Sunday, October 31, 2010

Asian inspired

This is a great salmon dinner with lots of Asian flavors.  I broiled the salmon this time, but it certainly can be grilled if you like.

1 1/2 lbs. salmon fillets cut into 4 pieces

For the marinade:
1  13-14 oz. jar orange marmalade
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 crushed garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. sugar
2 tsp. sesame oil
Combine all ingredients and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Let cool and then pour about half over the salmon fillets. Marinate the fillets for about 1 hour.
Broil or grill for about 10 minutes or until flaky.  Reheat the remaining marinade and serve the salmon over cooked white rice drizzled with a little marinade and topped with a few slices of green onion.

I made a zucchini - cabbage slaw to serve with this by mixing 1 cup each shredded zucchini and cabbage, 1/2 cup shredded carrot, 1 sliced green onion, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbl. sugar, and 2 Tbl. sesame oil together and chilling for about an hour.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

3 Sauces....3 Burgers

Tom and I are always in search of the "perfect" burger and so we're constantly experimenting with different toppings and cloning some of our favorite restaurant recipes. When we go up north we stop at a place called The Keyhole Bar in Mackinaw City which serves the Passion Burger, a nice size one topped with a green olive sauce, swiss cheese and shredded lettuce.  We make it at home by taking 1/2 cup mayo and adding 1/4 cup each of black and green olives. Add the swiss and lettuce and your done.
Another favorite is the take on the Big Mac.  We don't make a double,  but put the sauce, pickle onion, lettuce, and cheese on it . To make the sauce I add 1 Tbl. of re-hydrated dried onion and 1 Tbl. pickle relish to 1/2 cup of Thousand Island dressing.
A new one I recently found comes from The Totem Pole Drive-In  which was on Woodward Avenue In Royal Oak, Mi. They made The Big Chief which was a double with special sauce, sweet pickle, swiss cheese, and lettuce.  Here's the recipe:

1 cup mayo
1 tsp. curry powder
garlic salt to your taste
1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl. chili sauce
1/4 tsp. onion powder

Combine all and let sit in the fridge for a few hours before using.

Duggan's Restaurant on Woodward in Royal Oak bought the rights to this recipe years you can always get this burger there. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Quick and easy

Here's an easy appetizer that is tasty and quick.  I found it in Bon Appetit magazine years ago and have been making it ever since.

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
1 cup chopped black olives
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sliced green onions

Mix all ingredients together, spread on English muffin halves, quarter and bake at 400F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mashed with cheese

This one's all about the potatoes...I wanted something different to go with that veal chop and so I dressed up instant mashed potatoes with mozzarella and parmesan.

1 envelope Butter and Herb instant mashed potatoes( or 4 servings homemade)
1 egg
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tbl. parmesan
2 Tbl. dried bread crumbs mixed with 1 Tbl. parmesan
olive oil

Make the potatoes according to package directions and let cool. Beat in the egg and spread 1/2 of the mixture into a small(6 x6) greased baking dish.  Sprinkle the mozzarella and 1 Tbl. parmesan over the top.  Spread remaining potatoes over and sprinkle with the crumb and cheese mixture.  Drizzle about 1 - 2 Tbl. olive oil over the top.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cuke salad

This is a little salad I make frequently and always when our son Matt is in town. Sweet and sour with dill, it's great for a buffet, summer or winter. This is the basic recipe for one English cucumber...just double or triple if you want to feed a crowd.

1 English cucumber, sliced as thin as possible
Salt for "wilting" the cuke
2 Tbl. sugar ( Splenda may be substituted)
3 Tbl. rice wine vinegar
2 - 3 Tbl. dried dillweed ( more if using fresh dill)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
grape or cherry tomatoes for garnish (optional)

Generously salt the cucumbers in a colander set over a bowl and let sit for 2 to 3 hours until beginning to wilt. Rinse the cucumbers thoroughly under running water until they only have a slightly salty taste.  (This may take 3 or 4 minutes)
Combine the cucumber, sugar, vinegar, dill and onion and refrigerate. Garnish with the tomatoes at serving time.
Note: The salad will exude more liquid while in the fridge. Just drain some of it before serving.
Also: Adjust the amounts for your taste. Some of you may want a sweeter  or sourer salad.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kielbasa soup

About 25 years ago I found a recipe similar to this in The Detroit Free Press and have been making variations of it ever since. This one calls for cabbage but other greens like spinach and kale work well too.  What makes this soup different is the addition of vinegar at the end of the cooking process. I usually use more than the 1/4 cup called for, but adjust to your own taste.

2 Tbl. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots , sliced into rounds
2 stalks celery chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. kielbasa or smoked sausage, sliced into thin rounds
4 -5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
8 to 10 cups chicken broth or stock
5 cups chopped cabbage
2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup red wine vinegar ( or white)
salt to taste

In a large soup pot saute the onion, celery, carrot and garlic until soft and fragrant.  Add the sausage and saute the mixture about 5 minutes more. Stir in the potatoes and broth, bring to a boil, and simmer about 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.  Add the chopped cabbage, parsley and pepper and continue to simmer about 10 more minutes. Season with salt and the vinegar.

This makes about 6 quarts of soup

Monday, October 25, 2010

Great bread

For years we have been eating at Chuck Muer Restaurants ( Charley's Crab,
Big Fish, River Crab, etc.).  And for years we've been able to walk in to the Big Fish and order the wonderful bread for carryout.  You could get it baked or ready to bake and it was quite reasonably priced. I was dismayed to see the Big Fish shut down while driving by a couple of weeks ago and then learning that Charley's Crab had closed too.  Well, I did a search and found that wonderful House Bread on Bob and Rob Allison's website. Now, I'm not a bread maker, but this was pretty easy and the "blessing" that it's topped with before baking is out of this world. The bread itself is a bit chewy, much like pizza dough, and the topping a bit garlicky.  I didn't have poppy seeds but I don't think it mattered.

You can find the recipe here: 

 Note:  I made a half recipe of the blessing and still had some left.  I think it would be great as a baste for grilled chicken or shrimp!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pasta, beans and greens

As I mentioned earlier, last Sunday was National Pasta Day so I made a meatless sort of soupy dinner that was packed full of greens. You can make this ahead of time except for the pasta and put it all together when you're ready to eat.

1/4 cup olive oil
3 - 4 minced garlic cloves
1 - 2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 bunch kale, hard stems removed
1 10 oz. bag baby spinach leaves
1 14-16 oz. can cannellini beans
8 oz. small pasta
chicken or vegetable broth or clam juice for cooking the pasta and for sauteing the greens
parmesan cheese
1 small diced tomato and a few fresh spinach leaves for garnish (optional)

In a large saute pan cook the garlic and crushed pepper in the olive oil over low heat for a few minutes.
Add the kale and stir it in the pan until it starts to wilt.  Add the spinach and one cup of broth and continue to cook for about 3 or 4 minutes.
Stir in the beans (with the juice)
Cook the pasta in broth and reserve the broth after cooking
Add the pasta to the greens and enough broth to create a slightly soupy mixture.
Season with salt and pepper and parmesan cheese
Garnish each serving with the tomato and spinach leaves if desired

Feel free to use any combination of greens that you like.  Collards and mustard greens will give you a slightly bitter taste ( and may need to cook a little longer). I also like escarole in this.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

City chicken

Whenever I can find pork and veal cubes at the market we plan a City Chicken dinner.  From what I've read, this dish was developed for city dwellers who had a difficult time getting fresh chicken. It also appears to have mid-western origins.

1 1/2 lbs. pork cubes
1 1/2 lbs. veal cubes  ( use all pork if you can't find veal)
2 eggs, beaten with a little water
2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
flour for dusting
4 - 5 inch wooden skewers
vegetable oil for browning

Thread each skewer with alternating veal and pork cubes. ( I think I got about 12 with this amount of meat)
Dust the skewers lightly with the flour
Coat them with the egg mixture and then thoroughly bread them with the seasoned crumbs
In batches, brown the skewers in a frying pan with oil reaching to almost an inch
Place the skewers in a 9x13 inch baking dish and pour about 1/2 cup water in the dish
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 325F for about 1 hour
Remove the foil, raise the oven temp to 350F and bake 15 -20 minutes longer

The water in the baking dish keeps the meat moist and creates a little sauce to dress the meat.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Apple Cake

My daughter Jessa came by last week and mentioned that she had a lot of apples at her house.  I suggested she bake my mom's apple cake and dug out the recipe for her.  I haven't made this in years, so when Jessa told me that Alex loved it but that it was a little too oily for her taste, I thought maybe we should cut out that extra 1/3 cup of oil in the recipe.  I do remember this being a very moist cake. I'm posting the original recipe, but feel free to leave out the extra oil.  The apples themselves should give it plenty of moisture.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
Whisk together the following in another bowl:
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Stir the liquid mixture into the dry
Add 3 cups peeled and diced apple
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
Pour mixture into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan
Bake at 325F for about 1 hour 15 minutes

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Party shrimp

Here's a nice twist on shrimp cocktail for your next party. I normally don't use pre-cooked frozen shrimp but I had some in my freezer that needed to be used. I was pleasantly surprised at how sweet and juicy these were.  Use any size shrimp you like, but the bigger the more impressive.  This recipe is for 1 lb. shrimp, but you can certainly double or triple it for a crowd.

1  lb. frozen, cooked shrimp, thawed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper
3 Tbl. finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients and marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if desired.  Place in a serving bowl and pass the toothpicks!

Note:  This marinade can also be used for grilling raw shrimp.  Same procedure but grill the shrimp for a few minutes on each side before serving.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Sunday was National Pasta Day and I made Pasta, greens and beans ( a later post), but my friend Pam made this amazing looking ( and sounding) Lasagna Soup. I think we both make a lot of soup during the cold months so you'll probably see many soup posts.  This is one that I'm making very soon!

16 oz. hot Italian sausage
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced carrots
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. each dried basil and dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1  14.5 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
10 oz. tomato sauce
1 cup dry pasta
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
4 oz. diced provolone cheese
1 oz. fresh grated parmesan
1 Tbl. plus 1 tsp. fresh basil, sliced

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, brown sausage over medium high heat, crumbling as you go with a wooden spoon. Add the onions and carrots - cook 3 minutes.  Add the broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Bring to a boil and add the pasta.  Simmer until the pasta has cooked.  Mix in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
To serve - place 1 oz. of the diced provolone in the bottom of 4 soup bowls.  Evenly divide the soup between the bowls.  Sprinkle each serving with the parmesan and basil.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

For the kids

Drew and Riley spent the night with us on Saturday and for a snack and then dessert we decided to make caramel corn!  First we popped about 6 quarts of popcorn, divided it and buttered half to eat as an appetizer to dinner. The caramel corn part took over an hour to make so we decided that it would be dessert (along with ice cream of course!).

Here's what we did:

3 qts. popped popcorn
1 cup cashews (use other nuts if you choose)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup (you can use dark also)
1 stick butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat the oven to 250F. Spray a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray and combine the popcorn and nuts in the pan.  Place the pan in the oven while making the syrup.

Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a sauce pan. Stirring constantly over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil and then boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda.
Pour the syrup over the warm popcorn and mix thoroughly to coat. Bake at 250F for about and hour, stirring now and then. Cool and the break apart.

With impeccably clean hands Drew and Riley did a magnificent job of breaking up the popcorn!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Update: Basil, Taco Salad Dip, and Chicken

I had some thoughts on three of my past posts regarding options when preparing the recipes or the techniques involved and thought I'd share:

In my Basil post of October 10 I neglected to mention that you can freeze the basil leaves in ice cube trays and just add water over them.  I do this with fresh mint.  Endless possibilities if you need a little bit of a fresh herb but have to buy a bunch.

On October 9 I posted the Taco salad dip made with ground turkey or beef.  When I took it to Brayden's party I realized that a few of the guests were non meat eaters.  Next time I will omit the meat, add an extra can or two of beans , and maybe a little less water to the base mixture.

I also forgot to mention in my October 13 post on fried and baked chicken that I use this method to make party wings well in advance.  I coat and brown the wings and then wrap them well and freeze them until needed.  I then bake them at 350F for about 30 minutes until hot and crispy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grape leaves

These are the stuffed grape leaves my mom used to make...not the oily rice stuffed ones often seen pre-made at markets or delis... but rather meat rolls, hearty enough for dinner.

1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb or beef (or a combination of both)
1/2 cup raw rice
1 egg
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1  8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup chopped parsley

1 small jar grape leaves in brine(8 oz. drained weight)
1  14 - 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 lemon thinly sliced

Thoroughly combine the first 10 ingredients in a mixing bowl and chill for about an hour.
In a colander, drain and rinse the grapes leaves thoroughly.
Spread out a grape leaf with the veiny side up and place about 2 Tbl. of the meat mixture, shaped into a 2 to 3 inch log( as shown in the picture) at the base of the leaf.  Roll the bottom portion of the leaf over the meat, tuck in the sides, and continue rolling. Place the leaves in a 9x13 baking dish.
When all leaves are rolled ( I had about 30), pour the can of diced tomatoes with the juice over the top. Placed the sliced lemon over this (as in the "ready to bake" photo)
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350F for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

We had more than enough for dinner, leftovers the next day, and enough to freeze for another meal ( just thaw and microwave to heat).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Salad..sweet and sour

Some of you may remember the Machus Restaurant Group that thrived in the metro Detroit area from the mid sixties to the mid nineties. There was the Red Fox, the Sly Fox, Foxy's, the Machus Bakery, etc. It was the Red Fox where Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa was last seen. The food was  classic American, but I think their claim to fame was the wonderful salad that was basically lettuce, bacon, red onion, and blue cheese with a sweet and sour dressing.  I make it here with a few extra ingredients:

For the dressing:
1/3 cup white wine, champagne, or rice vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 Tbl. sugar or Splenda
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
Shake all ingredients together in a salad cruet or jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the salad:
Toss together the following
5 cups lettuce ( iceberg was used in the original, but romaine is good too)
5-6 strips crisply cooked and crumbled bacon
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup crumbled roquefort or blue cheese
15 ripe California olives, halved
1/2 cup chickpeas
a few cherry tomatoes, halved if large
Croutons for garnish, if you like

This is dinner for two  or 4 or 5 side salads

Friday, October 15, 2010

Beef and beer

Here's a comforting stew - like meal that combines beef, beer, mushrooms and onions.  The slow cook sweetens and melts the onions for a wonderful flavor.

3 -4 lb. beef chuck roast cut into 1 1/2 - 2 inch cubes
2 Tbl. olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 - 2 slices bacon, diced
1 bay leaf
1 12oz. can or bottle beer( your choice of brands)
chicken broth or stock
12 - 16 oz. mushrooms, left whole or halved if extremely large
salt and pepper
instant flour (Wondra) or a slurry made with 2-3 Tbl. flour mixed with water  to make a thin paste

1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 green onions, finely sliced for garnish (optional, but tasty!)

In a large pot or dutch oven, brown the beef cubes in the olive oil until dark and caramelized.  Do this in batches, otherwise the beef will steam and not brown. Remove the meat to a dish.  Add the diced bacon and then the onions and garlic after the bacon starts to render. Saute this mixture, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot until the onions soften and just begin to brown.
Season this mixture with a little salt and pepper and then add the meat with all the accumulated juices.  Add the beer, bay leaf, and enough chicken stock to just cover. Stir and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat becomes soft.
After two hours add the parsley and mushrooms and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes.  Thicken with the instant flour or slurry. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over buttered noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes
Garnish each serving with the green onions if desired 

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Tom likes applesauce with pork and last week I had apples but no sauce so  I made him some with 2 beautiful Honeycrisp apples. Here's my quick and easy recipe:

2 huge ( softball size )Honeycrisp apples , peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup sugar ( or less if you like your sauce less sweet)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mash with a potato masher and chill.
This made about 3 cups of sauce which was plenty for the 2 of us for dinner and with breakfast the next day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fried and baked

We enjoy fried chicken now and then but I don't like standing over a frying pan for any length of time and then worrying about whether the chicken is actually done.  We also like the chicken hot and spicy and when we had the fish market we sold a chicken fry from the Oakgrove Smokehouse Company in Louisiana.  It's not readily available here ( although I have occasionally had a case shipped up).  I think I have the coating and method down:

For 4 to 6 pieces of bone in skin on chicken( your choice of parts):
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour
                    2 - 3 tsp. cayenne pepper
                    2 tsp. salt
                    1 tsp. black pepper
                    1/2 tsp. celery salt

Mix a little water in a shallow bowl with one or two eggs
Lightly dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then the egg, and then thoroughly coat the chicken in the flour mixture again.
Brown the pieces in a frying pan with enough vegetable or peanut oil to reach up to 3/4 to 1 inch in the pan.  The oil should be heated to almost smoking. Brown 3-5 minutes on each side until the chicken gets golden and crusty.
Place the pieces in a baking dish and bake in a 325F oven for 30 minutes.
Raise the oven temp to 350F and bake 15 minutes more.

I like this method because I can do the browning early in the day and then bake before serving.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lettuce soup

My friend Pam e-mailed me a few days ago with this interesting recipe and pic for lettuce soup.  She had a couple of heads of romaine that she needed to use and made this.  It sounds so good that I'm making it tonight (although I might have to substitute bacon for the ham if I don't get out today).

2 Tbl. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium new potatoes, diced 1/4 inch
2 heads romaine lettuce, sliced, hard end discarded
5 cups chicken broth 
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 slice deli ham, chopped to bite size
1/4 cup julienned (not grated) parmesan
s & p to taste

Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy soup pan or Dutch oven. Saute the onion and potato in the butter until the onion browns slightly and the potato starts to stick. Pour in 1/4 cup of the chicken broth to deglaze the pan, loosening any browned bits from the bottom.
Add the lettuce, stir and cover to steam briefly. Stir every minute or so and continue until the lettuce is thoroughly wilted.
Add the rest of the broth and simmer 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat, add the basil, and process with an immersion blender.  Add the s & p to taste.
Add the ham and cheese and stir briefly ( you don't want the cheese to disappear).
Serve warm or freeze for later reheating.
Note:  Pam says you can add more potato and ham if you want a heartier soup.

Thanks Pam!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Crab and cheese

This appetizer is a family favorite and so easy to make.  The recipe makes about 2 pint containers, so use one now and freeze one for later.

1/2 lb. butter ( 2 sticks)
1 lb. block of Velveeta cheese
1 lb. crab meat ( I use lump or special)
Tabasco Sauce (optional)
English muffins

Cube the butter and Velveeta and place in a double boiler when the water starts simmering.  Stir frequently until this mixture has melted and combined. Add the crab meat and a few shakes of Tabasco if using and combine well.
Cool and spread on English muffin halves . Quarter each half and place them on a sprayed baking sheet.  Bake at 400F for 10 -12 minutes.
Each pint will cover a little more than 1 package of muffins.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


For me there's no comparison between fresh and dried basil.  I grow 10 -12 plants in the summer and usually have a plant in the garden window during the winter. I harvest it all summer, puree it in the blender with olive oil and then freeze the puree in ice cube trays.  Once frozen, pop the cubes out and store in freezer bags.  If you don't grow basil try to find a few large bunches now while the price is reasonable.  Just put the leaves in the blender and slowly add the oil until the mixture purees.( I can't give you exact amounts -I've never measured!)
Throw a cube or two into pasta sauces, minestrones, and other soups and stews.
Thaw out a few cubes and process with pine nuts and parmesan to make pesto.

A taste of summer all year round!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Taco salad dip and chips

Today my grandson, Brayden, is celebrating his 4th birthday with a pizza party and Dan Dan the Choo Choo Man coming to give everyone rides on his train.  I'm bringing this party dip:

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 package taco seasoning mix ( I used the reduced sodium)
1 cup water
1  4oz. can diced green chilis
1  16 oz. can refried beans
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/2 pints sour cream
6-8 oz. finely shredded cheese( colby, cheddar, mexican)

1 small tomato, seeded and diced
1  2.25 oz. can sliced black olives
1 green onion finely sliced
2 cups finely shredded lettuce

Brown the meat and drain.  Add the seasoning mix, water,chilis, refried beans, and cayenne pepper.  Blend well and simmer for about 7 or 8 minutes until the mixture thickens.  Cool and spread into a 9x13 baking pan. Spread the sour cream over the top. (At this point cover and chill a few hours or even overnight)

Sprinkle the cheese over the sour cream and then add all the toppings. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Stuffed Portabello

I bought 2 large portabello mushrooms the other day and decided to stuff them as a side for dinner.  They were so filling they could have been dinner itself.  The filling can be used to stuff smaller mushrooms for an appetizer...just reduce the cooking time a bit.

2 large portabella mushrooms
5 - 6 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup sour cream
1 green onion, finely sliced
1/2 cup crushed croutons
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided

Clean the mushrooms by removing the stems and scraping out the gills.  Brush the caps with a little olive oil and set them cap side down in a baking dish.

For the filling:
Combine all other ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Divide the mixture evenly in the mushroom caps.
Bake, uncovered at 350F for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the reserved 1/2 cup cup cheese over the tops and bake about 10 minutes more.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Caesar Salad

Caesar salad itself is pretty simple...romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, large croutons... It's the dressing that really makes it.  I've developed this one that doesn't require that raw or coddled egg.  It's creamy and garlicky and easy!

1 - 1 1/2 tsp. anchovy paste ( or 2 -3 anchovy filets, smashed)
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
2 - 3 cloves garlic put through a garlic press
1/2 cup mayo
1/3 - 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tin flat anchovies (optional)

Whisk the first 4 ingredients together then stir in the mayo.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil and then the lemon juice.
If you're using anchovies on your salad, whisk in the oil from the tin also.
Makes just under a cup of dressing


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hot pasta...Raw sauce

If you like tomatoes as much as I do, you'll love this one.  It puts a room temperature sauce over hot pasta.

4 cups seeded, chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 - 3 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 - 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
about 15 halved black olives (pick your favorite)
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup shredded basil
parmesan cheese
8 oz. pasta of your choice

Combine the tomatoes, oil, garlic, red pepper, olives, and parsley in a bowl and let sit at room temperature for a few hours, stirring occasionally.
When ready to serve, cook the pasta in chicken or vegetable broth or clam juice. Reserve about 1/2 cup broth after cooking in case you need to loosen up the sauce after combining.
Combine the tomato mixture, pasta and basil and top with as much parmesan as you like. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sometimes I substitute  feta cheese for the  parmesan for a different twist.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Apple Butter

My long time friend, Pam, made apple butter this weekend and shared the recipe and this picture.( She does wonderful things with fruit and baked goods!)

5 1/2 lbs. cored, peeled and chopped apples (Pam uses Macintosh)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt

Place the chopped apples and the rest of the ingredients in a crockpot   Stir to blend well.
Cover and cook on High for one hour
Reduce the heat to Low and cook 10 - 11 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and dark brown
Uncover and continue to cook on Low for one hour.  Let the mixture cool a little and then put it through the food processor.
Spoon the mixture into clean freezer containers, cover and refrigerate or freeze

note: Pam says you can add more sugar if you want a sweeter butter

Thanks for sharing this Pam!! Feel free to share often!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Patty Pan

I found patty pan squash at the market the other day. Tonight I'll halve them and roast them with olive oil, garlic and basil at 450F for about 15 minutes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Slow roasted

We love roast chicken and when I found a recipe for what was called "sticky chicken", I knew I had a hit!  It's the method of cooking that makes this mouth watering...  Here's my version..

1 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lb whole chicken
6 - 8 cloves whole peeled garlic
1 lemon
olive oil
Cavenders Greek Seasoning
sweet paprika

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Fill the cavity with the garlic cloves and 1/2 of the lemon. Place the chicken in a roasting pan ( you can tie the legs and tuck the wings if you like). Rub the bird with olive oil and the juice of the other 1/2 lemon.  Sprinkle liberally with the Cavenders and paprika.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 250F ( yep ...that's right) and roast for 5 hours (yep...that's right too). Baste it  a few times with the drippings that will start to accrue after about an hour.
After cooking, remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest.  Add 2 cups chicken broth and a few of the roasted cloves of garlic from the cavity. Scrape up the drippings while heating this mixture on top of the stove.  Add a little flour and whisk until thickened to make a wonderful lemony garlicky gravy.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


 Once in a while when we have hot dogs for dinner I like to make this spicy relish to put on them.  The heat comes from sambal, a hot chili paste pretty available in the Asian section of the grocery. Start with a little and add as you see fit. You can substitute minced jalapeno if you like.

3/4 cup finely minced onion
1/2 cup minced dill pickle
1/3 cup minced sweet pickle
4 Tbl. ketchup
1Tbl. yellow mustard
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. sambal

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use

Friday, October 1, 2010


I normally make a traditional American potato salad with mayo, eggs, and onions, but occasionally this no mayo version is nice. You'll find many versions of this if you search.  You can certainly add or omit certain ingredients to make this your own Loaded Potato Salad.

2 lbs. redskin potatoes, boiled until fork tender(about 15 - 20 minutes)
3/4 cup sour cream (reduced fat works well too)
4 to 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
4 green onions, sliced thinly
3/4 cup shredded cheese ( cheddar or colby work)
s&p to taste

Put cooked potatoes in a mixing bowl and take a knife and slice through them until you have nice chunks. Blend the remaining ingredients in and chill for at least two hours. ( you can  set aside a little of the bacon, cheese and onions for garnish, if you like) Makes 4-6 servings

Sometimes I'll just add the sour cream, green onions and fresh dill to make this vegetarian.