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February 3, 2010

The Best--EVER--Red Pasta Sauce

Marinara Sauce with Fennel
(makes about 2 quarts)
From the Cheese Factory Restaurant in the Wisconsin Dells
This is a vegan/vegetarian restaurant, and its cook book is quite good.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 tsp. minced garlic
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup finely chopped green pepper
1 tsp. whole fennel seeds
¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz. can peeled plum tomatoes, chopped
8 oz. tomato juice
6 oz. tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil, crumbled
¼ tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
½ tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. ground fennel (commercial or ground fine)
2 tsp. sugar
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. flat parsley, chopped
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a sufficiently large, heavy duty sauce pot, sauté the first group of ingredients in the oil for 3-5 minutes
Add the second group of ingredients, cover, bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low fire for 45 min. Stir frequently.

Freezes well, and takes well to the addition of beef, chicken or sausage

Posted by Curmudgeon at 1:31 PM

July 11, 2006

"Liz's" Putanesca

(serves four to six as listed)

2 lbs tomatoes, chopped
½ cup green (chopped) salad olives
3 tbsp. capers
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (more if you like)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
sufficient fettuccini or linguini
2 cups fresh, chopped basil

Cook sufficient pasta.
Combine all of first set of ingredients and mix well.
Toss this combination with cooked pasta
Then toss again with the chopped basil and serve.
(Can also serve room temp. or cool, in which case cool pasta before mixing.)

Posted by respeto at 1:29 PM

July 4, 2005

Almond Amaretto Mousse

(This is a very special dessert from Jonathan's in New Orleans-no longer in business)

1 cup sugar
1 stick sweet butter
4 egg yolks
½ c half-n-half
2 Tbsp. amaretto
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. real almond extract
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
4 egg whites, room temperature
2-3 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted

In a heavy saucepan combine sugar, butter and egg yolks. Stirring constantly bring to a boil and continue to boil for 2 minutes. Remove the mixture from heat and strain into a bowl. To quickly chill, place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice. Stir until it is cool.

When cool, add amaretto, vanilla and almond extracts, and lemon juice. Mix well.

Whip the heavy cream into stiff peaks and fold into the cooled mixture, reserving a little for topping.

In another bowl whip egg whites into stiff peaks. Fold the cream mixture into 1/3 of the egg whites, then fold this back into the remaining egg whites . . . carefully so as not to beat the whites back down.

Fill dessert glasses with mousse and chill for at least several hours. (I like to use wine glasses-they are graceful and show off the dessert.) Before serving, top each portion with a spoonful of whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.

Serve with Pepperidge Farms pirouettes if desired.

Posted by respeto at 11:57 AM

May 14, 2007

Baked French Toast

Ala Little River Inn of Aldie, VA
Serves 3-6. Also a good dessert served with ice cream.

This is a wonderful “quick” breakfast, especially for large groups. I used to prepare it for my Bed and Breakfast, doubling or tripling the recipe. You can make it at your leisure and bake it when you wish--so long as it is the next day! It’s great for slumber parties, family gatherings, etc. And it is good as dessert!

½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter
2 tbsp. corn syrup, dark or light (dark looks better)
1 loaf French bread sliced into 1 inch thick slices.

5 eggs
1 ½ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, mix and melt sugar, butter and syrup. Spray baking dish(es) with PAM. Pour melted mixture into pan(s) and arrange bread slices on it (2-3 slices per person)

In blender mix eggs, milk and vanilla, then carefully pour this mix over bread slices being sure not to miss any areas.

Cover baking dish(es) and refrigerate over night.

Next morning bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and serve directly from the dish. Butter and syrup are not needed. Turn it upside down when serving . . . looks better!

Posted by respeto at 4:20 PM

May 18, 2005

Black Bean Summer Salad

(serves 12-16)

Ingredients for Salad:
12 oz bag of dry Black Beans
1 large or several small smoked ham shanks
2 bay leaves
3 ears of fresh corn on the cob, or 2 cups cooked kernels (rattlepak o.k.)
1-2 ripe avocadoes

Ingredients for Dressing:
½ cup diced (small) red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves (1 tsp. crushed, dried is a poor substitute)
¾ tsp. oregano, crushed
1 ½ tsp. chili pepper powder
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup corn oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. water
½ tsp. salt (or to taste)

Clean and cook corn, then cut from cob. Set aside. (or use left over corn or rattlepak)

Put shanks in lightly salted water, along with 1 small onion peeled and halved, 1 med. carrot halved and cut in two, and 1 rib celery cut in pieces. Simmer for 1 hour. Remove vegetables.

While shanks are cooking, rinse and sort beans, then cook with bay leaf and ham shank for 75 minutes, or till the beans are soft but not mushy. Rinse in cool water to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.

Clean, bone and dice the ham, and add it back to the mix.

To prepare dressing, mix dry ingredients with the water and let stand for 5 minutes, especially to rehydrate if dried spices are being used. Peel and mince the onion. Then add all dressing components together and whisk briskly to mix well.

Peel and dice the avocado into 3/8 to 1/4 inch dice.

Mix beans, corn and ham, dress and mix well again, then carefully fold in avocado.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Posted by respeto at 3:36 PM

October 26, 2010

Bower's Harbor Carrot Cake

This recipe comes from Bower's Harbor Inn on the Mission Peninsula in northern Michigan. It is the best carrot cake you will ever eat. Trust me!

(Today I tried to access this recipe and found that somehow it had disappeared from my website, so . . . here it is again . . . sorry 'bout that.)

3 c. unbleached, all purpose flour
3 c. granulated sugar
1 t. salt
1 T baking soda
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 ½ c. corn oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1T vanilla extract
1 ½ c. walnut meats, chopped
1 ½ c. shredded coconut
1 1/3 c. pureed, cooked carrots
¾ c. crushed pineapple, drained

(altogether makes 8 c. total volume)

8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
6 T sweet butter, room temp
3 c. confectioner's sugar (plus a little)
1 t. vanilla extract
Juice of ½ lemon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 inch layer cake pans, 2 inches deep, lined on the bottom with waxed paper. (Can substitute a 9x13 inch cake pan)

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl; add oil, eggs and vanilla and beat well. Fold in carrots, pineapple, walnuts and coconut. Pour batter into pans. Set on middle rack and bake for about an hour, until the edges have pulled away from the sides and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. (About 1 hr & 25 min. if using 9x13 inch pan)

Cool on a rack for 3 hours. Fill, and then frost the cake with cream cheese frosting (or just frost it, if using the 9x13.) Dust the top with confectioner's sugar.

For frosting, cream together the cheese and butter. Slowly sift in the sugar, continuously beating to combine. When completely incorporated, mixture must be free of lumps. Stir in the vanilla . . . and the lemon juice if desired, and fill/frost the cake.

Note: this also makes fantastic breakfast or dessert bread, with or without the frosting; used to serve it at my inn, baked in the typical loaf pans, and served w/o the frosting. As cake, or bread, this freezes beautifully, and actually cuts better when frozen.

Posted by Curmudgeon at 12:27 PM

August 25, 2007

Broiled Fresh Tomato Soup

2 lbs fresh tomatoes
3 medium onions
6 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
4 large Kaiser rolls or small boules (optional, as bread bowls)
¼ cup cubed Muenster Cheese

Use only fully ripe tomatoes. Core, then halve. Halve onions as well. Peel garlic cloves.

On shallow pan, spray a little oil, then arrange tomato and onion halves, cut side down. Place garlic cloves around the vegetables. Mix oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, and brush over vegetables, coating completely.

Broil 3 - 4 inches from heat source until lightly charred (10 - 15 minutes). Remove garlic and turn other vegetables and broil till lightly charred and tender (10 minutes longer).

Remove from broiler, cool and then peel tomatoes. In a blender or with hand blender, puree tomatoes, onions, garlic and pan juices until smooth.

Pour into a medium saucepan, add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

To make bread bowls: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut off the top of each roll.. Pull out soft center, leaving 1/2 inch thick shells; discard soft bread; reserve tops. Place "bowls" and tops on a baking sheet and bake until crisp (5 - 8 minutes) turning once.

To serve, place rolls in soup plates and ladle hot soup into and around the bread and top with cheese cubes. Garnish with fresh basil and/or parsley and serve immediately.

If not using bread bowls, seasoned croutons work well.

Posted by respeto at 3:29 PM

September 5, 2005

Caper Sauce

2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar & 2 Tbsp. water
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice + S&P
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. capers, drained
3 Tbsp. sweet butter, melted

Combine shallot, vinegar, water, and lemon juice. Reduce to 2 Tbsp.
In blender combine egg yolk, capers. "Whiz" until smooth, then add melted butter in slow stream. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Sauté fish, with lemon slices atop, in tightly covered skillet, over low heat.

Posted by respeto at 12:40 PM

June 2, 2010

Cheap Fish Chowder *

12-16 oz. inexpensive fish (Tilapia, Catfish, etc.), skinned and boned
3 strips of bacon
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 large stalk celery
1 medium onion
4 medium new potatoes
Red and green bell pepper (and yellow if available)
2-3 cups water
3-4 bay leaves
2-3 tsp. fish bullion (optional, but improves the flavor)
5 Tbsp. all purpose flour
4 Tbsp. salted butter (3 are optional if you want to reduce the fat)
2-3 cups whole milk (obviously 3 cups expands the volume a little)
1 or 2 tsp. dry dill weed
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

I use a 2.5 qt., heavy sauce pan, but one larger is fine, just mark the 2.5 qt. level--at least in your mind, since this recipe delivers 2.5 qts.

Put the bay leaves, 2 tsp. fish bullion, and 2 cups of water in the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the fish, minimally cut up if necessary, and cook till flaky (2-4 minutes depending thickness of the fish.) Remove the fish from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

At the same time, cut the bacon into small pieces and skillet fry till crisp; remove, cool and crumble. Leave the bacon grease in the skillet.

Slice, then dice the onion and celery, and simmer in the bacon grease. Do not brown, but do cook till soft and translucent. Then remove and add to the fish (degrease if you must)

While things are cooking, cut the potato into a half-inch cubes (peeled if you must) and add to the fish water (when all the fish is cooked); continue to simmer; slice the carrot into 1/8 "coins" (halve the coins if using a really fat carrot). Add to the potatoes after 4 or 5 minutes.

Slice the peppers lengthwise into strips about ¼ inch, then chop crosswise into ¼ inch dice. Use 6-8 slices total, varying according to colors. Add them to the potato/carrot water after another 2-3 minutes of cooking. Simmer till all the veges are cooked through, adding water from time to time in small amounts as necessary/if necessary. (Timing will vary, so be careful not to get the veges mushy; won't hurt, but give a less appealing result.)

When the vegetables are done--just crisp tender--drain thru a sieve into another vessel; add the solids to the bacon, onions, celery and fish. Return the water to the sauce pan. Reduce to no more than half a cup of water. Add the flour 1 tbsp. at a time and whisk vigorously. As the mixture thickens, add milk a little at a time to keep it thin enough to handle. Simmer for a total of 5 minutes to cook the flour, adding milk as needed. Add enough milk, slowly, incorporating as you go, to thin the mixture a little more. Remove from the heat and add back all of the solids.

Meanwhile, create your own double boiler by using a large enough pan to accommodate the sauce pan; add sufficient water to accommodate the sauce pan without overflowing, and bring it to a boil as things are cooking. When everything is done (above) place the chowder pan in the double boiler, add the dill, then add milk to fill to 2.5 quarts. Mix well and heat through, stirring occasionally.

Adjust seasonings with salt (unlikely if using the fish base), pepper, dill, etc. to taste.

When serving, put a pat of butter in the center of the bowl and sprinkle a little more dill around the top of the soup. Serve hot, with or without croutons or chowder crackers.

* This recipe has been improved and updated. I have found that it is remarkably different if prepared as above, separately cooking the ingredients and pooling them at the end, and heated through in a double boiler. Have no certain idea why; just is so.

Posted by Curmudgeon at 2:23 PM

February 4, 2007

Chicken Adobo

a Cuban dish
(serves four)

2 large chicken breasts, boned, skinned, halved, washed and blotted dry.
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
¼ cup minced onion
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
(dried cilantro is tasteless)
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
(1 ½ tsp. dried is o.k./fresh is better)
½ tsp. dried thyme
3 tbsp. fresh key lime juice (Persian is o.k.)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste.

Puree all ingredients (except chicken) and transfer into baking dish large enough for the chicken breasts. ( I often use a large zip-lok bag because it is easier to mix and turn the chicken, automatically seals, and is disposable. Marinate chicken (covered and refrigerated), turning several times, over a period of at least an hour.
Grill over medium heat until just cooked (average 5-6 minutes per side.)

Broil or bake in preheated oven at 450 degrees

Posted by admin at 11:41 AM

May 11, 2005

Chicken in Tarragon Sauce

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & fresh ground pepper
3 tbsp. chopped shallot
1 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
½ cup heavy cream
Fresh lemon

Trim excess fat from chicken, rinse and pat dry. Flatten breasts to a uniform ½ inch between sheets of wax paper (I prefer using a zip-lock bag.)

In large sauté pan melt butter and olive oil, and when hot add chicken. Season with S&P and sauté gently, turning once, ‘til chicken is golden and opaque (about 3 min. per side.) Transfer to warmed plate and keep warm.

Pour off excess fat from pan and sauté shallot, stirring, for 1-2 min.—till translucent.

Add tarragon and cream and increase heat. Stir, incorporating browned bits from pan bottom and blending well. Cook, till thickened/reduced slightly. Season w/ S&P and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Return chicken to pan and turn each breast several times in the sauce. Transfer to warmed serving plate or individual plates and spoon remaining sauce over chicken.

Sprinkle w/parsley and serve.

Posted by respeto at 3:26 PM

August 21, 2007

Chicken with Yogurt Marinade

1 cup plain yogurt
3 cloves garlic, minced
S&P to taste
Juice of 2 lemons
1 medium onion, chopped fine

Chicken pieces sufficient for 4-5 people

Combine all ingredients and marinate chicken (covered and refrigerated) for at least an hour, turning several times to recoat the pieces.

Grill over medium heat, or roast in the oven at 350-400 degrees until golden and juices run clear (which will obviously depend upon the chicken pieces you select.) Be sure that the pieces are separated well if roasting in the oven.

Posted by respeto at 11:19 AM

August 28, 2005

Chipotle Deviled Eggs

10 large eggs
¼ cup finely minced onion
¼ cup finely minced, cooked ham
2 tbsp. country Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Hellmann's Mayonnaise
1 tsp. chipotle or cayenne pepper
½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
½ tsp. salt.

With needle pierce large end of each egg to depth of 3/8th inch (which helps to center the yolk). Place eggs in large kettle with at least 2 quarts of water. Bring to rolling boil over medium heat, remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 18 minutes. Meanwhile, mince onions and ham.

Peel and halve eggs and remove yolks. Combine ham, mustard, mayonnaise, pepper and salt with 6 of the egg yolks. Blend with fork and form into small round balls, using a measuring or melon baller, and place balls into egg halves. When finished, sprinkle with a little extra chipotle pepper.

Posted by respeto at 10:33 AM

August 8, 2005

Chocolate Mousse

This is World Class, and my scratch recipe!

¼ c. good Brandy (if you want good mousse, be sure it's good!)*
1 round tsp. instant coffee
¼ c. sweet butter
¼ c. sugar
9 oz chocolate chips
4 egg yolks
1 t. vanilla extract
5-6 egg whites (room temperature)
½ pt. whipping cream (cold)

Combine the brandy and instant coffee in double boiler and dissolve over heat. Add and dissolve sugar, then butter, than chocolate chips. Stir frequently and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat, cool a little, and beat in the egg yolks one at a time. (Be sure it's cool enough not to cook the yolks.)

Cool in a sink of very cold water. Add vanilla extract.

Toward the end of the cooling process, beat cream in a large bowl, and egg whites in a still larger bowl. Fold some of the cream into the chilled chocolate, then the mixture back into the rest of the cream.

Then fold in 1/3 of the egg-whites and fold this back into the rest. Gently. Keep it very light (over-mixing will beat down both the whipped cream and the egg whites, and you don't want chocolate pudding!)

Put into individual serving dishes and chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on the top, with a little extra brandy whipped into the cream if desired.

(You can also chill it in a common container and spoon out the servings, but it won't look as attractive. I like to serve it in goblets, or similar sized, stemmed dessert containers.)

*Grand Marnier is especially good, but the cheapest G.M. is made with cheap brandy. Don't believe it? buy the Centinaire. But, if you make your own you can afford the good brandy which both cooks and drinks better!!

(Tip, make you own orange brandy: begin with 3 cups of good brandy. Wash, then peel 6-7 oranges (try not to get much, or any, of the pith) and add the peels to the brandy and let it stand for a month. The product will be almost as good as the good G.M.)

Posted by respeto at 4:09 PM

August 28, 2005

Crab Cakes ala BHG

(as Hors doeuvres. Make more for an entrée.)
This "ancient" recipe comes from Better Homes & Gardens. It is one of the best I have seen and used for Crab Cakes.

6 oz. cooked crabmeat (fresh, frozen, canned)
1 beaten egg
½ cup finely crushed potato chips
2 tbsp. shredded coconut, roasted
2 tbsp. finely chopped green onion
2 tbsp. Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1 tbsp. fresh snipped parsley
½ tsp. ground coriander
2 tbsp. cooking oil
Shredded lemon zest, optional

1 recipe Herb Sauce:
¼ cup Hellmann’s Mayo
1 tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon zest, optional

Mix all together, well, in small bowl and chill for at least 1 hour. Top with additional lemon peel if desired.

Crab Cakes:
Cut crab meat into bite sized pieces; thaw and cook if necessary; drain and remove cartilage from canned . . . . whatever !

In medium mixing bowl combine egg, 1/4 cup of the crushed potato chips, coconut, green onion, mayonnaise, parsley and coriander and mix well. Shape into eight, 1/2 inch patties and roll to coat in remaining potato chips. (Larger patties and longer cooking time for entrée.)

Cook over medium heat until golden, crisp, and heated thru, adding additional oil if necessary.

Serve hot with sauce.

Posted by respeto at 10:35 AM

June 2, 2007

Cranberry Orange Muffins

(makes 12 std. muffins)

1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
½ cup, plus 2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. boiling water
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup (8 oz.) milk
½ cup sweet butter, melted
1 tbsp. grated fresh orange peel

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees
• Stir together cranberries and 2 tbsp. sugar; then stir in boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes.
• Mix flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.
• Beat eggs lightly; add milk and butter and mix till smooth.
• Stir in cranberries, their liquid and the orange peel, then stir this mixture into the flour mixture.
• Divide batter evenly among 12 buttered muffin cups and bake until risen and tops golden (about 15-20 minutes).
• Remove from oven and cool for 2-3 minutes in the pan.
• Serve warm

Posted by respeto at 12:16 PM

March 30, 2005

Crawfish Etouffe

Crawfish Etoufee
(This is one of my very favorite dishes!)

1 strip bacon, chopped small
1 c. sweet butter (1/2 c. works)
½ c. finely chopped celery
1 c. finely chopped white onion
1 c. finely chopped shallot(whites of green onion work, but . . . )
1 t. crushed, minced garlic
2 T. flour
1 large bay leaf
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (save liquid)
2 c. fish stock (incl. tomato liquid)
2 t. salt (omit if using commercial base *)
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
dash of cayenne (optional) ***
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 pkg. frozen crawfish tails**

In a large skillet or wok, sauté the bacon bits till near done (not brown & crispy,) then melt butter and sauté celery, shallots and onions till soft. Add garlic and cook another minute. Then add the flour, and stirring constantly, cook until brown, but not burned (a flat whisk works best.)

Add the bay leaf and the drained tomatoes and brown the tomatoes (about 20 min.) Then add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes. (Restaurant bases work well. In this case I use shrimp base. Of course, fish bullion cubes are available in most grocery stores. In any case, use the reserved tomato liquid as part of the stock.)
Add the salt (if using-and you won’t with restaurant bases), pepper, cayenne, Worcestershire and crawfish tails and cook slowly for another 15-20 minutes. (Finished, this should be a little “loose”, or soupy, so add water if necessary when done.)

Remove the bay leaf and serve with rice. (I like to use white Basmati, and I serve the dish in a rimmed soup plate with a mound of rice in the middle—use a timbale, a cup or a ramekin to mold—and the “saucy” crawfish ladled around it, cleaning the edge with a paper towel to wipe away the inevitable drip.) Serves 2-3, maybe four if light eaters or a several course meal.
I usually serve this with a larger salad and bread.

* If you have not discovered Minor’s restaurant bases you should. They are available on line from I use them all of the time. There is a huge variety, and they embellish cooking immensely. Further, in many situations they really save time. For instance, a Sauce Espangole takes 2 days on the back of the stove to prepare. Theirs takes 2 minutes.)

** There are many places on line from which you can purchase frozen, prepared crawfish tails in 1 lb. packages. WalMart superstores usually have 12 oz. packages in the frozen fish section. I have also found them recently in Publix. Unless you are a real glutton for punishment you WILL NOT want to start with crawfish in the shell!

*** If you like it more spicy, try spiced, diced tomatoes which come with green chilis, mild, medium and hot, and also with jalapeños. I don’t like this dish too spicy since it tends to overpower the rich subtly of the dish.

This recipe works well with shrimp, but “shrimp ain’t crawfish!!.” If using shrimp, use them raw and add them in the last 5-7 minutes, since they get “woody” when overcooked

Posted by respeto at 3:13 PM

October 15, 2005

Creamy Carrot/Ginger Soup

(serve hot; serves 8)

6 large carrots (about 1 lb) peeled and sliced crosswise
2 celery stalks with leaves, peeled and sliced crosswise
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup candied, crystallized ginger, chopped
7 cups defatted chicken broth

1/2 cup cooked white rice
Salt to taste
1/2 cup half-n-half
sprigs of watercress for garnish

Combine the first five ingredients in a large pot and bring to boil; cover and simmer until veges are tender (about 20 min.). Remove from heat and add rice. Season to your satisfaction and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Puree smooth, then strain. Return to pot and stir in half-n-half. Heat thru (do not boil) and serve with watercress (or other) garnish.

Posted by respeto at 12:38 PM

August 17, 2005

Creamy Carrot/Ginger Soup

(serve hot; serves 8)

6 large carrots (about 1 lb) peeled and sliced crosswise
2 celery stalks with leaves, peeled and sliced crosswise
1 cup thinly sliced onion
¼ cup candied, crystallized ginger, chopped
7 cups defatted chicken broth

½ cup cooked white rice
Salt to taste
½ cup half-n-half
sprigs of watercress for garnish

Combine the first five ingredients in a large pot and bring to boil; cover and simmer until veges are tender (about 20 min.). Remove from heat and add rice. Season to your satisfaction and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Puree smooth, then strain. Return to pot and stir in half-n-half. Heat thru (do not boil) and serve with watercress (or other) garnish.

Posted by respeto at 4:31 PM

October 15, 2005

Crème Senegalese

(Curried Soup)

1/4 c. sweet butter
1/4 c. flour
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce (white is best here)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. curry powder *
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cayenne
4 c. hot milk
fresh chopped parsley

Melt butter in a 2-3 qt. saucepan, stir in the flour and cook on low for 10 minutes. Stir constantly (a flat whisk works best.). Do not brown.

Add the curry, whisk well to incorporate, and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the milk slowly, whisking to avoid lumping. Keep it smooth. When complete, add Worcestershire, salt, cayenne and simmer 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. Strain. Serve hot or cold, garnished with parsley.

* If you have not discovered Penzey's spices, you should. They are available on line from I use them all of the time. There is a huge variety, and they embellish cooking immensely. There is an extensive collection of curries and they are as near fresh as you can get, unless you prepare your own--which is a pain i.t.a. (If your experience with curry is that off the shelf at the grocery store, be prepared to be delighted. If you always prepare your own, G-d bless you. You are a true gourmet.)

P.S. don't buy large quantities unless you use large quantities. You defeat, totally, the concept of "near fresh" curry which was the reason you bought from Penzey's in the first place!

P.S.S. Recipe doubles nicely if you want 2 quarts instead of one.

Posted by respeto at 12:40 PM

May 3, 2005

Curried Shrimp

(This is another of my very favorite dishes!)

¼ c. salted butter
½ cup minced white onion
dash each of pepper and cayenne
1 bay leaf, crumbled
pinch of powdered thyme (or crushed dry leaf)
1 ½ T curry powder, more or less-your call*
1 ½ T flour
1 ¾ c. fish stock (or Minors shrimp base**)
2 whole cloves
2 c. boiled shrimp, peeled and deveined

Melt butter in sauce pan and sauté onion till golden. Add pepper, cayenne, bay leaf, thyme, curry and flour and blend. Whisk frequently as you cook it for 10 minutes. Blend in the fish stock, remove from heat and puree in a blender.

Return to heat and add the allspice and shrimp. Cook for 5 min. more. Remove the cloves. Serve over rice, with chutney if desired. (I like to use white Basmati, or domestic Kasmati rice.)

Serves 2-3, maybe four if light eaters or a several course meal.

* If you have not discovered Penzey’s spices, you should. They are available on line from They add a new dimension to cooking, especially the curry and various meat-rubs. There is a huge variety of curry choices and they are as near fresh as you can get, unless you prepare your own—which is a pain i.t.a. (If your experience with curry is that off the shelf at the grocery store, be prepared to be delighted. If you always prepare your own, G-d bless you. You are a true gourmet.)

** If you have not discovered Minor’s restaurant bases you should. They are available on line from I use them all of the time. There is a huge variety, and they embellish cooking immensely.

Recently Publix--and I presume other chains--are selling many such bases in small glass jars—which is more convenient than, though more expensive.

P.S. don’t buy large quantities unless you use large quantities. You defeat, totally, the concept of “near fresh” herbs and/or spices, and especially curry which was the reason you go to Penzey’s in the first place!

Posted by respeto at 11:26 AM

November 24, 2007

Egg Nog (the very best)

I have long used this recipe as "the best"
This makes a "nip" for two, and can be expanded to accomodate any crowd.

3 eggs, separated
6 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup liquor

Cream together the egg yolks and sugar.
Mix in the liquor (I use 2/3 good bourbon and 1/3 good dark rum.
Mix well to be sure the sugar is dissolved.
Beat the egg white to light peaks.
Beat the cream to lightly thicken.
Fold all together, with a sprinkle of powdered nutmeg.
Decorate top with a little more nutmeg.

Yum !!

Posted by respeto at 11:19 AM

May 3, 2005

Garlic Shrimp

wonderful stuff-serves 4)

1 ½ lbs. medium or large shrimp, shelled, deveined and butterflied
¼ c. flour
¼ c. olive oil½ c. salted butter, room temp.
4 medium garlic cloves, crushed, then minced*
1 ½ T finely chopped shallots**
2 T. finely chopped parsley
¼ t. paprika
¼ t. cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp. anise liqueur (optional, but adds a lot)
2 T. lemon juice
¾ c. dry white wine***
Chopped parsley if desired

Cream together the butter, garlic, onions, chopped parsley, paprika, cayenne, and liqueur (if used, add it to the rest, and add butter last.)

After preparing the shrimp, dust lightly with the flour. Heat oil in a skillet and sauté the shrimp over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes (until pink; do NOT overcook!)

Drain off the oil, if any is left, Add lemon juice and wine. Agitate or stir just long enough to thicken, and remove from heat promptly.

Add the creamed mixture of garlic and spices and toss till the butter is melted and the shrimp are coated well.

Season with salt/pepper and serve with chopped parsley sprinkled over the top.

* If you like garlic, this is one recipe in which you can add another 3-5 cloves and it is really great.
** The white part of green onions is a substitute, but no match, for shallots
***substituting orange juice permits those who wish to cook without wine to do so. It is a quite different dish, but unique and very tasty.

Posted by respeto at 11:49 AM

March 3, 2007

Great Buttermilk Cream Scones

(Full recipe is about right for 4-6 people. Half a recipe works well.)

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. powdered buttermilk (optional but great)
4 Tbsp. sweet butter
2 eggs well beaten
½ cup cream
1 cup dried sweet cranberries or cherries, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
• Mix dry ingredients well.
• Cut in butter, in food processor or with hand device. Be sure it is fairly finely incorporated.
• Mix eggs and cream, then add to dry mix, incorporating it, but do not mix to batter consistency, that is, just until it is adequately mixed. Add and stir in chopped fruit.
• Turn out on to floured board and knead for a minute or two. (Your hands will be rather gooey . . . live with it.)
• Pat into a circle ¼ inch thick.
• Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar.
• Cut into wedges (8 is about right), separate a little, and place on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.

Posted by respeto at 11:01 AM

February 17, 2007

Grouper Picatta

(Works well with any solid white fish, and with chicken breasts. Best if the meat is skinless and boneless)
(If using "fishy" fish, soaking it in milk for ½ hour before preparation will materially minimize the taste many find objectionable. Just drain it before flouring it.)

12-16 oz. fish fillets 3/4 to 1 inch thick , or two individual chicken breasts
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. dry white wine (chardonnay or pino gris)
Juice of 2 lemons (or 1/3 cup - key lime juice works well, too)
3 toes garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 Tbsp. small capers, drained
3 Tbsp. butter
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, including an oven safe, non-stick skillet large enough to accept the fillets in a single layer. Oil it lightly, or spray with Pam.

Season the flour with salt and pepper and dust the fillets in the flour. Don't shake the xs off too vigorously.

In a hot, non-stick skillet, sauté the fish briefly in oil, browning each side for a minute or so, (chicken will take a little longer) then place, uncovered, in the hot skillet in the preheated oven . (Time in the oven should be 4-7minutes, depending upon the thickness and type of the meat.

While baking the fish add a little butter to the skillet in which you browned the fish, and sauté the garlic briefly to soften it. Do not brown it. Then add the, wine and juice . On fairly high heat simmer, scraping the loose particles from the skillet. Add the capers and reduce the sauce by two thirds. If still a little thin, add a little flour (Wondra works best). Add the butter and whisk in. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Another delightful touch is to add and flame a 1-2 tsp. of Pernod (or other Anisette type liqueur. Try a little first to be sure you like it, and add it before incorporating the butter.)

Serve over the fish (chicken), now fully cooked, from the oven, with parsley garnish.

Posted by respeto at 4:05 PM

July 17, 2007

Ham Fantastic

Ham Glaze
This is my favorite ham glaze, bar none.

2 small fists of garlic, peeled and separated into cloves. Do not crush or mince.
6 oz. dried tart cherries
¾ bottle dry red wine
6 oz prepared red currant or raspberry jelly
1/3 c. honey

Combine cherries, whole garlic cloves and wine in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour, until reduced by half (add water if necessary.)

When completed, strain out the solids. Remove about ¼ cup of cherries and discard all else. Reduce to ½ to 1 cup, depending upon how much sauce you need. Chop the remaining cherries and add back, along with the honey and jelly. Simmer over low heat till nicely combined and heated thru. (May doctor with a little chopped ginger, chopped garlic, etc. Thicken with cornstarch or arrow root if necessary. Then use as a glaze and serve on the side.

Ham Marinade
A great way to start.
(If you do this, strain and add the marinade to the glaze above before cooking it.)

1/3 c red wine
1/3 c. ruby port
1/3 c. water
1 tbsp. hot mustard powder
1 tbsp. Pick-a-Pepper sauce
1 tbsp. ginger powder
½ c. ginger ale
1 tbsp. coarse ground black pepper
6 small whole cloves
(Overall, make enough to half cover the ham to be marinatedP

Marinate for 2-4 days, turning occasionally (but overnight, at least!) Bake at time recommended and glaze the ham for the last 20 minutes, uncovered.

(Again, I like to use a plastic bag sufficiently large to accomodate the ham and tie it off--as opposed to a huge pan which requires that you baste regularly)

Posted by respeto at 1:12 PM

April 14, 2007

Key Lime Butternut Cookies

(dynamite cookies from Key Lime Cookin’)

1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
1 cup flour
½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp baking powder
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. key lime juice
grated zest of 1 Persian lime (or 3 key limes)
½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Sift together the cornstarch, flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add yolks, juice and zest and mix well
Add to the sifted ingredients and mix well
Add walnuts
Drop by teaspoonfuls on to lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie
Bake 8-10 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Cool
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Actually, I prefer to use a generous 2 tsp per cookie. I hate tiny cookies! Of course, you’ll have to double the recipe.

Posted by respeto at 5:16 PM

August 10, 2005

Lavender Cookies

Most unusual and delightful!

½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. dried lavender flowers, chopped
2 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ cup all purpose flour

Beat together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, vanilla and lavender. Mix well.
Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to lavender mixture.
Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Sprinkle with additional chopped lavender when cookies are cool (optional).

Posted by respeto at 2:00 PM

May 28, 2005

Manhattan Clam Chowder

makes about 2 quarts)

1 or 2 - 10 oz. cans of whole baby clams, and liquor
1/8 lb. salt pork (or several strips of bacon)
3 very large, ripe tomatoes, roasted
1 med-large onion (not sweet) sliced and chopped medium
1 large carrot sliced 1/8 inch wafers
1 large Idaho potato, diced 3/8 inch
1 large rib celery, sliced 1/8 inch wafers
1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 small bay leaf
1+ tsp dry parsley (1-2 tbsp. fresh, chopped is preferable)
1 tsp. dry thyme (1 tbsp. fresh, chopped is preferable)
1+ tsp. dry basil (1-2 tbsp. fresh, chopped is preferable)
5 cups water
4 tbsp. (¼ cup) flour
1 tbsp. Minor Clam Base (or two 8 oz. bottles of clam juice - in which case omit 16 oz. water.)
3-4 drops Tabasco, optional
1 tbsp. Pick-a-pepper
1 tbsp. Worcestershire

Halve the tomatoes, salt them lightly, and roast for 4 hours in 225 degree oven. When done, puree in blender, run thru a coarse sieve and discard residue. (As a relatively poor substitute, you can use a can of pureed tomatoes.)

Cut salt pork into 3 large strips (about like 3 thick bacon slices) and, in 3 quart kettle, sauté over medium-high heat till golden brown. Add chopped onion and celery, lower heat slightly, and cook several minutes until soft and light brown, scraping skillet to incorporate browned residue of pork.

Drain clams and reserve. Add liquor to the kettle. Add 2 tbsp of flour to some of the clam juice, twice, and mix well until smooth and free of lumps. Add remaining water to the kettle contents and combine all remaining ingredients (except drained clams, Worcestershire, Tabasco and Pick-a-pepper) and bring to a light simmer. Cook for 15-30 minutes to thicken the mix, allow the herbs to blend, and render the carrots and potatoes crisp tender. Remove the bay leaf and salt pork, add the clams and warm thru (do not cook them, they’ll become tough.) Add the remaining, reserved seasonings and serve with some fresh chopped parsley.

Consider embellishing with sherry, and serve with crusty French or Peasant Bread.

Posted by respeto at 12:13 PM

July 11, 2006

Many Bean Summer Salad:

Zest & Juice of 2 Persian limes
1 large red onion, chopped medium
Two 4.5 oz. cans green chilies
1-2 tsp. salt
One 16 oz can of each of the following (rinsed and drained)
Bush’s Garbanzo Beans
Whole Kernel Yellow Corn
Bush’s Black Beans
Bush’s Dark Red Kidney Beans
Bush’s Black-eyed peas, or Pinto Beans
Green Limas (optional, if you don’t like them)
And one 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

Mix the first 3 ingredients.
Incorporate the next six, two at a time.
Last, add the tomatoes

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours

This will keep in the refrigerator for a week or more, though after some days the beans will begin to macerate because of the acidity of the limes/tomatoes. (If kept, stir lightly every day to avoid the juice from puddling in the bottom and the beans becoming dry.)

P.S.: I have no stock in Bush’s. It’s just that they are not cooked to the point of mush like all the rest, and they consequently don’t have a sauce to wash away.

Posted by respeto at 1:26 PM

September 5, 2005

Minted Dessert Sauce

2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. mint jelly
1 tbsp. fresh, chopped mint

In sauce pan, over medium heat, warm the cream thru for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent curdling or sticking. Add sugar, vanilla and mint jelly. Whisk thoroughly till jelly dissolves. Add the fresh mint, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours
Serve over fresh strawberries and/or ice cream.

Posted by respeto at 12:43 PM

July 11, 2006

Molly’s Fresh Tomato/Brie Pasta sauce

(serves four to six )

12 oz. Brie, rind removed and torn into small pieces
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
¼ - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all of first set of ingredients and mix well. Let stand for 4 hours to macerate and combine. Stir well and toss with already cooked spaghetti or linguini
This is a wonderful summer mea. Serve with crusty white bread.

Posted by respeto at 1:31 PM

October 27, 2005

Mushroom Fritters

Ingredients for Fritters:
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
½ cup milk
12 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
cooking oil for deep frying
1 recipe Havarti-Pepper Dip (below)

Stir together in medium bowl the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl combine egg and milk. Pour this mixture, all at once, into flour and stir until just moistened. Fold in mushrooms.

In deep fryer, or skillet with deep oil, fry fritters a few at a time. (Fritters prepared by dropping by tablespoonful into oil.) Fry for 3 - 4 minutes, or ‘til golden brown, retrieving with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels or paper bags.

If prepared ahead of time, fry and drain fritters till cool. Reheat by baking, uncovered, in 375 degree oven for 10 minutes, till hot and crisp.

Ingredients for Dip:
8 oz. sour cream
¾ cup shredded Havarti cheese
1-2 tbsp. cracked pepper
1/8 tsp. salt

Place all, together, in blender and puree till smooth. Serve at room temp, or chilled, with the fritters.

Posted by respeto at 11:47 AM

May 28, 2005

New England Clam Chowder

makes about 4 quarts)

3 strips bacon
¼ lb. butter*
2 T olive oil
3 cans chopped clams, incl. liquor
3 small, mild onions (not sweet) chopped fine
3 medium white potatoes in ¼ in. dice
4 med. lge. cloves garlic minced
2 – 8 oz. bottles of clam juice (or 1+ tbsp Minor’s clam base**)
4 small bay leaves
3 whole cloves
1 qt. half & half *
1 qt. whole milk*
½ cup flour

Combine milk and half & half in 5 qt. stock pot or Dutch oven. Place cloves and bay leaves in garni ball/tube or wrapped in cheese cloth (for easy removal, later. Simmer to scald milk and to flavor. Skim if/as necessary. (*I have found that you can eliminate much of the fat, with little sacrifice in richness and flavor, if you substitute 2 quarts of Land-o-Lakes fat free half-n-half—in the purple waxed milk containers.)

At the same time, slice bacon into tiny ribbons and sauté in a large heavy skillet. Add olive oil, butter, then minced garlic and sauté till soft. Add onion, diced very fine, and simmer till beginning to brown. To skillet contents add 1 bottle of clam juice. Add diced potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Potatoes should be almost done, but crisp tender.

Add flour to remaining clam juice, whisking carefully to be sure it is smooth. Then whisk this into the milk. Then add everything else to the stock pot and simmer for another 10 minutes, at least, till thickened (flour should always be cooked at least 10 minutes.) Two or three minutes before done, add the clams and their water to warm thru (cooking the clams too long will toughen them.)

Remove garni, adjust seasonings and serve. If you use clam base or "real" clam liquor (see below) you won't likely need any salt

**Since becoming a Floridian, in the heart of clam country I have learned that one can make clams do “double duty.” I bake mahogany clams at 500 degrees, in a cake pan, and reserve the liquor, serving the clams on another occasion. 100 clams generates about 2 cups of liquor, which is exactly enough to substitute for bottled clam juice. While a little more salty, it works well in this recipe. (It is too salty for Manhattan chowder.) And, of course, one can use chowder clams, but Snow’s canned chopped clams are considerably cheaper, and in this chowder, properly seasoned, I don’t think the added expense is worth it, not to mention the added nuisance.

Posted by respeto at 12:08 PM

August 31, 2007

Orzo with Feta & Veges

10 oz. green beans
1 cup orzo
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
3 medium tomatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. white-wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 cup crumbled feta (6 oz.)

Blanch the beans for 1 minute or so. Chill quickly in ice water, drain well, then cut them into 2-3 pieces.

Chop onion, mince garlic, quarter tomatoes lengthwise and seed.

Sauté onions till soft; add garlic for 1 minute. Then add tomatoes and cook, stirring until soft. Add beans, warm thru, and keep warm.

At the same time, cook the Orzo al dente. Drain and add to bean mixture. Mix in vinegar, parsley, feta, salt and pepper to taste. Combine well and serve.

(Could likely be served chilled, as well, but haven't tried it that way.)

Posted by respeto at 10:46 AM

February 24, 2007

Oyster Stew

1 Pt. fresh, shucked oysters in liqueur
6 scallions
1 rib celery
2 sprigs of fresh parsley
1 Qt. whole milk
1 stick butter
4 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. White Worcestershire sauce

• Chop celery and whites of scallions fine.
• Slice scallion greens lengthwise, then cut crosswise into one inch lengths
• Scald milk, then keep warm.
• Melt butter in skillet, mix flour in with flat whisk and sauté the chopped veggies until soft
• Drain oysters and add liqueur to the veggies. Bring to a simmer, then add scalded milk. Be sure the flour is well incorporated. Then simmer till mixture has thickened (about 4-5 minutes--be sure the flour is cooked.)
• Add scallion greens, then the oysters and cook only until the oyster lips curl a little.
• Add salt and pepper to taste, Worcestershire sauce and top with croutons and lightly chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

2 Tbsp. good dry vermouth adds considerably, in my opinion. Add after cooking.

Posted by respeto at 2:33 PM

May 10, 2010

Panko Bread Crumbs ala Curmudgeonalia

You'll find myriad recipes on line for Panko Crumbs, and not a few sites which sell "authentic" Panko crumbs. They are great on casseroles, meat loaf, pork chops, chicken, fish, etc. I've played around myself and like to make them as follows. (They're much cheaper this way, and, I think, much better . . . especially with the addition at the end.)

1 medium loaf of potato bread
2 tbs. dried thyme, well crushed
2 tbs. dried basil, well crushed
1 tbs. chili powder (optional)
2 tsp. freshly, rather finely ground black pepper
¼ cup powdered pecorino Romano cheese

Air dry the bread for a day or two, but not until dry. Chop the loaf into smallish cubes and place in a Cuisinart (type of) chopper in batches. Pulse repeatedly until you have chopped the bread into very coarse crumbs. If you have more than 2 ½ to 3 cups, discard them, or adjust the volumes of additives.

Place them in a gallon size baggie and add all of the remaining ingredients. Shake to mix well, and spread on a cookie sheet (with edges.) Bake in a 325 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, stirring and turning every 2-3 minutes. Crumbs should be baked until dry, without being browned.

Store them in 2 cup plastic containers: one in the refrigerator if you plan to use them within a few weeks; the rest can be frozen indefinitely if sealed tightly, and they don't need to be thawed to use. (I use the 1 pint cheese containers from the grocery.)

If you want a particularly unusual and very tasty variant--which is the only kind I use now, except on already savory dishes--add about ¼ lb.(+) of (fat trimmed) Prosciutto, chopped very fine in the Cuisinart. Add this to the mix along with the rest before baking.

Feel free to adjust the recipe to your own taste.

Posted by Curmudgeon at 3:32 PM

August 10, 2005

Pecan Pie Bars

(these are "to die for")

3 c. flour
1 c. sweet butter
½ c. sugar
½ t. salt

4 eggs, slightly beaten
3 T melted sweet butter
1 c. Karo syrup, light or dark
1 ½ c. sugar
½ c. molasses
2 ½ c. coarsely chopped pecans
1 ½ t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of a 15x10x1 inch baking or jelly-roll pan.

Prepare crust: in a large a bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat flour, sugar, butter and salt until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly and evenly into pan to cover bottom and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: in a large bowl stir eggs, corn syrup, molasses, sugar, butter and vanilla until blended; then stir in the pecans. Spread evenly over hot crust and bake for 20-25 minutes. More if necessary! Be sure it is well set.

Cool fully on a wire rack. Chill and cut into 2 x 2 or 2 ½ x 2 ½ inch squares (smaller if desired.)

Remove from pan with thin, sharp spatula. (The first ones often come out hard and you have to eat them right away!)

Note: you can bake them in a pan lined with foil or parchment paper, which permits removal before cutting, and possibly ruining a non-stick pan.

You can substitute corn oil or margarine for the butter--but it isn't the same.

Great party fare or bake sales. They freeze very well and keep almost indefinitely.

Further, 1 ½ recipes makes enough for two standard 9x12 cake pans

Posted by respeto at 2:03 PM

June 13, 2005

Roast Duck with Balsamic Vinegar

One 4 lb. duck
Salt & Pepper
16 dry figs, quartered
½ cup balsamic vinegar*
1 large white onion, diced
4 large carrots, diced
2 large shallots, minced
2 ½ cups chicken stock
½ tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove giblets and rinse duck under cold water and pat dry. Season duck inside and out with salt and pepper. Set duck on a rack in a large roasting pan. Place giblets in the pan, too and roast for 15 minutes, then brush with the balsamic vinegar.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees, place the onion, carrots, shallots and figs in the pan with the giblets and continue to roast, basting duck with balsamic vinegar every 15 minutes, until fully cooked, and skin is crisp and dark brown -- about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Transfer duck and vegetables to a warm platter; discard giblets and remove fat from roasting pan. Place the pan over medium heat, add 1 cup of the chicken stock and deglaze pan. Then transfer liquid to a saucepan and add the remaining stock. Simmer to thicken. Stir in cardamom and thyme. Simmer 2 min. more. Taste and adjust seasonings.

(*Fig balsamic vinegar is fantastic if you can find it, or you can prepare your own by marinating chopped figs in the balsamic vinegar for several days. If you prepare such, you will find other uses for it.)

Posted by respeto at 4:24 PM

October 27, 2005

Salmon & Mango Napoleon

1 cup heavy cream
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. sliced chives
3 - 4x12 inch, thin slices of smoked salmon
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Whip cream into stiff peaks. Add lemon juice and chives and mix well. (If mangoes are very sweet add more lemon juice to cream mixture.) Season with salt and pepper.

On cutting board, place one slice of smoked salmon. Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of lemon cream on salmon, covering it completely. Cover cream with slices of mango.

Place a second course of salmon on the mango and repeat the above process. Top, finally, with a layer of smoked salmon.

Cut into four rectangles of equal size and transfer to four plates. Sprinkle the napoleons with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Posted by respeto at 11:48 AM

June 13, 2005

Salmon and Wild Rice Quiche

(real men like this one)

1 refrigerated pastry shell (or do your own)
3 eggs
6 oz smoked salmon, skinned and flaked
1 c. half-n-half
1 t. hot, dry mustard
1 c. left-over wild rice
¼ t. pepper
¼ t. dill weed
1 ½ c. grated Monterey Jack
1 ½ c. grated Swiss

Pre-bake the crust as indicated. Set oven temp to 375 degrees.

Layer salmon in the baked crust and top with wild rice, then the cheeses. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, then add half-n-half, mustard, pepper and dill weed, mixing well.

Pour over the egg mixture and bake at 375 degrees 1 hour (more or less) until set.

Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

(For this and virtually all savory quiches I like to brush the baked shell, before filling it, with a little egg wash in which I have added a little stone-ground mustard and put it back in the oven for a couple of minutes to set it. Keeps the shell from getting damp!)

Posted by respeto at 4:18 PM

November 29, 2005

Salmon in Curry Sauce, modified

For two people
1 lb Salmon filet, boned and skinned
1 oz. butter
2 tsp. curry powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 small red bell pepper
1 small green bell pepper
2t. hot Mango Chutney

Core, seed and cut peppers into narrow slices lengthwise and cross cut them into 3 pieces each.
Microwave on high for a minute or two to soften them and set them aside.

Cut salmon into 1-2 inch, serving size portions and salt lightly. In a heavy skillet or low-sided saucepan, warm butter, and sweat* the salmon pieces, turning them once.

Sprinkle with curry powder, add the heavy cream, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat secure a low simmer and let the salmon draw for 2-3 minutes.

Remove the salmon with a slotted spoon--keep warm and covered. Reduce the sauce to desired, medium-thick, consistence. Add the peppers, and chutney, salt to taste if needed and simmer 1 min.

Arrange the salmon on a plate or in a deep dish; serve sauce over the top.

Serve over rice . . . optional.

*Simmer on the lowest fire possible to achieve cooking without sauteeing. The idea is to "just exceed warming."

Posted by respeto at 9:58 AM

May 10, 2010

Salmon with Basil Pesto

Four 5-6 oz. skinless, boneless Salmon fillets
2 Tbsp. Panko bread crumbs (or any coarse crumb)
¼ cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. basil pesto
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional if using my recipe for Panko crumbs)

Broil for 4-6 minutes, depending thickness of the Salmon (tuck thin ends beneath the heavier flesh. Turn really thick fillets once during the cooking time.)

Meanwhile, add pesto to mayo and set aside.

When Salmon is just beginning to flake, remove from oven, spoon pesto mixture over the fillets and spread evenly. Top with Panko (or other toasted bread) crumbs, sprinkle on the cheese and return to broiler to finish (one or two minutes, until crumbs are lightly browned.)

(As with all fish, I blot the cuts dry and, using a pasty brush, cover all sides and edges with lime juice for 15 minutes. Blot again before cooking. . . . and if especially "fishy," soak in milk for 15 minutes and blot before using the lime juice.)

Posted by Curmudgeon at 2:49 PM

July 4, 2005

Sauerbraten, best on the planet

Ala Judy Storrick, (from Germany/Minnesota)
Serves 7-10

3-4 lb Beef Chuck or Rump
Salt & Pepper
1 Onion, Sliced
3 Bay Leaves
1 Tsp. black peppercorns
Cider Vinegar and Water, 50% each (If you like it less sour, reduce the vinegar)
½ Cup Sugar, divided
¼ Cup Dark Raisins
4 to 6 Good Ginger Snaps
1 Cup Thick Sour Cream (use additional ginger snaps and/or sour cream if necessary to obtain desired thickness of the sauce.)

Rub meat with salt and pepper. Place in deep earthen dish with onion, bay leaves and peppercorns. Heat enough of the vinegar/water mixture to cover. Add ¼ cup sugar to liquid and pour, hot, over the meat. Cover and keep in cool place for 3-4 days, turning and mixing at least once daily. (I have found that a large zip lock bag works well, too, and it's easier to handle. Include a little air when sealing so that the marinade sloshes about more freely. But don't boil the water/vinegar or you'll melt the bag!)

Remove meat from liquid and brown in 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Add back a cup of the liquid, cover and cook in a 300 degree oven for 3 hours or until very tender, adding more liquid during cooking as necessary to keep it moist.

Remove the meat, slice for serving and keep hot.

Strain the liquid, skim off the fat, melt the remaining sugar (1/4 cup) in skillet and add back the strained liquid gradually. Then add the Raisins and Ginger Snaps. Cook until thickened and smooth. Add Sour cream and, when hot, pour over the meat.

Posted by respeto at 10:45 AM

August 17, 2005

Sherry, Morel Sauce

(A fantastic treat, and well worth the minimal trouble)
Makes approximately 1 cup

7/8 oz. dried whole morels
3 T. cold, salted butter
¼ oz. minor's base of choice (depending on what you plan to serve it with, or a slightly rounded tsp. of bullion granules/or 1 cube, etc.)
2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
1 T tomato paste
½ c. dry vermouth
½ c. sherry
3 T brandy
1 t. chopped fresh tarragon or ½ t. dried leaf tarragon
salt & pepper
½ c. heavy cream

Soak the morels in ½ cup warm water for 1-2 hours. Drain and squeeze out the excess water and air dry for 30-60 minutes, between dry paper towels.

Melt 1 ½ T butter in saucepan and cook briefly, with base or bullion. Stir in the shallots and tomato paste and cook together for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add vermouth, sherry and brandy; flavor with salt, pepper and tarragon. Bring to a boil and simmer a few minutes, then strain thru a fine sieve into a second pan.

Add the soaked, drained morels and the cream and boil the liquid until reduced to a thick creamy consistency. Incorporate the remaining butter into the mixture, stirring constantly. (You may have to add 1-3 t. flour or cornstarch to get the consistence and finish you desire, but leave it till last to be sure.)

To serve, plate sauce and place warm meat on it. Serve with green vegetable or green pasta and garnish with parsley or mint.

This is fabulous with lobster medallions, but is great for filet mignon, chicken breasts, etc. It is also unique as a pasta dressing for a meal in itself (in which case you want to use minor's mushroom base.)

Posted by respeto at 4:33 PM

October 17, 2011

Shrimp "Garden Variety"

1 lb. med. Shrimp, deveined and peeled*
Celery, 1 rib, minced
Scallions, 1 bunch: whites minced, greens cut diagonally in 1 in. pieces
2 large garlic cloves, minced fine
2 Tbsp. butter or ordinary olive or other cooking oil if you prefer
Grape Tomatoes, 15 or so, halved lengthwise
2 oz. milk or water
½ cup (or more) of Sour Cream
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch

Mix the cornstarch and water/milk thoroughly.

In a heavy saucepan large enough to eventually accommodate all; over a low fire, sweat the celery and minced onion in butter until soft. Do not brown. Add the garlic for another minute or two until it begins to perfume the kitchen.

Turn up the heat to medium and add the shrimp. After 2 minutes, remix the cornstarch, and add it, along with the tomatoes and green onions. Cook for another minute or two, till shrimp are pink. Add half of the sour cream. Mix well, then add the rest. Cook for another few minutes to fully thicken, and to soften the onions and tomatoes. Add more sour cream if the mixture is too thick. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Mix with cooked pasta or serve over white rice.

(This is a recipe fashioned from refrigerator left overs before leaving the lake at season's end; turns out to be our new-found favorite recipe for shrimp.)

*If using precooked shrimp, remove the tails if still attached, and add them along with the onions and tomatoes to avoid overcooking. Be sure in any case that everything is heated through completely.

Posted by Curmudgeon at 2:17 PM

April 25, 2007

Shrimp Salad

*3 lbs. shrimp, cooked in beer, with:
4 toes garlic, minced
1 tsp. celery seeds

2 lemons, juiced
1 lime, juiced
2 ribs celery, sliced thin, crosswise
6 green onions, white minced, green tops sliced thin
1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
3 tbsp. capers, well drained
1 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp. Pernod (or Anisette) – optional

*Use 3 large or 6 small cans of good, robust beer (not Dark – Fosters is good)
Add garlic toes and celery seeds. Boil for 7-8 minutes. Add shrimp. When it returns to a boil, boil for 30 seconds. Drain and cool.

While cooking shrimp combine all of the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

When shrimp is cool slice in half, lengthwise. Add and mix well. Do not serve for at least 6 hours so the flavors can meld and the shrimp is marinated a little. Overnight is great!

Serve on mixed greens. Bibb lettuce is especially good looking

Yummy !!!

Posted by respeto at 1:09 PM

April 25, 2011

Snapper Scampi

(Sauce also works well with other solid white fish, and with chicken breasts and pork chops. Best if the meat is skinless and boneless)
This recipe needs no further addition of salt, even without the bullion.

Two 4-6 oz. snapper fillets*
Black pepper to taste

2 shallots, chopped relatively fine
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. oil

1 generous tbsp. pimentos, chopped
1 generous tbsp. capers, drained
1 cup beer (not heavy, yeasty varieties)
Fish bullion, small cube (optional)**
1-2 tsp. Sambuca, Pernod, or other licorice liqueur (optional)***

Fresh chopped parsley if desired

Moisten the fish with lemon or lime juice for 15 min. Pat try and season with fresh ground black pepper.

In a skillet sufficient in size to handle the fillets, melt the butter, add the oil and sauté the shallots for 1-2 minutes; add the garlic for another 1 minute. Add the pimentos and the capers, and half of the beer. If using bullion and/or Sambuca, mix well with the first beer. Simmer for another few minutes, stirring to mix well.

Push the skillet ingredients aside and add the seasoned fish; surround it with the sauce and continue to simmer. As sauce is reduced, add beer a little at a time. After 2-3 minutes--depending on the thickness of the fillet--turn over and continue to cook another few minutes until it is flaky.

Add parsley, if using it, and stir in quickly. Cover the fish with the sauce and serve immediately. If more sauce is required, obviously, add a little more beer.

*If using fresh snapper fillets, which are commonly sold with skin, be sure to put the flesh side down first.

**I personally use a generous tsp. of clam base (see Soup Base link), but fish base from the grocery, or fish bullion works well. If using pork or chicken, use a little chicken bullion or base. The recipe also works without any enhancement.

***The Sambuca adds a great deal. Be careful not to use very much, at least until you've tried it out. It is a powerful flavor and is obnoxious if overused.

Posted by Curmudgeon at 4:24 PM

May 11, 2005

Supremes de Volaille Engenie

chicken breasts & prosciutto - serves 4-6

4-6 small boneless, skinned chicken breasts
flour, salt and fresh ground black pepper
4-6 thin slices of prosciutto
4-6 large mushroom caps, stem removed
4-6 rounds of buttered toast
¾ cup sherry
¾ cup scalded cream
salt & white pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees as you begin cooking.

Dredge chicken breasts in seasoned flour and sauté them in clarified butter, turning frequently, until browned and cooked thru.

4-5 minutes before they are done, add the whole mushroom caps to cook.

In another skillet, lightly sauté the prosciutto in butter, till warmed thru.

Place the warmed, buttered toast in the bottom of heated, individual casseroles and cover each with a slice of prosciutto, then the chicken breast. Top with mushroom cap.

Combine the butter from the two sauté skillets, add the sherry and cream and boil for one minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper and strain over the casseroles.

Cover and steam for 3-4 minutes in a 350 degree oven and serve.

Posted by respeto at 3:21 PM

May 18, 2005

Tomato Basil Salsa

1 can (15oz) black beans, drained/rinsed
1 large red onion, chopped
2 large, firm, ripe tomatoes, chopped
10 oz. corn kernels
1 med. red pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced
½ tsp. salt
Dash of hot pepper flakes
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup fresh basil, cut into strips
1 small jalapeno pepper finely diced (optional)

Combine all except basil in medium bowl and set aside for 1 hour.
Stir in the basil just before serving, adjust seasoning and
Serve with polenta triangles or chips.

Posted by respeto at 3:46 PM

November 29, 2005

Tuna w/curry & pepper sauce

2 yellow peppers
½ - 1 tsp.powdered cumin or mild curry
4-6 Tuna steaks

Roast/blacken, then peel, seed and puree peppers.
Heat the cumin briefly, then mix with well with pepper puree.
Pan sear tuna to degree of doneness desired.
Serve sauce over, around or beneath tuna.

Posted by respeto at 9:57 AM

March 30, 2005

White Bean Chili

(chili doesn’t get better’n this!)

Ingredients for Soup:

3 lb. chicken
1 lemon
2 c. hot water, salt & pepper
2 qts. Water
1 lb. bag Great Northern beans
2 T oil
1 large onion, diced
1 Tbsp. diced garlic
½ Tbsp. powdered cumin
½ Tbsp. dried leaf Oregano
1 Tbsp. white Worcestershire sauce
1 16 oz. bottle green salsa*
7-10 drops red Tabasco sauce
3 Tbsp. quick grits & 1 c. water
2 c. chicken broth
1 ½ Tbsp. rice vinegar

Red sauce accompaniment:

2 ½ lbs. fresh, ripe tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
3-4 drops red Tabasco sauce
10-15 drops green Tabasco sauce
Salt & Pepper

Bake the chicken early. Place in appropriate baking dish and squeeze ½ lemon over it. Put the lemon shell in the cavity. Put giblets (except liver) into the baking dish with the chicken and surround it with 2 cups of hot water. Roast at 350 degrees for 1 ½ to 2 hours, till done. Remove and cool. Reserve cooking water. Discard the giblets.

Wash and pick over the beans. Put in 4-5 qt. pot and bring to boil in 2 qts. salted water. Cook till just done (about 1 ½ hours), then drain and reserve beans in the cooking pot. Discard the bean water.

While cooking the beans,

  • In a large frying pan sweat onions in 2 T oil till soft. Do not brown! Add garlic & spices (except Tabasco) and turn up heat for 2 min. Then add green salsa and heat thru. Set aside and add the Tabasco.
  • Bring 1 c. water to boil and add grits. Cook for 5 min and set aside. Don’t drain.
  • Remove chicken meat and discard skin and bones. Chop meat coarsely
  • Prepare red sauce by peeling and seeding tomatoes. Chop them coarsely. Add chopped onions and cilantro, Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. (Dried cilantro WILL NOT do!)

Finish by adding the chicken broth and chicken cooking liquid (defatted if desired) to the beans. Begin to warm, stirring occasionally. Add grits, chicken meat and salsa, the juice of the remaining ½ lemon, salt & pepper to taste. Bring to slow boil and heat thru completely. If a little thick, add a little more water or chicken broth. When hot, serve with red sauce topping.

* Valley of Mexico fire roasted green salsa is sold in most stores and comes both hot and mild. If you can’t find green salsa, use 1 lb can of tomatillas, or 20 fresh ones (paper skins removed) chopped and sautéed quickly to soften. Recently I have seen bottled tomatillas at Publix

Posted by respeto at 3:38 PM