta water. Garnish with additional Parmigianino cheese and serve immediately. The only thing you need to accompany this dish is some fresh crusty Italian bread and a glass of good white wine.
Quick & Easy Pasta Sauce
There are those times when you can‘t do the real thing, you don‘t have the more expensive ingredients or you just don‘t want to focus on the technique needed to make genuine Alfredo. Here‘s a foolproof creamy pasta sauce that tastes great and is easy to make and store on a warm burner for hours or make ahead and put in the fridge and serve the next day. Ingredients 2 TBS. butter 2 TBS flour 1 cup chicken stock ½ pint heavy cream 2 cups good grated Parmesan cheese 1 clove garlic, smashed into a paste Freshly grated black pepper Salt to taste Procedure Make a roux in a saucepan out of the butter and the flour. Stir it for a minute to cook the flour taste out. Add the chicken stock and whisk until it thickens. Add the cream and work it in. gradually add the grated Parmesan cheese whisking all the while. Add the garlic and seasonings. Keep the sauce warm for use at any time or refrigerate for later use. Simply heat the sauce up and pour it over freshly cooked pasta. Once again, reserve a little of the pasta water to help the pasta/sauce mixture cohere.
Sunday Gravy – Italian Tomato Sauce
Italian Americans have been adapting American ingredients to their culture for nearly 200 years. Italians brought with them old world recipes that were hard to duplicate in the New World because the basic ingredients simply didn‘t exist. Over time Italian Americans developed those ingredients in America or found suitable substitutes. Basic marinara sauce, which is a simple tomato sauce with no meat in it is fine for most pasta, fish, and chicken dishes. However, on Sunday afternoons, after Mass, the whole family would gather at Grandma‘s house for Sunday dinner. This richer, meat based sauce is called Sunday Gravy instead of simply meat sauce. While many dishes would be served at dinner time, Sunday Gravy is the mainstay and is served over pasta and other meat dishes. Here‘s my recipe for Sunday Gravy, even though I‘m not Italian. Ingredients 1 lb meaty pork bones or spareribs 1 lb veal stew meat or breast of veal 1 lb Italian sausages 1 medium onion, chopped fine One whole carrot - peeled 3 TBS olive oil 3 large cans of diced tomatoes in juice 1 small can of tomato puree 8 garlic cloves, chopped and mashed 2 cups water One bunch basil leaves, chopped chiffonade style 1 tsp. red pepper flakes 2 tsp. dried oregano flakes 2 cups red wine Procedure In a large sauce pan or stock pot, sauté the finely chopped onion in the olive oil until clear. Add the meat and brown in batches; the pork, veal, and sausages until well browned. Transfer the meat to a plate. Pour off most of the fat. Return the meat to the saucepan. Add the red wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Add all the tomato products, carrot, half the garlic, and water. Simmer for one hour over medium heat. Add the rest of the seasonings and continue to simmer for 30 minutes more. Adjust the seasonings with salt, ground pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Even though the Sunday Gravy sauce is quite meaty you still need meatballs or the spaghetti. Here‘s my recipe for good Italian/American meatballs. If the sauce is mild make the meatballs more spicy; if the sauce is spicy make the meatballs more mild. Ingredients 1 lb ground pork 1 lb ground beef ½ cup parmesan cheese ½ cup ground cracker mean or bread crumbs 1 8oz. ladle of Sunday Gravy sauce 1 egg 2 tsp. fresh chopped garlic 2 TBS chopped fresh Italian parsley 1 tsp. dried oregano 1 tsp. dried basil 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. red pepper flakes 1 tsp. ground black pepper Procedure Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl or in a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed until well blended. Using your hands form into medium sized, 1 inch diameter meatballs. Place on a greased cookie sheet. When the sheet is covered, bake in a 360o F. oven for 25 minutes. Drain the fat and liquid off from the meatballs and put the meatballs into the Sunday Gravy sauce to cook for a few minutes more. Serve over pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, garlic bread, and plenty of fruity red wine. This sauce is also good on pizza, with pot roast, roast veal, and ribs.
We‘re almost at the end of the book so you should have a feel for amounts of ingredients now. I‘ll let you decide on the amounts for this one. Tomatoes, peeled and seeded, processed in a food processor. Heat good olive oil in a sauce pan, sauté thinly sliced garlic until just golden. Add the pureed tomatoes and cook for 30 minutes or until the sauce begins to darken in color and thicken slightly. Season with salt, fresh chopped basil, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for a few more minutes. That is as simple as it gets. Marinara sauce is bright, fresh, spicy, and ubiquitous. Use it on pizza, broiled chicken and fish, roasts of beef, vegetables, pasta, or as a base for other sauces.
For many years I assumed that manicotti was served in the large manicotti noodles store. One of my first jobs at the 13 Coins was to make crepes for the Manicotti; probably the most popular special we served. Standing in front of a large Montague, six burner range, with six shiny black crepe pans, making one crepe after another was an exhausting task. Three hundred crepes later the job was done. Every restaurant needs a dish like Manicotti, one that can use up all the left over scraps of meats and vegetables; one that generates huge profits. The 13 Coins version of Manicotti was just such a dish. I have made this dish many times at home over the years; everyone loves it. This recipe will serve six easily. Ingredients ½ LB. ground pork 1 LB ground beef 1 large carrot 1 large stalk of celery 1 medium onion, rough chopped 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 small box frozen spinach, thawed and drained 3 eggs 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 TBS. chopped broadleaf parsley 1 tsp. ground oregano 1 tsp. fresh basil (dried works fine) 6 oz. canned tomato sauce or prepared spaghetti sauce (homemade if you have it) 1 ½ tsp. sale 1 tsp. red pepper flakes ½ tsp. ground black pepper 12 dinner crepes 1 quart of Mornay sauce 1 ½ quart of good tomato sauce (homemade marinara or meat sauce (spaghetti) is preferred)
Procedure Cook the ground pork and ground beef until browned – drain the fat. Combine the meat, all seasonings, ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese, parsley, tomato sauce, and spinach in a mixing bowl. Process the vegetables in a food
processor until finely chopped. Mix the vegetables and other ingredients well. I recommend using a Kitchen Aid mixer and the paddle for this job. Refrigerate or three hours or until well chilled. Make the dinner crepes and allow to cool. Form the stuffing mixture into small logs, six inches long and one and ½ inch diameter. Roll the crepes around the stuffing mixture and place the filled crepes into a well greased 9 x 12 Pyrex baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in 350o F oven or 20 minutes. When the manicotti is hot place one or two filled crepes on each plate. First dress with a ladle of the Mornay sauce, then top with a ladle of the spaghetti sauce. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
1 cup Flour 3 TBS. vegetable oil (other than Extra Virgin may be used for this dish) 4 whole large Eggs 1 cup Water Pinch Salt
Mix the eggs in a mixing bowl. Add the oil, flour, and salt. Gradually blend in the water until a smooth, runny crepe batter results. Strain the batter through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Allow the batter to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Heat your crepe pan. I recommend using a non-stick egg pan or specially designed crepe pan. For the first couple of crepes you will need to spray the pan with PAM spray. Pour about 2 oz. of batter into the pan and move the pan in a circular fashion to coat the entire pan extending ½ inch up on all sides. Place the pan back on the medium heat. When the crepe begins to bubble slightly and dry a bit on the sides it‘s time to turn the crepe. If you feel comfortable you may flip it manually. Otherwise you will need to insert a heat resistant rubber spatula and flip it with the spatula. Let it cook for 20 seconds more then transfer each crepe to a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Dinner crepes should not be browned. Layer a sheet of wax paper or parchment between each crepe. Crepes may be refrigerated for up to one day but no longer. For desert crepes, substitute melted butter for the oil, milk for the water, and reduce the salt. You also may add a tsp. of sugar. The procedure is the same although you may want the desert crepe to be a bit browner around the edges.
The $.10 cent cook.
You all know that you can cook a simple lunch for about ten cents. My boys eat two or three $.10 cent meals each day. Of course, I‘m referring to the quick and cheap Asian noodle packaged dinners – Top Ramen. In its unaltered state a Top Ramen lunch is pretty bland, unless you get their hot pepper one, which is still mild by my standards. Having said this, I regularly eat Top Ramen for lunch at work because it‘s cheap and easy, hot and filling. As you can probably guess I doctor up the Top Ramen and make it quite tasty. This quick lunch is also a great way to use up leftovers. Here are three examples of the ways I doctor up Top Ramen and make a delicious lunch. If you have the basic Asian ingredients on hand you can prepare these meals in a few minutes and for about a dollar each. Remember, use what you have on hand and be creative. Phad Thai Ramen Sauté The only difference between this version and the authentic Phad Thai is the wider rice noodles used by the Thai cooks in Thai restaurants. Ramen noodles work quite well and the dish is delicious. I especially like it with shrimp. The other ingredient missing from this list is Tamarind paste. Tamarind is a tart, fruity, sticky dried fruit, which looks like giant bean pods. It is used widely in Asian cooking. If you have some, go ahead and use it, as it gives Phad Thai that authentic flavor but if you don‘t, not to worry. If using fresh chicken or pork, sauté in very hot oil for a minute to pre-cook. Remove from the pan and add just before adding the spicy blended sauce. 2 packages of Ramen noodles; save the seasonings packets for a later time. ½ cup of left over sliced pork, chicken, shrimp, beef, or any combination. 3 green onions, chopped fine ½ cup bean sprouts 1 tsp. sesame oil 1 TBS. peanut oil 1 egg, stirred with a fork 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine 2 tsp. Thai fish sauce 1 tsp. soy sauce 1 red chili chopped fine, red chili paste, or red pepper flakes Juice from 1 lime 2 TBS. ketchup 1 TBS. brown sugar 3 TBS. chopped peanuts Procedure Boil the noodles until tender, drain and reserve. Sauté the onions, garlic, and bean sprouts in the hot oil for a minute or so. In a small bowl blend the fish sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, chili paste, and egg. Add the pre-cooked meat or fresh shrimp to the sautéing vegetables and sauté for a few seconds more. Add the noodles and blend well. Add the blended
spicy liquid to the sauté pan and stir around for a minute until the egg cooks. The noodles will absorb some of the liquid so serve almost immediately after the egg cooks. Garnish with finely chopped green onion tops and the chopped peanuts. Chinese Ramen Soup One package of chicken or pork or shrimp Ramen Noodles, depending on the meat you use in the soup 2 green onions chopped fine 1 clove garlic, chopped Other chopped vegetables – zucchini, Napa Cabbage, carrot, bean sprouts, whatever you want or have hanging around 1 tsp. garlic black bean paste – bought commercially at any Asian market 1 tsp. red chili paste, more if you like it hot 1 tsp. sesame oil. 1 tsp. soy sauce Procedure Put all the ingredients into the sauce pan including the noodles. Cook the noodles according to directions, using the seasoning packet. When the noodles are tender pour into a bowl and enjoy. Thai Curry Noodle soup Two packages of Ramen noodles and one seasoning package 3 green onions, rough chopped 5 fresh basil leaves 1 TBS. Thai fish sauce 2 tsp. Thai curry paste, green or red (red is usually more mild than green) 1 TBS. brown sugar 1/2 cup of coconut milk – canned is fine. What you don‘t use, save in a glass bowl and have it the next day in another dish. ½ cup chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp, depending on what you want. Procedure Mix all ingredients together but use ½ cup less water than usual. Bring to a boil, including the noodles and 1 packet of Ramen seasoning. Adjust the seasoning and serve. Garnish with finely chopped green onion tops.
Basic Asian Ingredients Every Kitchen Needs
Fresh Garlic Fresh Ginger Fish Sauce – bottled liquid, usually from Thailand or Vietnam Hoisin Sauce – sweet plum sauce used in Peking Duck and Oyster Sauce – thick, salty sauce used in Chinese cooking dishes such as Kung Pao Chicken and Oyster Sauce Beef Black Bean Paste – comes in jars, can be found in most supermarkets or at Asian grocery stores Red Chili Paste – more than just hot, it has a slightly sweet, vinegary taste. It‘s easier to control the heat with the paste than with cayenne or ground chili pepper. Some chili sauces also have garlic in them.
I‘m not a big quiche guy, ―real men don‘t eat quiche,‖ but I enjoy making quiche and most of the people I cook for love eating good quiche. Most of the effort in making quiche is in the crust. I solve that problem by purchasing pre-made crusts; the Marie Calendar brand is the best I have found. However, any pie crust recipe will work fine for quiche. Quiche is great at brunch buffets, along with fruit platters, sliced ham or prosciutto, various breads and rolls, and cheeses. Here‘s my very simple quiche recipe. Ingredients Two large pre-formed pie crusts 8 large eggs 1 and ½ cups ½ & ½ ½ lb. shredded Swiss cheese ½ cup chopped spinach, drained ½ onion, chopped fine 4 strips of bacon, chopped Pinch nutmeg Salt & pepper to taste Procedure Thaw the pie crusts and coat them with an egg wash, sides and bottom. Place into a 400o F oven for about 10 minutes or just until the crust begins to crisp and loose its waxy consistency. Let the crusts cool. In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs, cream, and nutmeg. Sauté the bacon, draining the fat. Add the onions, chopped spinach, and any other vegetables you like. I like to add sliced mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, sun dried tomatoes, etc. or any combination of all. It‘s really up to you so be creative. Grate the Swiss cheese. Place the cooked vegetable and bacon mixture in the bottom of the crust. Top with the Swiss cheese. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle the egg-cream mixture into the crusts until the mixture comes just below the top edge of the crust, about ¼ inch from the top. Place the two quiches on a cookie sheet with an edge, to catch any mixture that might ooze over. Bake the quiches in a 350o F oven for 30 minutes or until the mixture barely jiggles in the middle, turns light golden brown, and puffs up a little. Don‘t overcook the quiche, the mixture should still be a little wet in the middle. Allow the quiche to warm but not cool. Quiche should be served warm not hot. Quiche is great with melon slices, grapes, or any variety of fruit, or other vegetables. Champagne is a great accompaniment with Quiche as is medium dry white wines.
Growing up near Boston Massachusetts the family would often have baked beans, hot-dogs, and brown bread. Brown bread is a quick bread, rich in molasses, baked in an old baked bean can. If you were lucky you could invert the can and knock it out onto a plate. Otherwise you had to spoon it out. My grandmother made great baked beans so my Mom learned the recipe from her. I learned it from my Mom. On Saturday nights we would have a dinner of Baked Beans, hot dogs, black olives, cottage cheese, coleslaw, and brown bread. I always looked forward to those dinners. Ingredients 1 bag Great Northern dry beans (three to four cups) 3 slices of smoky bacon 1 cup dark brown sugar 4 TBS dark molasses 1/3 cup ketchup 3 TBS real maple syrup 3 TBS yellow mustard Salt – to taste Black pepper to taste Procedure Scan the beans for any little rocks. Soak the beans in cold water in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. Drain off the soaking water and cover the beans with cold water about 1‖ above the beans. Chop the bacon. Add half of the sugar, molasses, mustard, bacon, and salt. Simmer the beans on top of the stove on medium heat, just so they gently bubble. Boil from 45 minutes to one hour or until the beans are just getting soft. Place the beans in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven and bake for about 3 hours. After 1.5 hours stir in ¼ lb butter; the beans will form a dark skin on the top. Occasionally stir this skin into the beans and resume baking until the beans form another skin. The beans should be bubbling and ready to serve. Baked beans are traditionally served with BBQ, baked ham, as well as hot dogs that have been baked into the beans for the last hour of cooking.
Making beer and spirits
The earliest and simplest recipes for beer are found in Mesopotamia first made by the Sumerians as far back as 10,000 BC – at the dawn of history. They would harvest grain and soak it in water. Then they would scrape off some yeast-rich foam from the previous day‘s beer or add a little diluted bread dough and the barley or grain soup would begin to bubble up. After a simple straining the beer was ready to drink. If you were lucky the alcohol content was near 3%, just enough to make it last a few days. Since there were no refrigeration systems it was kept cool by plunging the earthen container in a river or dropping it down into a pool. This little picture is of Egyptians making beer over 3,000 years ago. Some of the early beer makers figured out that if you let the grains begin to sprout and then stop the sprouting by heating or roasting the grains a beneficial enzyme is created. This enzyme converts the starches in grains to sugars giving something for the yeast to eat and grow – giving off two substances: alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process is called malting. Beer can be made without malting the grain but it is a much more difficult and hit-or-miss process. Early brewers had no idea what made the liquid become alcoholic. All they knew was that when they added the beer foam or partially baked bread chunks to the barley water alcohol resulted. They called this magical ingredient they added to the beer ―God‘s stuff‖ because it worked in a mysterious way. Eventually the next step was taken. The fermented beer was put into an iron pot and the steam was captured with a long wooden or clay tube. The tube would cool the steam and the condensed semi-clear liquid would drip down into a collecting pot. Now the alcohol content had risen to about 20%. The process of aging the liquor in wooden casks wouldn‘t happen for hundreds of years. However, the liquid would take on the flavor of whatever container it was stored in. Somewhere along the line a piece of partially charred wood probably fell into the container and after a few months the liquor had taken on a slightly amber and smoky taste – similar to today‘s scotch. Next step for the ancients was the discovery that you could also distil wine. Using the same process of bringing the wine to a boil and capturing the vapors, a highly alcoholic grape flavored liquor was produced. The resulting spirit was similar to our brandy and of course, would keep for months. Anyone can make this simple distilled beverage in their own home. Allow a large kettle of water, cracked corn, and sugar to form a mash. Bring it to a boil and allow it to cool. Add some brewer‘s yeast and let it bubble away. Within a day or two the mash (actually beer) will have become alcoholic – about 3.2%. Cap the mixture tightly and connect it to a coiled copper tube, which empties into a collecting pan. The clear alcohol is called moonshine or white lightning. It can be as high as 50% alcohol. If you have access to a genuine oak barrel you can char the inside of the barrel over a wooden fire (hickory works best). The barrel should only take about a 1/16‖ char. Pour your clear moonshine into the barrel. Cap it tightly and let it age for three to five years. Roll it over once and a while. Your moonshine will have turned into corn whisky. There are plenty of great books you can order on making beer and spirits. Making beer is much more complex than making wine. I encourage everyone to try their hand at beer making at least once in their life. Beer making is allowed by law hence the explosion of micro breweries. Regarding spirits, obviously, the whole process is illegal. Federal taxes are supposed to be collected on any distilled spirits. But a few gallons of corn whisky for ―medicinal‖ purposes will never be noticed by the Feds. Just don‘t try to sell it or you‘re sure to be caught.
Crème Brulee is the French term for what Americans call burnt cream. These cooked cream/egg dishes that fall into the custard family. Mexico has one called that flan. The two French deserts in this family are Crème Brulee and Crème Caramel. Both involve cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla as a flavoring. One uses caramelized sugar on the top of the custard and is served in its shallow baking dish. The other makes use of a caramel bottom. It is baked in the oven in a water bath, cooled, and inverted on a plate. Here is a recipe for both. Ingredients 2 1/2 cups heavy cream or 1 1/4 cups heavy cream and 1 1/4 cups light cream 4 large egg yolks, well beaten 1/4 to 1/3 cup superfine sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split and inner paste removed. Whipped cream and fresh mint leaves for garnish Directions Allow the vanilla paste and skin to steep in the cream. Strain out the vanilla bean pod Bring cream to a boil, and boil about 30 seconds. Pour it immediately into the egg yolks and whisk them together. You may want to temper the egg yolks first by pouring a little of the heated cream into the eggs, mixing, then pouring the tempered eggs/cream back into the cream. This helps prevent the eggs from scrambling. Return the mixture to the pan and continue cooking without allowing it to boil. Stir the mixture until it thickens and coats the spoon. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish. Refrigerate overnight. Two hours before the meal, sprinkle the chilled cream with the sugar in an even layer and place it under a broiler preheated to the maximum temperature. The sugar will caramelize to a sheet of brown smoothness. You may need to turn the dish in the grill to achieve an even effect. It is important that this step be done very quickly in order to keep the custard cold and firm and the top crisp and brown. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a dollop of whipped cream.
Ingredients 2 ½ cups heavy cream or 1 ¼ cup heavy cream and 1 ¼ cups light cream. 4 large egg yolks, well beaten 1/3 cup sugar for the custard 1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split and the inner paste removed 2 cups sugar for the caramel Whipped cream for topping
Procedure Use the same cream, egg, sugar, vanilla mixture but don‘t cook the cream mixture. Make a caramel by placing the sugar in a heavy bottomed stainless steel or copper pan. Heat the sugar over high heat. It will gradually take on a caramel color. Stir it occasionally so it caramelizes evenly. Remove it from the heat. Be careful, it is very hot and if it gets on your skin you can‘t shake it off. It will cause a very painful burn. Quickly pour about a ¼‖ layer into small custard cups that have been lightly buttered. Allow the caramel to cool. Pour your custard cream into the custard cups, about ½‖ from the top. Place in a cake pan with a water bath, which extends about 1/4th of the way up. Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Wrap the custard cups with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator. Invert on a desert plate. Some of the runny caramel sauce will ooze onto the plate. The effect is a nice layering of the custard with the caramel on the top. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream. This particular example in the picture above also has a very nice spun caramel nest. Using the same caramel you made for the bottom of the custard bowls can be made into a beautiful decoration. It‘s not hard. Take an old fine wire whip and cut the wire loops off, just leaving the wires sticking out of the handle, about 4 to 5 inches long, depending on the size of the wire whip. Take a stainless steel bowl and set down on a flattened paper bag, upside down – bottom of the bowl facing up. Spray the outside of the bowl with some pan release (Pam). Dip the wires from the wire whisk into the hot caramel and fling it over the bowl. This will require a little practice but will create lacy thin caramel sugar strings that will form into a pattern after several flings. Give it a minute to cool and carefully pry the nest off the bowl. Carefully rest it over the serving plate that you have inverted the cream caramel on. The size of the stainless steel bowl should be about the same size as the outside diameter of the serving plate.
Homemade Ice Cream
No, there is no better desert than homemade ice cream. When you have a good ice cream freezer it‘s even better. Recently I purchased one of those Krupp‘s freezers; the kind where you put the freezing container in the freezer overnight and then pour the mixture into it and it freezes up in about 20 minutes. It only makes about one quart but you can use it over and over so you can freeze a few quarts in one 24 hour period. It‘s important to heat the cream mixture up to almost a boil then chill completely, at least 12 hours. If you skip this step, your ice cream will be grainy. Here‘s my basic and special recipe. Ingredients My recipe: Vanilla 2 cups heavy cream (whipping) 1 cup whole milk 1 cup sugar (more or less depending on how sweet you want it) 2 tsp. (or a little more – you can also use the vanilla bean as well) Pinch salt Procedure Heat cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt in a heavy bottomed pan until almost to the boil, do not let boil. Pour into a bowl, cover, and let set in the fridge overnight. This is an important step and greatly improves the texture of the ice cream. Pour into the freezer container of your Krupp‘s ice cream freezer and freeze according to directions. I let that freezer component stay in the freezer for a full day before trying to freeze ice cream. Keep it in a plastic bag. When the ice cream gets thick, about 20 minutes or a little more, turn it off and get all the ice cream out of the container. Place the ice cream in a sealed plastic container and cure in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving. More curing time is even better. For strawberry, puree 2 cups of fresh ripe strawberries and pour into the mixture, just before the freezing step. The same holds true for raspberry (strain out the seeds), and with peaches. You will need a little more sugar and a little less milk for the fresh fruit varieties. Top the vanilla with my homemade Hot Fudge topping. It‘s an unbelievable combination.
Dave’s Famous Hot Fudge Sauce
This is the best hot fudge sauce I have ever made. It is thick, rich, and chocolaty. It‘s simple to make and keeps for weeks in the refrigerator. You can also very the ingredients to make it more milk-chocolate or thicker. Ingredients 1 cup sugar ¼ lb. butter ½ tsp. salt 4 heaping TBS. of cocoa powder 1 small can of evaporated milk (or cream if you like) 1 tsp. quality vanilla Directions Melt the butter, salt, sugar, and cocoa powder in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Do not burn the chocolate, mix continuously. When thoroughly melted and smooth, add the milk in a stream, stirring constantly. Bring to a slight boil and remove from heat. Add the vanilla. Allow to cool slightly and pour over ice cream or anything you want. For a more chocolate style sauce use bitter sweet chocolate squares or chips. For a harder sauce use ½ cane syrup and ½ granulated sugar.
Paté Choux (Cream Puffs)
This is the classic choux paste used to make profiteroles, cream puffs, éclairs, and any number of appetizers. This is a large batch, which will make a couple dozen silver dollar size puffs. For desert puffs use the vanilla; for dinner appetizer puffs, leave it out. Remember to leave the puffs in the oven with the oven turned off for a few minutes to dry out the puffs. Otherwise they will quickly fall and you won‘t achieve the desired effect. You may easily halve this recipe for a smaller batch. However, they freeze very well in a plastic freezer bag.
Ingredients 1 lb. butter 25 oz. water 1 tsp. vanilla 16 oz of flour (by weight) 12 to 14 whole eggs Directions Melt the butter in the water. When melted add the flour and salt and whisk constantly over medium high heat. As soon as the mixture begins to leave the side of the pan, place into a Kitchen Aid mixer. Add one egg at a time until the mixture becomes somewhat glassy in texture. This may be at 12 eggs or at 14. Immediately place the mixture into a large pastry bag with a straight tip. Pipe the paste onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpad. For large cream puffs, start in the center and spiral out. For little puffs just make a tight swirl. For éclairs, start in a straight line then quickly flip the tip back to break off the piping. You may also use choux paste as a topping for seafood, such as Salmon en Crouté.
Cream Filling Ingredients 3 cups whole milk or ½ and ½ 1 cup sugar ½ tsp. salt 1 tsp. vanilla
4 egg yolks 3 TBS corn starch 2 TBS butter Directions Bring the milk, egg yolks, sugar, and corn starch to a boil over medium high heat until it begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter. Transfer to a bowl and place a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap directly on the cream so that a skin does not form. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until completely cool. Pipe into cream puffs or éclairs. Make sure you pipe into the puff from the bottom so the entry hole does not show. Top with hot fudge sauce. For a thinner cream eliminate the corn starch. This will be more like an English Cream.
I have been making Baked Alaska for years in various restaurants and catering events. It is a glamorous desert, popular in the 1950‘ and 60‘s. Although it‘s a bit dated today it is still a crowd pleaser if presented correctly. Presentation is the key to its success.
Ingredients 1 quart high-quality ice cream (Chocolate, Neapolitan, coffee, vanilla, strawberry, or any ice cream you like) 1 loaf pound cake (store bought works fine) 8 egg whites ½ tsp. cream of tartar 1 cup sugar ¼ cup Grand Mariner or good quality brandy 2 cups Dave‘s Famous Hot Fudge Sauce. Directions Slice the pound cake lengthwise into three equal long slices Soften the ice cream so that it will spread but not too soft so it melts all over Whip the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar into a meringue that forms soft peaks. Fill a large pastry bag with the meringue. Layer the pound cake with the ice cream between each layer – pound cake, ice cream, pound cake, ice cream, and finally pound cake. Some recipes also call for raspberry jam spread on the pound cake but I have never gravitated to this – it‘s up to you. Using a metal offset spatula spread ½ of the meringue on the cake, completely sealing it to about ½ inch thick. Lavishly decorate the meringue covered cake with the rest of the meringue using the pastry bag. Be creative! Place the baked Alaska back in the freezer for 15 minutes to re-freeze the ice cream.
What’s in my cooking library?
There are several classic cooking books that are essentials in any good cookbook library. Some are out of print and hard to find but well worth the effort to hunt for them. 1. Batali, Mario – Simple Italian Food: One of my favorites on Italian cooking. Not complete but very good recipes. Amazon for $22.75 2. Beard, James – The James Beard Cookbook: Essential techniques of cooking, a cooking class in one book from a great Oregon chef. $12 from Amazon. 3. Bocuse, Paul – My Classic Cuisine: one of the great modern cookbooks by the greatest modern chef. Not essential but certainly a great book to have. Out of print but available from Amazon for $45. 4. Child, Julia – Mastering the Art of French Cooking: The first book from Julia and the best. Still great in many respects although somewhat dated. Available from Amazon for $28. 5. Collins, Richard & Rima – The New Orleans Cookbook: My favorite Cajun cookbook. Many great authentic recipes from New Orleans plus great pictures and stories from early Cajun times. Available from Amazon for $12. 6. Escoffier, August – Ma Cuisine: Also, The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery. Escoffier was the greatest chef ever to live. He worked for Cesar Ritz at the Ritz Carlton in London. There he created many famous dishes including Peach Melba (after singer Neli Melba), Bananas Foster, Melba Toast, etc. There was no one who could compete with his culinary brilliance. Available from Amazon for $49. 7. Fisher, M.F.K. – The Art of Eating: essays on eating in America. Great historical anecdotal musings on food preparation. Collaborated with Julia Child on many books. One of the greatest American chefs. Out of print but Available on Amazon for $28. 8. Garde Manger: The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen: Food decoration to the extreme. Beautiful color plates. From the Culinary Institute of America. $42 at Amazon 9. Jacobs, Jay – Gastronomy: Out of print but now available at Amazon.com. The best short history of cuisine by one of the greatest food writers ever. If you can‘t find it buy Food in History, later on the list. 10. Larousse – Gastronomique: The greatest collection of classical cooking terms and recipes ever assembled. Recently updated with many new color pictures and modern techniques, measurements, and terms. Absolutely essential. $52 dollars at Amazon 11. Lenotre, Gaston – Deserts and Pastries: Out of print but the best you will ever find. A bit complex but beautiful. Available from Amazon for around $13, if they have one. 12. Pepin, Jacques – The Art of Cooking: classis great work by this master French chef. Rich in illustrations and techniques. Available from Amazon for $78 dollars 13. Reinhart, Peter – The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Great classic bread baking recipes, ovens, tips and tricks, etc. $25 from Amazon
14. Rombauer, Erma - Joy of Cooking: If I could only buy one cookbook this would be the one. How to cook everything. Not very inventive but a good recipe for just about everything. No library should be without it. Available at Amazon for $24. 15. Saulnier,Louis - La Repetoire De La Cuisine: A small collection of classical recipes in their simplest form with no measurements, temps. or time of cooking (you‘re supposed to know that). Essential classic text of the greatest French recipes ever. Available again after many years out of print from Amazon for $13.95 16. Sokolov, Raymond - The Saucier’s Apprentice: This is the best one source on how to make the great French sauces, from scratch and, their resulting daughter sauces that can be used with everything. $18 from Amazon. Well written and easy to follow. 17. Stephen, Wendy – The Essential Seafood Cookbook: A great seafood cookbook with lots of color plates, wonderful historical settings and history of the dishes. Available from Amazon for $20. 18. Tannahill, Reay – Food in History: Not as lively as The History of Gastronomy but more complete. Reay goes back to the most ancient times and traces the history and interdependentcies of food. Food in History: Available from Amazon for $12.
Glossary of Cooking terms
Andouille (ahn-do-ee) Plump and spicy country sausages used in Red Beans & Rice and other Creole delicacies. Bain Marie A double boiler, used for carefully cooking egg based sauces or keeping sauces warm before serving Beignet (bin-yay) A delicious sweet doughnut, but square-shaped and minus the hole, lavishly sprinkled with powdered sugar. Boudin (boo-dan) Hot, spicy, ground pork mixed with onions, cooked rice, herbs, and stuffed in sausage casing. Bouquet Garni A combination of fresh herbs, tied together into a small bundle with string, left to flavor a stock or stew. Once the bouquet garni has yielded up its flavor it is easily discarded. Braise Braising is a two step cooking process. The first step is to brown the meat or vegetables in a pan in a small amount of oil then add a cooking liquid to partially cover the meat. The dish is cooked, covered, slowly until its flavors concentrate and the meat is tender and flavorful. Cafe brulot (caf-ay broo-loh) This dramatic after-dinner brew is a blend of hot coffee, spices, orange peel, and liqueuers. It is blended in a chafing dish, ignited and served in special cups. Cajun (cay-jun) Slang for Acadian, the term for the French speaking people who migrated to South Louisiana from Nova Scotia in the 18th Century. The term now applies to the people, culture and the cooking. Chiffonnade Leafy herbs or vegetables rolled up tightly and sliced very thin for use in soups, sauces, or as a garnish Courtbouillon (coo-boo-yon) A rich, spicy soup, or stew, made with fish fillets, tomatoes, onions, and sometimes mixed vegetables. The French call this Fume de Poisson. Crawfish Resembling toy lobsters, these little critters are known as "mudbugs" because they live in the mud of freshwater streams. They are served in a variety of different ways, including simply boiled. (And how do you address a boiled crawfish which is placed before you, whole, head and legs still attached? Grasp the head between the thumb and forefinger of one hand, and the tail between thumb and forefinger of the other hand. Slightly twist and pull firmly until head and tail are separated. Discard the head. Squeeze tail between thumb and forefinger until the shell cracks. Lift and loosen the three shell segments and pull around the meat. Now take the tail fin and last shell segment between thumb and forefinger of one hand, and the meat with the other. Gently separate the meat from the shell and pull the vein free. Discard shell and vein and pop the meat into your mouth!)
Creole (cree-ole) The word originally described those people of mixed French and Spanish blood who were born in South Louisiana, and now embraces a cuisine and style of architecture. De Glace Once the meat or fish has been sautéed and removed from the pan a small amount of wine or cooking liquid is added to the pan, over high heat, to dislodge and dissolve any crusty or caramelized bits that stick to the bottom of the pan. There are intense flavors in those bits and de glazing removes them and adds the flavors to the sauce. Dirty Rice Pan fried leftover cooked rice sautéed with green peppers, celery, stock and giblets. Duxelles Finely chopped onions and mushrooms, sautéed until dry. Escalloper To cut meat or fish in thin slices before cooking, such as Veal scaloppini. Etouffeé (ay-too-fay) A succulent tangy tomato-based sauce. Crawfish etouffeé and shrimp etouffeé are delicious New Orleans specialties. File (fee-lay) Ground sassafras leaves used to season, among other things, gumbo. Fricassee This is also a two step process involving browning the meat first then cooking completely covered in a flavorful cooking liquid until the meat is tender. Often the meat is floured so that the sauce thickens by itself during the cooking process. Grilliades (gree-yads) Squares of broiled beef or veal. Grilliades and grits is a popular local breakfast. Grits Coursely ground hominy grain. Somewhat similar in appearance to mashed potatoes, but the taste is closer to corn. Gumbo A thick, robust soup with thousands of variations, only a few of which are Shrimp Gumbo, Okra Gumbo and File Gumbo. Jambalaya (jum-bo-lie-yah) Another many splendored thing. Louisiana chefs "sweep up the kitchen" and toss just about everything into the pot. Tomatoes and cooked rice, plus ham, shrimp, chicken, celery, onions, and a whole shelf full of seasonings. Julienne Vegetables cut into match stick shaped pieces, usually 1 to 4 inches long Liquid Volume To measure the liquid volume of a container or pot simply multiply 3.14 x the radius x height, divided by 57.75. This will equal the liquid volume in quarts Mirepoix
Finely chopped vegetables consisting of celery, carrots, and onions. The Cajun version is celery, onions, and peppers – sometimes called the Trinity. Mirliton A hard-shelled, pear-shaped vegetable with edible innards, it is cooked like squash and stuffed with either ham or shrimp and spicy dressing. Muffuletta To say that this is a "sandwich" is like saying Buckingham Palace is a house. Yes, it is a sandwich, a fat and sassy concoction of Italian meats, cheeses, and olive salad, all stuffed inside plate-sized loaves of tasty Italian bread. Plantain Think of it as sort of a vegetable/banana side dish. It may be prepared like candied yams, or simmered in sherry, and it is a delicious meat accompaniment. Po-boy Another sandwich extravaganza; this one some folks say began as a five cent lunch for, what else, poor boys. There are fried oyster po-boys, roast beef and gravy po-boys, fried shrimp po-boys, softshell crab po-boys (even fried potato po-boys!) all served up on crispy-crusted French bread. Praline (praw-leen) The sweetest of sweets, this New Orleans tradition is a candy patty, the essential ingredients of which are sugar, butter, water and pecans. There are many variations on that theme in French Quarter candy and gift shops. Red beans & rice Kidney beans mixed with rice, seasonings, spices and big, fat chunks of sausage. This is one of the staples of New Orleans cooking, and is traditionally eaten on Monday (and any other day you get a hankering for it). Reduce Boiling away a cooking liquid, such as wine or cream, to concentrate its flavors is called reduction. This is a basic step in making burre blanc or other wine based sauces. Once the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, usually to the point in which a spoon is coated, the sauce is finished with butter to enrich it. Again, quoting Joe Cahn, "In South Louisiana, food is not looked upon as nourishment, but as a wonderful way of life. We want to say "wow" with every bite; to clap and cheer and make noises. With food, nobody is ever wrong, for it is the only thing in the world which everybody is allowed to have a personal taste. To us, food is not only on the plate; it is also in the heart."
Alaska, 34, 141 alcohol, 30, 45, 52, 54 Aluminum, 10 American Cheese, 63 Andoullie, 32 Argentine Red Shrimp, 25 Arrowroot, 17 bacon, 63, 67, 75 barley, 97 basil, 48, 84, 99, 115, 118, 120, 121, 129 Bay leaf, 33, 41 bay leaves, 22, 40, 41, 52, 54, 56, 61, 66, 75, 91 Béarnaise, 14 Béchamel, 14 beef stock, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57, 59, 61, 75, 94 beer, 28, 32, 39, 42, 53, 67, 73, 77, 92, 95 Beer, 64 bisque, 31 blisters, 20, 114 Blue Cheese, 63, 109, 112 Boiling, 10, 146 Bouillabaisse, 38 brandy, 29, 36, 44, 69, 75 bread, 18, 19, 20, 26, 37, 40, 47, 48, 49, 51, 55, 60, 63, 73, 77, 78, 79, 80, 86, 87, 95, 97, 100, 103, 114, 117, 119, 121, 142, 146 brick ovens, 20 brine, 22, 34, 88 Brine, 22 brown sugar, 98 Burgers, 62, 63, 64 Burgundy, 52, 53 Burre Blanc, 25 butter, 16, 17, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 36, 43, 44, 45, 48, 52, 53, 54, 57, 59, 60, 63, 66, 67, 69, 75, 79, 84, 91, 97, 99, 118 Cabernet Sauvignon, 52 Cajuns, 32, 91 Calpahlon , 11 Caramel, 135, 136 Carrot, 33, 42 cayenne, 29, 31, 32, 43, 44, 48, 54, 60, 77, 91, 93, 99, 130 cheese, 19, 20, 33, 34, 35, 43, 48, 60, 63, 84, 85, 94, 95, 109, 112, 114, 115, 117, 118, 119, 120 chicken, 11, 13, 14, 22, 23, 37, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 48, 49, 57, 69, 70, 71, 72, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 84, 85, 86, 87, 91, 92, 97, 98, 99, 103, 117, 118, 119, 128, 129, 145 chiffonade, 84, 99 chili, 77, 78, 79, 91, 93, 94, 95, 117, 128, 129, 130 Chorizo, 41 chowder, 27, 28, 31 Chowder, 27 Cincinnati, 93, 94 cinnamon, 66, 70, 79, 93 clams, 26, 27, 28, 38, 39, 40, 41, 91, 120 Clams, 27, 41 Cognac, 29, 30 Copper, 10 corned beef, 65 Cornstarch, 17 Court Bouillon, 40 Crab, 26, 31, 33, 90 cream, 14, 16, 25, 27, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 43, 44, 45, 48, 51, 53, 60, 67, 69, 78, 84, 90, 97, 98, 99, 100, 103, 109, 112, 118, 120, 121, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 146 crustacean, 32, 44 Cumin, 32, 79 curry, 70, 79, 129 deglaze, 16, 25, 57, 61 Deglaze, 16, 23, 76 Degrease, 16 demi glace, 57, 61 demi-glace, 61 de-veined, 25 Diane, 51 Dijon, 25, 34, 40, 51, 60, 112 dill, 34, 35, 63 Dredge, 52, 54 Dungeness, 31, 90 Egg noodles, 52 etouffeé, 32 Etouffeé, 32, 145 EVOO, 113, 115 filé, 91 fish stock, 13, 31, 38, 44, 49, 90, 91 flour, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 31, 32, 43, 48, 49, 52, 54, 57, 60, 66, 67, 75, 80, 84, 86, 90, 91, 95, 97, 103, 115, 139 France, 29, 38, 112 146
French, 5, 14, 18, 19, 20, 28, 29, 30, 33, 36, 39, 40, 42, 43, 45, 47, 49, 51, 52, 54, 63, 64, 75, 77, 80, 85, 86, 91, 92, 99, 100, 120, 121, 135, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146 French bread, 19, 20, 28, 29, 33, 36, 39, 40, 42, 43, 45, 52, 63, 75, 85, 92, 99, 120 French fries, 64 Garam Masala, 78, 79 garlic, 16, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 32, 35, 38, 40, 42, 44, 48, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 66, 67, 69, 71, 73, 75, 76, 77, 84, 87, 91, 92, 93, 94, 97, 99, 112, 115, 117, 118, 120, 128, 129, 130 Garlic, 32, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 70, 109, 130 Garlic aioli, 40 Ghee, 79 glace de viande, 61 Goulash, 53 Green beans, 56 grill, 56, 62, 63, 70, 95, 117, 135 Grillades, 55, 145 Grilling, 11 Grouse, 80 Gumbo, 32, 91, 92 habanera, 70 hamburger, 62 Hollandaise, 14 homarus, 25 Indian, 70, 79 jalapeño, 59, 70, 94, 95, 117 Jamon, 41 Jerk, 70 julienne, 27 Kitchen Aid, 18, 19, 115 Knead, 18, 115 lamb, 23, 69, 73, 79 Lamb, 72 Langostino, 25 Lasagna, 48 leeks, 38, 103 lemons, 87, 88 Linguisa, 41 lobster, 25, 31, 32, 33, 42, 44, 45, 46, 48, 90 Lobster, 25, 44, 46, 47 Louisiana, 26, 32, 41, 49, 91, 144, 145, 146 Lox, 34, 35 mesquite, 12 mushrooms, 29, 52, 53, 54, 56, 69, 75, 77, 80, 119, 121, 145
mussels, 26, 36, 38, 39, 41 Mussels, 36, 41 mustard, 34, 40, 60, 63, 112 New York, 51, 114 noodles, 48, 51, 52, 53, 68, 69, 72, 80, 86, 93, 100, 128, 129 Okra, 91, 145 Old bay seasoning, 26 olive oil, 38, 40, 42, 48, 53, 56, 59, 60, 63, 71, 73, 76, 77, 84, 85, 112, 113, 117, 118, 120 Olive oil, 41 olives, 19, 35, 73, 87, 115 onion, 16, 27, 31, 40, 44, 54, 56, 59, 62, 63, 66, 67, 70, 76, 77, 87, 91, 92, 93, 94, 97, 99, 112, 129 onions, 26, 28, 29, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 41, 43, 46, 49, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57, 60, 61, 63, 67, 69, 75, 79, 80, 87, 91, 94, 95, 103, 121, 128, 129, 144, 145, 146 oregano, 59, 73, 77, 94 Oyster, 37, 130 oysters, 37, 48, 49, 91 Paella, 41 pancakes, 66, 67, 68 paprika, 31, 38, 41, 44, 53, 54, 56, 70, 77, 87, 99 Parmesan, 19, 86, 121 parsley, 27, 28, 32, 36, 40, 45, 52, 53, 69, 87, 91, 97, 120 pastrami, 65 peanut butter, 66, 98 pepper, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 48, 52, 54, 55, 57, 59, 60, 62, 63, 66, 67, 69, 70, 73, 75, 77, 79, 84, 85, 87, 91, 93, 94, 95, 97, 99, 112, 115, 117, 118, 120, 128, 130 peppercorns, 40, 51, 61, 66, 79, 99 Pernod, 38 Phad Thai, 128 pizza, 20, 85, 114, 115, 117, 119 pork, 22, 23, 58, 69, 70, 79, 94, 118, 128, 129 potatoes, 22, 26, 27, 28, 38, 52, 55, 56, 59, 60, 67, 76, 77, 80, 103, 145 Power Flour, 19 puree, 40, 59, 60, 70, 72, 79, 117, 137 Ranch, 109 Red Snapper, 49 red wine, 33, 34, 39, 42, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57, 60, 61, 66, 75, 79, 119 147
Reduce, 16, 25, 29, 40, 71, 99 Rémoulade, 14 rice, 25, 32, 33, 41, 42, 43, 45, 49, 51, 52, 55, 70, 71, 78, 79, 80, 85, 92, 100, 128, 144, 145, 146 Rouille, 39, 40 roux, 23, 31, 32, 43, 48, 57, 60, 66, 84, 91, 92, 97, 99 Roux, 14, 23 rye flour, 19 saffron, 36, 38, 41 salmon, 34, 35, 43 Sauerbraten, 66, 67 sausage, 26, 32, 41, 42, 91, 92, 118, 119, 121, 144, 146 Sauté, 15, 16, 28, 31, 37, 46, 49, 52, 53, 67, 75, 79, 86, 90, 98, 118, 121, 128 Sautéing, 10 scallops, 29, 38, 39, 48 sherry, 23, 31, 42, 99 shrimp, 25, 26, 31, 32, 33, 42, 49, 79, 90, 91, 92, 109, 128, 129, 145, 146 Slipper Lobsters, 25 soup, 23, 31, 39, 45, 54, 91, 92, 97, 99, 129 Spaghetti, 86, 120 Steak, 51
stew, 38, 52, 56 Stroganoff, 53 sugar, 18, 22, 34, 38, 66, 67, 70, 94, 128, 129, 135, 136 sweetbreads, 69 Tabasco sauce, 63, 91, 97, 112 tagine, 87 Tagine, 41, 87 Tasso, 32 tenderloin, 52, 53 thyme, 27, 31, 52, 54, 56, 66, 75, 76, 77, 91 Tika, 78 tomato paste, 31, 44, 45, 56, 59, 94, 99 tomatoes, 35, 38, 48, 49, 54, 63, 72, 73, 79, 84, 85, 91, 94, 99, 114, 118, 121, 144 turkey, 16, 22, 23, 37, 41, 94, 100, 118 Turkey, 23, 42, 100 Turnip, 56 vanilla, 135, 136 Velouté, 14 vinegar, 22, 34, 66, 67, 69, 70, 85, 93, 109, 117 Worcestershire, 23, 27, 31, 32, 35, 42, 43, 48, 54, 57, 62, 63, 66, 67, 75, 76, 77, 85, 91, 93, 94, 97, 99, 109, 112 yeast, 18, 19, 20, 115