Sunday, December 5, 2010

Southern Thai chicken liver curry

(from David Thompson's Thai Food, with my conversions of measurements)  we just got a new cookbook which is helping us to eat more vegetables.  This is a recipe which uses simple ingredients and is very rich.  This sauce is good for common people because it stretches a long way: you only eat a couple ladlefuls with a bunch of steamed rice and sliced raw cucumbers.  you can also serve it with eggs boiled in the mollet style. The only weird ingredient you'll need is a whole lot of shallots and lemongrass.

Make your curry paste:  throw all these things in a food processor:

-six peeled cloves of garlic
-one stalk of lemongrass, peeled and cut into sections
-ten peeled red shallots
-a fat piece of ginger, say 1/8 lb.
-1T grinded coriander seeds
-1t grinded cumin seeds
-10 long red dried thai chilis, that you soaked in water for 20 minutes
-pinch of salt

turn on the food processor until you have it grinded very well, to a smooth paste.  you would scrape the sides occasionally.

now thinly slice

-6 red shallots

pout 1/2c vegetable oil in a small heavy pan, put the sliced shallots in there and turn on the heat to medium.  the shallots will start to fry and remove half of them when they get golden brown and crispy.  now put in your curry paste and fry this for 5-10 minutes, until it makes a strong fragrance.

gradually add

-2c chicken stock

and be letting it simmer down until you have a smooth somewhat thick sauce.  mix together in a small bowl

-2T sugar
-1T fish sauce
-2T white vnegar

now take and poach, sothey are almost cooked

-1/2lb. chicken livers

cut them into small cubes and save them.

once your sauce is thick, add the fish sauce mixture and the livers.  cook for 3-5 minutes, until the liver is fully cooked, now turn off the heat and add:

-finely chopped cilantro, to taste
-1 thickly sliced shallot.
-the fried shallot that you saved

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

vietnamese beef stew

this dish is very easy and fragrant. growing up eating this dish,  it is always eaten with a french baguette...  but you can also substitute the bread for pasta, rice, or just eat it by itself.

2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
1 red or green thai chilli, diced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger,  finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons fish sauce (or add more depending on your preference)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2lbs beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, whole peeled
3 cups water
4 tablespoon tomato paste
2 star anise
2 carrots, cut in 1 inch chunks
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1 inch chunks
2 daikon, cut in 1 inch chunks ( or about 2 cups)

1. in large mixing bowl, combine the lemmongrass, chilli, ginger, cinnamon, curry powder, fish sauce, salt and black pepper.  add the meat and marinate for at least 30 mins. 
2. heat oil in large sauce pan over high heat and stir fry the onion and garlic until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes
3. add beef and the marinade and stir-fry about 3 minutes or until the beef is browned on all sides. add the water, tomato paste and star anise. bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. add the vegetables and continue simmering until the beef is tender and the vegetable are cooked, about 30 mins more. 

serves 6-8

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

This one came from "The Victory Garden Cookbook", given to me by my old friend Jean Lair Smith. Her husband, Russell, was an avid gardener and this book was a favorite of theirs.
Don't worry about the chestnuts. I am usually forced to leave them out and the soup is still delicious. Here is the recipe as written. (I've added notes in the comments.)

This soup can be made without the chestnuts, but they add a rich and complex flavor, as well as being readily available in winter squash season.

1/2 lb. raw chestnuts
2-2 1/2 lb. Butternut squash
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
2 Tb. butter
5 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
1 1/2 c. light cream
Freshly ground pepper

Peel chestnuts. Peel and seed squash and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Chop onion, carrot, and celery, and add to butter melted in a 4-quart saucepan. Stew to wilt but not brown. Add chestnuts and squash and stir into vegetables. Add 4 cups chicken stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat, and cook for 30-40 minutes or until chestnuts and squash are tender. Stir in ginger if you like. Purée in a blender with remaining chicken stock. Add cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat and serve. (Makes 8 cups)
Bon Appétit!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gordon Ramsay's Shepherd's Pie

You can use beef. This is a really good recipe. I promise!
Serves 4


Shepherd's pie

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g minced lean lamb
  • 1 large onion, finely grated
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, needles chopped
  • 250ml red wine
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1kg Desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 50g butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Parmesan, for grating
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Pan-roasted carrots

  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • Small handful of thyme sprigs
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 500g medium sized carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Few knobs of butter

Method: How to make shepherd's pie

1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas 4 and get prepped by watching Gordon prepare this shepherd's pie.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan until hot. Season the mince and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir the onions and carrot into the mince then grate the garlic in as well. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and herbs and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the red wine and reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened
3. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain then return to the hot pan over low heat to dry out briefly. Pass them through a potato ricer then beat in the egg yolks, followed by about 2 tbsp grated Parmesan. Check for seasoning
4. Spoon the mince into the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. Using a large spoon, layer the mashed potato generously on top of the mince, starting from the outside and working your way into the middle. Grate some extra Parmesan over and season. Fluff up the mash potato with a fork to make rough peaks. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown
5. For the carrots bring a pan of water to the boil with the rosemary, thyme and garlic. Boil the carrots in the water for 3 minutes to soften slightly, then drain and pat dry. Heat the oil in a large non-stick sauté pan then add the carrots and some seasoning. Brown the carrots all over until just tender, adding the butter towards the end of cooking

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dave's Strawberry Shortcake

As Dave says, it's hard to think of strawberry shortcake without thinking of Daddy. (LFL Sr.) Dave has perfected his shortcake recipe and here it is! He said it is the best he's had in his life and he thought that even Daddy would have trouble coming up with anything negative to say about it. What better compliment is that?


1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon vanilla


2 lbs. strawberries, stemmed and divided

1/4 cup water

5 to 6 tablespoons sugar ( really to taste )

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream

1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar plus additional for sprinkling

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Cake/ Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 8 or 9 inch cake pan with margarine. Sprinkle bottom and sides of pan with sugar; tap out any excess sugar. Whisk flour and baking powder in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar, cream cheese, and butter in another bowl till smooth. Beat milk, eggs and vanilla in another bowl to blend. Beat milk mixture into cream cheese mixture. Add dry ingredients; beat until smooth. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Evenly sprinke one tablespoon of sugar over the top of the batter. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, usually right at around 40 minutes in my oven. Cool in pan. Cover and let stand at room temperature ....... you can make your cake way in advance if you want or the other way around it doesn't really matter, Sue. I always like to have my strawberry mixture sit overnight.

Sauce/ Place half of the strawberries in processor. Using on/off turns, process until coarsley chopped. Transfer to medium saucepan; add 1/4 cup water, 3 tablespoons sugar and lemon juice to chopped berries. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until strawberries are very tender, about 4 minutes. Return strawberry mixture to processor and puree until smooth. Strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer into medium bowl. Cover and chill until cold (at least 2 hours)

Quarter or slice remaining strawberries and toss with another 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar. Let stand at room temperature until sugar dissolves and juices form stirring occasionally ( around 30 minutes to an hour ) Add strawberry sauce to the berries, cover and chill overnight.

Whip chilled whipping cream, 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and vanilla in bowl until peaks form.

Cut cake into wedges. Split each wedge horizontally in half. Place bottom of each wedge on plate. Spoon strawberry mixture over, top with whipped cream. Place top of cake over cream. Sprinke with powdered sugar and serve. I sometimes put extra strawberry mixture and whipped cream on top too, for me and the kids but it looks real pretty and professional for company if you serve it like I described.

Bon Appetit !!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

spinach frittata

I made this tonight with things leftover in the fridge, based loosely on guidelines in Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of classic Italian Cooking."

-Caramelize half a large red onion.  (Thinly slice it, put in a skillet over very low heat with a tablespoon of olive oil, covered, until well wilted, like 30 minutes, then turn up the heat and stir until it gets browned)
-Fry two strips of bacon
-Grate 1/2c parmiggiano reggiano
-Blanch 10oz. fresh spinach in salted water.
-Mix all of this together with three eggs 1/4t of salt and 1/2t black pepper.

Now you melt 1T butter in a non-stick skillet over low heat.  Turn on your broiler.  Pour in the mixture and smooth it out.  Leave it alone and let it cook about 8 minutes, until it is starting to get set and the sides will lift away from the pan.  Take the skillet and put it under the broiler for about 45seconds so that the top can get finished.

That is all.  This has much more spinach than you think is correct, but it is healthier like this, not so heavy in the gut, and you will see that it holds together just fine.  You can replace parmesan cheese with gruyère, comté, or "swiss."  My sources tell me that all of these pair well with spinach. 

Serve with champagne, beer or coffee, depending on the occasion and your likes.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chunky Apple Walnut Cake

Ever since Puddy mentioned Rosh Hashanah and apple cake to Jesse, I've been on the lookout for just the right recipe. I think I've found it in the famed "Silver Palate Cookbook" by Julee Russo & Sheila Lukins. And since I share a birthday with Johnny Appleseed, how could I not post an apple recipe in September?

Dark, moist and chunky, with a dream of a glaze.

1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 c. granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 c. unbleached flour, sifted
1/8 t. ground cloves
1 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground mace
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 c. whole wheat flour, sifted
1 1/4 c. shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 1/4 c. coarse chunks of peeled and cored Rome Beauty apples
3 T. Calvados or applejack
Apple Cider Glaze (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. In a large bowl, beat vegetable oil and sugar until thick and opaque. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Sift together unbleached white flour, cloves, cinnamon, mace, baking soda and salt, then stir in whole wheat flour. Add to oil and egg mixture and mix until well blended.
4. Add walnuts, apple chunks and Calvados all at once and stir batter until pieces are evenly distributed.
5. Pour batter into a greased 10 inch round cake pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Let cake rest for 10 minutes, then unmold and pour glaze over warm cake, or cut cake and pour glaze over slices.
One 10 inch cake, 10 to 12 portions

4 T. butter
2 T. brown sugar
6 T. granulated sugar
3 T. Calvados or applejack
4 T. sweet cider
2 T. fresh orange juice
2 T. heavy cream

1. Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in both sugars.
2. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and cook for 4 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Pour while still warm over warm cake.
1 1/2 cups glaze

Monday, September 27, 2010

Paul's Lentil Soup Recipe

This is a recipe that Paul sent several months ago. The beauty of this recipe is that not only is it a complete one pot vegetarian meal but it lends itself very well to all sorts of substitutions and additions.

It is now May 10, 2011. I've just changed (added to) the ingredients because the following was my best batch. 

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 c. vegetarian stock
  • 1 c. water (or chicken stock if you wish)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups spinach (or kale), torn or chopped
  • 3/4 cup red or brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (or long grain white)
  • parsley & basil or cilantro or a mix of all 3
  • 3 - 4 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 - 1t. salt 
  • pepper

Put the onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, and salt (lesser amount depending on the broth you plan to use) in a pot with 4 T. olive oil over medium heat. (If you're using any chicken stock, you could cut the oil to 3 T.) After about 10 minutes, toss in the spinach and/or kale. After a couple more minutes, add the lentils, garlic, tomato paste, and rice. Cook 3 -5 minutes more. Pour in your stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 40 minutes (for white rice) to 50 minutes (for brown). During the last 10 minutes adjust the salt and add pepper, and 1/2 c. or so of herbs. I serve mine (Paul does) with cheese breads with romano and parmigiano.
This soup was very easy, cheap, and low mess factor. Of course the quality of ingredients always matters, but this soup was quite tasty, and even passed the pregnant wife test, a high standard by any means.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken

2 stalks of lemongrass, thinly sliced
3 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 chilli, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
450 g (1lb) chicken meat cubed
12 bamboo skewers

1. Pound the lemongrass, shallots, chilli, garlic and oil until fine. Add the salt, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, honey, sugar, sesame oil and pepper to the lemongrass mixture, stirring well to combine. Place the chicken cubes in a large bowl with the paste and marinate for about 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, start the barbecue fire. Soak the bamboo skewers.
3. When ready to eat, thread the chick cubes on the skewers and grill over medium-hot coats until done, about 4 minutes on each side. remove from the fire and serve.

Serves 3-4
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time:8 mintues.

Pork Marinade for Grilling or Baking

Note: We like to make this in big batches, then freeze in small packets of aluminum foil for quick meals during the week.

3 shallots or white part of 3 scallions
2 gloves of garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce
1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
1 lb pork butt, sliced paper thin against the grain
3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
mint leaves, cilantro, sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots and lettuce for garnish (optional, but highly recommended)

1. Combine the shallots, garlic, and sugar in a mortar and pound to paste. Add the fish sauce and black pepper. 
2. Marinate the meat for 1 hour. 
3. If using oven: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Arrange the pork on the foil in overlapping slices. ( It's best not to separate the pieces , as this will cause them to dry while cooking.) Bake for 20 minutes on one side, then turn the pieces over and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove. 
(It's also fine to just stir fry it in a pan on stove top which we do usually.)
4. You can serve the pork with rice or rice noodles with slices of cucumber, shredded lettuce and carrots, mint leaves and cilantro. Sprinkle with roasted peanuts and  the fish sauce dip recipe found in the earlier section of this blog. 

Grilled Skewered Pork

1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 spring onions (scallions), chopped
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
450g (1lb) streaky pork, thinly sliced
16 bamboo skewers

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the honey, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, garlic, spring onions, oyster sauce, salt and pepper , mixing well. Add the pork, coating the slices well. Cover and marinate for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, start the barbecue fire. Soak the bamboo skewers.
3. When ready to eat, thread the meat strips on the skewers . Don't be tempted to overload the skewers; skewers which are too generous will char on the outside by the time the inside is cooked.
4. Grill over medium-hot coals for 3 to 4 minutes, brushing the meat with the marinade. When browned and cooked, remove from the fire and serve.

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 8 mins

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Another recipe from South of the Border:

3 lb. squash (Mexican squash or zucchini)
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped (1/2 green and 1/2 red works especially well)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 T. tomato paste (you may also use 2 fresh ripe Roma tomatoes)
1-2 t. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. pepper ( or you could add a small serrano pepper with the onion)
pinch of sugar
1 10 oz. can of corn, drained or 1 1/4 cups frozen or fresh

Cut calabaza in cubes. In heavy saucepan sauté onion, green and/or red bell pepper until clear. Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, and sugar. Mix well. Add calabaza. Cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Add corn and garlic. Simmer 5 minutes more. Serves 8.

Variation: Cook 3 lbs of raw cabbage in the same manner.
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The McNair's Pinto Beans

When we were growing up, Mama and Daddy were close friends with Gene and Sherry McNair, who also had a large family. The McNairs wrote a Mexican cookbook called, "An Adventure from South of the Border." Too bad it's out of print. I've made several changes but I'll still give them the credit for this recipe.

1 lb. dried pinto beans
1 large onion, chopped
2 small serrano peppers, chopped fine
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. sugar
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
a whole bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped
3-4 T. olive oil (original recipe called for 1/4 lb salt pork)
2 t. cumin

Wash beans well and place in a large heavy pot with 3 1/2 quarts cold water. Bring to a boil and skim off any skum. Add the salt and olive oil (or salt pork if you must). Simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 hours. Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Water may be added before the cooking time is up if soupy beans are desired. Serves at least 8 people.

There is a note in the cookbook that says they use this recipe to cook black beans as well.
Bon Appetit!

Cuban Style Black Beans

I've adapted this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks: "Cheap Eats". The authors, Brooke Dojny and Melanie Barnard, wrote a food column for Bon Appetit for many years. Phil says he uses this recipe to fix any type of beans.

1 lb. dried black beans
1/4 c. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or run through a press
2 t. chili powder
pinch of sugar
1 bay leaf, broken in half
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. hot pepper sauce OR 1 serrano pepper, chopped fine
1/4 t. black pepper, if desired
1 t. cumin

Rinse the beans well. Cover with water 3-4 inches over beans. You can soak overnight or use the quick method: Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Cover the beans and cut the heat. Let sit for one hour. Return to boil. Skim off any skum. Add 1 t. of the salt and the olive oil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours or until beans are softening. Add everything else. Simmer for 45 minutes more. Serve with rice or cornbread. Don't forget to discard the bay leaf!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Basic Cornbread (plus 2 tasty variations)

This recipe is taken from the vegetarian classic "Moosewood Cookbook" by Mollie Katzen.

butter or margarine for the pan
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk or yogurt
1 egg
3 Tbs. sugar or honey
3 Tbs. melted butter or margarine

1) Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8 inch square pan (or a 9 or 10 inch cast-iron skillet) with butter or margarine.
2) Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Combine the wet ingredients (including sugar or honey) separately. Stir the wet mixture into the dry, mixing just enough to thoroughly combine. Spread into the prepared pan.
3) Bake for 20 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.


Make the batter as described above, with the following additions:
1 c. fresh or frozen/defrosted corn
1/2 c. (packed) grated mild white cheese
3-4- scallions, minced
Stir into the batter. OPTIONAL: Replace the melted butter with olive oil


Make the batter as described above, increasing the sugar or honey to 1/4 cup. Add 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, stirring them gently into the batter. (NOTE: You can also use frozen unsweetened blueberries. Defrost and drain before using.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sue's Chicken Soup

I've tried over and over to find the perfect chicken soup recipe and maybe I'm still looking. I've settled on this one (a combination of my searches) in the meantime. The freshest vegetables make all the difference.

If at all possible, do this in two days. Otherwise start early in the morning.

Make your stock:
1 fryer (about 3-4 lbs)
1 large onion cut in two with a clove stuck in it
2-3 ribs of celery cut in half
2 carrots, peeled and halved
4 peeled garlic cloves
1 small bay leaf
1 t. salt
6-8 peppercorns

Add water just enough to cover the chicken. Add all ingredients. Bring to boil. Skim off the scum. Lower heat, cover, (you can leave a crack) and simmer for 1 hour. Take out the chicken pieces. Stain the broth. Save everything. If you're not continuing the same day, refrigerate when cool. Doing it in 2 days will allow you to take off the fat that will have hardened overnight.

For the soup:
1/2 head cabbage, cut lengthwise and then crosswise in thin strips
3-4 turnips, peeled and cubed
2-3 carrots, cut lengthwise and then diced crosswise
3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
3 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
1 ear fresh corn, cut in half
1 c. frozen peas
8 oz. spaghetti noodles, (whole grain ones will hold up better) broken in thirds - if you're cooking it for kids, use pappardelle noodles - they're long and thick and fun!
1-2 t. salt or to taste

Debone the chicken. Chop or shred it. (You can save a portion for another dish if you wish.) Bring broth to boiling. Add the cabbage, turnips, carrots and corn. Partially cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the noodles and peas. When it returns to a boil, simmer partially covered for 5-10 minutes, depending on what type of noodles you've used. Puree the cooked vegetables that you saved except for the celery. Cut that lengthwise, and then in thin strips. Add both to broth. Add the chopped chicken, parsley, and cilantro and 1-2 t. salt. Give it a stir and cut the heat. Leave covered for 5 minutes before serving.
Bon Appetit!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Missing Moleskine


Last night, a precious notebook of brand "Moleskine" was lost. This majestic gift was given to me by Abbers, the one in the green shirt. The only two places I can think that it would be are either the Living Room or the Dining Room. I wrote in it in the Living Room and I think I may have brought it into the Dining Room onto my desk. However, I am almost positive that I left it on top of that piece of furniture adjacent to the yellow couch.

We've searched for hours to no avail.

Please, do your part in the search for this missing gem. Your efforts will not go unrewarded.


Joseph Lovegren

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Puttanesca Sauce

From Joy of Cooking 1997 edition.

Spicy, savory, and exciting, Puttanesca, or Streetwalker's, Sauce is ready to toss with pasta in minutes.

Heat in a large skillet over medium heat:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 dried red chili pepper

Cook, stirring and crushing the pepper with the back of a spoon, just until the garlic is pale blond, about 30 seconds. Stir in:
1 cup oil-cured black olives, such as Gaeta, pitted and coarsely chopped
6 anchovy fillets, soaked in water to cover for 5 minutes and drained
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Cook for about 30 seconds, then stir in:
1.5 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, if desired, seeded, and chopped, or one 28-
ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice, crushed between your fingers as you add
them to the pan

Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in:
3 tablespoons packed minced fresh parsely
2 tablespoons drained capers

Season with:
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Enough for 1 pound of pasta.

Note: When using canned tomatoes, we prefer San Marzano brand.

Provençal Mixed Dried Herbs

From Richard Olney's "Provence The Beautiful Cookbook":

Commercial mixtures of dried Provençal herbs usually contain too many herbs, including rosemary, lavender and sage, and usually smell musty. If you are able to collect your own herbs and dry them, a good mixture is composed of thyme, oregano, savory and marjoram, in descending proportions. When the bundles are dry, store them in paper bags, stapled or covered over with other paper bags to protect them from dust without enclosing them in an airtight atmosphere, until autumn when all of the herbs have been picked and dried. Crumbled the bunches between gloved hands, whirl the crumbles, small batches at a time, in a food processor, pass the processed herbs through a sieve with the help of a gloved hand, put them into jars and store them. A wonderful seasoning for stuffings, marinades, sausage meat and pâtés, frilled meats and poultry, or to replace a bouquet garni if you are in a hurry or have no fresh herbs at hand.

Tapenade (Caper and Black Olive Spread)

1 2/3 cups (1/2lb/250 g) Greek -style black olives, pitted
1/2 cups(3 1/2 oz/100g) capers, rinsed and well drained
3 salted anchovies, rinsed and filleted
pinch of Provençal mixed dried herbs
pinch of coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic
4-5 tablespoons (2-3 fl oz/60-90 ml) olive oil

Combine the olives, capers and anchovies in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and purée. In a mortar pound together the herbs, salt, a generous grind of pepper and the garlic to form a paste. Add the olive mixture and work together, turning the pestle and adding olive oil, a little at a time, until the mixture is the consistency of a thin paste.

Serves 6

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

cookbook recommendation

I just got an inexpensive used copy of Flo Braker's "The Simple Art of Perfect Baking".  It seems like it's an important book.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Chilli Chicken

From " Homestyle Chinese Cooking" by Daniel Reid.

500 g(1lb) boneless chicken breast, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces
4-6 red chillies, fresh or dried
3 tablespoons oil
1-2 tablespoons chilli paste
2-3 spring onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced

2 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 7 mins

1. Combine all the Marinade ingredients, mixing well. Place the chicken chunks in a bowl, then pour the Marinade over the chicken, coating the pieced well. Set aside to marinate for 20-30 mins.
2. While the chicken is marinating, combine the Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Cut the chillies lengthwise and scrape away the seed and white membranes.
4. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat and add the chillies. When chilies are scorched and smoking, add the marinated chicken and quickly stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the chilli paste and cook for another 1 minute.
5. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the sauce. Cover wok with a lid and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the spring onions and transfer to serving dish. Enjoy with rice.

* Chilli paste is a blend of ground, fresh or dried chillies. Not to be confused with chilli sauce, it is thicker and spicier, and is sometimes fermented to further enhance its flavor. It is sold mainly in jars and is widely available in food stores. To add some color and flavor to this dish, you may add 1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas, diced carrots and diced red or green bell peppers. These should be added right after the chilli paste, but before the sauce. For extra zest, garnish the dish with a generous sprinkling of minced fresh coriander leaves (cilantro).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

3/3/2 White Sauce

If you look for the classic bechamel sauce, you will usually find the 2/2/1 combination. I prefer this combination. It's lighter and less likely to glue up your dish. And unless you're cooking for 2 (with no leftovers) you'll need at least this much for any dish calling for a white sauce.

3 T. oil, butter, or a mix
3 T. flour
2 c. milk or cream
1/2 t. salt, or to taste
1/4 t. pepper (white if you don't want the black specks to show), or to taste

Heat the butter or oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. In a microwave oven, or in a separate small pan on the stove, warm the milk. (You can skip this step if your skillet is very large, allowing the temperature of the milk to rise immediately.) Slowly whisk in the milk, raise the heat, and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Cook for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper.

If you want to have a basic savory sauce, add a small onion with the oil and cook until the onion is clear. Proceed with recipe.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shredded Cabbage and Chicken Salad

When Jesse and I visited Aunt Vicky in Cleveland,OH when we first moved to Buffalo, she took us to a Vietnamese restaurant. She ordered this dish and told us that she gets this dish often when coming to this restaurant because she liked it. Here is the recipe for that dish. This recipe is also from "The Home style Vietnamese Cooking" book.

Think of this dish as the Vietnamese version of the Western coleslaw, a dish of shredded cabbage dressed with a light mixture. But this recipe contains both shredded cabbage and shredded carrots, plus chicken and refreshing mint leaves, turning this into a light yet satisfying meal. You can make the dressing in advance and refrigerate it until ready to use. Plan to serve this dish as part of a whole meal to serve 6; alternatively, this recipe makes a light main salad serving 2 or 3.

250g (2 cups) chicken breast, cooked and shredded
320g (4 cups) shredded cabbage
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
10g (1/4 cup) fresh mint leaves
50g (1/4 cup) roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Fresh coriander (cilantro) sprigs for garnishing (optional)

2 Thai chillies, minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons salad oil
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. To make the salad, combine the shredded chicken, cabbage, carrots and mint leaves in a large mixing bowl.
2. To make the dressing, combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to mix. Dress the salad and toss well to combine.
3. Transfer the salad to a serving plate. Garnish with the chopped peanuts and coriander sprigs and serve.

Serves 2-3
Preparation time: 10 mins

buffalo wings

this is a modification of the Joy of Cooking (1997 ed.) recipe for buffalo wings.  the sauce and the basic procedure for preparing the wings are from that book.

what is important to success is that you have a thermometer that can measure the temperature of your oil and you try to fry them in a heavy pot, like a dutch oven, which can keep the oil temperature a bit stable.  temperature control is responsible for whether your wings are juicy and crispy.

1. you change the sauce to barbecue sauce.  combine:

-1.5 c ketchup
-1c cider vinegar
-1/4c worcstershire
-1/4c soy sauce
-1c brown sugar
-2T dry mustard
-4T chili powder
-1T fresh ginger, grated
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2T vegetable oil
-3 slices lemon

simmer for five minutes and it's done.

now for the wings:

-1.5 lbs chicken wings, divided into wing and drumette.  dry them off first.  (discard the tips or save them for stock)

dredge them in:
-1/3c flour
-1t salt
-1/2 t black pepper
(-1T ground cofffee) this is what i put in extra

fry them at 375F for 10 minutes, keep warm in a low oven while you prepare the other batches.

now you sauce them as you like.

Fish Sauce Dip (Nuoc Cham)

From "Homestyle Vietnamese Cooking," by Nongkran Daks and Alexandra Greeley.

The classic dipping and seasoning sauce of the Vietnamese table, nuoc cham makes its appearance at nearly every meal. It is easy to make and stores well in the refrigerator.

3 fresh red (Thai)chillies, chopped (preferred) or 1 teaspoon Asian chilli paste
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
60g(1/4cup) sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon vinegar
3 tablespoons fish sauce (3 crabs brand preferred)
125 ml (1/2 cup) water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Makes 250 ml (1 cup)
Preparation time: 10 mins

Although you can simply combine all the ingredients at once, you will get better results by pounding the chilli paste, which should contain bits of hot chillies, with the garlic and sugar before adding the remaining ingredients and mixing well.

Caviar D'Aubergine

Recipe from Richard Olney's "Provence: The Beautiful Cookbook"

Caviar D'Aubergine
Eggplant Spread
The spread is best served warm, as an hors d'oeuvre accompanied with warm toasts and chilled white or rosé wine.

3 elongated eggplants (aubergine), about 1.5lb (750g) total weight
2 cloves garlic
pinch of coarse salt
2 salt anchovies, rinsed and filleted
freshly ground pepper
fine salt
4-5 tablespoons (2-3 fl oz/60-90 ml) olive oil

1. Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
2. Prick the eggplants several times and place them in a shallow baking dish. Bake until the flesh is very soft when pierced with a knife tip, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, split the eggplants in half. Using a spoon scrape the flesh onto a plate. Discard the skins and mash the flesh to a coarse purée with a fork.
3. In a mortar pound together the garlic and coarse salt to form a paste. Add the anchovies, grind in pepper to taste and pound again. Empty the contents of the plate into the mortar and turn with the pestle, slowly adding the olive oil until the mixture is a loose, spreadable consistency. Add fine salt to taste.

Serves: 4

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MaMa Routier's Eggplant Fritters

as told to me by her daughter, Barbara R. Lapeyre

1 "good sized" eggplant
1-2 T. self rising flour
1 egg

Peel the eggplant. (You could also leave the peel on but cut it in half) Boil in salted water. When soft, pour it into a colander and drain well. Scoop out as many seeds as you can. Mash it real well. (Mama says that MaMa used to put it in the "mixmaster". There was no such thing as a blender in those days.)
Drop an egg in and 1T self rising flour. The batter should be heavier than pancake batter, not runny. So you may or may not need the second tablespoon of flour.

Heat the oil to about 350°. Take a spoon and drop the batter into an elongated shape - not a ball, as it may be raw in the middle. If they brown immediately the oil is too hot. Brown and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Eat while still hot!

Veal liver Knedles

Here is a classic, which I've never tried before:

Crush and press through a strainer:

150g veal liver


-30g goose fat
-3 egg yolks
-a roll, wetted and then squeezed out
-30g white bread crumbs
-an onion, diced then blanched in water
-salt, pepper, paprika

says the book:
"Mix together this less than appetising mass with your hands.  Add enough flour to be able to mould it, with your floured hands, into fat balls like walnuts.  Poach them in salted boiling water for ten minutes.  Remove them from the water.  Let them cool.  Sauté them in the goose fat.  Serve hot."

Edouard de Pomiane (1929) Cuisine Juive, Ghettos Modernes

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


So you get some lemons and then you'll need sugar, ice, and optionally, spirits such as rum or bourbon.  if you're complaining that the lemons cost almost as much as a six pack, then buy limes instead and refer to the recipe below.

squeeze lemons over a wire strainer into a container until you have at least 1 cup of fresh lemon juice.

meanwhile make a simple syrup with 3/4c sugar and 1c water.

combine these two liquids in a 1L jar, top off with water. chill.

then put ice cubes in a tall glass and mix 1 part spirits to 3 parts lemonade. you could also drink the lemonade by itself.