Thursday, January 5, 2017

Sue's Oatmeal Cookies

When Phil, and later Aug, were going off to college I bought them each a copy of a book called, "The Kitchen Survival Guide" by Lora Brody. In it I found this recipe - it caught my eye because I had been searching for a cookie recipe that used oil instead of butter. I've made many changes to the original recipe but I am very grateful to Lora Brody for the base recipe. See the notes at the end for the holiday version!

3 c. flour - 1 whole wheat, 1 rye, 1 unbleached        
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
3 c. regular (old fashioned) oatmeal
1 c. brown sugar packed
¾ c. white sugar
1 c. canola (or vegetable) oil
1 T. molasses
2 eggs
⅓ c. evaporated milk (important - not regular milk)
1 t. vanilla
1 c. chopped dates
1 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Sift flour, soda, salt and cinnamon into the mixing bowl. Mix well. Mix in oatmeal and sugars. Make a well. Pour in the cup of oil, molasses*, eggs, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Mix until ingredients are almost combined. Add in the nuts and dates and mix well.
Drop by generous spoons (size of a walnut) onto the prepared sheets. Bake for 16 minutes or until golden brown.

NOTES: I use flat cookie sheets. *The molasses will come off the tablespoon beautifully if, when pouring the oil, you coat the tablespoon with it.
Be sure the oatmeal and flours are really level in the cup - don’t get too much of the dry ingredients. When you’re getting the dough on the sheet, have a cup of ice cold water ready to dip your hand in if you have trouble keeping the dough together and/or to slightly flatten the tops after you’ve dropped them.
CHRISTMAS TIME: (or all year, if you prefer)
Substitute coconut oil for half the oil. Substitute 3/4 c. whole cranberries (cut in half) and 1/4 c. coconut for the dates. Substitute 1/2 t. almond extract for 1/2 t. of the vanilla. Include the other 1/2 t. vanilla.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ruth Reichl´s Chili

Ruth Reichl is the former editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine. She has a new cookbook/memoir out entitled, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life in reference to the closure of Gourmet. This chili recipe is one of those recipes. Just in time for all you Super Bowl fans! I haven´t found a better chili recipe than this.

1 T. olive oil
3 medium onions, diced
1 red or green bell pepper*, chopped (*my addition, suggested)
6 garlic cloves, smashed 
1 T. FRESH oregano (I used 1t. dried)
1 T. chili powder, divided
1 t. cumin
salt and black pepper (I used 1t. salt)
1 lb. ground bison or beef sirloin
1 (7oz) can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (NOT the whole can)
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes 
1 (12 oz) bottle dark beer (any beer will do. . . )
3/4 c. chicken broth or water
1 (15 oz.) can black beans (I used a 27 oz can - I also prefer the typical kidney beans, so that is also an option), drained and rinsed

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions (and bell pepper). Saute until tender, 4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in oregano, 2 t. chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add ground sirloin or bison. Cook 3 minutes** or until no longer red, stirring to crumble. 

2. Puree 3 (3 is VERY SPICY!) chipotle chilies canned in adobo sauce. Stir chilies, tomatoes and remaining chili powder into meat. Add beer and broth. Bring to a simmer; cook uncovered, 2 hours, (1 is plenty) stirring occasionally. 

3. Before serving, stir in beans**. Taste and adjust flavors. 

Ruth´s flavor boosters: 1 oz dark chocolate for depth OR cream sherry to mellow the overall flavor OR fish or soy sauce for salty complexity (don´t use a whole t. of salt if you opt for this), OR balsamic vinegar for brightness and a touch of sweetness OR any combination of those.

**NOTES: All of her times seem under - all those onions (I used 2 large onions and 1 large bell pepper) won´t be tender in 4 minutes nor will the meat brown in 3 minutes. Like other recipes of mine, if you want to taste the garlic, add it in the last 15 or 20 min. of cooking. (I put it through the press.). I added the beans in with the tomatoes - I would especially recommend this if you´re using kidney beans. Since the sauce is so rich, you really need the extra (or larger) can of beans. Finally, I simmered this with the lid partially off for one hour and it was just right. 

Now, go find the Moosewood recipe for CORNBREAD. This chili should not be served without it :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

gratin de poireaux

recipe is in James Peterson's <i>Vegetables</i>:

trim dark greens from, split lengthwise, rinse the grit from

1 bunch of leeks

line in oblong tian or gratin dish, the pour over

1 c heavy cream

sprinkle with


bake in oven 375F for 1 hr, taking out now and then to tamp down and moisten with the boiling cream. i imagine it'd be good with creme fraiche as well.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tomatillo salsa

To commemorate the Denver Bronco's record-breaking fifth super bowl loss, I have invented the following salsa.

Cover with boiling water in a bowl

about 1lb of tomatillos, husks removed.
(3) big jalapeños

Let sit five minutes. This step is designed to remove any bitter flavors in the skins. You can skip it if you are unscrupulous.

Cut the seeds and veins out of two of the jalapeños, and the stem off of all of them. This step is designed to get more jalapeño flavor without making the salsa too hot. You can skip it if you don't care how hot the salsa gets.

Place jalapeños and tomatillos in a small stock pot with

1/2 med. onion
(2) cloves garlic, crushed
1 t salt
1 T oil
about 1/2 c boiling water (i actually don't know how much water i used when i made it)

simmer over med-low heat for 45 minutes.

set a coarse-meshed sieve over a bowl. remove with a slotted spoon, and then using a pestle, mash the tomatillos and the one jalapeño with seeds in it through the sieve. the purpose of this step is to remove the seeds but keep all of the pulp and fiber, which has flavor. you could use a food mill for this step if necessary. you could also skip this step entirely but then i no longer warrant the results.

place the jalapeño-tomatillo puré back in the stock pot. add:

2 T olive oil
2 t vinegar

blend it all with an immersion blender. i introduced this step because the salsa was too thin when i made it. it turned out to improve the flavor and texture. i was going to add vinegar anyways to balance the tomatillos.

it should be smooth and glossy and somewhat thin for salsa. adjust the salt as necessary.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pasta e fagioli

I have tried multiple versions of this recipe and this is the one I currently like best. I am writing down a version I cooked based on notes taken during the PBS show Lidia's Italy in America. I ignored, mis-transcribed or contradicted some points of Lidia's recipe, so the one she cooked will look quite different from mine. Also she didn't give amounts and I didn't use measuring cups; measurements are approximate. I write the way I cooked it the first time, and in parentheses mention how Lidia cooked it and how I cooked it the second time.

Mince (Lidia processed to a paste but I just used a chef's knife):

4 cloves garlic
about 1T fresh rosemary
about 4 oz. bacon

warm in a heavy pan and let fat render. Chop (again, Lidia used a food processor and I a knife):

2 carrots
1/2 large white onion

add to the pan and fry until onions translucent. now add:

a little salt
(1) anaheim pepper, chopped (Lidia used pepperoncini; 2nd time i used a handful of little pickled pepperoncini, and had more from the jar as garnish)
(1) 22 oz. can italian plum tomatoes (Lidia instead used tomato paste, so her soup was much less tomato-like)
1t white vinegar (Lidia didn't add this, but i added it to balance the tomatoes; 2nd time i put 2T of brine from the pepperoncini jar instead of vinegar)

bring to a boil and add:

4 c hot beef stock (Lidia used boiling water)
1c (dry basis) white beans cooked in water with bay leaves, and their cooking liquid (Lidia put rehydrated but raw beans; 2nd time i used 2c)
(2) medium potatoes, peeled and cut in big dice
black pepper

meanwhile boil in as little water as possible a pound of

1lb pennene (like penne, but smaller [Lidia used ditalini; 2nd time i used elbows])

when potatoes are done, partly mash the soup with bean masher. remove pasta from pasta water when al dente with a fry basket and set aside. there should be about 2c pasta water left. dump this into the soup. Lidia just put the dry pasta in the soup to cook. i consider my method superior because you still get the texture benefit of the pasta starch but pasta does not expand in the soup while storing.

serve bowls, putting pasta to your liking.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Carrot salad

This recipe I am writing down from memory, having learned it from Paula Wolfert's book Couscous and other good foods from Morocco (I am also writing the author's name and the book's name from memory).

Peel one pound of carrots. Simmer them in just enough water to cover along with 1 clove of garlic or two, until the carrots are just cooked. Discard the liquid and garlic, or save for another use.

Mix together juice of one lemon, 1/8 t each of cinnamon, sugar, and cayenne; 1/2t each of ground cumin and sweet paprika, and salt as needed.

Cut the carrots into 1" thick rounds and pour over the lemon juice mixture. Let sit for 5--10 min. so the lemon juice can penetrate a bit. Now drizzle over with olive oil and sprinkle a bit of chopped fresh parsley.

This preparation is simple and the dish is light enough that a person could easily eat 1/3 lb of carrots in one sitting and still have room for a main course. I made an asparagus risotto to go with this and used the boiling water to supplement the garlic stock that I used for the risotto.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Russian Style Hearty Cabbage Soup

This recipe comes from "The Victory Garden Cookbook" by Marian Morash. It was given to me by Jean Lair Smith. It was one of her and Russell's favorite cookbooks. Here is the recipe/commentary verbatim. 

Here's a flavorful blend of cabbage, sauerkraut, short ribs, and vegetables.  This soup takes a while to cook, but it is well worth the time.  I prefer it served the same day, although it can be served 1-2 days later.  Be sure to have some good black bread on hand.

4 lb. short ribs
1 meaty shinbone (optional)
1 lb marrow bones
1 large onion
1 large turnip
2 carrots
2 cups beef broth
8 cups water
2 T. tomato paste
Herb bouquet:
   4 sprigs parsley
   4 sprigs dill
   3 cloves garlic
   1 t. thyme
   1 bay leaf
2 leeks (white portions only)
2 celery stalks with leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 - 3 lb. green cabbage
1 lb. sauerkraut
3 T. oil
3 T. butter
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 T. sugar
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped dill

Place the ribs, shinbone, and marrow bones in a baking pan. Halve the onion, turnip, and carrots, and add to the pan.  Brown in a preheated 500° oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and place the meat, bones, and vegetables in a large stockpot. Remove the grease from the baking pan, pour broth into the pan, and cook over high heat until all the brown bits are incorporated into the broth. Add the broth to the stockpot along with the water, tomato paste, herb bouquet, leeks, celery, and 1 Tablespoon salt. Bring the broth to a boil, skim, and simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours.

Shred the cabbage into 1/4 inch slices. You will have approximately 14 cups. Rinse the sauerkraut in fresh water; squeeze dry. Melt the oil and butter in a large pan, and sauté the chopped onions, carrots, and celery until wilted, approximately 10 minutes. Add the sauerkraut and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and cook over low heat until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the liquid from the stockpot, partially cover pan, and braise for 30 minutes, checking occasionally to ensure the liquid has not evaporated, adding more if necessary; set aside.

When the stock is cooked, discard the vegetables, shinbone, and marrow bones, and degrease. (The shinbone meat is good for nibbling.) Then add the cabbage mixture along with the chopped tomatoes, lemon juice, and sugar. Simmer 30 minutes longer. Season to taste. Ladle into big bowls, top with spoonfuls of sour cream, and sprinkle with dill. (serves 6-8)

Notes: Jesse, I think this recipe is a 2 day project because if you want to degrease the stock properly, it really needs to be refrigerated. The congealed fat is so much easier to remove. 
Here are some other changes that I either chose or were forced to make: I substituted 3 lbs. of shank bones for all the bones/meat called for. The bones were meaty and needed a full 40 minutes to brown. (recipe calls for 20) Instead of deglazing the pan by heating broth into it, I poured a cup of boiling water into the pan and deglazed, then adjusted the amount of water accordingly. I left out the leek and also the fresh dill in the herb bouquet. I used only 1T. sugar and adjusted the lemon juice to 3T. I used a good quality sauerkraut: "Boarshead". I used only 1 T. each of oil and butter to sauté the onion, carrot, and celery. Finally I did not peel or seed the tomatoes. 
To serve, we put dijon mustard on the meat because that's the way my father used to like it.
Good luck. Bon Appétit!