Friday, July 22, 2016

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant


Published 07/22/2016

Roasting the tomatoes adds a sweetness and depth of flavor to this eggplant dish.


1-1/2 lb tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and cut into 1/2" slices
2 small eggplants or 1 medium eggplant, quartered
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 or 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp kosher salt or to taste


Preheat the oven to 450F. Fill a large mixing bowl with very cold water.

Bring 3 qt of water to boil in a large pot. When the water is boiling, blanch the tomatoes for 30 to 45 seconds. Immediately skim the tomatoes from the pot and plunge them into the bowl of cold water until the tomatoes are cool enough to peel. Peel, core, and slice the tomatoes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the lined sheet with pan spray. Place the tomato slices in a mixing bowl. Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil on the tomatoes, and mix the tomatoes to coat them. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet, and roast for 10 minutes. Turn over the tomato slices, and roast another 10 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the oven. The tomatoes should be very soft. Scrape them and their juice into a skillet on medium low heat.

While the tomatoes are roasting, slice the onion and the eggplant. Cut each eggplant quarter into thirds, crosswise. Place the eggplant, onion, garlic, and mushrooms in a mixing bowl and drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil over them, and toss to coat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the sheet with pan spray. Dump the veggies on the baking sheet and spread them out into a single layer. When the tomatoes are out of the oven, roast the vegetable mixture for 10 minutes, turn the vegetables, and roast another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and coarsely chop the veggies. Reduce the oven temperature to 375F. Stir the veggies into the tomato mixture.

Lightly spray a casserole dish with pan spray. Pour the tomato eggplant mixture into the casserole. Over medium heat, deglaze the skillet with the red wine, reducing the wine to 1/4 cup. Pour over the vegetables, and stir in lightly. Bake for 20 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 30 mins.

Cook time: 01 hrs. 00 mins.

Total time: 1 hrs. 30 mins.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ginger Raisin Cookies

Adapted from Chickens in the Road

These are soft raisin and ginger cookies with some delightful seasonal spice.

3/4 cup (6 oz or 170 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 tsp finely grated ginger
grated rind of one orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 cup (85 g) molasses
2-1/4 cup (280 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup (110 g) raisins
1 cup (115 g) chopped walnuts
2 oz (60 g) crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1/4 cup (50 g) turbinado sugar

In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add the cup of sugar, grated ginger, and vanilla. Beat the mixture until it is well combined. Add the egg and molasses, and beat until well-mixed.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, soda, and ground spices. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can into the butter mixture. Then, stir in the remaining, flour, nuts, raisins, and crystallized ginger with a wooden spoon. Cover, and refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.

With a tablespoon, scoop and shape dough into balls. Roll in turbinado sugar (or substitute granulated sugar). Place the cookies on the baking sheet two inches apart.

Bake for 9 or 10 minutes and no more! Do not overbake! Let stand a couple of minutes before removing the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

After cookies are completely cooled, place them in an airtight container. The cookies freeze well.

Yield: 48 cookies

Prep Time: 20 mins.

Cook time: 9 mins.

Total time: 29 mins.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Eggplant Lasagna ☺

This Eggplant Lasagna is eggplant with a lasagna filling. This dish is better served the day after it is cooked. Warm it up, covered, in 300°F oven for 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Let it sit for five minutes before serving

Yield: 6 servings | Prep Time: 1 hrs. 00 mins. | Cook time: 0 hrs. 30 mins. | Difficulty: Medium.


1 medium eggplant
kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
pan spray
1 egg, whisked
8 oz ricotta cheese (part skim is okay)
4 oz mozzarella cheese, grated (part skim is okay)
2 oz parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, ground
4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
3 cups Happy's Tomato Sauce (or your own favorite)


Arrange the eggplant slices on a rack. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Turn the eggplant slices, and salt the other side. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Blot both sides of the eggplant slices with a paper towel, brushing away any remaining salt. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with the pan spray. Brush one side of the slices with the olive oil. Arrange on the baking sheet, oil side down. Brush the other side of the eggplant slices. Then roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the slices over and roast for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

While the eggplant is roasting, thoroughly mix together the egg, cheeses, and spices (but not the parsley). Taste for salt, and add salt as necessary.

Reduce the oven heat to 350°F. Spray a large casserole or baking dish with pan spray. Spread one half of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the dish. Arrange the eggplant slices to cover completely the bottom of the baking dish. Spread one half of the cheese mixture on the eggplant. Top with the remaining tomato sauce. Stir the parsley into the remaining cheese mixture, and drop small pieces of the cheese over the tomato sauce, covering the surface as uniformly as possible.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Happy's Tomato Sauce ☺

Happy's Tomato Sauce is a thick, chunky sauce that's great for pizza and pasta. If it is too chunky for your taste, just run it through your food processor or blender for a few seconds.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, diced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
28 oz can San Marzano whole tomatoes in juice
28 oz can puréed tomatoes
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves, broken in half
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 cup sugar


In a large soup pot, sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium high heat until the onions begin to brown. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute or so. Stir in the celery and green pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are limp, but brightly colored.

Drain the can of San Marzano tomatoes into the soup pot. Working quickly, crush each tomato between your fingers into the pot. Add the other cans of tomatoes (do not drain the diced tomatoes) to the soup pot. Bring the pot back to a bubbling boil.

Stir in all of the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat so that the pot is bubbling, but not quite boiling. Leave the pot uncovered and continue cooking for 3 - 4 hours until it is as thick as you want. Stir the sauce every 15 minutes or so, more often as the sauce thickens.

Yield: 1 quart (8 servings)

Prep Time: 1 hrs. 00 mins.

Cook time: 4 hrs. 00 mins.

Total time: 5 hrs. 0 mins.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cherry Fluffy ☺

Cherry Fluffy is a tasty dessert, just waiting to be eaten. This dessert must be refrigerated 8 hours or overnight before serving. A tip of the hat to Vernon Mauery for this recipe.

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Servings: 24 | Difficulty: Moderate

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup milk
37 large marshmallows (4 2/3 cups mini-marshmallows)
1 pt heavy cream
1 can cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix the crust ingredients together with hands and spread in a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.

After baking, crumble the crust with a fork while it is still warm. Save 3/4 cup of the crumbs for topping and press the rest back into the bottom of the baking pan (packed, but not too firm).

For the filling, heat the milk and marshmallows until the marshmallows are melted. Set aside to cool completely, stirring occasionally. Whip cream and fold into the marshmallow mixture.

Spread half the of the marshmallow cream mixture over the crust in the pan. Spread the cherry pie filling in a thin layer over the marshmallow cream layer. Top with the remaining marshmallow cream mixture and finish with the reserved crumbled crust.

Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Causa Rellena con Pollo ☺

Causa Rellena con Pollo is a Peruvian salad. This is great for potlucks. Many thanks to for the original recipe, which I have modified to suit my own tastes.

Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes | Servings: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

3 lbs (6-8) yellow or Yukon Gold potatoes
3 tbsp aji amarillo paste or 3 fresh yellow chile peppers (aji amarillo) you may substitute habanero peppers
3 limes
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
2 gloves garlic

1-1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup sour cream or mayonnaise
1 tbsp capers, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp prepared mustard
1 ripe avocado

4 Boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
Black olives
Cilantro or parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
Roasted red pepper

Cook the potatoes in salted water until soft. Peel the potatoes and pass them through a potato ricer (or mash them), then set aside.

If you are not using the aji amarillo paste, remove the seeds from the chili peppers, and saute them in vegetable oil with the garlic until softened. Place them in a food processor or blender, along with the juice of the 3 limes, and salt/pepper to taste. Process until smooth. Stir lime/chile mixture into the potatoes.

Poach the chicken in water seasoned with salt, pepper. Shred the cooked chicken, and mix with the mayonnaise, paprika, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

On a plate, shape half of the mashed potato mixture into a square or rectangle. Cover with the chicken in a smooth layer. Layer with slices of avocado. Layer the other half of the potato mixture on top and smooth with a knife. Decorate the top with cilantro, slices of hard-boiled eggs, olives, and roasted red pepper strips.

Serve chilled.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Yum ☺

Ron put together this Yum recipe from an herbal Thai cooking class, June 16, 2013.


Juice from 2-1/2 limes
2 Tbsp lite soy sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp palm sugar (broken up)
1 Tbsp green chilies, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 pkg rice noodles


2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 large onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 pkg mushrooms, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced


1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup crispy tofu
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
3 Tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped

Mix together the lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, palm sugar, green chilies, and garlic, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Soak the noodles in cool water for at least 10 minutes. Drain the noodles, and cut them into shorter lengths.

Add enough water to a pot to cook the noodles. Heat the water to boiling, and add the noodles. Cook until steam forms (1 to 2 minutes). Remove the pot from the burner and dump the noodles into a strainer to drain them.

Add all the vegetables and cilantro to the empty pot, then add the noodles on top (off the burner). Add 1/2 of the sauce to the pot, and mix the noodles and vegetables together.

Pour the pot contents into a large serving dish. Top with the tofu, chicken, peanuts, and the remaining sauce.

Yield: 4

Prep Time: 00:30

Sunday, May 5, 2013

DIY Pizza

Dough Ingredients:

1/2 tsp dry yeast
6 ounces lukewarm water
8 ounces bread flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp olive oil

Optional ingredients:

1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes


1/2 cup pizza sauce

Toppings (see notes)

2 - 3 ounces meat
1-1/2 cups vegetables
1 tsp dried herbs/spices or 2 tbsp fresh herbs
4 ounces grated cheese

Making the Pizza Dough

In a small cup or bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Set the bowl aside.

In a medium-sized glass bowl, mix together the flour and the salt. If desired, stir in any or all of the optional ingredients.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Stir the yeast and water, then pour it in the well in the flour mixture. Stir the flour into the liquid, pushing the flour from the edge of the bowl to the center. Continue mixing until a ball of dough forms.

Lightly flour a board. Turn the dough onto the floured board. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to remove all of the dough. Knead the dough, working up to an additional 1/4 cup of flour into it. Knead until the dough is smooth, and only slightly sticky. Shape the dough into a ball.

Add the olive oil to the bottom of glass bowl. Tilt the bowl and swirl the oil up the sides of the bowl. Take the ball of dough and place it upside down in the bowl. Move the ball around to completely coat it with oil, and turn it right side up. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rise for 4 to 6 hours.

Baking the Pizza

After the dough has risen, punch it down, and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Place a pizza stone or pan in the oven, and heat the oven to 425° F.

After the dough has rested, lightly flour a board, and pat the dough into a 14-inch circle. Sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel, and transfer the dough to the peel.

Spread 1/2 cup pizza sauce on the dough. Add your favorite toppings and grated cheeses. Use the peel to transfer the pizza to the pizza pan or stone.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let stand for 1 minute. Cut into 8 slices and serve immediately.


Use toppings sparingly, one or two meats, two or three veggies, some herbs, and a couple of cheeses.

Topping Suggestions:


Cooked Sausage
Cooked chicken, cubed
Pulled barbecued pork
Black bean burger
Sautéed Tempeh
Sautéed firm tofu


Caramelized onions
Sliced onions
Sliced bell peppers
Sliced jalapeños
Sliced marinated artichokes (drained)
Sliced green or black olives
Sundried tomatoes
Broccoli florets
Cauliflower florets
Leaf spinach
Chopped Garlic

Herbs and spices:

Dried or Fresh Oregano
Fresh Basil
Black Pepper, coarsely ground
Taco seasoning
Garam masala


Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Gruyere cheese
Ementhaler cheese
Cheddar cheese
Feta cheese

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chickpea Flatbreads

This bread is very easy to prepare and quite delicious. You need to prepare the batter at least two hours before you intend to bake it.

Yields 10-inch flatbread or two 8-inch rounds, 12 servings.

1 c chickpea flour
1 c cool water
3 1/2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the chickpea flour, water, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil, the salt and the rosemary, if using, stirring until smooth. Cover and let the mixture rest for at least 2 hours, or refrigerate it overnight.

When the batter is ready, position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element. Place a medium cast-iron skillet or two 8-inch round cake pans on the rack; preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Remove the hot skillet or pans from the oven. Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat (or do the same using 1 tablespoon for each cake pan).

Return the skillet or pans to the oven for a few minutes to heat up, then pull them out just long enough to pour in the batter, spreading it in the skillet or dividing it between the pans and spreading it in an even layer. Bake for 5 minutes; the flatbread will look set and will pull away from the pan's edges a bit.

Turn on the broiler (leaving the flatbread in the oven); once it's going, broil the flatbread for 3 or 4 minutes, until slightly charred. For even browning, you may want to turn the skillet or pans.

Immediately sprinkle with the pepper to taste. Carefully dislodge, letting the flatbread slide onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve right away.

Sprinkle on some of the following additions:
Taco seasoning
Chopped garlic
Parmesan cheese
Finely chopped onion
Minced jalapeño

Adapted from a recipe by cookbook author Dorie Greenspan, taken from the Washington Post Food Section.

Serving size: Per piece
Calories: 60
Total Fat: 5g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 125mg
Total Carbohydrates: 4g
Dietary Fiber: 0g
Sugar: 0g
Protein: 2g

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tempeh Sloppy Joe Sauce

Before I fixed this dish, I had never cooked with tempeh. I've always been curious about it, ever since I was introduced to it while attending a men's gathering at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia. One of the community's industries is making tempeh and tofu. After eating it there, I filed that information in the back of my head, and it stayed there until I was at MOMs, and lo and behold in the refrigerator case, I spied a package of tempeh that wanted to go home with me.

Tempeh has a firm texture, but little taste. I consulted a few recipes and decided I need to give it a quick marinade before I used it in anything. Tempeh can either be fried, baked, grilled, or roasted. In this recipe, I fry it for the sloppy joe sauce.

4 servings, Duration: Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes.

For the tempeh and marinade:
1 8-oz package tempeh
1 tbsp fish sauce (or soy or worcestershire)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp mirin (optional)
1 tsp sugar

Veggies and sauce:
2 tbsp cooking oil (olive is okay)
1/2 large onion, sliced
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 large olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper (fresh or canned), minced
2 tsp taco seasoning
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 - 2 tbsp soy sauce

Slice the tempeh into 1/2-inch cubes (or coarsely crumble it), and place in a small mixing bowl. Mix together the fish sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, and sugar, and pour over the tempeh. Stir together and set aside.

Turn a stove burner to medium, and heat a medium- or large-sized skillet. Add 1 tbsp of the cooking oil to the skillet, and heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and brown for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, celery, and garlic, and continue frying until the celery is bright green and the mushrooms begin to give up their moisture (about 2 minutes).

Remove the vegetables to a plate or bowl, and set aside. Return the skillet to the burner, and add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the skillet. When the oil shimmers, add the tempeh to the skillet. Give the tempeh a quick stir to coat it with the oil, and let it cook for 3 - 4 minutes. With a metal spatula, turn and stir the tempeh until it is browned to your liking.

Add the vegetables to the tempeh in the skillet. Stir in the olives, jalapeno pepper, and taco seasoning. Cook for a minute or so. Turn the burner heat to medium low. Stir in the tomato sauce. Add the sugar, then stir in 1 tbsp of the soy sauce. Add additional soy sauce to taste. When the sauce bubbles, it's ready to eat.

Serve on hamburger buns, rice, or potatoes.

Note: Here are some suggested substitutions and additions:
1 can condensed tomato soup for the tomato sauce and the 2 tsp of sugar
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp (or more) sriracha sauce
2 or 3 tsp prepared mustard
1/2 sweet green or red pepper, chopped

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chicken and Black Bean Casserole ☺

Published 09/23/2003

A spicy, wonderful Southwest casserole, adapted from an recipe.

2 Tbsps vegetable oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 green pepper, 1/2-inch dice
3/4 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast cut in 3/4-inch cubes
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 package (.75 oz) taco seasoning mix
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8.75 oz) can sweet corn, drained (reserve liquid)
1/2 c salsa
2 c (4 oz) shredded pepper jack (or cheddar) cheese
1-1/2 c crushed plain tortilla chips

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp oil and brown the onion about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the diced green pepper, and fry for another 4-5 minutes, until the pepper is bright green. Remove the vegetables to a bowl or plate and set aside.

Return the skillet to the burner and increase the heat to medium high. Add another tbsp of oil to the skillet. Sauté the chicken in oil until cooked through and no longer pink inside. Add garlic, taco seasoning, beans corn, salsa, and some of the reserved liquid from the corn. Add the onion mixture to the skillet. Cover skillet and simmer over medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Add more liquid if the mixture thickens too much.

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer chicken mixture to a 9 x 13-inch greased baking dish. Top with 1/2 of the cheese and the crushed tortilla chips. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Add the remaining cheese and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 25

Cook time: 20

Calories: 306 kcal
Totalcarbs: 19.9 g
Fat: 16.3 g
Protein: 21.7 g
Dietary fiber: 1.6 g
Sodium: 21.7 g
Cholesterol: 59 mg

Tags: main dish, casserole, potlucks

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Walnut Dacquoise ☺

Adapted from a recipe Julia Child. Source: Julia Child, Simone Beck. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 2, p. 497 ff.

Walnut meringue filled with butter cream.

This is a wonderful recipe. This cake really melts in your mouth. Butter, nuts, chocolate, sugar. The recipe is complicated, but not difficult. You can prepare the pralin before you make the rest of the cake. Stage everything! Have all the ingredients, pans, and necessary cooking tools out and ready to go. Read the recipe several times before you make this.


Pralin aux Noix (Walnut Praline)

4 ounces walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp water

The Meringue

3 ounces (3/4 cup) ground, toasted walnuts
3 ounces (3/4 cup) ground, blanched almonds
1 cup extra-fine granulated sugar
1-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
6 egg whites at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Butter Cream

1 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup hot milk
12 - 14 ounces chilled, unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp kirsch, dark rum, or strong coffee

Walnut Praline Filling

3/4 butter cream recipe
1/2 walnut praline recipe

Chocolate Frosting

1/4 butter cream recipe
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted


  1. Read this recipe through a couple of times before you begin.
  2. Pralin aux Noix

  3. Toast the walnuts at 350°F for 8 to 12 minutes. Remove them from the oven when they have browned and are fragrant. Nuts burn easily. Be vigilant. Set toasted nuts aside.
  4. While the walnuts are toasting, lightly oil a flat bottom roasting pan or a rimmed cookie sheet. Set aside.
  5. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and set over moderately high heat. Swirl pan slowly by its handle, but do not stir sugar with a spoon while it is coming to a boil. Continue swirling while the liquid boils and changes from cloudy to clear.
  6. Cover the pan and raise heat to high. Boil for several minutes until bubbles are thick and heavy. Uncover, and continue boiling, swirling gently until the syrup turns a nice caramel brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the toasted walnuts; immediately turn into oiled pan. When cold and hard, about 20 minutes, break into pieces, and coarsely grind up a half cupful at a time in an electric blender.
  7. The dacquoise uses half of the walnut praline recipe. Use the remaining praline for another recipe, or freeze it for up to three months.

    The Meringue

  8. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets, 14 x 16 inches. Sift flour all over the baking sheets, and knock off the excess flour. Make a template from cardboard for the cake shape (approximately an 8-inch circle or a 5 x 10-inch rectangle or equivalent measure. Use the template to mark the shape on the cookie sheets.
  9. Measure the walnuts, almonds, and sugar into a shallow bowl or pie plate. Work the nuts with your fingers to smooth or remove any lumps. Sift the cornstarch over the nut mixture, and mix in with a rubber spatula. Set aside. Assemble the pastry bag.
  10. Place the egg whites in a bowl and beat at a moderately low speed in an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes until they are foamy. Beat in the salt and the cream of tartar, and gradually increase the mixer speed to fast and beat until soft peaks form in about a minute. Gradually beat in the 3 tbsp sugar, and continue until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  11. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the nut and sugar mixture over the egg whites. Rapidly rotate the bowl while cutting, folding, and blending. When almost blended, sprinkle on more of the mixture, rapidly fold in, and continue until all is used; reach all over bottom and sides of bowl with the final addition. The whole blending process should take less than a minute. Scoop the meringue into the pastry bag.
  12. Squeeze out a line of meringue the width of your thumb and 1/2 inch high all around the inner side of the line marked on yor baking sheets. Continue around until you have completely filled in the shape with meringue. Smooth the top of the meringue lightly with a spatula.
  13. Bake the meringues for about 40 minutes at 250°F. Set the baking sheets in the upper middle and lower middle levels of the oven. They will not puff up or change shape, but will color lightly during baking. They are done in 30 to 40 minutes, as soon as you can push them gently from the baking surface. As soon as they are done slip them off of the baking sheets onto a cake rack. They bend slightly whe warm, but crisp when they are cool. The meringues are fragile, but if they break you can easily repair them when you fill and frost the cake.
  14. The Butter Cream

  15. Make a creme anglaise as follows: gradually beat sugar into egg yolks and continue beating for several minutes until mixture is thick and pale yellow. In a thin stream of droplets, beat in the hot milk, and set the mixture over moderate heat. Stir slowly with a wooden spoon, reaching all over bottom of pan, for 4 or 5 minutes or until sauce thickens enough to film spoon with a creamy layer.
  16. Do not let the sauce come to a simmer. Cook only until sauce thickens. Immediately remove from heat and beat vigorously for 1 minute to cool slightly. Scrape the mixture into the bowl of your electric mixer.
  17. Cut the three sticks of chilled butter into 1/4-inch slices. Add a piece or two at a time, beating until the butter is absorbed. When all of the butter is added, the cream should be cool, smooth, and glossy. Beat in the vanilla and kirsch.
  18. If mixture turns grainy, soften rest of butter, and beat in successive tablespoons until butter cream smooths out.
  19. The Frosting and Filling

  20. Remove 1/4 of the butter cream to a small bowl. Stir the melted chocolate into it, and reserve for frosting the top of the cake.
  21. Stir 1/2 the praline into the remaining butter cream. This is the cake filling.
  22. Assembling the Cake

  23. Place one of the meringues on a rack. Spread 1/3 of the butter cream on the meringue. Cover with the second layer, and spread with 1/2 of the remaining filling. Top with the last meringue. Spread the remaining filling on the sides of the cake. Spread the chocolate frosting over the top layer. Press chopped toasted walnuts on the edge of the cake.
  24. Refrigerate the cake for at least two hours before serving.
  25. Notes:

    Meringues may be made ahead of time and frozen. The praline may also be made ahead of time and frozen.

Yield: 12 slices

Prep Time: 1:30

Cook time: 0:40

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chili Spice Rub

Happy, February 27, 2013.

This is a spice rub for roast chicken or pork ribs.

Yield: 3 Tbsp

Prep Time: 00:10

1 guajillo pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp kosher salt
2 large cloves garlic

In a spice grinder, grind together the guajillo pepper, cumin seeds, bay leaves, and cloves. Pulverize the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. Mash the garlic with a garlic press. Mix everything together in a small bowl. For a roast chicken, place the rub under the chicken skin, next to the flesh. For ribs or roasts, rub directly on the meat.


Calories: 0
Sodium: 3500 mg

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Barbecue Sauce for Pulled Pork

Mix together:

1/4 c catsup
1/4 c vinegar
2 T prepared mustard
2 T brown sugar
2 T fish sauce
2 t sriracha sauce or hot sauce
2 t liquid smoke
1/4 t Thai or Indian chili powder
2 cloves garlic pressed or minced

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spicy Stuffed Peppers

4 servings, 9 Weight Watcher Points+

I love stuffed peppers. Stuffed anything is a great way to use up leftovers while creating a homey, savory dish for an autumn meal. This recipe can be tweaked a hundred ways, and will never taste the same way twice; however, every way you fix it, it is going to taste delicious.


Sausage - You can use just about any kind of chopped meat. I used a very savory weiswurst, but you may want to try breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, or chorizo. The meat should be highly seasoned, so if you are using chopped meat such as chicken or ground beef, be sure to season it well.

Tomatoes - The recipe uses canned, diced tomatoes, but I've been making it with roasted tomatoes. The recipe will taste better if you use tomatoes that have been cooked down to about a third or half their volume. You will want some distinct tomato pieces in the recipe.

Peppers - Use any of the following: small or medium sweet peppers, Anaheim peppers, or Poblanos. If your family does not like heat, stick with the sweet peppers. I prefer to roast and skin the peppers before stuffing them. I broil them on all sides until blistered and charred, then put them in a covered casserole or paper bag and let them sweat for five or ten minutes. Then I peel them and remove the stem and seeds.

Seasonings - I season these peppers with taco seasoning, but salt and pepper, some oregano and basil, or some curry spices might be just the ticket, too. Season this dish the way your family likes it.

Cheese - I have used Cheddar, Gruyere, and Pepper Jack. Use the cheese that gives you a cheesy smile.

2/3 c uncooked brown rice, rinsed
1-1/3 c water
4 peppers, roasted, stemmed, and seeded
4 - 8 oz sausage
1 large onion, chopped
4 oz mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained with liquid reserved
2 t taco seasoning (recipe)
other seasonings, to taste
2 oz cheese, (1/2 c) grated

In a saucepan with a cover, heat the water to boiling, add the rice, and cook covered over low heat for 45 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, roast the peppers, and set aside.

Remove any sausage casing. Break the sausage up into a large skillet. Brown the sausage on medium heat. Remove the browned sausage to a plate and set aside. Drain off all but one or two teaspoons of fat from the skillet.

Add the chopped onions to the skillet, stirring to coat the onions with the fat in the skillet. Fry the onions on medium heat, turning them every three minutes or so until they are quite brown, but not scorched. Remove the onions from the skillet to a plate, and set aside.

If necessary, add some oil or fat to the skillet. Fry the mushrooms for about three minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute.

Turn the heat to low, and add the onions, sausage, and drained tomatoes. Stir to combine and heat. Stir in the cooked rice and taco seasoning. Add some of the reserved liquid from the tomatoes and heat to boiling. Stir in the cornmeal and simmer until the mixture is thickened. Remove from the heat.

Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

Stuff each pepper with the sausage/rice mixture. Spray the inside of a casserole with pan spray. Spoon any leftover stuffing into the casserole. Arrange the stuffed peppers in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Sprinkle with some paprika or taco seasoning. Bake for 25 minutes.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spanish Tortilla

1T oil
1 med potato, scrubbed and grated or julienned (1/8")
1/2 med onion, thinly sliced
1 spicy black bean burger
1/2 t taco seasoning
4 eggs, whisked together with 2T water
2 oz cheese (cheddar, Swiss, Gruyere, etc.)

Heat 1t oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions until browned and caramelized, about 6 minutes.

Add 1t oil to the skillet, and breakup the bean burger in the skillet. Brown the bean burger pieces with the onion until the burger pieces are well-browned and crispy. Remove the onion/burger mixture to a plate and set aside.

While the onions and the burger are frying, grate (or use a mandolins) the potatoes into a bowl of cold water. Let sit for a couple of minutes. Drain and rinse the potatoes in a colander.

Heat the oven to 350F.

Reduce the stove heat to low-medium. Add 1t oil to the skillet. Add the potatoes to the skillet. Stir to coat the potatoes, and cook for 9 minutes. Turn the potatoes, and sprinkle lightly withe salt. Sprinkle with the taco seasoning, and fry for another 9 minutes. Turn one more. Fry for another 4 minutes. Adjust the heat to low. Add the onion/burger mixture. Mix together. Pour the eggs over the potato mixture. Tilt the skillet to make sure the eggs are spread out evenly. Sprinkle with the cheese then with the paprika.

Bake for 10 minutes. Cut into 8 wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chicken and Pasta

Makes 2 to 3 servings, 8 - 12 Weight Watchers® Points

4 oz pasta (shells, ziti, etc.)
4 oz chicken breast, thinly sliced (see note)
2 t olive oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced and separated into thin strips
1 med apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 c frozen (or fresh-shelled) baby peas
1/2 t kosher salt (or to taste)
1/2 t crushed black pepper (or to taste)
3/4 t curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c chicken broth
1 T cornstarch dissolved in 2 T cold water
1 T chopped walnuts

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water in a colander. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large, nonstick skillet. Add the chicken, and saute just until the chicken is cooked, 3 or 4 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate.

Saute the onion and apple just until the onion is translucent. Remove from the skillet to a dish.

Add the curry powder to the skillet, and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the garlic, and let it sizzle for a few seconds. Stir in the chicken broth, scraping all the crumbs on the bottom of the skillet.

Boil rapidly to reduce the stock by half. Reduce heat to low, stir in the cornstarch mixture, and simmer for a minute or so until the sauce is thickened.

Add the chicken and the apple/onion mixture, and heat briefly. Stir in the peas, and heat through. Fold in the pasta and remove from the heat.

Divide among two or three serving plates. Sprinkle each plate with some chopped walnuts.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Not So Death-Defying Funeral Potatoes

Serves 8 or more. Each serving has about 4 Weight Watcher® points. This recipe was adapted from a New York Times recipe, which called these "Updated" Funeral Potatoes. Some of you from Utah, might consider this update an effete version of the dish that you know and love: the can of cream soup is completely missing, and whatever happened to the corn flake crumbs/crushed potato chips on top? My own update of this recipe is to make a diet-friendly version. I fixed it last night, and it passes the sniff test.

3 large baking potatoes, about 2 lb
1-1/2 c (12 oz) non-fat sour cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, grated
1 t kosher salt (or 1/2 t table salt)
1/2 t black pepper
4 oz low-fat cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz low-fat swiss cheese, grated
1/2 t (or more) paprika

The day before you serve this dish, bake the potatoes: heat the oven to 375°F, scrub and trim any spots off the potatoes. Prick the potatoes, or score them to prevent them from exploding in the oven. Place them directly on an oven rack in the middle of the oven, and bake them for one hour. Remove them, and cool them for about 15 minutes. Refrigerate them overnight.

When you are ready to prepare the Funeral Potatoes, heat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 9 baking dish.

In a large bowl, stir together the sour cream garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. Gently mix in the grated cheese.

Grate the potatoes onto a plate. The skin will flake off as you grate the potato. Discard the big pieces of potato skin. Fold the grated potatoes into the sour cream/cheese mixture.

Spoon and spread the potatoes into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the dish with paprika. Bake 35 - 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let the dish stand for 10 minutes before serving.


You can mix and match the variations listed below. This dish is a great improvisational base for your own down home cooking impulses.

Full-Fat Version. If you aren't on a diet, you might consider the full-fat version. The full-fat version serving is about 8 Weight Watchers® points. In the original New York Times recipe, gruyere cheese is used instead of Swiss. (Gruyere doesn't come in a low-fat version at my supermarket.)

Cream Soup Version. Bake an additional potato. Add one can of condensed cream of chicken, celery, or mushroom soup to the sour cream/cheese mixture. You may want to taste before adding any additional salt.

Note: I made this version. I also increased the cheese to 5 oz of each variety.

Corn Flakes or Potato Chips? If you want a crumb topping, crush enough corn flakes or potato chips to make 1/3 - 1/2 c crumbs. (You can also use corn chips or bread crumbs.) If you are using corn flakes or bread crumbs, add 2 T melted butter to coat them. Spread the crumbs on top of the dish before baking.

Veggies Version. Add 1 c chopped celery, or frozen peas, or both to the sour cream/cheese mixture. Also consider green beans, broccoli, or chopped spinach.

Southwest Version Add 2 t taco seasoning and 1 small can of whole kernel corn, drained to the sour cream/cheese mixture.

Meat-Eaters' Version Add 2 cups chopped ham, turkey, or chicken to the sour cream/cheese mixture.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Southwest Collard Greens ☺

4 servings. These are Southwest Collard Greens inasmuch as fish sauce is native to Albuquerque. Total preparation time is at least 45 minutes.

2 t olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, sliced then coarsely chopped
1 chorizo sausage (3 - 4 oz), casing removed
1 lb bunch collard greens (see note)
1 T fish sauce (or substitute salt to taste)
1 T taco seasoning (homemade, or 1/2 package)
2 T apple cider vinegar

Note: To prepare the greens for cooking, cut the central rib (and stem) from each leaf. Discard the rib. Rinse the leaves, then spin dry in a salad spinner, or pat dry between layers of paper towels. To chop the greens, stack several rinsed and dried leaves on top of each other, roll them up into a tight roll, then slice the roll into thin slices. Continue to roll and chop the leaves until you have chopped the whole bunch.

Heat the olive oil in a tall saucepan (with cover) over medium high heat. Add the onion, and stir to coat with oil. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add the garlic, and fry for another minute or so. Add the chorizo, and break up into small pieces. Fry until the sausage is no longer pink.

Add the chopped collard greens, and stir to mix well with the onion mixture. Cover the saucepan, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the collards are wilted, but still bright green. Stir in the fish sauce, taco seasoning, and vinegar. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and continue cooking for at least 10 minutes until the greens are tender and no longer bright green. You can leave this on a very low heat for a couple of hours.

This is a great side dish that stands up to just about anything. It's great with barbecue, and with beans. You can also double the recipe and fix it in a crock pot for a great picnic dish. (Fry the onions, garlic, and meat, add to the crockpot, add the other ingredients. Cover, set it to cook, and ignore for several hours.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Green Salsa

6 tomatillos
1 green pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
1/4 medium onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t kosher salt, or to taste

Turn on your oven broiler. Line the broiler pan with aluminium foil. Place a rack in the bottom of the broiler pan.

Remove the husks from the tomatillos, and rinse. Cut the green pepper in half, and remove the seeds and white membrane. Place the pepper halves skin side up on the rack in the broiler pan. Arrange the tomatillos and the jalapeño pepper on the rack, too, and place under the broiler element.

Let the vegetables brown and char a little under the element, turning them as necessary. You may need to rearrange items while they are broiling. The pepper skins will blister and char. The tomatillos may split and sizzle, and they will also brown.

Remove the vegetables from the oven. Place the green pepper halves and the jalapeño pepper in a covered dish or a paper bag, and cover, or tightly close the bag.

Chop the onion in a food processor until finely chopped. Put the chopped onion in a mixing bowl. With a paring knife, remove the stem from each tomatillo. Chop the tomatillos in two batches in the food processor. Add them to the chopped onion.

Peel the blistered skin from the green pepper halves. Peel the jalapeño pepper. Slice it lengthwise and remove the seeds. Finely chop the jalapeño with a knife. Add the pepper halves and the chopped jalapeño to the food processor, and chop finely. Add the chopped pepper to the bowl with the onion and tomatillo mixture.

Stir in the minced garlic and taste the salsa. Add up to 1/2 t kosher salt.

Serve with chicken or pork. Use as a dip for corn chips. Tastes great with scrambled eggs.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Taco Seasoning ☺

This is just plain good Taco Seasoning for tacos, chilis, chicken, or breakfast cereal. You'll love it! This amount is the equivalent of two commercial packages of taco seasoning mix.

Combine in a spice grinder, and grind together:

2 large dried guajillo chili
1 T cumin seeds
1/2 t black peppercorns
1/2 t chopped dried garlic
1/2 t chopped dried onion
1/2 t red pepper flakes

Put the ground mixture in a small bowl, and mix in:

1/2 t sweet paprika
1/2 t smoked Spanish paprika
2 t kosher salt

Store tightly covered.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Spicy Latkes

I love the recipes in the Washington Post. This recipe for latkes gives you a whole new appreciation of fried potatoes. Thanks to Shulie Madnick for this wonderful treat.

Serves 2

1 large potato or two small potatoes
1 medium onion
1 dried Thai chili pepper, chopped
1 T finely sliced red bell pepper
1/2 c chickpea flour
1/4 c + 2 T water
1 large egg
1/4 t cumin seeds
1/4 t red pepper flakes
3/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t turmeric
1/4 c packed cilantro leaves
1/4 c cooking oil

Line a strainer or colander with paper towels. Get out a wire rack and two baking sheets. Place the wire rack over one baking sheet, and line the other baking sheet with paper towels.

Peel and grate the potatoes, and let the potatoes drain in the paper-towel lined strainer. Peel the onion, and cut it in half from top to bottom. Place the cut side of the onion on the cutting board, and slice each onion half (top to bottom) into very thin slices.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. While the skillet is heating, add the flour, water, and egg to a large mixing bowl, and whisk together. Grind together the cumin seeds and red pepper flakes, and add to the batter, along with the salt and turmeric.

Fold the paper towels over the grated potatoes, and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the potatoes. Add the potatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro leaves to the batter, and mix until the vegetables are coated with the batter.

Add the cooking oil to the skillet. Use a 1/2 c measure to scoop the potato mixture, form it into a patty. Fry the patties four at a time for about three minutes on each side. Remove the fried latkes to the wire rack to drain, then transfer them to the lined baking sheet. Keep the latkes in a warm oven until you are ready to serve them.

Add another tablespoon or so of oil to the skillet, and fry the remaining latkes.

These are delicious latkes with a little kick. They go well with the traditional sour cream and applesauce, or eat them with cucumber raita and lime pickle.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Roasted Eggplant Dip

1 large eggplant
1/4 c olive oil, divided
2 T tahini
juice of 1 lime
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 T sriracha chili sauce(optional)
1/4 t kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 t black pepper

Heat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Slice the eggplant into 3/4-inch slices, then into 3/4-inch cubes. Toss the eggplant with 2 T of the olive oil, then spread out the eggplant cubes evenly in one layer on a large, rimmed baking pan. Roast the cubes for 10 minutes, then turn them with a metal spatula, and continue roasting for another 10 minutes. Turn the eggplant cubes again. You may need to continue roasting until the eggplant has mostly browned, and shriveled somewhat. It should be quite soft.

In two or three batches, chop the eggplant in a food processor, and place the puree in a medium mixing bowl. Add the remaining olive oil and the rest of the ingredients. Mix together. Serve with pita bread, chips, or crackers. This recipe makes about a cup of dip.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pad Thai ☺

This recipe is adapted from Wandee Young and Brian Ayanoglu's book, "Simply Thai Cooking." Pad Thai looks a lot more complicated than it is. Allow about 2-1/2 hours preparation time. Cooking time is about 10 minutes. I prepare the tofu and the tamarind sauce ahead of time. This recipe makes 4 generous servings.

Prepare ahead:

tamarind sauce (see ingredients below)
fried tofu (see below)
garnishes (see below)

Prepare before frying:

1/4 c peanut or canola oil
1 t garlic, minced
4 oz uncooked boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
12 30-count shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 eggs
8 oz pad thai noodles
1/3 c unsalted roasted peanuts
2 c bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
4 spring onions, including green tops, 1/2" slices on the diagonal

Tamarind Sauce:

1/4 c tamarind paste
1/3 c hot water
3 T fish sauce
2 T sugar
juice from 1 lime

Fried Tofu:

12 oz block of firm or extra firm tofu, cut into 1 x 1/2 x 1/2-inch slices
1 T cooking oil


1/2 t Thai chili powder (you can substitute cayenne)
1 chili pepper (Thai, jalapeno, etc.) seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 c cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried
1 lime, cut into eighths

Tamarind Sauce

In a small bowl, pour the hot water over the tamarind paste, and break the paste up in the water with a fork. Set aside for 15 - 20 minutes.

After the paste has softened, pour the paste mixture into a wire strainer over a bowl, and use a wooden spoon to mash the paste through the strainer. Strain as much of the pulp as you can, using a rubber spatula to scrape the pulp off the bottom of the strainer into the bowl. You should end up with about 5 T of pulp. Discard the seeds and residue in the strainer.

Add the fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice to the tamarind pulp. Mix together and set aside. (You can make the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it until you fry the pad thai.)

Fried Tofu

Heat the oven to 450°F. Lightly toss the tofu and the cooking oil to coat the tofu. Place a wire rack on a shallow baking sheet. Spread the tofu in a single layer on the rack. Roast the tofu for about 10 minutes, then use a spatula to turn the pieces of tofu. Continue roasting the tofu, turning it every 7 - 10 minutes until is is golden brown. Cool and set aside. You only need 1/3 of the tofu for this recipe.


A half-hour before frying the pad thai, fill a large saucepan with very hot tap water. Add the noodles to the water. The noodles should soften quickly in the hot water. Set the noodles aside for 20 - 30 minutes.


To crush the peanuts, put them on a cutting board, and crush them with a rolling pin. You can also chop them in a food processor, but the rolling pin gives better results. Do not crush the peanuts too much. If the peanuts require additional toasting, heat a skillet over medium heat, add the peanuts, and shake the skillet every minute or so until the peanuts are brown. Be careful not to burn them.

Frying the Pad Thai

When you are ready to fry the pad thai, drain the noodles, and put them back in the saucepan. Bring a quart of water to boil and pour over the noodles. Soak the noodles for another couple of minutes, then drain them. Set the noodles aside.

I put each ingredient in a small bowl or plate and line the ingredients up on the kitchen counter in the following order: garlic, chicken, shrimp, 1/3 of the prepared tofu, eggs (broken into a dish), drained noodles, tamarind sauce, crushed peanuts, bean sprouts and onions, Thai chili pepper and garnishes.

Heat a large wok on medium-high heat. Add the oil. As soon as it shimmers, add the garlic and stir with a metal spatula. Fry just until the garlic begins to brown, less than 30 seconds. Add the chicken and stir-fry until the pink has disappeared. Add the shrimp and tofu and stir-fry until the shrimp is opaque. Slip the eggs on top without breaking the yolks, and let the eggs cook for about a minute.

Add the noodles to the wok, and fold the mixture from the bottom of the wok. Stir fry for another minute. Stir in the tamarind sauce, and add 2/3 of the crushed peanuts. Stir to incorporate the peanuts, and then fold in 2/3 of the bean sprouts and all of the green onions. Remove from the heat

Carefully pour the pad thai onto a large serving platter or into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the Thai chili powder. Sprinkle with the remaining crushed peanuts. Arrange the chili pepper slices and the cilantro leaves on top of the pad thai. Place the lime slices and the remaining bean sprouts around the edge of the dish. Serve immediately.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

3 c chicken broth
1 c cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1-1/2 c pumpkin puree
2 T fish sauce
1 T Sriracha sauce (or other hot sauce)
4 oz narrow rice noodles
juice from 1/2 lime
cilantro leaves

Note: Whenever I bake a chicken, I make stock from the giblets, the picked over carcass, and any leftover pan drippings. I cover the detritus with cold water, add a bay leaf, a couple of allspice pods, two or three cloves, and a chopped onion. I bring it to a boil, and simmer it for an hour or more, then refrigerate it.

Combine the broth, chicken, pumpkin, fish sauce, and chili sauce in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, and add the rice noodles. Simmer for four minutes or until the noodles are tender. Stir in the lime juice. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cranberry Relish

1-12 oz package raw cranberries
1 seedless orange
6 T sugar

If you froze the cranberries, do not thaw! Rinse the cranberries and drain. Put one-third of the cranberries in the bowl of a food processor. Rinse the orange, but DO NOT peel it. Cut the orange in half, and remove the pith running through the center of the orange. Cut each half into three or four slices. Put about one-third of the orange slices in the processor. Process until the mixture is chopped, but not pureed. Remove the mixture to a mixing bowl.

Process the remaining cranberries and orange slices in two batches and add to the mixture in the mixing bowl. Add the sugar. The relish should be tart, but not too mouth-puckering. If necessary add sugar to taste.

Store the relish in a covered dish. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. This relish tastes best when made a day ahead.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sourdough Rye Bread

Thanks to Scott Johnson. I've slightly modified his recipe so that it makes one loaf of bread. This is a delicious loaf. It looks a lot more complicated to make than it really is. Makes one loaf

Note: If you have already prepared a rye sourdough starter, go to the Rye Sour step, below.


1/8 t dry yeast
1/2 c (4 oz) warm water
1/2 c (2.3 oz) rye flour

In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the rye flour and mix until smooth. Cover the bowl and set in a warm place in the kitchen for 24 hours. At this point, you can refrigerate the starter, or you can begin mixing the rye "sour."

Rye Sour

1 c starter
3/4 c (6 oz) warm water
1-1/2 c (7.5 - 8 oz) rye flour
1 T crushed caraway seeds
1 T minced onion

Mix together, cover, and set aside for overnight, or until it has doubled in volume.

Bread Dough

rye sour mixture
1/2 c (4 oz) warm water
1-1/2 t dry yeast
2 + 1/2 c (7 + 2 oz) bread flour
1/2 t salt
1 T caraway seeds

Remove 1 c (8 oz) rye sour to use as a starter for your next loaf of bread. You should have about 1-1/2 c rye sour remaining. Store the starter in a glass or plastic container. Cover the container, but do not tightly seal it. Refrigerate the starter up to a week or so.

Dissolve the yeast in the water and add to the sour. Stir in 1-1/2 c bread flour, the salt, and the caraway seeds. Mix in another 1/2 c bread flour by hand. Sprinkle some flour on a board or countertop, turn the dough onto the board, and begin kneading the dough. The dough will be sticky, so gradually work additional bread flour into the dough. Knead the dough for 10 - 15 minutes until it become very elastic. Keep your work surface lightly floured to prevent the dough from sticking too much.

Cover the dough with a towel, and let it rest for 15 minutes (this helps the gluten in the dough relax). When the dough has rested, shape it into a loaf. Flour the bottom of the loaf and place on a greased baking sheet, OR flour a bread peel, and place the loaf on the peel to rise. Cover the loaf with a towel. Let the loaf rise for 2 hours.

Conventional Baking

Heat the oven to 375°F. If you have not already done so, place the loaf carefully on a greased baking sheet. Score the top of the loaf. Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes.

Dutch Oven Baking

Heat the oven to 450°F. Place a large covered dutch oven near the bottom of the oven to preheat while the oven is heating. The dutch oven should be in the hot oven about 20 minutes before you bake the bread. When the dutch oven is very hot, remove it from the oven, and remove the dutch oven's cover. Using the peel, transfer the loaf to the dutch oven. Sprinkle some rye flour over the loaf. Cover the dutch oven, and return it to the oven. Bake for 25 minutes and remove the cover from the dutch oven. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and bake another 25 minutes.

Remove the loaf from the oven, and from its pan. Cool on a rack.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Spanish Rice

2 T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green or red pepper, chopped
1-1/2 c white rice, rinsed and drained
12 green, stuffed olives, sliced
3 link sausages (chorizo, etc.), cooked and chopped
2 c spicy tomato sauce
1 c chicken broth
1/4 lb white cheddar cheese, grated

Set the oven to 350°F. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the onion and pepper until soft. Add the rice, and brown the rice for five to eight minutes until it has a nice golden color. Add the olives and sausage, and turn the rice mixture into a large baking dish with a cover. Mix together the tomato sauce and chicken broth. Pour over the rice. Cover the dish, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover. Sprinkle with the grated cheese, and continue baking, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Easy Bread

15 oz bread flour (or half bread flour, half whole wheat)
1 t dry yeast
1 T granulated sugar
1 t salt
12 oz lukewarm water

In a medium-sized glass mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Stir in the water, and mix until all of the flour is mixed in, and the dough is "shaggy." Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place 18 to 24 hours.

After the dough has risen, stir it down and let it rest for 15 minutes. While the dough is resting, grease a bread pan (5" x 9" x 3"). Spread 1 T flour on a cutting board or counter top. Turn the rested dough onto the floured board. Sprinkle another tablespoon of flour on the dough. Gently knead and shape the dough into a loaf and place it in the bread pan. (The dough may be very soft and somewhat sticky.)

Cover the loaf with a floured paper towel. Set it aside in a warm, draft-free place and let it rise for a couple of hours.

After the bread has risen, adjust the oven racks, so that one rack is near the bottom of the oven, and the other rack is in the center of the oven. Place a cast-iron skillet in the oven, and set the oven temperature of 450°F. When the oven is heated, bring 2 c water to boiling. Remove the skillet from the oven, and carefully pour the boiling water in the skillet, Place the skillet back in the oven on the bottom rack. Place the bread pan on the middle rack. Bake for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Remove the skillet from the oven. Continue baking the bread for another half-hour. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the bread pan onto a rack. Cool the bread completely before slicing.

Piquant Sauce for Fish or Whatever

2 T olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime
2 t fish sauce or Worcestershire Sauce
2 t Tabasco or hot sauce
3 T ketchup
2 t prepared mustard
2 t brown sugar
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t smoked Spanish paprika (optional)
6 pimento-stuffed green olives, coarsely chopped
2 t capers, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan, and heat until bubbly. Serve either hot or cold. Refrigerate leftover sauce.