Spike's & Jamie's Recipe Collection & a Whole Lot More!

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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How to use these pages:  Below is a list of the recipes on this page.  You can either scroll down the page and look at all of the recipes, or look at the titles.  When you find one that seems interesting, use your web browsers FIND function to take you directly to that recipe (on my IE browser it's Edit/Find (on this page)   or Ctrl - F on your keyboard).

ANDOUILLE SEAFOOD GUMBO

APPLE GOAT CHEESE AND PROSCIUTTO

APPLE GOAT CHEESE

APPLE OR PEACH CRISP

APPLESAUCE BARS

BARBECUED FLANK STEAK

BEANS IN TOMATO SAUCE

BOUDIN BLANC

BREAD PUDDING WITH WHISKEY SAUCE

CANNING GRAPEFRUIT

CHALUPA

CHICKEN AFALOTA for PRESSURE COOKER

CHICKEN AND ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE GUMBO

CHICKEN LARB

CHILI RELLENO CASSEROLE

CHILIS RELLENOS WITH FRESH GREEN CHI

CHOCOLATE PECAN PRALINES

CITY CHICKEN

COOK OFF WINNER CROCKERY STYLE CHILI

CRAWFISH AND CORN BEIGNETS

DIRTY RICE

EASY TURKEY POT PIE

FISH CREOLE

GABI'S FAMOUS LOW CARB BREAD

GRATIN TAKES CENTER STAGE

GUMBO INFORMATION

HAM AND CHEESE CASSEROLE

HAZELNUT CARMEL COOKIES

HOLIDAY EGGNOG BREAD

HOT DEVILED POTATOES

ICE CREAM

INSTANT COCOA MIX

JAMBALAYA

LEFTOVER OATMEAL MUFFINS

MAC and CHEESE I

MACARONI AND CHEESE II

MAKE IT A MARDI GRAS MENU

MARDI GRAS FOOD GLOSSARY

MARDI GRAS WINE CAKE

MARINATED BABY CARROTS

MEDITERRANEAN SEAFOOD SALAD

OLIVE OIL INFORMATION

OVEN FRIED CHICKEN CHIMICHANGAS

PORTOBELLO CHICKEN WITH ALFREDO PAST

POSOLE BLANCO

QUAIL STUFFED WITH WILD MUSHROOMS.d

SAN ANTONIO CHILI

SAUTÉED CHICKEN WITH PROSCIUTTO

SEAFOOD GUMBO

SEVEN LAYER SALAD

SHEPHERD'S PIE

SHRIMP CREOLE

SIMPLY SOUP

SLOPPY JOE POCKETS

SMOKED SAUSAGE CREOLE

SNAPPLE ICED TEA

SPICED BREADED CHICKEN

STRING CASSEROLE

SWISS STEAK

THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING CLONE

TOMATO SOUP SPICE CAKE

TROUT FILLETS

TWICE COOKED CHICKEN and SOUP

UPSIDE DOWN RIGHT SIDE UP PIZZA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANDOUILLE SEAFOOD GUMBO

8 servings

 

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups onions, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1 cup green bell peppers, diced

1 pound andouille sausage, diced

Cajun seasoning, to taste

1 can tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

3 bay leaves

1/4 pound catfish or grouper

2 quarts fish stock (or chicken broth)

1/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 pound peeled crawfish tails (double the shrimp if you can find crawfish)

1 container shucked oysters

1 box frozen okra, cut

File powder, to taste

1/2 cup chopped green onions, green part only

Dash of hot sauce

 

4 cups cooked long-grain rice

 

To prepare the roux, in a heavy saucepan, heat 1 cup vegetable oil on medium heat and carefully whisk in the flour. Constantly and slowly whisking, cook the roux until it is a dark rusty brown. Remove from heat and continue to whisk until there is no chance of it burning. Set aside.

 

In a large stockpot, over medium heat, add cup oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, celery, peppers and sausage. Season with Cajun seasoning. Continue cooking, stirring often for 18-20 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.

 

Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves.

 

Season the chunks of catfish with Cajun seasoning. Add the fish to the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes. Add the fish stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.

 

Season the shrimp and crawfish with Cajun seasoning, and add them to the pot with the oysters and okra. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes.

 

With the gumbo at a simmer, begin to slowly and carefully blend in the roux until the gumbo is as thick as you prefer.

 

Stir in the file powder, green onions and hot sauce. Remove the bay leaves and serve over the rice.

APPLE GOAT CHEESE AND PROSCIUTTO BRUSCHETTA

MAKES: 16 pieces (4 to 8 servings)

 

1/4 cup goat cheese, softened at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 slices (or half slices) firm crusty bread, each about 3-by-4-inches

8 thin slices prosciutto (about 1/2 pound)

1 Fuji apple, cored and very thinly sliced

Preheat broiler.

 

Combine cheese, thyme and black pepper; set aside.

 

Place bread on baking sheet; broil, about 6 inches from heat, until lightly toasted. Loosely pleat prosciutto onto bread.

 

Cut each piece of bread in half and arrange apple slices, then cheese mixture, over prosciutto.

 

Place bruschetta on baking sheet. Broil until cheese softens slightly.

APPLE OR PEACH CRISP

 

6 or 8 apples or peaches (fill the baking dish)

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 unbeaten egg

1/3 cup melted shortening

Cinnamon

 

Slice fruit into baking pan . Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and

egg and pour over fruit. This mixture will be like crumbs.) Then add the

melted shortening and pour over crumbs. Sprinkle with cinnamon ( or you can

mix the cinnamon in the crumb mixture). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40

minutes. Serve with milk, whipped cream or ice cream.

 

 

APPLESAUCE BARS

 

2 cups Flour

1/3 cup Sugar Substitute -- to equal to 3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon Cinnamon -- ground

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg -- ground

1/4 teaspoon Cloves -- ground

1 1/2 cups Applesauce, unsweetened -- hot

2 teaspoons Baking Soda

1/2 cup Walnuts -- chopped

1/4 cup Raisins

 

Place flour, sugar, dry sugar substitute, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in mixer bowl and mix a low speed to blend well. Combine HOT applesauce and baking soda (applesauce MUST be hot), and add, along with walnuts and raisins, to flour mixture. Mix at medium speed until flour is moistened and batter in creamy. Spread batter evenly in a 9" by 13" cake pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bars pull away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester comes out clean from the center. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into three by six bars.

Source: "The Art of Cooking for the Diabetic"

BARBECUED FLANK STEAK

WITH CHUTNEY-BOURBON GLAZE

Makes 4 servings

1/3 cup peach or mango chutney

1/3 cup pineapple juice

3 tablespoons bourbon or apple juice

11/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

11/2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1-pound flank steak, trimmed

Combine chutney, pineapple juice, bourbon, vinegar, hot sauce, garlic and salt in a large zipper-top plastic bag. Add steak. Seal bag and marinate in refrigerator 10 minutes.

 

While the steak is marinating, preheat the grill or broiler.

 

Remove the steak from bag, reserving marinade. Place steak on grill rack or broiler pan; cook for 8 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices; keep warm.

 

Pour reserved marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Serve with steak.

BEANS IN TOMATO SAUCE

 

1 1/3 cups dried borlotti (cranberry) beans, soaked in water overnight (navy

beans also work)

6 tablespoons olive oil

4 small white onions, peeled and finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

5 tomatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled, seeded and roughly chopped

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

Large pinch red pepper flakes

Pinch dried dill

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 cup water

Salt and ground black pepper

 

Bring large stockpot of roughly 6 to 8 cups unsalted water to boil. Add beans and boil for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender. Exact cooking time depends on freshness and size of the beans.

 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over a medium flame. Fry the onions and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 20 minutes.

 

When the beans are tender, drain and set aside. Add the tomatoes, sugar, paprika and red pepper flakes to the onion mixture and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

 

Stir in the beans, then add the dill and parsley. Add the 1 cup water, stir, then cover and cook for 45 minutes. Check occasionally, as more water may be needed. Don't add too much, though, as the beans should be fairly dry when done.

 

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

For a quick version: Use unseasoned canned beans. Don't precook the beans. Cook the onions as directed and proceed from there. Also, reduce final cooking time to 15 to 20 minutes and the one cup water to half a cup.

 

 

 

 

 

BOUDIN BLANC

(Creole pork sausage)

Serves 12

3 (3-foot lengths) pork sausage casings, optional (see Note)

3 pounds boneless, lean pork, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch

chunks

4 cups coarsely chopped onions

1 medium bay leaf, crumbled

6 whole black peppercorns

5 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup coarsely chopped mild green chili pepper, such as Anaheim

1/2 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper

1 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley

1/2 cup coarsely chopped scallions

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 1/2 cups freshly cooked white, long-grain rice

1 tablespoon dried sage leaves

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

If using, place sausage casings in a large bowl, cover with warm water and soak 2-3 hours until pliable.

 

Put pork in a heavy 4- to 5-quart pot and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat and skim foam that rises to surface. Add 2 cups onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and 1 teaspoon salt; reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, 1 1/2 hours.

 

With a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a plate to cool, discarding cooking liquid and seasonings. Put pork, remaining 2 cups onion, green chili, bell pepper, parsley, scallions and garlic through medium blade of a food grinder, or put a few cups at a time in a food processor, being careful not to over-process. Place mixture in a large, deep bowl. Add rice, sage, cayenne pepper, black pepper and remaining salt. Knead vigorously, then beat with a wooden spoon until mixture is smooth and fluffy. Correct seasoning.

 

Boudin mixture can now be formed into hamburger-sized patties 1/2-inch thick and fried in a heavy skillet over medium heat in a thin layer of 2 parts butter melted with 1 part vegetable oil. Fry until heated through and brown on both sides.

 

If stuffing into casing, wash casings in cold water. Hold one end securely around faucet and let water run through to clean inside. Tie a knot 3 inches from one end. Fit open end over funnel or horn on sausage-making attachment of a food grinder. Ease rest of casing onto funnel, squeezing it up like accordion folds.

Spoon boudin mixture into mouth of grinder and, with pestle, push through into casing. As casing fills, it will inflate and ease away from funnel. Fill casing to within 2 inches of funnel end. Don't stuff too tightly or sausage will burst. Slip casing off funnel; knot open end. Sausages may be cooked immediately or wrapped well and refrigerated 3 to 4 days.

 

Before frying, prick casing in a few places with a small, sharp knife. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. When foam subsides, place sausage in skillet. Cook sausage until brown on both sides, about 10 minutes.

 

Note: Sausage casings can be ordered from a butcher.

BREAD PUDDING WITH WHISKEY SAUCE

Serves 10

1/2 cup bourbon

1/2 cup raisins

3 medium eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

Whiskey sauce:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup bourbon

 

To prepare pudding: Heat bourbon in small saucepan over medium heat. Add raisins and simmer 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

 

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; mix well. Add cream and vanilla, then bread cubes and mix thoroughly. Allow bread to soak up custard for about 30 minutes. Scatter raisins in greased pan, top with egg-bread mixture, which will prevent raisins from burning. Bake about 20-30 minutes or until pudding is golden and firm to the touch. Pudding should be moist, not runny or dry.

 

To prepare sauce: Bring cream to a boil. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water and add to boiling cream, stirring constantly. Return to a boil; reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Stir in sugar and bourbon. Remove from heat. Pour over individual servings of bread pudding. Adapted from a recipe by the Cookin' Cajun Cooking School, Riverwalk

CANNING GRAPEFRUIT

 

2 to 2 1/2 pounds grapefruit per quart (or oranges or lemons or limes)

sugar

water

 

Wash grapefruit: drain. Peel grapefruit, cutting deep enough to remove white pith. Run a knife between pulp and membrane of each section; lift out the pulp without breaking the cell structure. Discard seeds. Make a light syrup; keep syrup hot. Pack grapefruit into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over grapefruit, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

 

FREEZING CITRUS FRUITS

 

Select firm, tree-ripened fruit. Heaviness of fruit indicates maturity. Wash fruit; chill in refrigerator; peel; section fruit, removing all membranes and seeds.

 

Syrup pack- Prepare a medium syrup. Add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic and citric acid mixture to the syrup. Pack fruit into can-or-freeze-jars or plastic freezer boxes. Ladle syrup over fruit, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal, label, and freeze. Note: Grapefruit juice may be used in place of part or all of the water in the syrup.

 

Medium syrup recipe-

3 1/4 cups sugar

5 cups water

 

Cook until all sugar is dissolved. Makes 7 cups

From "The Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Canning, Freezing and dehydration". This book is found in most grocery stores

CHALUPA

 

1 Lb Bag of pinto beans rinsed and soaked

3-5 Lb Pork loin (or roast with bone in)

4 cans diced green chili peppers

2+ tsp oregano (to taste)

1/4 to 1/2 cup Chili Powder (to taste)

3 Tbsp + Cumin

Garlic to taste

Enough water to at least half cover Pork

 

1-Cook beans until done

 

2-In a crock-pot or Dutch oven place Pork and on top all other ingredients.

Let cook until Pork can easily be pulled apart with forks to shred. Shred

and add beans, and continue to cook until liquid thickens (will continue to

thicken until cool) (Not soupy and not quite stewish)

 

3- Meanwhile prepare enough of everything for the amount of people you are

serving

 

Lettuce (diced/shredded)

Tomatoes (diced)

Onion (sweet and diced) I use red onion

Black olives (sliced)

Salsa

Cheddar/sharp or a mix of both (I mix) (shredded)

Sour Cream (Low fat or nonfat)

Guacamole

 

4- again enough for everyone

 

Original Fritos (the others get soggy too fast)

 

To serve:

Put Frito's on plate (not too much, because a little goes a long way); Pork mixture, and then build like a taco and garnish with Salsa, Sour Cream, and Guacamole. This recipe is VERY filling.

CHICKEN AFALOTA for PRESSURE COOKER

 

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Minced Garlic

1/8 Cup of Soy Sauce

2-3 Dashes of Worcestershire Sauce Salt, Pepper, etc. to taste

4-6 Chicken Breasts

4 ounces of Egg Noodles

16 ounces of Rotini Noodles

2 Onions

5 Large Carrots

5 Celery Stalks

1 Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup

1 Can of Chicken Broth

1 cup of water

 

1. Combine Olive oil, Chicken (1/2" cubes), garlic, 1 of the onions

(diced), Celery (chopped), Carrots (chopped), Soy sauce, Worcestershire

Sauce, salt and pepper into the pressure cooker and brown chicken for

approximately for 5 minutes.

2. After chicken is browned add Chicken Broth, Cream of Mushroom and

Chicken soups and stir.

3. Cover pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.

4. Let pressure cooker cool on it's own or release pressure very slowly

(the soups tend to cause boiling over).

5. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 8 minutes (add more water if

needed for noodles).

6. Let pressure cooker cool on it's own or release pressure very slowly

(the soups tend to cause boiling over).

CHICKEN AND ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE GUMBO

Serves 10

1 (4-pound) frying chicken, cut into pieces

Salt

Garlic powder

Cayenne pepper

Peanut oil

1 1/2 cup flour, divided use

1 pound andouille sausage or other spicy smoked sausage, sliced

2 cups onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 cups celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 cups green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice

8 cups chicken stock, or canned broth

1 tablespoon filé powder (optional)

Cooked white rice

 

Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper, to taste. Set chicken aside to allow flavors to develop.

 

Add peanut oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches in large, heavy stockpot and heat over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken pieces in 1 cup of flour. Fry chicken in oil until thoroughly cooked, about 8 minutes per side. Drain chicken on paper towels and set aside to cool.

 

In a large frying pan, brown sliced sausage, cooking about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

 

Carefully pour hot oil from stockpot into a glass measuring cup, leaving as much of the browned bits on bottom of pot as possible. Pour 1/2 cup of this oil back into stockpot. Bring oil back to temperature over medium-high heat, scraping browned bits from bottom of pot. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until roux turns dark, red-brown color.

Immediately add chopped vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add stock or broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer. When chicken has cooled, remove meat from bones and chop. Add chopped chicken and browned sausage to gumbo. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. During last 5 minutes, add filé powder to thicken, if desired.

 

Serve over hot rice.

Note: File (FEE-lay) is powdered sassafras. It's okay to leave it out if it is difficult to obtain. [] Spike's comment []

CHICKEN LARB

Makes 4 servings

 

Cafe Azul sous chef Martha Hubbard says this recipe is inspired by a version served by Shelly Siripatrapa at Lemongrass Thai restaurant. Chicken Larb is a northeastern Thai-style warm salad.

7 dried chili de arbol chilies ground to make 11/2 teaspoons powder (see note)

1 cup lime juice (about 6 to 8 limes)

1/4 cup fish sauce

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

leaves from 1 bunch fresh cilantro

1/2 red onion, julienned

1/4 head green cabbage, sliced into thin slivers

4 jalapeno chilies, julienned (remove veins and seeds if desired; see note)

5 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, poached 20 minutes or until done,

and shredded

 

To prepare chili de arbol powder, remove the stems from chilies (WEAR GLOVES) and toast in a dry sauté pan on medium heat until medium brown but not black. Break the chilies into 2 to 3 pieces. Grind the chilies in a coffee or spice grinder until powdered. Measure out 11/2 teaspoons and reserve remainder for another use.

 

Whisk the 11/2 teaspoons chili de arbol powder, the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar in a medium bowl.

 

Stir in the cilantro, red onion, cabbage and jalapenos. Add the shredded chicken while still warm.

 

Add salt and more chili de arbol powder (if desired) to taste.

 

Note: If you leave the veins and seeds in the chilies, they will be very hot. Wear gloves when handling fresh, canned, dried or pickled chilies; the oils can cause a burning sensation on your skin. From Martha Hubbard, sous chef, Cafe Azul

CHILI RELLENO CASSEROLE

Makes 4 to 6 servings

8 whole Anaheim chilies, charred, peeled and seeded (see note); or 2 cans (7

ounces each) whole green chilies, drained, rinsed and patted dry

1/2 pound Monterey jack cheese or asadero cheese, cut into 8 sticks

3 eggs

1 jalapeno chili, seeded and minced (WEAR GLOVES)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

 

Stuff each chili with cheese stick and place it in baking dish.

 

Beat together the eggs, jalapeno, flour, salt and milk in a bowl; pour over chilies. Sprinkle cheese over top.

 

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Note: To roast chilies, place in a preheated 450-degree oven on cookie sheet, turning after 10 minutes, and continue roasting until skins blister and blacken in spots. Or, place on broiler pan and broil about 5 to 6 inches from the heat source, turning often, until skin is charred on all sides. Or, hold over gas burner, turning until all sides are charred. Place in a bag or covered bowl for about 10 minutes. Skin should peel right off.

 

Note: Wear gloves when handling fresh chilies; the oils can cause a burning sensation on your skin.

CHILIS RELLENOS WITH FRESH GREEN CHILIES

Makes 6 servings

 

12 medium Anaheim or poblano chilies (about 2 pounds), roasted and peeled (WEAR GLOVES) (see notes)

11/4 pounds grated Monterey jack cheese (5 cups)

3 eggs, separated

1/8 teaspoon salt

Vegetable oil, for frying

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups prepared salsa

 

Slit each chili open lengthwise along 1 side and gently remove seeds and vein. Spread about 1/4 cup cheese in center of each pepper and press closed. Secure with toothpicks if necessary. Set aside.

 

Beat egg whites in large non-aluminum bowl until stiff. Beat in salt, then egg yolks, 1 at a time.

 

Pour 1/2 inch of oil into heavy skillet and heat until almost smoking.

 

Sprinkle flour over as many chilies as will fit into pan in single un-crowded layer, then dip each pepper in egg mixture. Place in oil and fry until golden on bottom, turn, and fry until golden on other side, about 1 minute. Remove chilies to paper towels to drain. Continue until all peppers are fried. Keep in a warm oven until all chilies are fried.

 

Arrange chilies on platter or individual plates and top with salsa. Serve right away.

 

Note: Wear gloves when handling fresh chilies; the oils can cause a burning sensation on your skin.

 

Note: To roast chilies, place in a preheated 450-degree oven on cookie sheet, turning after 10 minutes, and continue roasting until skins blister and blacken in spots. Or, place on broiler pan and broil about 5 to 6 inches from the heat source, turning often, until skin is charred on all sides. Or, hold over gas burner, turning until all sides are charred. Place in a bag or covered bowl for about 10 minutes. Skin should peel right off.

 

CHOCOLATE PECAN PRALINES

20 pralines

 

3 cups sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup evaporated milk

1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 cup pecan pieces

2 cups pecan halves

 

Combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

 

Bring to a boil; lower heat to a simmer. Add chocolate and stir constantly until temperature reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer.

 

Stir in vanilla, pecan pieces and pecan halves. Simmer an additional minute and remove from heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

Drop pralines by heaping tablespoons onto parchment or wax paper and allow to sit at room temperature until pralines are set up. Store in an airtight container.

CITY CHICKEN

 

This is a family recipe that seems to be a local (Ohio Valley) tradition. If I ask my butcher for city chicken sticks he just hands me some wrapped in plastic with no questions even about amounts. However, if you and your butcher are clueless they are skewer type sticks. A little thicker like the kind deli's sell kabobs on and only 4 inches long. I hope you try it, it's like pork chops on a stick and they are a HUGE hit here.

 

All amounts are approximate since I have no written recipe.

 

Mix in a bowl:

2 cups of seasoned bread crumbs (Italian style is nice)

1/2 cup finely chopped onions

1/2 cup finely chopped celery (Leaves and all)

Set aside.

 

3 lbs pork (Loins or butts) cubed about 1-2 inches

 

Put the cubes onto the sticks so they are bunched together. Make sure there are no spaces and you can grasp the ends of the sticks. You might have a piece or 2 of the meat left over, if that happens make them fit! Beat 3 eggs in a separate bowl. Dip the city chicken in the egg then in the bread crumb mixture. Do this twice for each piece. Then brown all the sides in a large skillet with oil. Use a lot of oil from the start to make it easier. Place all the browned pieces in a baking pan. Dice more celery and onions to place on top. Bake, covered, for one hour on 350.

You can place potatoes in the pan with your city chicken. Sweet potatoes is a nice addition. A can of Cream of Celery soup makes a nice base for gravy.

 

COOK OFF WINNER CROCKERY STYLE CHILI

This award winning chili recipe is hot and spicy and perfect to serve while watching football.

Makes 9 (1 cup) servings

 

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 cans (15 1/2 ounces) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

2 cans (6 ounces) tomato paste

2 green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 cup water

1 - 3 small hot peppers, finely chopped

1 - 2 tablespoons McCormick(r) Hot Mexican Style Chili Powder

2 McCormick(r) Bay Leaves

1 teaspoon salt

 

1. In a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, brown ground beef until well done. Drain. Place in a 3 1/2 or 4-quart crockery slow cooker.

 

2. Add remaining ingredients. Heat on low for 5-6 hours. Remove bay leaves and serve.

CRAWFISH AND CORN BEIGNETS

 

2 dozen beignets (say, "ben-YAH" - they are square doughnuts with no holes)

4 cups cooking oil

3 cups flour

2 cups milk

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 pound crawfish tails, coarsely chopped (can substitute shrimp)

1 (16-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

1/2 cup minced parsley cup

1/2 cup chopped green onions

 

Heat oil until it reaches 350 degrees.

 

In a large bowl, blend the flour, milk, baking powder, Creole seasoning, garlic, thyme and hot sauce. Stir until batter is formed.

 

Stir in remaining ingredients until all are incorporated.

 

Drop batter by the spoonful into hot grease, being careful not to splash.

 

Cook beignets for 5 minutes after they float to the top of pot, flipping occasionally.

 

Serve with a spicy salad dressing.

 

DIRTY RICE

6 servings

 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/2 pound lean ground pork

1/2 pound chicken giblets, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 cup chicken broth or water

3 cups hot cooked rice

1 cup sliced green onion tops

 

Heat oil in Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat. Blend in flour with whisk or fork, and stir until roux is dark brown, about 10-15 minutes.

 

Add onion, celery, green pepper and garlic to roux; cook 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in beef, pork, giblets, salt, black pepper and red pepper. Continue cooking until meat loses its color. Stir in broth; cover and simmer 25 minutes.

 

Stir in hot rice and onions; cook 5 minutes longer. Mixture should be slightly

moist.

EASY TURKEY POT PIE

Recipe from Mr. Food

 

2 cups cooked, cubed turkey or chicken

1 (10 3/4) can cream of celery soup, undiluted

2 (15 oz.) cans mixed vegetables, drained

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 stick butter, melted

1 1/2 cups biscuit baking mix

1 1/2 cups milk

 

Mix together turkey pieces, soup, mixed vegetables and turkey stock. Set

aside. Coat 1 13x9 casserole with the melted butter. Pour out excess butter

and reserve for later use. Next, pour vegetable-turkey mixture into the

buttered casserole dish. Blend together the biscuit baking mix, milk and

excess margarine. Blend till almost smooth. Pour topping mixture over

vegetable and turkey mixture. Bake pie in a 350 degree F oven for 1 hour.

 

NOTE: You can make your own "sauce" instead of using the cream of celery soup. Sauté celery pieces in butter, set aside. Make a white sauce, stir in the celery and use that instead of the soup.

FISH CREOLE

Makes 4 servings

1 pound fresh or frozen swordfish, sea bass or tuna steaks, cut 1 inch thick

1 141/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 rib celery, thinly sliced

1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips

2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley

2 cups hot cooked rice (2/3 cup raw)

 

Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Discard any skin and bones. Set cubes aside.

 

In a small bowl, stir together undrained tomatoes, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

 

Add oil to a wok or large skillet. Heat over medium-high heat (add more oil if necessary during cooking). Stir-fry onion and celery in hot oil for 2 minutes. Add pepper strips; stir-fry about 2 minutes more or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove the vegetables from the wok.

 

Add half of the fish cubes to wok. Stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, being careful not to break up pieces. Remove from wok. Repeat with the remaining fish cubes. Remove all the fish from the wok.

 

Add the tomato mixture to the wok. Return the cooked vegetables to wok. Stir all ingredients together to coat. Cook and stir about 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add parsley. Gently stir in fish. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes more or until heated through. Serve immediately in bowls over hot rice.

From "Easy Everyday Cooking" by Better Homes and Gardens

GABI'S FAMOUS LOW CARB BREAD

 

2 pkgs dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 cup water (warm, but not warmer than 110 degrees

3 tbs olive oil (I used half olive oil and half canola)

2 eggs

1-1/3 cups vital wheat gluten flour

2/3 cup oat flour

1/2 cup unprocessed wheat bran

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp Splenda

1-1/2 tbsp baking powder

3 tbsp caraway seed

 

Put the yeast, sugar and water in the bottom of your mixer bowl. In another

bowl mix all dry ingredients together. Add the oil and eggs to the yeast

mixture and then add the dry ingredients. Knead with dough hook. Divide

dough in half; place each half in greased 8x4 pan (or try a 9x5) and let

rise in warm place for 45 minutes. Bake in a 380 degree oven for 25 to 35

minutes - mine was done at 30 minutes (I have an electric oven but don't

know if makes any difference).

Turn out on rack to cool.

GRATIN TAKES CENTER STAGE

January 16, 2002 Posted: 06:15:06 AM PST By BETTY ROSBOTTOM

LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

I rarely plan a menu by choosing a side dish before deciding on the entree and the other courses, but this week that's exactly what I intend to do.

 

My inspiration is a tempting potato and artichoke gratin.

 

The gratin is composed of a layer of creamy mashed Yukon Golds, which are covered with sautéed artichoke hearts and slivered Kalamata olives.

 

A topping of bread crumbs combined with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley is added before the dish is baked.

 

The smooth texture of the potatoes contrasts nicely with the crispy bread crumbs. The flavors of the tubers are mild, complementing the more assertive artichokes and olives.

 

The first time I made this vegetable accompaniment I served it immediately, but by the third try I realized that it could be prepared a couple of hours ahead and popped in the oven when needed, a definite advantage when entertaining.

 

A roast leg of lamb napped with pan juices and tender little green beans "garnish" the gratin. However, roast tenderloin of beef or roast chicken or grilled steaks or broiled lamb chops would also make excellent partners to this dish.

 

POTATO AND ARTICHOKE GRATIN

SERVES: 6 to 8

 

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt

9 tablespoons butter

1 to 1 1/3 cups milk

1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichokes, defrosted and patted dry, each cut in half

lengthwise

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup chicken stock or water

3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, cut into slivers

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

 

Place potatoes in large pot and cover with cold water. Add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to boil over high heat. Cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with knife, 8 minutes or longer. Drain and return to pot.

 

With potato masher, mash potatoes. Mash in 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add 1 cup milk and stir to blend. If potatoes seem too dry, add 1/3 cup more milk. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

 

Butter a large oven-to-table baking dish and spread potatoes in it.

 

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in medium heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, add artichokes and garlic and saute, stirring, 2 minutes.

 

Add stock and cook, stirring, until all liquid has been absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes more. Salt artichoke mixture, then remove from pan. Sprinkle artichoke mixture and olives over potatoes.

 

In same skillet set over medium-high heat, heat remaining 1 tablespoon butter until hot. Add bread crumbs and stir until just golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

 

Mix bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese and parsley and sprinkle over gratin. (Gratin can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at cool room temperature. Remove plastic wrap before baking.)

 

Bake gratin at 400 degrees on center rack until potatoes are hot and top is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Watch carefully so that bread crumb topping does not burn. Sprinkle with basil and serve.

GUMBO INFORMATION

I spent Mardi Gras researching gumbo

BY BETSY JONES, Special to the Mercury News

The first year I attended Mardi Gras, some of my behavior was potentially illegal, some of it teetered on the brink of morality and some of it bordered on gluttony. During my second Mardi Gras, having become a bit more mature, I packed my friends off to watch parades while I attended cooking classes.

 

I learned about the ``holy trinity'' of Cajun and Creole cooking: celery, bell pepper and onions. I learned that in a savory dish, if water is good, stock is better. I learned that almost every dish can benefit from just ``a little mo' pepper.'' And I learned how to make bread pudding that caused an elegant, Southern-born octogenarian to comment, ``Honey, I haven't tasted bread pudding like that since my mama used to make it.''

 

But most important, I learned how to make gumbo, that elixir of the gods that is essential to any good Mardi Gras party. Even if you're not one of the 5 million revelers planning to be in New Orleans by Feb. 12 for one of the world's biggest annual bacchanals, you can still have great gumbo.

 

The origin of the name ``gumbo'' is much-debated. Two traditional ingredients, okra and filé powder, both used as thickening agents, are the most likely namesakes. The African word for okra is ``gombo,'' and the Choctaw Indian word for filé powder, made from dried sassafras leaves, is ``kombo.'' Pick one.

 

By my third Mardi Gras, just a few years ago, my goal was clear: Search every restaurant, cafe, bodega and house party for the best gumbo. Analyze and replicate. We hobnobbed and lowbrowed, from antebellum mansions in the Garden District to cafes straight out of an Anne Rice novel to celebrated restaurants such as Antoine's and Commander's Palace. We found the elements we liked and noted ingredients to mix and match back home.

 

While there are more recipes for gumbo than there are cooks that make them, truly glorious gumbos share elemental ingredients and a unique cooking process that set them apart.

 

Gumbo starts with a roux, a combination of hot fat and flour that is cooked while being stirred constantly. I am not talking about a polite little blond roux with a Parisian accent. I am talking a serious, odoriferous, red-brown to almost black roux that would make a French chef blush with shame.

 

Cajun roux is a culinary high-wire act with flaming batons. The trick is to come perilously close to burning the roux without having to reach for a fire extinguisher. With proper preparation and timing, it's easy.

 

Preparation is key. First, chop all the vegetables, thereby avoiding a dangerous flurry of activity when you get to the part that says, ``Immediately add chopped vegetables to stop the cooking process.'' I learned that the hard way.

 

Next, make sure to use a tall, heavy stockpot. A roux is not polite. It pops and spits. Stir with a long-handled spoon. I prefer wood. In New Orleans, long wooden paddles are traditionally used. A long oven mitt on your stirring arm is a good idea, as is an apron.

 

Over medium-high heat, a roux will change from pale to golden, to caramel-colored, on through red, and into reddish-brown in about 10 minutes. Some cooks stop there. But the smoky, sultry allure of the gumbos I love best requires a leap of faith. Keep stirring and cooking until the roux achieves a deep chocolate brown color and begins to smell nutty. Then add your chopped vegetables and turn down the heat.

 

At this point, most gumbo recipes now have you add the roux to hot stock or broth, but I reverse the process and add my stock to the hot roux. This allows me to control the thickness of the gumbo. I prefer my gumbo a tad thinner than stew and a touch thicker than soup. Add stock or broth according to your tastes.

 

Cook your rice while the gumbo simmers. Put a zydeco CD on and dance the Mardi Gras Mambo around the kitchen. (Go ahead and make up the steps. Everyone else does.) I dare say this is really one of those things that tastes better the next day, so plan accordingly. Make gumbo on Sunday or Monday, refrigerate and savor it on Fat Tuesday!

Contact Betsy Jones at BetsyJns@netscape.net.

HAM AND CHEESE CASSEROLE

 

3 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese -- shredded

1/4 cup Green Onions -- sliced, with tops

1 teaspoon Dill Weed

1 tablespoon Margarine

12 ounces Turkey Ham -- diced

2 1/2 tablespoons Flour

1/2 cup Milk, skim

1/2 cup Yogurt, skim milk

3 cups Potatoes -- cooked, thinly sliced

2 ounces Swiss Cheese -- shredded

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a small bowl, toss together the shredded

Monterey Jack cheese, onions and dill weed. Set aside. In a medium

saucepan, melt margarine. Blend in flour using a wire whisk, then gradually

mix in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.

Remove from heat and fold in the yogurt.

In a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (or casserole dish), layer 1/3 of potatoes, 1/2 cheese mixture, 1/2 diced ham and 1/2 of yogurt mixture. Repeat, making the top layer the last 1/3 of the potatoes. Sprinkle Swiss cheese over top of casserole. Bake 30-35 minutes.

HAZELNUT CARMEL COOKIES

 

1 cup butter

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup miniature chocolate covered caramel baking pieces

1 cup chopped hazelnuts

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease or line baking

sheets with parchment paper. Cream the butter or margarine until light.

Gradually add the sugars and continue beating until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Beat well then stir in the flour. Stir in the chocolate covered caramels, chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips and mix well. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then remove to racks to finish cooling. Makes 4 dozen.

HOLIDAY EGGNOG BREAD

www.recipesource.com

Serving Size: 12

 

2 eggs

1 cup eggnog

1/2 cup margarine -- melted

2 teaspoons rum extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg -- ground

1/2 cup pecans -- chopped

1/2 cup red and green candied cherries -- chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl,

beat eggs Add sugar, eggnog, margarine, rum extract, and vanilla extract.

Blend well. Stir in flour baking powder, salt, nutmeg, pecans, and red and

green candied cherries. Mix just until blended. Pour into prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 45-50 minutes. Recipe By: Taste of Home Magazine,

HOT DEVILED POTATOES

2 cups Potatoes, mashed -- (may use instant)

1/2 cup Nonfat Sour Cream -- or yogurt

2 teaspoons Prepared Mustard

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Sugar

2 tablespoons Green Onion -- chopped

Paprika -- to taste

 

Prepare potatoes (if instant, according to package directions) or warm left

over potatoes. Heat sour cream in a medium saucepan, being careful not to

boil. Add mustard, salt & sugar, then stir to blend. Stir into hot potatoes. Add onion, and stir to blend. Spoon into foil baking shells and sprinkle with paprika.

 

Potatoes may be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen, then warmed by

covering with a piece of foil and baked in a 350 degree F oven for 15 - 20

minutes. Copyright: "(C)2000-2002, Kaylin White/Real Food for Real People"

ICE CREAM

( Papa's Easy )

1 large package instant vanilla pudding

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup of sugar

1 gallon of milk

 

Mix the first three ingredients with about half the milk using an electric mixer. Stir in enough of the remaining milk to fill ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. For variety: add one cup sweetened and chopped strawberries (frozen ones work great) and one small strawberry Jell-O or use peaches with peach Jell-O.

 

 

 

INSTANT COCOA MIX

 

2 cups nonfat dry milk powder

1/2 cup low-fat powdered nondairy creamer

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

10 packets EQUAL or 1 tablespoon EQUAL MEASURE

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Stir all ingredients together to prepare mix. Cover and store in airtight

container. For each serving, add 3/4 cup boiling water to 1/3 cup mix and

stir to dissolve. Makes 2 2/3 cups mix, enough for eight 6-ounce servings.

 

Variations: Place cinnamon stick in each mug instead of using ground

cinnamon.

 

For mocha flavored mix, prepare as directed except decrease cocoa powder to

1/3 cup and add 1/4 cup instant coffee crystals.

 

JAMBALAYA

4 servings

 

1/2 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 ounces chicken, diced

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup celery, diced

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 can chopped tomatoes

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1/4 cup rice

3 cups chicken stock

5 ounces andouille sausage, sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

In a bowl, combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, working in seasoning well.

 

In a large saucepan, heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper, and celery; cook for 3 minutes.

 

Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth.

Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

 

When rice is just tender, add shrimp, chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more.

 

Season to taste with salt, pepper and Cajun Seasoning.

 

LEFTOVER OATMEAL MUFFINS

 

1 cup Flour

1 cup Brown Sugar -- packed

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

2 Eggs -- beaten

1 cup Oatmeal, cooked -- leftover

1 cup Raisins

1 teaspoon Vanilla

 

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda.

In a second large bowl, combine vegetable oil, eggs, oatmeal, raisins and

vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just enough to

moisten the dry ingredients (batter will be thin and lumpy). Pour into 12

greased or lined muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 - 20 minutes or

until muffins test done with a toothpick inserted into middle of muffin.

Recipe by Real Food For Real People

 

MAC and CHEESE I

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

1-3/4 cups milk

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

2 cups grated Sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

 

Heat oven to 350º, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and

rinse with cold water. Pour into a baking dish. In a saucepan, melt butter

and stir in flour. Cook and stir for one minute. Gradually stir in milk.

Add sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and mustard. Cook over

medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce bubbles and thickens.

Stir in half of the Cheddar cheese until melted. Toss macaroni with

remaining Cheddar cheese. Pour sauce over macaroni and mix thoroughly.

Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until bubbly and brown. Yield: 6 servings.

MACARONI AND CHEESE II

 

1 (16 oz.) pkg. large elbow macaroni (not the small macaroni like in those

boxes of mac and cheese)

1 lb. box Sharp American Cheese (Kraft in the blue box )

1 pkg. saltine crackers, crushed

1 stick butter

1/2 - 3/4 cup cream

1/2 - 3/4 cup milk

Salt, Pepper to taste

 

Cook 3/4 of the package macaroni according to package directions. Drain.

Grate the cheese. Spray a deep casserole pan with cooking spray. Layer cooked macaroni on bottom of pan and put 4-5 slices of butter around on top of macaroni. Sprinkle crushed crackers, salt and pepper over top. Add a layer of grated cheese. Repeat starting with macaroni until you reach top of pan and add crushed crackers for the top layer. Pour cream and milk over top and bake at 350

degrees for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly and hot and somewhat browned on

top. (If it starts to get too brown, cover with aluminum foil to prevent burning.)

 

Note: Add enough milk and cream (or just milk if you want) to come up to about 1/2 of the pan. If you get too much liquid its soupy, too little and it's dry. If you let it set a few minutes after taking it out of the oven, it will firm up.

 

You can also use Velveeta if you prefer, but the Sharp American give it the

better and richer taste (of course, the butter and cream help, too!!).

 

This can be made ahead, but don't add the liquid until just before you bake

it. If made ahead, you might have to bake it longer - 45 minutes to an hour

as it would be cold when it goes in the oven.

To perk up the flavor a bit, add up to 1 tsp of good mustard, and a little ground

nutmeg.

MAKE IT A MARDI GRAS MENU

January 30, 2002 Posted: 04:50:05 AM PST

By LINDA CICERO, MIAMI HERALD

 

What a marvelous harmonic convergence: the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras -- America's two favorite midwinter festivals -- happening at the same time in America's favorite party city, New Orleans.

 

As if we needed it, Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect excuse to try some easy -- really! -- Cajun or creole cuisine.

 

Actually, Mardi Gras isn't until Feb. 12, but the fortnight of parades leading up to it has already begun.

 

And if you want to be further confused, Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year occur on the same day -- so, let's see how the politically correct sort that one out.

 

For a Mardi Gras party, don't forget to deck your home in the traditional Carnival colors: gold, green and purple -- symbolizing power, faith and justice.

 

(And forget the guilt: Without the 49ers or Raiders in the game, you are free to abandon their cardinal-and-gold and silver-and-black color schemes.)

 

To set the mood, have plenty of traditional Louisiana music -- jazz, Cajun, zydeco ... Clifton Chenier, the Balfa Brothers, Beausoliel and Professor Longhair.

 

And, of course, serve up Creole and Cajun fare such as gumbo, jambalaya, etouffee and red beans and rice.

 

All of these dishes need nothing more for accompaniment than a salad and a loaf of French bread.

 

My Super Bowl Jambalaya may not be authentic -- I added rice to stretch the shrimp -- but it delivers a medley of New Orleans flavors in a one-dish meal.

 

If your budget is generous, consider smoked oysters, spiced shrimp cocktail, crab and artichoke dip -- or, if you're feeling frisky, peel and eat a crawfish.

MARDI GRAS FOOD GLOSSARY

 

CREOLE AND CAJUN COOKING -- Many confuse Cajun cooking with Creole cooking; there are also distinct differences. Cajun cooking, a combination of French and Southern cuisines, is robust, country-style cookery that uses a dark roux and plenty of animal (usually pork) fat. Creole cookery reflects the combination of French, Spanish and African cuisines. Its style, with an emphasis on butter and cream, is more sophisticated than Cajun cooking. Both cuisines rely on the culinary "holy trinity" of chopped green peppers, onions and celery and make generous use of file powder.

 

CRAWFISH -- Any of various freshwater crustaceans that resemble tiny lobsters. Crawfish range from 3 to 6 inches long.

 

FILE POWDER (FEE-lay) -- Choctaw Indians from the Louisiana bayou country are said to have been the first users of this seasoning made from the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree. It's used to thicken and flavor gumbos and other Creole dishes. File has a woodsy flavor reminiscent of root beer.

 

GUMBO -- This Creole specialty is a thick, stewlike dish that can have any of many ingredients, including vegetables such as okra, tomatoes and onions, and one or several meats or shellfish such as chicken, sausage, ham, shrimp, crab or oysters. The one thing all good gumbos begin with is a dark roux, which adds an unmistakable, incomparably rich flavor. Okra serves to thicken the mixture, as does file powder, which must be stirred in just before serving after the pot's off the fire.

 

JAMBALAYA -- One of Creole cookery's hallmarks, jambalaya is a versatile dish that combines cooked rice with a variety of ingredients, including tomatoes, onion, green peppers and almost any kind of meat, poultry or shellfish. The dish varies widely from cook to cook.

 

KING CAKE -- A coffeecake-type treat baked to honor the three kings who arrived in Bethlehem on the 12th night bearing gifts for the Christ child. Traditionally, a ban, a coin or a golden bejeweled ring was placed in each cake. The lucky guests who chose the pieces with the surprises in them would be the king and queen for the evening. Today, commercial bakers place a plastic doll, symbolic of baby Jesus, in the cake. Whoever gets the piece with the baby is supposed to bake the next cake.

 

MUFFULETTA -- _ A specialty of New Orleans, this hero-style sandwich originated in 1906 at the Central Grocery, which many think still makes the best muffuletta in Louisiana. The sandwich consists of a round loaf of crusty Italian bread, split and filled with layers of sliced provolone, Genoa salami and ham topped with olive salad, a chopped mixture of green, unstuffed olives, pimentos, celery, garlic, cocktail onions, capers, oregano, parsley, olive oil, red-wine vinegar, salt and pepper. The olive salad is what sets the muffuletta apart from any other sandwich of its ilk.

 

ROUX (ROO) -- A mixture of flour and fat that, after being slowly cooked over low heat, is used to thicken mixtures such as soups and sauces. There are three classic roux -- white, blond and brown. The color and flavor is determined by the length of time the mixture is cooked. Both white roux and blond roux are made with butter. The former is cooked just until it begins to turn beige and the latter until pale golden. Both are used to thicken cream and white sauces and light soups. The fuller-flavored brown roux can be made with butter, drippings or pork or beef fat. It's cooked to a deep golden brown and used for rich, dark soups and sauces.

 

 

 

MARDI GRAS WINE CAKE

Serves 10

This cake is moist, with a lovely, light texture.

1 cup sifted cake flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 egg yolks

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons light, fruity white wine (see Note)

1/2 cup egg whites (from 3 or 4 extra-large eggs)

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and have all ingredients at room temperature.

 

Sift flour with sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg into a large bowl. Make a well in center. Add, in order, oil, egg yolks, lemon zest and wine. Beat with metal mixing spoon until smooth.

 

In large bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar at high speed until stiff peaks form. With rubber scraper or wire whisk, using an under-and-over motion, gently fold egg-yolk mixture into whites just until blended.

 

Pour batter into ungreased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and bake about 50 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Invert cake, suspending pan between two other pans. Let cool completely, about 1 hour. With a sharp knife, cut cake edges from sides of pan, then hit pan sharply on table to turn cake out. Cake can be made up to three days in advance. Store at room temperature in a zip-lock bag or wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Flavor and texture improve over time. Note: Gewürztraminer is a common choice. White zin is good, also.

MARINATED BABY CARROTS

makes 1 pint

 

About 1 pound of baby carrots

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 cup water

3 Tbsp sugar (Splenda works)

1/2 tsp EACH salt, mustard seeds, and dry dill weed

1/4 tsp EACH crushed red pepper and dill seeds

1 Clove crushed garlic (or use the bottled chopped garlic)

 

Steam carrots in a vegetable steamer, covered over boiling water till just tender when pierced (10-12 min.) Plunge into ice water to cool quickly, then drain. Arrange carrots vertically in a clean sterilized 1 pint jar. Tuck in the bay leaves and add the spices to the jar of carrots. In a bowl, stir together the vinegar, water, salt and sugar till sugar is dissolved, pour solution over carrots, cover tightly, refrigerate for at least 2 days.

MEDITERRANEAN SEAFOOD SALAD

Makes 10 appetizer or 6 entree servings

 

For an appetizer, mound it on a plate and serve it with crackers or good-quality bread. For a main course, serve on a bed of greens.

 

11/2 pounds mussels

6 garlic cloves, peeled

1 pound shrimp in the shell (16 to 20 per pound)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 pound cleaned calamari bodies, cut into rings

Salt to taste

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

11/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

 

Put the mussels and garlic in a pot and add water to barely cover. Cover the pot and cook over high heat until the mussels open. Transfer them with tongs to a bowl, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard any mussels that do not open. Refrigerate until chilled.

 

Add the shrimp to the cooking liquid and simmer until just cooked through, until they turn pink. Remove them from the pot and refrigerate until chilled. Strain the cooking liquid through a double thickness of cheesecloth, then refrigerate until chilled.

 

Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the calamari, season with salt and sauté briskly until cooked through, about 1 minute. Refrigerate until chilled.

 

Pull the mussels and shrimp from their shells. In a bowl, combine the mussels, shrimp and calamari. Add the extra-virgin olive oil, parsley, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Add about 1/2 cup of the chilled poaching liquid to make a soupy dressing.

 

 

 

OLIVE OIL INFORMATION

Which olive oil to use? Learn the terms

January 16, 2002 Posted: 06:15:05 AM PST, LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

Terms used by the International Olive Oil Council and the California Olive Oil Council:

 

Olive Oil: If a label says nothing but this, it indicates oil that has been "rectified" so it has no taste, no discernible defects, good shelf life and no more than 0.5 percent oleic acid. It is a good basic cooking oil and accounts for as much as 80 percent of the oil consumed in Spain and Portugal.

 

Pomace Oil: Oil extracted with solvents from crush waste and sold in various states of refinement.

 

Virgin Olive Oil: Oil that has been picked and extracted from olives using methods that do not chemically change the oil. Three sub-categories:

 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Virgin olive oil with no more than 1 percent oleic acid and which is judged sufficiently free of defects by certified tasters.

 

Fine Virgin Olive Oil: Oil with no more than 2 percent acid.

 

Super Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A label suggested by Tuscans for a new grade created for olive oil with less than 0.5 percent acidity.

 

Cold-Pressed: Only allowed on virgin and extra virgin olive oil. The colder and more artful the pressing, the more healthful and flavorful polyphenols are retained during extraction.

 

First Pressing: An archaic term indicating the oil was not a pomace oil or chemically extracted. Applied to extra virgin olive oil, it is meaningless because oil extracted in second pressings would not be "extra virgin."

 

Dating: Some California olive oils are labeled with the year of production, but this is not required by the California Olive Oil Council. By law, European oils must be dated. Some employ the Julian code, which consists of the year (two digits) and the day (three digits) from 001 to 365. So oil packed Jan. 5, 2001, would be indicated by 01005.

OVEN FRIED CHICKEN CHIMICHANGAS

 

1 1/2 cups cooked & thinly diced Chicken

2/3 cup Salsa or Picante Sauce

1 tsp. ground Cumin

1/2 tsp. ground Oregano

1 cup (4 oz) shredded Cheddar Cheese

2 chopped Green Onions

6-8" Flour Tortillas

2 Tbsp. Butter

 

Mix salsa, cumin, oregano, chicken, cheese, & onions. Place about 1/2 C. of

mixture in center of each tortilla. Fold opposite sides over filling. Roll

up from bottom & place seam side down in pan sprayed with vegetable oil

spray. Brush very liberally with melted butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 25

minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with additional cheese & serve with

salsa & sour cream.

PORTOBELLO CHICKEN WITH ALFREDO PASTA

Part One:

2 large Chicken Breasts, no skin, no bone -- cut in halves

2 large Portobello Mushrooms -- sliced 1/4" thick

1/2 cup Flour

1/4 teaspoon Parsley -- dried

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper -- freshly ground

2 tablespoons Green Onion -- sliced thin

1/3 cup Olive Oil

Part Two:

2 cups Half and Half -- (or light cream)

6 tablespoons Butter or Margarine

4 servings Angel Hair Pasta

1 cup Parmesan Cheese -- grated

2 tablespoons Flour

 

Part One:

Rinse chicken, and pat dry with paper towels. Place each breast half into a

heavy duty plastic bag, unsealed, and pound lightly with a heavy object (I

use my rolling pin) until 1/8 inch thick. Set aside. In a medium sized

bowl, mix flour, parsley, salt and pepper, and then press chicken pieces

into flour mixture, pressing flour into chicken on both sides. Set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms and onion in about 2 Tbsp. olive oil,

until tender, then remove from skillet and set aside. (You may have a dark

residue from the mushrooms- this is okay).

 

In the same skillet (don't wash or wipe out), add remaining olive oil and

place chicken pieces into pan, then cook about 4 minutes on each side, over

medium-high heat. Reduce heat to 'simmer' or very low, and return mushrooms

and onions to skillet, smothering the chicken. Cover skillet, and turn heat

off. Leave skillet on burner while you make the pasta and sauce.

 

Part Two:

Allow half & half and butter or margarine to stand at room temperature for

30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, until

pasta is tender, but still firm. (My preference is to use freshly made

pasta, but you can also use dried fettuccine noodles if you wish). Drain

pasta and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter or margarine, then

add half & half to pan. Stir over medium heat, until half & half becomes

very warm (be careful not to scorch). Remove 1/2 cup of mixture from pan,

and place into a small bowl. Using a wire whisk, add flour, and mix briskly

until lump-free, then add to mixture in pan, using wire whisk, and heat

until mixture thickens slightly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, and

add 2/3 of Parmesan cheese. Continue to cook and stir, as mixture continues

to thicken, and cheese melts into sauce. Once sauce is as thick as you

desire, remove from heat.

 

To serve:

Place one cooked chicken breast, smothered in mushrooms & onions, and one

serving of pasta onto each dinner plate. Now, ladle Alfredo sauce onto

pasta, and also onto chicken if desired. Serve immediately with a fresh

garden salad. Remaining Parmesan cheese can be sprinkled onto chicken,

pasta or salad as desired.

 

(C)2000-2002, Kaylin White/Real Food for Real People All Rights Reserved.

http://www.realfood4realpeople.com

POSOLE BLANCO

(Pork and Hominy Soup)

Makes 6 servings

1 pound boneless lean pork

6 chicken thighs

1/2 medium onion (divided)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole (divided)

2 teaspoons salt (divided)

12 peppercorns (divided)

6 cups water (divided)

1 29-ounce can golden hominy

Garnishes:

Salsa

1/2 medium onion, chopped

6 to 8 radishes, chopped

1/2 head lettuce, shredded

1 avocado, sliced

2 tablespoons dried leaf oregano, crushed

6 small limes, halved

 

Cut pork into 1-inch cubes and place in a large saucepan. Place chicken thighs in another large saucepan. Cut onion half into 2 pieces. In each saucepan, place 1 piece of onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 6 peppercorns and 3 cups water. Bring each to a boil. Skim foam from surface. Cover pork and simmer 1 hour. Cover chicken and simmer 45 minutes.

 

Remove cooked pork and chicken from broths with a slotted spoon and place in a large pot or Dutch oven. Strain broths, discard solids, and add brothsto meat. Drain and rinse hominy and add to meat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste posole and add more salt if needed. Serve in large soup bowls. Add garnishes to soup as desired. From "Mexican Cooking" by Barbara Hansen

QUAIL STUFFED WITH WILD MUSHROOMS

Makes 4 servings

 

Before Roland Passot decided to lose weight, he would fill the quail with risotto. Now he fills it with sautéed wild mushrooms. He serves this quail with roasted baby beets and sautéed beet greens, sautéed mushrooms:

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon minced shallot

2 cups wild mushrooms, trimmed, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Salt and pepper, to taste

Quail:

1 tablespoon water

1/2 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup minced cleaned leeks (white and pale green part only)

Salt and pepper to taste

4 quail, wings removed

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

To make mushrooms: Heat the oil in a heavy, medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms begin to caramelize, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

To make quail: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the water, butter and leeks in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute until the leeks are tender but not brown, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the leeks to the mushrooms.

 

Stuff the quail with some of the mushroom mixture, being careful not to pack the stuffing in too tightly. Tie the legs of the quail together with kitchen string. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Heat the oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add the quail and brown well on all sides. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.

 

Serve the quail with the remaining sauteed mushrooms.

SAN ANTONIO CHILI

(10 servings)

 

3 lb Coarsely ground meat (chili meat)

6 tbsp Chili powder

1 tbsp Oregano

1 tbsp Cumin

1 tbsp Salt

1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper

2 Large cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp Tabasco

1 1/2 qt Water

1/4 cup White corn meal

 

In Dutch oven, brown ground meat; drain. Add seasoning and water; heat to

boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Skim off fat.

Stir in corn meal and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Variation: Try part ground beef, pork and venison as a substitute for the

chili meat for a wonderful flavor variation.

SAUTÉED CHICKEN WITH PROSCIUTTO

AND ORANGE GREMOLATA

Makes 4 servings

 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each), fat trimmed

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, stripped from the stems, or 1/2 teaspoon dried, plus

sprigs for optional garnish

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced, trimmed prosciutto or other cured ham

2/3 cup dry white wine

Salt

Orange Gremolata:

1/4 cup packed fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves and tender stems

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 strip (1/2 by 2 inches) orange zest, coarsely chopped

 

To make chicken: Arrange the chicken on a plate and sprinkle with the thyme and pepper.

 

Heat the oil in a large, heavy, nonstick skillet. Add the chicken and prosciutto; cook over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Using tongs, remove to a side dish.

 

Add the wine to the skillet and boil over high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the wine is reduced by more than half, to a glaze, about 5 minutes.

 

Return the chicken, prosciutto and any juices on the plate to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through or until it registers 170 degrees F on a meat thermometer, about 5 to 10 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, make the gremolata.

 

To make gremolata: Finely chop the parsley, garlic and orange zest together.

 

To serve, arrange the chicken on a platter. Spoon the gremolata on top. Drizzle with the pan juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the thyme sprigs, if desired. From "Fresh & Fast" by Marie Simmons

SEAFOOD GUMBO

Serves 12

1/2 cup peanut oil

1/2 cup flour

2 pounds okra, sliced

2 yellow onions, chopped

2 bunches green onions, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup bell pepper, chopped

1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

4 quarts fish, vegetable or chicken stock

Salt and pepper

2 pounds shrimp, cleaned

1 to 1 1/2 pounds crab, cracked and cleaned

 

Heat peanut oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until roux is dark red-brown. Immediately add okra and cook, stirring, for 5-8 minutes.

 

Add onions, green onions, celery and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, parsley, bay leaves, thyme and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add shrimp and crab and simmer 30 minutes more. Remove from heat. Serve over hot cooked rice.

SEVEN LAYER SALAD

WITH DILL CAPER DRESSING

Makes 8 servings Dressing:

 

1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably reduced-fat

1/2 cup sour cream, preferably reduced-fat

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon rinsed capers

Salt and coarsely ground pepper

Hot red pepper sauce

Salad:

2 romaine hearts, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces

1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

2 medium carrots, shredded

2 celery ribs, sliced into 1/8-inch-thick pieces

1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1 cup fresh corn kernels, blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes, drained and

rinsed

1 seedless cucumber, sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds

 

To make dressing: Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, dill and capers in small bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

 

To make salad: Layer vegetables in large glass bowl in the following order: romaine, tomatoes, carrots, celery, red pepper and corn. Arrange overlapping slices of the cucumber on top. Spread dressing over cucumbers.

 

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 8 hours. Just before serving, toss well. From "Back to the Table" by Art Smith

SHEPHERD'S PIE

Makes 8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 cups fresh ground lamb or pork sausage (11/2 pounds)

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

4 to 5 cups mashed potatoes (leftovers are fine)

1 cup grated gruyere cheese (4 ounces)

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

 

In a cast-iron skillet large enough to hold all of the meat, heat the olive oil; add chopped onion and garlic. Cook onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add the ground lamb or sausage. Cook about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Add tomato paste. Stir and cook another 5 to 10 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil and cook until the mixture thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

 

Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture in the skillet. Spread the cheese and bread crumbs on top and bake until golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot. From chef Vitaly Paley, Paley's Place, Portland, Oregon

SHRIMP CREOLE

Serves 6

12 medium-firm ripe tomatoes OR 4 cups canned chopped tomatoes, drained

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 cups coarsely chopped onions

1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper

1 cup coarsely chopped celery

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup water

2 medium bay leaves

1 tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

3 pounds uncooked, medium-size shrimp, shelled and deveined (about 20-24 to the pound)

2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water

6 to 8 cups cooked long-grain rice, hot

 

If using fresh tomatoes, drop three to four at a time into a pan of boiling water; remove after 15 seconds. Run cold water over them and peel with a small, sharp knife. Cut out stems, slice tomatoes in half crosswise, then squeeze halves gently to remove seeds and juice. Chop tomatoes coarsely.

 

In a heavy 4- to 5-quart heat-proof casserole, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper and celery; cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Do not let them brown. Add garlic; cook 2 more minutes.

 

Stir in tomatoes, water, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and, stirring occasionally, simmer 20 minutes, or until very thick. Add shrimp and continue to simmer, partially covered, until they are pink, about 5 minutes.

 

Stir cornstarch mixture once or twice to recombine and pour into casserole. Stir over low heat 2 or 3 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. Remove and discard bay leaves.

 

Serve at once, directly from casserole, accompanied by rice.

SIMPLY SOUP

VEGETABLES, BLENDER PROVIDE BASICS FOR QUICK, EASY MEAL

BY NICHOLAS BOER

Contra Costa Times

 

With winter's weather here, we all could use a quick, healthful and hearty meal. Soup is the answer. And it's easier to make than you may think.

 

I discovered just how easy a couple of months after starting my first cook's job, when our sous chef was fired -- and I was suddenly in charge of soups. At 20 years old with little formal training, I gulped. Soup requires real culinary skills, doesn't it? I shouldn't have worried. The chef already was getting compliments for turning canned tomatoes and dill into soup.

 

There's a reason restaurants always have soup on the menu. It's cheap, easy and quick. And it can be delicious. It took me a long time, however, to realize that thickening vegetable soups with roux and weighing them down with cream just masked the taste of the vegetables. I was making sturdy soups, well-suited for keeping hot all night, but they often looked and tasted dull.

 

I've since mastered all manner of soups, including duck consommé and refined seafood bisques. But when time is an issue, I turn to a simple puree of cooked vegetables. I whir bright green, red or orange vegetables with just enough stock to make a naturally rich, silky broth.

 

It doesn't matter if it's raining outside, if you've had a hard day or if you barely know how to make pancakes from a mix. You can do this.

 

First, forget the flour and heavy cream. Because I use a high ratio of vegetables to stock, I don't need them. The vegetables provide all the body, and the blender does all the work. It's an elegant dish, worthy of a dinner party, yet simple enough to make for one.

 

If I've got chicken or vegetable stock on hand -- and canned broth really does work fine in a pinch -- I can have homemade soup in minutes. I'll use any vegetable that I have on hand, but in winter, fierce-looking root vegetables such as sweet potatoes or celery root are worth seeking out.

 

Just peel them, cut them into chunks and boil in heavily salted water until soft. It's easy and the best way to preserve their color. Winter squash, such as butternut or acorn, does best when cut in half and roasted in the shells, flat side down. Then just scoop out the soft flesh. Onions are best sautéed, eggplant grilled and peppers roasted. All of these add creamy sweetness to any soup or can stand on their own.

 

Whatever I use for soup, I always consider three components: flavor, color and body.

 

Even the most versatile vegetable usually can fulfill only two out of three. Carrots, for instance, have great color and texture, but their flavor is a little flat, so I might boost it with fresh ginger or curry paste. Spinach has strong color and flavor but almost zero body, so I'll puree it with asparagus or something neutral, like potato. Fennel has some body and good flavor but a neutral color, so I might blend it with tomato or roasted red pepper.

 

Garnishes are another good way to add flavor, texture and color. A dollop of yogurt or sour cream on a brightly colored puree lends a creamy, tart edge. Toasted almonds or pine nuts add crunch and richness. Fresh herbs, such as tarragon, chervil or dill, add a spot of color and flavor.

 

To cut down on time and increase nutrition, I'll boil vegetables in the stock that I'm going to puree them with. Once they're cooked, I transfer them to the blender, filling it only about two-thirds full, and adding just enough stock so the blender is able to process. I let the blender run until the mixture is super creamy. Then I transfer the puree to a pot and add stock until I have the right consistency. It should be a smooth, not-too-thick puree.

 

Once you've made a couple of good vegetable purees and vanquished your soup phobias, you can move on to other ingredients. Making purees from legumes, such as black beans or lentils, is as straightforward as using vegetables. Legumes just require long soaking and cooking times. Beans tend to be bland on their own, so try pureeing them with some aromatic vegetables or with sautéed garlic, onions and herbs. Then finish with a touch of sherry or by lacing each bowl with some fruity olive oil.

 

 

 

SLOPPY JOE POCKETS

McCormick takes the "sloppy" out of Sloppy Joes! Children of all

ages will enjoy making and eating these pocket treats.

Makes 4 servings

 

1 pound lean ground beef

1 package McCormick Sloppy Joe Seasoning Mix

1 can (10 ounces) tomato puree

1 can (10 ounces) refrigerated pizza dough

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1 cup pizza toppings (such as mushrooms, bell peppers, onion, olives)

 

1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef; drain. Add Seasoning Mix and tomato puree. Set aside.

2. Unroll pizza dough onto greased baking sheet. Cut dough into 4 squares. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese onto one-third of square lengthwise. Spoon beef mixture over cheese. (Do not spread to the edge).

3. Top with pizza toppings. Fold side of dough over filling; press around edges of pocket with a fork to seal. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

Tip: Cooked pockets can be wrapped tightly in foil and frozen. Reheat at 350 degrees F until heated through.

SMOKED SAUSAGE CREOLE

4 servings

 

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced

1 cup diced onions

1/2 cup diced bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup beef broth

1 (10-ounce) can diced Rotel tomatoes

1 (6-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup minced parsley

4 cups cooked rice

 

In a saucepot, brown the sausage. Add onions, bell pepper and celery and cook for 5 minutes.

 

Add garlic and cook additional 2 minutes.

 

Stir in beef broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Creole seasoning, black pepper, thyme and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes, until sauce thickens slightly.

 

Stir in green onions and parsley. Ladle each serving over 1 cup cooked rice.

SNAPPLE(r) ICED TEA CLONE

(Lemon Flavor)

 

Here's a quick and easy recipe for the brand of ice tea that hit the market and quickly blew away competitors Lipton and Nestea. Between 1988 and 1992 Snapple tea sales increased a whopping 1,300 percent. And if you like Snapple ice tea, you'll find this recipe will save you some cash. While a 16-ounce bottle of Snapple tea costs around $1.00, this top secret clone cost about 15 cents -- for the same amount. Here now is the improved version of the recipe that first appeared in "More Top Secret Recipes."

 

2 quarts (8 cups) water

2 Lipton tea bags

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup bottled lemon juice

 

1. Bring water to a rapid boil in a large saucepan.

2. Turn off heat, add tea bags, cover saucepan and let the tea steep for 1 to 2 hours.

3. Pour the sugar into a 2-quart pitcher, and then add the tea. The tea will still be warm, so the sugar will dissolve easily.

4. Add the lemon juice. Chill. (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com)

Makes 2 quarts.

 

(Check the book Top Secret Recipes - Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits, and Shakes for other flavors of this clone for Snapple Iced Tea, including raspberry, peach, strawberry, cranberry and diet lemon!)

SPICED BREADED CHICKEN

 

1/2 cup Dry Bread Crumbs

1 tablespoon Nonfat Dry Milk -- powdered

1 1/2 teaspoons Chili Powder

1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder

1/4 teaspoon Dry Mustard

1/4 cup Milk, skim

3 pounds Chicken, skinless light meat -- cut into pieces

 

In a 1 gallon zip baggie, mix bread crumbs, milk powder, chili powder,

garlic powder and dry mustard; set aside. Pour milk into a small bowl. Dip

chicken pieces in milk, then place in bag and shake to coat. Place chicken,

bone side down, in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan prepared with nonstick cooking

spray. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until juices

run clear. Source: "adapted from a recipe in: Down-Home Diabetic Cookbook"

RF4RP

STRING CASSEROLE

 

1 pound Lean Ground Beef

1/2 cup Onion -- chopped

1/4 cup Green Pepper -- chopped

15 1/2 ounces Spaghetti Sauce

8 ounces Spaghetti -- cooked and drained

1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese -- grated

2 Eggs -- slightly beaten

2 teaspoons Butter or Margarine

1 cup Cottage Cheese

1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese -- shredded

 

In a large skillet, brown ground beef, onion, and green pepper over medium

high heat, stirring to separate meat. Drain fat. Stir in spaghetti sauce and

mix well. Combine spaghetti, parmesan cheese, eggs and butter in large

bowl. Mix well. Place in bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Spread cottage cheese

over top. Pour sauce mixture over cottage cheese. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese

over top. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until cheese is melted, about 20

minutes.

 

Note: When making this casserole for freezing to use later, be sure to

undercook spaghetti noodles in an effort to avoid them becoming overcooked

after casserole is thawed & baked. Thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator

before baking according the above instructions.

 

Copyright 1999, Kaylin Cherry/Real Food for Real People

http://www.realfood4realpeople.com All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SWISS STEAK

Makes 6 servings

 

1 11/2-pound beef boneless round, tip or chuck steak, about 3/4 inch thick

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 141/2-ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup water

1 large onion, sliced

1 large green bell pepper, sliced

 

Cut beef into 6 serving pieces. Mix together flour, mustard and salt. Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over 1 side of beef; pound in with meat mallet. Turn beef; pound in remaining flour mixture.

 

Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook beef in oil about 15 minutes, turning once, until brown.

 

Add tomatoes and garlic, breaking up tomatoes with a fork or snipping with kitchen scissors. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 11/4 hours, spooning sauce occasionally over beef, until beef is tender.

 

Add water, onion and bell pepper. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 5 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

 

Slow-cooker method: Omit water. Cut beef into 6 pieces. Mix flour, mustard and salt; coat beef (do not pound in). Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook beef in oil until brown on both sides.

 

Place beef in 31/2- to 6-quart slow-cooker. Top with onion and bell pepper. Mix tomatoes and garlic; pour over beef and vegetables. Cover and cook on low heat setting 7 to 9 hours or until beef is tender

THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING CLONE

By Kraft (r)

 

Here's a quick clone for one of the best-selling thousand island dressings around. Use this one on salads or on burgers (such as the In-N-Out Double-Double clone) as a homemade "special sauce." It's easy, it's tasty, it's cheap and it can be made low fat simply by using low-fat mayo. Dig it.

 

From TOP SECRET RECIPES:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon white vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish

1 teaspoon finely minced white onion

1/8 teaspoon salt

dash of black pepper

 

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well.

2. Place dressing in a covered container and refrigerate for several hours, stirring occasionally, so that the sugar dissolves and the flavors blend. Makes 3/4 cup (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com)

TOMATO SOUP SPICE CAKE

10 servings

 

Cake:

2 cups flour

1 1/3 cups sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 teaspoon each baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed tomato soup

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

2 eggs

2/3 cup water

 

Frosting:

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 package (16 ounces) confectioners sugar

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, allspice, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves together in large bowl for electric mixer. Mix in soup, shortening, eggs and water on low speed until well combined. Increase mixer speed to high; beat 4 minutes.

 

Pour batter into two 8-inch round greased and floured cake pans.

 

Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

 

Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely before frosting.

 

For frosting: Beat butter, cream cheese, milk and vanilla in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in sugar until smooth and of spreading consistency. Add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed.

TROUT FILLETS

 

4 trout fillets

bread crumbs

butter

Russian sauce (below)

 

Moisten trout with milk, coat with bread crumbs. Oil grill and place fish on

it (or can be done in oiled skillet). Repeat oil when turning fish over.

Cook approximately 3 minutes on each side. Place trout on serving plate and

top with Russian sauce and lemon slices.

 

Russian Sauce

 

2 hard boiled eggs, diced

1/4 tsp. garlic seasoning

1/2 cup melted butter

1 tsp. chopped pimento

1 tsp chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

 

Mix together and put over fish.

TWICE COOKED CHICKEN and SOUP

 

Meal One:

1 whole Chicken -- roasted, ready-to-eat

Meal Two:

8 cups Water

1 teaspoon Salt

1 medium Carrot -- shredded

1 teaspoon Parsley -- dried flakes

1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

Noodles:

2 cups Flour

3 Egg Yolks

1 whole Egg

2 teaspoons Salt

1/2 cup Water -- more or less

 

Meal One: On a busy day when you just cannot face cooking dinner, pick up a

rotisserie roasted chicken at your local grocer, and serve it with a

pre-packaged tossed salad, instant mashed potatoes or instant stuffing, and

bakery rolls. Enjoy your evening and let go of the stress.

 

Do NOT throw away the chicken carcass or left over chicken when you have

finished. You will need these. When your meal is finished, place the

carcass in a large Dutch oven sized pan, and cover with water. Add the 1

tsp. salt, cover and simmer for two hours, on low heat. You can place any

left over chicken in a covered container, and refrigerate. When your

chicken has boiled for two hours (and your house smells heavenly, reducing

your stress further) carefully remove the carcass and pieces of meat and

bone, from the broth. Place these in a container, cover and refrigerate.

Now, carefully pour the broth from the pan, into a large bowl, which can be

covered and refrigerated. It is important to drop the temperature of the

broth, as soon as possible, and so two smaller containers are great to use

as well. You can leave the chicken, broth and carcass in your refrigerator

for up to 4 days before making your soup for a second meal.

 

Meal Two- Chicken Soup:

Two or more hours before you are ready to make your soup, you will need to

make your noodles. The noodles need to air dry between being made, and

being added to the hot soup. To make the noodles, place flour and salt into

a large mixing bowl, and stir with a wire whisk, to evenly distribute salt.

Now, make a 'well' in the center of the flour mixture, and add egg yolks,

egg and water, one tablespoon at a time, mixing until dough is stiff, but

easy to roll. You may not need to use all of the water. Divide dough into

three equal portions, and roll dough, one portion at a time, on a floured

surface, using a rolling pin. Roll dough into paper thin rectangle shapes,

while keeping remaining dough covered. Sprinkle rectangle with flour,

lightly, and fold dough loosely , lengthwise into thirds. Cut crosswise

with a sharp knife, into 1/4 to 1/3 inch strips. Unfold strips, and place

onto a dry towel to dry until stiff and dry. Strips may be broken into

shorter pieces when dry, if you like.

 

One hour before you are ready to serve your soup, remove broth from

refrigerator, and skim the fat layer from the top of the broth. Throw away

this fat layer. Place broth into the large Dutch oven sized pan again, and

heat to boiling point at medium-high heat. While broth is heating, remove

chicken carcass and left-overs from refrigerator, and remove chicken from

bones. Throw away the bones and skin. Shred boned chicken and left-overs,

making sure no bones are left in the chicken, and add the chicken to the

broth. Add shredded carrot, parsley and black pepper, and continue to

simmer for 30 minutes. Now, you are ready to add the noodles. Place

noodles into broth, stir well, and continue simmering for 12 - 15 minutes

longer. Serve soup with bread of your choice. Copyrights: "(C)2000-2002, Kaylin Cherry/Real Food for Real People All Rights Reserved."

UPSIDE DOWN RIGHT SIDE UP PIZZA

 

1 pound Ground Beef, lean

1 medium Onion -- chopped

2 cans Biscuit Dough -- (or equivalent fresh)

8 ounces Tomato Sauce -- (or 1 can tomato soup)

1/2 cup Black Olives -- sliced

1/2 cup Mushrooms -- stems & pieces

1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt

3 cups Cheddar Cheese -- shredded

 

Using an electric skillet, brown ground beef and onion, then drain. Set

skillet to 260 degrees F, and add the remaining ingredients as follows:

Mix seasonings with tomato sauce, then pour over ground beef mixture. Add

olives and mushrooms on top of tomato sauce. Using scissors, cut biscuit

dough slices into four pieces each, then arrange in a layer on top of olives

and mushrooms. Cover electric skillet and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove

lid, and add a layer of shredded cheese to top of biscuit layer. Replace

lid and cook an additional 10 minutes. Cut into squares, and serve as main

dish. Copyright: "(c)2000-2002 Kaylin White/Real Food for Real People"

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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