Thursday, April 16, 2009


I started reading Michael Ruhlman's new book, Ratio, the day it was released. First just thumbing through it, then this week reading more in depth. Wow! What a great read, it was like unlocking a door that I had just peeked through before. I even went out and ordered a great scale so that I could measure the ratios more exactly. A cup of flour isn't always a cup of flour, but 100 grams of flour is right on the money every time.

I'll be posting more about this book as I read through it. So far it's been amazing.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pineapple Sherbet

1 can crushed pineapple
Juice of 3 lemons
2 egg whites
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. sugar
Put pineapple and lemon juice in freezer and chill both. Whip the egg whites until stiff. Add 1/4 cup sugar. Mix the pineapple, lemon juice and beat egg whites and add 1/2 cup sugar. Put the mixture into freezer. Fill freezer with whipping cream (not whipped) or milk. This recipe makes 1/2 gallon of sherbet.

Fantastic recipe for spring or summer

Simple Hot Mustard for Ham

2 T ground mustard
1 T rice vinegar
2 T water
S&P to taste

Mix altogether and let sit 20 minutes, as the mustard will absorb liquid.

Eat with ham

Easter Ham

My Grandmothers ham...

1 whole or half ham. Bone in of course...
About 20 cloves or so, depending on ham.
Ground mustard. Enough to pack it on the entire ham.
Dark brown sugar. Enough to pack it on the entire ham.
1 small can of pineapple juice.
Use empty can to measure one can of sherry

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.

With a knife score the entire fat cap on the ham, crossing diagonally.
At each intersecting diamond stud the ham with a single clove.
Pack ground mustard onto entire ham.
Pack brown sugar onto entire ham.
Pour juice and sherry onto ham.

Roast ham until internal temperature is 140-150 degrees F. Basting with cooking liquid every half hour, until done.

This is the easiest way I've ever roasted a ham, and it's really, really, great ham.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Valentines Day

Everyone seems to fall back on the favorites of the holiday, chocolate, and flowers. I'll be spending Valentines Day by myself this year. Single once again... boo... hoo. Anyway what are some of your favorites other than the two that I've mentioned. This community is so creative, there has to be more than the usual.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Maryland Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Coulis

Last year I drove through Maryland and had some wonderful crab cakes. I made them at home and added the coulis.

1 pound lump Crab Meat
1 Large Egg
2 tablespoons Real Mayonnaise
1/3 cup soft, Fresh Bread Crumbs, no crust
1 tablespoon minced Parsley
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
Dash of Freshly Ground Pepper
Saltine Crackers, about 12, crushed
Rough chopped italian parsley for garnish.
vegetable oil, for pan frying

For Crab Cakes

Combine all ingredients, except oil and italian parsley, and mix until mixed well. Chill for 4 hours in the fridge.

For Coulis

4 Red bell peppers roasted until completely black and charred, under the broiler or over direct flame on a grill, or gas stove

After Roasting peppers set aside in a bowl, cover with plastic, and let set 20 minutes... After 20 minutes peel and seed peppers. Puree until smooth, add a tablespoon of cream or half and half, mix in blender another 30 seconds or so, season with salt and black pepper, and keep warm.

Back to the cakes...

After the four hours of chilling, form into patties, about a third of a cup each.

Pan fry on med high heat, in batches, until all cakes are golden brown and cooked through

To plate...

Set two cakes on each plate and nappe with red pepper coulis. Garnish with rough chopped italian parsley.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tampenade (black olive paste)

This is a quick dish to use as an alternative to some of the processed dips out in the super-duper-mega mart. Use the best olives you can find, and definitely do not use black olives from a can.

1 Pound brine cured black olives
1/2 C capers drained
1 small garlic clove coarsely chopped
10 filets of oil packed anchovies
2 T brandy
1/2 cup olive oil
a few drops of fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process briefly. This should be a coarse paste, not a puree. Stir in olive oil.

Serve with raw vegetables, crusty bread, or with toasted flat bread.

Chicken With Vinegar

The acidity of this dish along the sugar adds a great sweet and sour combination that has been a family favorite since my Dad first prepared it.

1 3-4 pound chicken cut into quarters
2 t of salt
1 t black pepper
1 T vegetable oil
3 T unsalted butter
4 large garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 C chopped shallots
1 medium carrot finely chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 Bay leaf
1 T tomato paste
1 C dry red wine
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
2 T sugar
1 cup chicken broth

For Chicken

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

wash and dry chicken
sprinkle with 1 t salt and 1/2 t pepper
heat oil and one teaspoon butter in 12 inch skillet
heat over moderately high until foam subsides, then brown chicken in two batches turning once 8-10 minutes total.
Transfer chicken to small flame proof roasting pan arranging in one layer. Once chicken is browned, roast uncovered in oven for 15 minutes.

For sauce

Discard all but 2 T fat from skillet, hen add garlic, shallots thyme sprigs, and bay leaf and cook over moderately high heat stirring and scraping brown bits, until vegetables are browned. Add wine, vinegar, sugar, and remaining t salt, and half t black pepper, and boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. About 5 to ten minutes.

Finish Sauce and Chicken

Add chicken broth to sauce along with any juices from roasting pan and bring to boil. Pour through a fine mesh sieve onto chicken in roasting pan, pressing on and the discarding solids. Continue to roast chicken , uncovered, until just cooked through, about 15 minutes more.

Transfer chicken to oven proof serving dish and keep warm, uncovered in turned off oven.

Meanwhile, boil sauce in roasting pan over high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about a cup, then remove sauce from heat and finish with remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper and pour sauce over chicken.

It's good to be back...

After an absence of a few weeks due to an illness in my immediate family, I'm finally back. It's nice to be sitting here writing again. Lets hope that the bugs stay away for awhile. I didn't need to catch the respiratory flu that wasn't covered by the flu shot formula this year. Nice stuff. I'm still kind of achey and groggy, but it's time to get back to the "work", so to speak, that is this blog. I'll be hitting it pretty hard in the next few days to make this blog active again. As I laid in bed for a week or so, I thought about everything that I've learned just by reading and writing here. It's good to be back!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Potato Soup with Egg Dumplings

For Soup:

3 medium potatoes cut in 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and rough chopped
2 cups milk, warmed
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 T chopped chives
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Place the potatoes and carrots in a large pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender, but still hold their shape.

Prepare dumpling batter.

Drop teaspoons of dumpling batter into the pot and continue cooking until the dumplings rise to the top.

Drain off all but 2 cups of the cooking water, leaving the ingredients in the pot. Add the milk, salt and pepper and return to the stove. Stir over medium low heat until just warmed through. Garnish with cheese and chives and serve right away, before the dumplings over-cook.

For Dumplings:

1 large egg
1/4 t celery seed
1/4 t dried basil
1/4 t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1/2 C all-purpose flour

Crack the egg into a small bowl and lightly beat. Add the spices and 1/4 cup of the flour and blend with a fork. A little at a time, mix in the remaining 1/3 cup of flour until you have a stiff ball of dough that sticks to the fork. Use right away, while still soft and moist.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pan Roasted Tilapia with Grilled Vegetable Relish

For Relish:

2 zucchini sliced length wise about a 1/2 inch thick
2 yellow squash sliced length wise about 1/2 inch thick
2 carrots also sliced about 1/2 an inch thick
1 red onion sliced 1/2 an inch thick
1 eggplant sliced into 1/2 inch rounds. Salt the eggplant and let it rest for at least a half hour.
1 head radicchio quartered
1/4 cup chiffonade of basil
2 T balsamic vinegar
4 T olive oil + enough to coat grilled vegetables with a layer of oil.
toasted pine nuts

Rub with olive oil and season vegatables with salt and pepper and grill zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, carrots, eggplant until al dente, and have good grill marks. Cut into cubes, 1/2x1/2 inch. Mix in bowl with remainder of ingredients. Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

For Tilapia:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Rub Tilapia filets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear the filets skin side up until golden in color, and turn onto skin side. Cook another 5 minutes in a 400 degree oven, or until done.

Serving suggestions.

Serve atop risotto and drizzle with basil oil, and balsamic syrup. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and basil.

Maple Glazed Pork Loin with Peanut-Chipotle Salsa

For Glaze:

1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C finely chopped onion
2 C maple syrup
1/2 C cider vinegar
3 T Dijon mustard
2 1/2 T Coleman's dry mustard
1 t black pepper

Whisk the oil, onion, syrup, vinegar, Dijon and dry mustard, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Place the pan over moderately high heat and boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to 1 3/4 cups. After reduction strain through fine strainer.

For Salsa:

2 dried chipotle chiles
1/2 C water
2 large ripe tomatoes, pan roasted until blistered, black, and soft, remove seeds, chop fine. Do not remove skin.
10 cloves of roasted garlic.
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 medium white onion thinly sliced, pan roasted until brown and soft, then chopped fine
2 whole cloves, ground.
1/4 t salt
1/2 C water
1 teaspoon fresh chopped marjoram
1 t olive oil
1 t fresh lime juice
1/3 C chopped, unsalted, dry roasted peanuts.

In a heavy skillet over medium heat, toast chiles until brown and fragrant. Cool slightly, slit open, remove seeds. In a large bowl, toss chiles with the water and let soak 10 minutes. In a blender puree chiles with water. In bowl combine with remaining ingredients, except peanuts. For best results add peanuts to prepared salsa no more than 1 hour before serving.
Makes about 2 cups.

For Pork:

Set oven to 425 degrees.

1 4# Pork loin roast, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Dry the pork with paper towels. Brush the glaze over the entire roast. Place the roast on a rack and roast for 30 minutes, brushing with the glaze every 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees, and continue brushing with glaze every 15 minutes. Roast for 35 to 45 more minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the middle of the roast reads 150 degrees.

Slice pork loin thinly, nappe with salsa and serve with oven roasted red potatoes, braised kale, or chard.