Sunday, December 4, 2011

Egg & Bologna

I'm not sure how this story ended up here...I was writing up an announcement for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary and had also been thinking about recipes I grew up with and...voila!

So these are the facts: My parents were married 50 years ago on December 22nd, 1961, in Hudson, MI. Isn't the picture above cute?! Some time later I was born, and then my brother, and my mother hunkered down to make 7 dinners a week, 52 weeks a year. We didn't go out all that often because we lived in a very rural area and there weren't a lot of restaurants. I now feel somewhat sorry for my mother, having to sling out all those dinners, though I think she's gotten her revenge since my father now cooks at least as much, if not more often, than she does. In any case, I was raised on a handful of recipes, circa 1950s-'70s, and this one is sort of infamous. It was popular after Easter when we had an abundance of hard-boiled eggs. My dad called it SOS (shit on a shingle) and refused to eat it. But I have to say...I think it is a comfort food I would still eat today!

Basically you make a cream sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
salt, pepper, paprika to taste

You know how to make a cream sauce right?! When the sauce has reached a creamy consistency, stir in the ground up egg & bologna...
2 hard-boiled eggs
3 oz. bologna
I do not have a food grinder, so I would just finely dice these things. Then serve the slop over saltine crackers. I kid you not, I used to love this SOS!

Here are my parents, 50 years later. Aren't they cute?! Maybe I will make some Egg & Bologna for them and my Dad will roll his eyes...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Masaledar Ublay Unday

I thought the Hindi name for this dish sounded better than "Hard-Boiled Eggs Masala." This is adapted from Quick and Easy Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey, a cookbook I had been wanting to get ever since I made another recipe, Stir-Fried Cabbage, which I loved immediately. When I finally got the cookbook about a year ago I decided to try EVERY RECIPE... well, except for the ones with chicken liver and cauliflower. There's only about 70 recipes, so the undertaking didn't sound that daunting. But after about 8 recipes, I had a bit of Indian overload. So I'm taking a break, but the mission will resume shortly!

The one recipe I kept thinking about in the meantime though, was this humble sounding entree. I don't usually think of hard-boiled eggs as part of an entree, but it works! I recently served this over some boiled potatoes and spinach and it made for quite a robust meal. The sauce is really astounding, in my opinion.

One unfortunate thing about this cookbook, however, is that even though it was recently re-issued with a spiffy new design, I don't thing the original 1996 text was updated. So they always put in parentheses after cilantro "Chinese parsley, fresh green coriander;" who the hell doesn't know what cilantro is in this day and age?! One of the recipes is called "The Most Delicious Meat Cubes," which is just wrong. And the amount of onion in this recipe is listed as "5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces)." Who measures an onion that way? I'm just going with one small onion!

OK, enough making fun of the text and on to this most delicious recipe...
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
Combine all of the above with 1 tablespoon of water and set aside.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into halves or quarters

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds. Cook for 10 seconds, then add the onion and ginger. Cook and stir for a few minutes until onions start to brown, then add spice paste. Cook for 15 seconds, then add tomatoes and sugar. Turn down the heat, cover, and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover the pan and add the cilantro, then gently drop in the eggs and spoon some sauce over them. Simmer for 2-3 more minutes, then serve.

I suppose a typical accompaniment would be rice, though, like I said before, I like it with potatoes and spinach--as if I was having a bit of samosa as well.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chewy Molasses Cookies

No, this is not the same cookie I previously posted (see below), though they look very similar! I like the slight spiciness of these cookies--just a hint of black pepper on the back of your tongue--and they improve with age as the spices come out more. Adapted from the More-with-Less Cookbook, via the website.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
2 + 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
granulated sugar

Mix the butter, olive oil, molasses and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg and ginger and mix until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients except granulated sugar and mix (or stir) until thoroughly combined. Dough will be soft; refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour and up to 3 days.

When you're ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Take a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball, then roll in granulated sugar. When sheets are full, bake for 12 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then finish cooling on wire racks.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

The original recipe for this is actually a little too chocolaty for me--I am not of the "death by chocolate" persuasion--but I just love the texture. Feel free to increase the amount of chopped chocolate to your liking! This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated. I ran out of dark corn syrup and ended up using some molasses, which I thought provided a slightly more complex flavor, though CI does not approve of the molasses-chocolate combination.

1+1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa (orig. recipe calls for Dutch-processed)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for coating
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (orig. recipe calls for 4 ounces)

Whisk dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugars (only 1/3 cup of white sugar) until light and fluffy. Add corn syrup, egg white and vanilla, and beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds. Stir in dry ingredients and chopped chocolate, dough will be quite soft. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Grab enough dough to make a ball about 1.5 inches in diameter, and roll in remaining white sugar. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Dough will spread so place about 2 inches apart, probably not more than 8 or 9 per sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes, rotating sheets mid-way, until cookies have cracked, but still look wet in between the cracks. Cool cookies on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chicken & White Bean Salad

When I started posting recipes I had no idea I'd end up with so many salad recipes. And really, until the past couple years, I was mainly just your basic potato salad-type of person; can't recall many others that I ate. But for whatever reason, I now seem to eat a lot of them! This one's from Cooking Light. I add the tomatoes in very gently at the end so they don't disintegrate.

Whisk together the following for the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper

Drizzle vinaigrette over the following and gently combine:
2 cups coarsely chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil
2 16-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chinese Chicken Salad

Is this really Chinese? I mean besides the soy sauce & sesame oil? Whatever...I fall for almost anything with sesame oil. Generously adapted from a Food & Wine recipe. The original recipe calls for the meat from a 2.5 pound rotisserie chicken, which would certainly be good. But I often buy several chicken breasts at once and then just quickly roast them. As long as you're careful to take them out just when they're cooked through--and not cooked to death--they are still quite juicy.

2 chicken breasts

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar (or more, to taste)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sriracha, or other hot sauce (again, to taste)
1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced (I used Savoy--use whatever you like)
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2-3 carrots, julienned (or shredded, I suppose)
3/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (or more) roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Sprinkle chicken breasts liberally with salt & pepper. Bake at 400 degrees until just done, 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Mix next 7 ingredients for dressing. Adjust seasonings--it will need to be strong to cover all the salad! Dice or shred chicken and add to the vegetables and peanuts. Pour over half the dressing and toss. Add more dressing until salad is coated to your liking. Serve on lettuce or as is. I often end up just eating it right out of the bowl!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Italian-ish Orzo Salad

I saw some orzo sitting in my cupboard and it got me thinking as to what else I had around that I could mix with it. There are probably a hundred million variations on this recipe, but this is what I ended up with and I CAN'T STOP EATING IT! So put in whatever ingredients you like and make your own.

3/4 cup orzo
1 can cannellini beans
1 can (petite) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup capers
2 shallots, thinly sliced
handful chopped herbs (I had cilantro & parsley on hand)
shaved Parmesan
olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt & freshly ground pepper

Cook the orzo according to directions; drain. Rinse and drain beans. Drain tomatoes but reserve juice. (Note that some canned tomatoes have added sugar or HFCS. I mistakenly bought one of these once and found the juice too sweet to add back in.) Combine all ingredients except the last four. Drizzle over a glug of oil & vinegar. Mix and season to taste with salt & pepper. Add in reserved tomato juice to moisten.

Super thin shallot slices courtesy of my ceramic slicer, similar to a mandoline.

And the ceramic slicer properly used with the guard. Really, if you don't use this you're just asking to cut yourself. (Yes, I cut myself).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fluffy Biscuits

Page 381... Cook's Illustrated's The Best Recipe...I've now made this recipe so many times that the book just falls open to this page. You can also go there if you want the original recipe--this is my adapted version. For one thing, the original makes twice as many, but I find that biscuits are best fresh and so for just me I really don't want to keep that many on hand. These are very quick--20-25 minutes total--and come together easily in the food processor. I often make a little breakfast sandwich with with one of these sausages:

1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/4" cubes
1 more tablespoon of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix milk and vinegar and let stand a minute or two until slightly coagulated (yes, a little gross). Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor and wiz for a second to combine. Add butter and pulse a few times until combined. Add the milk & vinegar, and pulse a few more times until it just begins to form a ball in the bowl. Scrape out onto a lightly floured surface. Working the dough as little as possible, form into a ball and then flatten to about 3/4". Cut into 6 rounds; you will have to combine scraps to get the last one or two. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with the melted butter. Bake for 8-10 minutes--be careful, the bottoms can brown quickly.

Best breakfast!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011

My third annual, highly anticipated (!) Easter post. Pretty self-explanatory...potato salad recipe here. Disappointingly soupy deviled eggs--the orangy ones with sriracha.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rice & Potato Soup

First, I thought you might enjoy a shot of this hitchhiking carrot which met its demise in this soup.

What to say about this soup...excellent carb-y comfort food! The tomato paste & cheese rinds add a lovely savoriness, without being overly tomatoey or cheesy. Please keep in mind that if you leave the cooked rice in all that liquid, it starts to disintegrate after a day or so. So if you're not eating all the soup at once, cook the rice separately and add in small quantities to each portion just before serving. Adapted from Lidia's Italian Table (Lydia Bastianich, of course).

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch cubes (approximately--don't worry about these sizes too much)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 celery stalks, diced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
10 cups hot chicken broth
2 two-inch square (or whatever size) Parmesan rinds
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup long-grain rice
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
salt & pepper

In a deep, heavy 4-5 quart pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. (Potatoes might stick a bit, turn down heat if the bits are getting too dark.) Stir in carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots soften, about 2-3 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Add tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables.

Add broth, cheese rinds, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, scraping up any bits of potato on the bottom, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover pot and coot until potatoes begin to fall apart, about 40 minutes. Stir in rice and cook until rice is tender but still firm, about 12 minutes. Remove bay leaves and cheese rinds. Stir in parsley and season with salt & pepper to taste. Lydia suggests you chop the cheese rinds into bitty pieces and add them back to the soup. I kinda like it...though not all rinds age so well. Taste a bit before you decide if you want to add it back into the soup or toss.

My bag of Parmesan rinds I keep in the freezer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beef Summer Sausage

I like meat. I wouldn't say I eat a lot, but every once in a while you need some spicy, garlicky summer sausage, right? And unlike many other cured meats, this comes together in just one day! One ingredient you do have to go out of your way for, however, is this Morton's Tender Quick. I had to order it online because I couldn't find it in stores. Once I tried what I thought was an adequate substitute (probably the tenderizer) and it was a disaster! The smallest bag is like 5 pounds or something and if you only use a tablespoon at a time it will last forever--but it's worth it! This is adapted from a recipe I found online several years ago (here is the original).

2 pounds ground sirloin
1/2 cup water
1 + 1/2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon (or more) finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Morton Tender Quick (NOT tenderizer)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients together. Divide into 2-3 parts and roll each into a firm cylinder. Place each on a sheet of aluminum foil with the shiny side against the meat. Wrap so the seam side is up and refrigerate for 24 hours. Punch holes with a fork into the bottom of the rolls. Place on a rack set into a rimmed pan and bake at 325 degrees for 90 minutes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spaghetti (I think)

This recipe card is on par with "Tunafish Samwich"...a real hot mess! We had spaghetti about once a week growing up, usually with a piece of American cheese on top, and I no longer eat pasta this particular way. (In other words, I got my fill of it as a child!) But I still can't throw out the recipe...

FYI, the first line specifies "Chef Boyardee" sauce. Important!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Damn Good (Tomato Kidney Bean) Soup

It strikes me that this recipe isn't that different than the chili I posted previously, except blended and without the meat. Oh well, I'm pretty boring that way. This is just so tasty--and spicy, depending on how much heat you want to add--and so simple that I can't help but post it. It's also excellent reheated. Originally from Best Ever Soups (which I should probably get), but I saw it via

olive oil
2 onions, diced
2+ cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 14-oz. cans kidney beans, drained
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt & pepper to taste
lemon juice or vinegar to taste

Saute the onions in a soup pot with the olive oil until soft, 8-10 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute. Stir in spices and roast for a minute or so then add tomato paste. When this is combined, add all the other ingredients except the lemon juice or vingar. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool slightly and blend (it's handy to have an immersion blender here, but you could use a regular blender as well.) Add a dash of lemon juice or vinegar (or some sort of acid) just before serving.

The original recipe also has a guacamole garnish, which is nice but not essential. Click on the Macheesmo site above if you want that recipe.