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« "Bertie's Christmas Eve"- Saki | Main | SOPA & PIPA Blackout »

December 18, 2011

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Jim Ticehurst

A ribeye Steak on the Grill with halfed Boiled Golden Potatoes..sprinkled with sour cream and Chives...and Steamed baby Carrots,,and a Spinach Salad...complimented with a bottle of a 2009 Mosel Riesling..

Maureen Lang

I'll take a 1st dive into Pat's TA recipe pool with a couple of tried & true family favorites:

Ginger-Lime Sirloin

6 Tbs. fresh lime juice
3 Tbs. fish sauce
3 Tbs. hoisin sauce
3 Tbs. Asian hot-chili sauce
3 Tbs. peeled & grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. grated lime zest
1 sirloin, flatiron, or flank steak, 1 3/4 to 2 lb. & 1 inch thick
In shallow, nonreactive dish just large enough to hold the steak, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, ginger & lime zest; stir to mix well. Add the steak, turn to coat both sides. Cover, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours, turning the meat occasionally. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat. Oil the grill rack. Remove the steak from the marinade; discard the marinade. Grill the steak over the hottest part of a charcoal fire or directly over the heat elements of a gas grill until it is nicely charred & cooked to your liking: 3-4 minutes for rare, 5-6 for med rare. Let the steak rest for 3 to 5 minutes, then cut into slices and serve immediately.

Chuck Wagon Chili w/Beans

3 slices bacon
1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat (diced large)
2 onions chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup water
2 8oz cans diced tomatoes w/juice
1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms
1/2 cup brewed coffee
3 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp basil
3 1 lb cans kidney beans drained
Fry Bacon. Drain & crumble. Pour drippings into heavy dutch oven. Add beef. Cover & bake 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Add onion, garlic and water. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, bake 1 hour. Add tomatoes/juice, coffee, chili powder, basil, beans, & bacon. Bake 1 hour longer or until done.

different clue

(This is more an "ingredient-production-activity" than a recipe, but I offer it in case it may be worthy of printing).

When I learned that many co-workers who make Thanksgiving Turkey do not turn the end-stage carcass into soup the way people used to do . . . but just simply throw it away, I asked some of them if I might have their unwanted end-stage turkey carcasses instead. They have been happy to bring them in to me.

I first take off any remaining meat (if any remains) for normal turkey uses. I then put the carcasses in a huge pot with
an inch of water in the bottom and the lid weighted down to retain all steam, and then I turn up the heat just enough to bath the carcasses in steam which runs back down into the water taking the turkey taste down with it. After a day I set that aside.

Then I boil the bones in a pressure cooker till they are soft enough to break into chips and then crush into mush while pressure cooking them in stages the whole time. After I have extracted everything I can from the bone mush, I boil that down very thick and mix it back into the first-run stock. The result is thick and rich and tasty, and I use small amounts of it over time in potfulls of different stuff that I cook. (I throw the leftover bone-sand out into my garden.) It really is good. Really. It really is.

Bill H.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

3 sweet yellow onions (i.e. Vidalia), chopped coarse
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp, dried oregano
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 boneless pork shoulder roast

Lay the onions in the bottom of your slow cooker. In a small bowl mix the olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Rub that mixture all over the pork roast and place it on top of the onions in the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 10 hours without ever removing the lid. Warning; the smell will drive you nuts.

Remove the pork roast from the cooker and put it on a plate, cover it with foil and let it sit while you deal with the sauce in the cooker.

Pour the sauce through a strainer into a bowl and put the onions back into the cooker. Separate the fat from the liquid and save the non-fat portion.

Pull the pork roast into shreds with two forks. Actually, it should be really tender and you may only need one fork, but… Put the “pulled” pork back into the cooker with the onions and add some of the sauce back to it, just enough to moisten it nicely. Save the rest of the sauce (it freezes nicely) for making gravy and the like.

Serve the pork with a spicy, garlicky barbeque sauce on the side.

Fred

Friends and family have for these past few years honored the spirit of Charles Dickens and the holiday season with a celebration of Victorian food and drink that includes a smoking hot bowl of Negus Punch (a 300-year old, somehow-forgotten favorite) and other hearty, savory, and sweet delights.

Here's the recipe for the Negus. (Greg's adaptation).

1 small bottle of good ruby port
1 regular bottle of "claret" (dry red Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon)
1/4 cup brandy
2 cups hot water
2" fresh ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced
juice of four lemons,( and a bit of the zest never hurts either)
2 tbsp freshly-ground nutmeg
2 whole sticks, cinnamon
4 whole allspice berries
1/4 cup sugar

Heat ingredients gradually (with lemon thinly sliced into rings, and a
heaped teaspoon of sugar) to a simmer just short of boiling, Simmer
for five minutes then strain (to avoid choking on allspice, cinnamon,
zest, etc) into a heat-proof goblet or punch-bowl when piping hot.
Optimally served in the presence of a giant nutcracker to represent
Colonel Negus, Master of the Hounds.

Serves 12

Yellow Dog

Many people think that pecan pie (for you yankees, that's puhcahn, NOT peecan) is sickly sweet, but the filling in a good one is more like custard. If you can find a source of quality nuts, the result is heavenly. Here's a recipe that I've been refining for more than 20 years.

Single pie crust (Don't be afraid to try making your own- it's really not that hard and there is plenty of guidance online. Even a mediocre homemade crust is vastly superior to the crap you get from a store. It may not look perfect, but hey, it's hand-made.)

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
5 large eggs
dash nutmeg
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-3 tablespoons rum (optional, but strongly recommended)
1 tablespoon vanilla (optional)
1 cup corn syrup
2 cups chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Add nutmeg, salt, and flour, and mix well. Add rum to taste (dark rum is preferred), vanilla (if desired), and corn syrup, and mix well. Add chopped pecans, mixing by hand with a spatula. Add to pie crust.

Bake 350º for 50 minutes, or until it sets up (my oven always takes at least 60 minutes). You can check it by jiggling the pie pan; if the center of the filling wiggles, bake for an additional 10 minutes.

The original recipe didn’t call for vanilla; but I used to add it anyway. I recently made one without vanilla (because we were out), and I think that it’s better without. Suit yourself.

The quality of the pecans matters! If at all possible, use only pecans clearly marked “This Year’s Crop”. I buy mine a couple of weeks ahead at a local farmer's market, but I live in pecan country. If you buy them more than a month ahead of time, shell them and store them in Ziploc bags in the freezer.

I recommend chopped pecans, but you can use whole pecan halves if you choose. The pie looks beautiful, but it’s impossible to cut a piece without it falling apart.

B. D. Warbucks

Big Daddy Warbucks' Roasted Red Pepper Soup for the Christmas Feast

I have been making this soup for my Christmas feast since 1991, which was the first Christmas my bride and I shared after the Gulf War. My friends call it "Sin in a Bowl!" It is not Christmas without at least one bowl of this colorful and delectable treat. It has pride of place before I present the roast beast.

6 large red peppers
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large Vidalia onion
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 large leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
1 cup dry vermouth
2 to 3 cups chicken stock or broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper

Brush peppers with oil and broil in the oven or roast over a grill. Turn them when flesh chars. Take off grill or out of oven when all sides are charred. Let cool and peel/seed. Rinse off any seeds that cling to peppers and chop peppers coarsely.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in 2-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, garlic, and sliced leeks. Cook until tender, ~ 5 minutes, stirring often. Add vermouth. Simmer uncovered for 4 minutes or until reduced by half. Add chopped peppers and 2 cups of broth. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes

Puree the mixture with a hand mixer or in a blender, adding whipping cream and remaining butter. Add remaining broth as needed for desired consistency. Add salt and pepper.

Serves 6.

I usually double the recipe, as my guests prefer big bowls and like to bring some home.

Mark Logan

This is going to seem mighty mundane in this list, but this lasagna is the one thing that EVERYBODY asks me for the recipe for. Came from a small Italian restaurant in NYC that my dad wheedled the recipe from in the 60's. I increase the sausage a bit, but that's all.

For a 12 x 8 1/2 x 1 3/4 cassarole dish.

Sauce:
1 lb Italian sausage (1/2 sweet, 1/2 hot)
4 cloves garlic -minced
1 tblsp. parsley flakes
1 tblsp. basil
.5 tsp. salt
1 pd. can of whole tomatoes
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine

Filling:
3 cups cream (whole) cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 beaten eggs
2 tspn. salt
.5 tspn pepper
2 tblspn. parsley flakes
1 lb. mozzarella sliced very thin ( can be tough to do with some mozzarella's. Grate the stuff, if you have to)

10 oz Lasagagna noodles


Notes in ingredents:
Good sweet Italian sausage is tough to find, but the search is worth it.
Cream cottage cheese has become extinct. 3-4% is fine.

Sauce:
Skin and brown the sausage in a large uncovered frying pan.
Spoon off excess grease.
Add rest of sauce ingredents, and 2 cups water. Bring to slow boil.
Simmer on low heat reduce until the consistancy of pizza sauce (5-6 hours)
This is key to this sauce. Slow reduction. Dissolves the tomatoes.
(somebody invented crock pots after this)

Filling:
Combine all ingredents in a large bowl and mix.
Boil noodles until al dente, or whateveryacallsit. They will cook a bit more in the baking, so no worries.

Rub the dish with butter so noodles don't stick.
Lay out single layer of noodles, cover with 1/2 cheese mixture,
cover that with 1/2 mozzarella slices, cover that with the sauce.
Repeat.

Bake at 375 for 40 min. Let sit for 20 before slicing.

Tastes just as good, even better, on the next day. Can be baked, refridgerated, and re-heated.

Medicine Man

I'm no great shakes as a cook but here's a recipe that I've enjoyed a few times: West African Peanut Soup.

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped onions
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp grated ginger
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups chopped sweet potatoes or yams
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups of tomato juice
1 cup of peanut butter (rec. unsweetened kind)
1-2 chopped peppers (optional)

Instructions:
1) Sauté onions, oil, cayenne, and ginger.
2) Add carrots, sauté some more.
3) Add potatoes/yams and chicken/veg. stock.
4) Bring to boil & simmer for ~15 minutes.
(optional) If you are adding peppers, sauté them separately in some stock now.
5) Blend all or part of the soup with the tomato juice
6) Return to pot and stir in the peanut butter. Add the peppers/stock now if you are using them.
7) Reheat gently, being careful not to burn the soup.

This is a bit messy to make but is easy. Better than it sounds. Add more cayenne to make it hotter or more stock/juice to thin it out.

Tom Parker

Thanks for the all the posts folks, I enjoy reading them. From the Booneville, AR hometown chef, Hokey gave it to my Mom 50 years ago, hopefully I'm not stepping on any toes.

Hokey Dunn's BBQ Chicken

Mix and bring to boil:
1/2 cup bacon drippings
1/2 cup water
1 cup vinegar (the darker the better)

Mix dry in another bowl:
5 tsp salt
2 tbsp flour
4-6 tsp black pepper
2 tsp sugar

Slowly add the dry mix to the liquid stirring constantly until smooth.

Last add:
3 tsp Tabasco
3 tbsp Worcestershire

Cook chicken on medium, baste from beginning to end.

Put a good set of grill marks on the chicken and watch for fires, the bacon drippings are very flammable. Keep plenty of free room on the grill to move chicken off the hot part of the grill during eruptions. We usually multiply this by 4 or 8 for the summer parties, use bone-in chicken for flavor. Remember, save your bacon drippings all year.

Maureen Lang

What an amazing thread! I've printed all of them out & added to recipe box.

Here's one from my good friend Merlyn Harrison of Charlotte NC that is great around the holidays (or any other time of year):


Duck, Oyster, & Andouille Gumbo

2 mallards, cleaned and cut into serving pieces
2 teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup plus 1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped bell peppers
6 to 8 cups chicken stock
1 pound andouille sausage cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
2 dozen oysters, shucked plus their liquor
3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Season the duck pieces with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the cayenne. Heat ¼ cup of the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the duck pieces and brown, stirring often. Remove the duck and set aside.

To the same pot add the remaining 1 cup vegetable oil and the flour. Stirring constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, make a dark brown roux. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until they are soft.

Add the stock (the amount will depend on how thick or thin you like your gumbo). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Add the duck pieces and the remaining 1 ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon cayenne. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 ½ hours.

Add the andouille and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Add the oysters and their liquid and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the edges of the oysters curl. Add the parsley and serve immediately over steamed rice in gumbo bowls. Serves 8.

Reina Marchant

βασιλόπιτα
Vasillopita
Greek New Year Cake

Καλή Χρονιά! Happy New Year!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup of butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
6 eggs
4 tablespoons of brandy
grated peel of 2 oranges
4 cups of self-rising flour
3/4 cup of evaporated milk
1 coin wrapped in foil
confectioner's sugar

Bring all ingredients to room temperature, and preheat the oven to 390F (200C). Cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Beating continuously, add in order:
the sugar, very slowly
the eggs one at a time
the brandy
Still beating, sprinkle in the grated orange peel to distribute evenly throughout the batter. Add milk, then flour, a small amount at a time. Flour a round 12" to 13" diameter tapsi (baking pan with 2-3" sides) and pour in the batter. The cake will bake for a total of about 45 minutes, but halfway through, when it has started to set, insert the coin carefully into the dough, pushing it down just below the surface. (Inserting the coin when the cake is slightly firmed will prevent it from sinking to the bottom.) Insert it anywhere except the exact center of the cake. Continue baking until done. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Place a large plate over the top of the tapsi and invert it so the cake comes out on the plate. Take a second plate (for serving) and put it over the cake, inverting to get the cake right side up.

Allow the Vassilopita to cool for 4 hours before serving.

Topping & Decorations:
Sift confectioner's sugar to cover. Coat lightly with marmalade and sprinkle with grated coconut.

Traditions of Cutting the Vassilopita:
Each family has its own tradition for cutting the Vassilopita, however they all have one thing in common: the wish for good fortune in the new year. Traditionally, pieces are cut ceremoniously by the head of the household and allocated to the church (Holy Trinity and Virgin Mary), then the head of the household (male), his wife, their children (oldest to youngest), other family members by degree of relatedness, then guests. The coin or small medallion is a tradition symbolizing an extra measure of good fortune for whoever gets the piece where it has been hidden during baking, and this can cause serious confrontation if ownership of the coin is disputed. Therefore when inserting the coin, insert parallel to the way a knife will cut so it will remain in one piece. When making the first cut declare loudly who gets the pieces on either side of the knife so there are no disputes. If a coin does end up between two pieces the piece that has the larger part gets the coin.

mj

I use this recipe for making Turkey Tasso. I'm smoking up a big batch tomorrow for use in my Jambalaya, Gumbo and Crawfish Etouffee.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, garlic, onion powder, red, white, and black peppers, paprika, salt and cumin, mixing well. Place the turkey breast in a large glass bowl and sprinkle with 4 Tbsp of the mixture, coating well. (store the remainder of the seasoning mix the a tight container for future use)

Sprinkle the turkey with the liquid smoke, rubbing the seasoning mix and liquid over the entire breast. Cover the bowl and marinate for two(2) days in the refrigerator, turning occasionally.

Light the fire in a charcoal water smoker, cover, and let the heat and smoke accumulate. When the smoker is ready, place the turkey breast on the wire rack and smoke for 7 hours. Add water as needed. Add a few mesquite chips every hour or so. When the tasso is done, remove and set aside until cool enough to handle. You will note it is very dry, almost like jerky. Don't worry, that's normal. Store it in freezer bags up to one month in the refrigerator or six months in the freezer.

note: This is not something you will really want to make a sandwich from. It is used primarily in gumbo, red beans, stuffings and some pasta dishes. It has a very pronounced flavor. Basically, it can be used in place been accused of having no taste buds left in my mouth because of the hot food I love to consume.

tip: When you start smoking, throw some other meat on the smoker. Catfish fillets work real well. Of course, they cook a lot faster, so you will have to watch them. Rub them with Dales Steak Sauce, salt and pepper them, and sprinkle some Molly McButter on them. Be sure to put them on foil. There should be plenty of room, unless you want to make a double batch of this. If that is what you want, do not double the spices; just use all that you have made up.

Cieran

Maureen:

Here's a simple and easy version of Santa Fe Green Chile Stew that is bound to warm up even the coldest palate. As always, it can be seasoned to taste with more or fewer (or hotter or cooler) peppers. I usually use about 3 or 4 jalapenos for color, and a habanero or two to crank up the heat, but I like hot chiles more than most folks, so your mileage may vary.

Ingredients:

2 pounds stew meat, cubed
2 or 3 cups of boiling water (with a few chicken bouillon cubes)
4 or 5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 ribs of celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, diced
4 or 5 jalapenos, diced (with or without seeds -- with is hotter!)
1 or 2 teaspoons of dried peppers (e.g., chipotle) if desired
2 tablespoons of cooking oil

Dice the celery, onion, garlic, and peppers and set aside half of this supply of diced vegetables -- be careful when dicing the peppers, as discussed below. Use the other half, and the cooking oil to saute the cubed meat in a large sauce pan or a medium-sized stock pot, and cook this mixture until there is no pink color left in the meat, e.g., for a few minutes depending on the size and shape of the pan used.

Add the remaining diced vegetables along with the hot bouillon, and adjust the heat so that the stew is just shy of boiling. Add additional dried peppers if desired, but if you're adding dried red peppers, this may end up becoming a Santa Fe Red Chile Stew! And then just let this mixture stew until everything is cooked into submission (which may or may not require adding some more boiling water or bouillon if the broth level gets too low), at which point you can cut up the potatoes and add them to the mix. Once the spuds are thoroughly cooked to where they are tender and they've soaked up the flavor of the spices, dinner's ready!

The stew meat can be just about anything -- I prefer pork, but beef works well, chicken and turkey are fine, and you can blend whatever you have handy, too (what I call "clean out the refrigerator stew"). Leaner cuts are fine but not necessary, as fat and connective tissue in the stew meat will yield a great flavor, and after a few hours of stewing, just about any cut of meat will become very tender. And in the winter, with the house closed up against the cold, letting this elixir simmer for a few hours will make the house smell great!

And finally, a few words about chiles are in order. Jalapenos are a good choice for getting started, as they are hot enough to suit this stew, but not so hot to make it inedible for some folks. You can use fewer peppers with their seeds included, or just dice up the meat of the pepper and lose the seeds in order to reduce the heat of the resulting stew.

It's easy to start with a few jalapenos, and then taste the stew after an hour or so, so that you can add more if you'd like more heat. Cooking this with hotter chiles like the habanero can be dangerous, so it's best to start on the less-hot side and work your way up to the thermonuclear varieties of this stew with time and practice.

As always, be careful with all utensils that are used to dice the chiles, including your fingers. If you dice a hot pepper with your bare hands and then rub your eyes, you may find yourself wishing for a trip to your local hospital's emergency room. So my technique is to wash the dishes immediately after I cut up the hot peppers, so that the hot water and soap remove the capsaicin residue from my fingers. And who doesn't like a clean kitchen?

Serve this stew alone, or with some enchiladas, rice, and beans, and all you need is a couple (dozen) margaritas to make it a dinner to remember. So who needs a good margarita recipe?

Rob Waddell

Hi all.. Christmas & New Year’s greetings from New Zealand

Kiwi Gumbo
This recipe is suitable for those Christmas feast left-overs and other items that may be languishing in the fridge or larder. Like many stews, this will always taste better the day after it is made. Suitable for 4-5 persons but adjust the ingredient quantities to suit.

Veges: Cooked down to a sauce with olive oil.
Onion x1 large
Celery x 4 sticks
Garlic x ½ clove
Green peppers x1
Leek and chilli may be also used

Meat & seafood: You don't need all the types listed, just pick some.
Chicken -chopped into bit sized pieces
Ham -chopped into bit sized pieces
Chorizo or other spicy sausage
Fresh mussels or pipis (clams) -pre-cook with 1/4 cup water in covered pan. Discard shells but save liquor for stock. Mussels may be chopped
Prawns –frozen raw shelled cutlets are best.
Fish fillets -any type including frozen
Squid/scallops etc. -frozen OK
tinned smoked oysters can also be used
Aborio rice 1/2 cup
saffron
cumin
chicken or seafood stock 1l

Cook down the finely chopped veges in a large pan or casserole with 4-5 tblespoons olive oil until consistency of chutney (15-20 mins at low heat)
Remove cooked down veges from pan and set aside, add a little more oil and brown chicken pieces. Add 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder.
Add chorizo and ham pieces then rice. Cook for another 10 mins until rice is browned all over.
Add 10-20 threads of saffron
Add veges and 0.5 liter stock. Add mussels, pipis and their liquor. Simmer for 20 mins adding more stock as required.
Add frozen fish, scallops, etc. Simmer for 10 mins
Add frozen or thawed prawns just before serving. Simmer 5-10 mins.
Serve with fresh baby greens in bowl type plates with toasted ciabatta bread

Maureen Lang

First tryout of this thread's recipes:

That's one excellent pie, Yellow Dog- thanks so much for posting. The morning after New Year's Day dinner not a crust crumble was left.

...to be continued as future recipes above are attempted...

pj20

(My previous submission was lost or did not meet standards. Ah well. Here is another possibility.)

Lobster stew with Brussel sprouts

2 lobsters split about 1 ¼ lb. each

1 ½ lbs. Brussel sprouts, destemmed, rough and discolored leaves removed and sliced
2 medium shallots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 pint lobster stock, or fish stock enriched with the lobster shells
Peanut oil
Butter
2 tablespoons Heavy cream
2 tablespoons Port


1. Steam lobsters until almost done. Let cool and then remove meat and set aside. Reserve shells for stock.
2. Heat a heavy casserole pan over medium high heat. When hot add a little peanut oil and butter. When hot, add the shallot. When aromatic, remove and reserve.
3. Add a little more peanut oil and butter to the hot pan. When hot add the Brussel sprouts. Salt and pepper the sprouts. Turn now and then. You are aiming for about half of the Brussel sprouts to get a nice brown coloring, with the other half less brown. You may have to add some more oil or butter to your taste if the sprouts begin to stick.
4. While the sprouts cook, bring the stock to a boil in a small stock pot. Cover and turn the heat to very low.
5. When the sprouts are done, add in the warm stock, the lobster, Brussel sprouts and the shallots over medium heat.
6. When the lobster is warm, add 2 tablespoons each of heavy cream and port. Stir, taste and add salt, pepper, cream and/or port to your liking.
7. Serve with a crunchy baguette and a soft pinot noir.

Shirley Bolton

Mae Bolton's Gingerbread

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup blackstrap molasses

3/4 cup honey
1 cup dark brown sugar 

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

2 teaspoons ground ginger 

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3 large eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup milk

1 packed tablespoon grated fresh ginger root

Preheat the oven to 325 with a rack in the dead center. Butter and line a 13 inch baking pan so the parchment hangs over by a couple inches. Combine the butter, water, molasses, honey, and brown sugar in a saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture frequently until the butter is just melted, and all of the ingredients are well blended. Remove from the heat, pour into a large bowl and set aside to cool. Meanwhile combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, all-spice, and cloves and set aside. When the molasses mixture feels just warm to the touch, add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add the milk and stir to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the batter and don't be overly concerned if you can't get every lump out. Stir in the grated ginger. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45-60 minutes. Start checking after about 45 minutes. When the top of the cake springs back when touched it's done. For me this is usually 55 minutes but the baking time will depend on your oven and the shape of your pan. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then using the overhang of parchment lift the cake out of the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. If refrigerated, the texture becomes dense and sticky. Just let it come up to room temperature before serving. Serve with whipped cream with a teaspoon or two of brandy whipped into it. Serves 12-16.

Maureen Lang

From Basilisk (originally posted on SST):

Flashy Margarita Chicken Salad

This colorful chicken salad has some snap! The tang of tequila and lime shines through the smoke; the colors evoke old Mexico. This dish may tempt you to just skip the afternoon’s work after lunch or waste the evening staring at the moon after a light dinner.

For the chicken:

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1½ oz. tequila
juice of 2 limes
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 tsp. ground cumin
3-4 spring onions


For the vegetables:

1 green, 1 yellow, 1 red sweet pepper cored and sliced into ½” wide
julienne strips,
2-3 Serrano or Anaheim peppers, split, seeded, but left whole
½ cup lo-salt soy sauce
½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 16 oz, can yellow corn, drained

For the dressing:

½ cup sour cream (non-dairy substitute OK)
½ cup lo-cal mayonnaise
2 Tbs. jalapeno relish
1 Tbs. juice from jalapeno relish
1 drop green food coloring, if desired

Grill the chicken till just done, add the vegetables on a rack until the peppers show some color. Arrange of lettuce leaves for flour tortillas, serve the dressing on the side.

Viva el sabór

Haralambos

Here is one that most folks love.
Bacalhau com natas (creamed cod casserole)
Trust an Austrian to do wonderful things with fresh cream. A dear friend, a former colleague from Coimbra, gave me this recipe in Portuguese. I translate:

⅔ lb (600 gr) cod fillets ⅔ lb (600 gr) onions
⅔ lb (600 gr) potatoes oil for frying

Béchamel sauce:
2 heaping tbsp butter or margarine juice of 1 - 1 ½ lemon
2 heaping tbsp flour 2 tsp Dijon mustard
8 oz (¼ liter) milk 2 tsp grated Parmesan
8 oz (¼ liter) cream 1 egg yolk

Buttered baking dish (11 x 8-inch/ 28 x 20-cm) sprinkled with breadcrumbs

If you don’t find cod fillets, then soak salted cod for at least twenty-four hours, changing the water frequently. When the water is no longer very salty, heat fish and just enough water to cover to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until fish flakes easily with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes; drain. (If you’ve used the boney version, fillet it now.) Put to one side.

Cut potatoes in cubes and fry them until golden. If you want to skip this step, use potato sticks (shoestring potatoes)instead. Put these to one side.

Slice the onions thinly, fry until soft (but with a slight bite). Drain on paper towels. Put aside.

To prepare sauce, melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan and stir in the flour until the mixture forms a thick paste which starts to bubble. Remove from the flame and pour in the milk slowly, whisking continuously. Return to low flame and as the mixture thickens, slowly pour in the cream. Add the lemon juice, mustard, cheese and egg yolk and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed and the sauce is creamy and smooth.

In the buttered baking dish, spread a layer of potatoes, next a layer of cod fish and top with a layer of onions. Pour the sauce evenly over the layers.

Bake at 390°F (200°C) for 20 minutes. Serves 8.

Meredith Axelrod

Pan Fried Pasta with Butternut Squash, Fried Sage, and Pine Nuts

1 medium butternut squash
1 small sweet onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1 pound farfalle pasta
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 ounces high quality Parmesan, shredded or shaved (about a cup)

Heat the oven to 375°. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the strings and seeds the middle cavity. Flip the squash halves upside down and peel them. The raw squash rind can irritate your hands, so if they start to itch or tingle, wash hands and wear gloves. Cut the squash into 1 inch cubes. Toss with the onion, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Mince about half of the fresh sage leaves and also toss with the squash. Spread the squash mixture in a thin layer on a large baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft. Heat salted pasta water to boiling and cook the farfalle until al dente. Drain and set aside. As the squash finishes roasting heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large high-sided pan. The oil is ready when it pops and sputters. Don't let it start smoking. Drop in the rest of the sage leaves and fry for about a minute, or until they begin to just shrivel up. Remove with a slotted spoon and salt lightly. Crush with the back of a spoon. Add half the pasta to the pan, along with half the roasted squash mixture. Crumble in half the sage. Cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes or until the pasta is heated through and getting crispy on some of the edges. Add the pine nuts and cook for another minute. Stir in half the cheese.

Repeat the last step with the rest of the ingredients. We split it into two because none of our pans are big enough to accommodate the entire recipe and it's very important not to crowd the pan too much so the pasta will really pan fry, not just steam up. A nice variation is adding some pancetta or ham cubes while the pasta is frying, which changes the flavor of this dish in an interesting way.

Haralambos

If it is not too late, here is one I love.

Once you get the leeks cleaned, this pie is relatively simple to prepare. It’s great served with tzadziki salad.

Pie crust:
1⅓ cups shortening 2 cups flour 2 tbsp water

Filling:
4-5 large leeks thinly sliced (6-7 cups) ¼ tsp hot chili pepper or paprika
1 cup crumbled feta cheese ⅓ cup olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped parsley 4 eggs

Prepare pie crust and divide in half. Roll out ½ dough to fill a 10-inch (25 cm) pie plate. Place dough in pie plate and leave aside.

Remove roots and any discolored leaves from leeks. Halve leeks lengthwise and wash well to remove soil between leaves. Slice very thinly and then blanch for 3-5 minutes. Drain well and let cool.

Combine leeks in a bowl with crumbled feta, parsley, chili pepper and oil. Beat eggs, put 2 tbsp of beaten egg aside and add remainder to leeks. Stir well to blend.

Spread filling in pastry-lined dish and moisten pastry edge with water. Roll out remaining dough and place in position over top. Press pastry to seal well and crimp edges.

Beat reserved egg with a little milk and brush top of pastry. Poke small holes in the crust with a fork.

Bake at 350° F (180°C) for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let pie stand for 10 minutes before cutting serving portions. If you like it spicier, a little Tabasco sauce can be sprinkled over the top before eating.


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