cissalj: (Default)
2017-04-19 09:19 pm
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Recipe: Easy sauce for lamb

Here's a great, delicious, and dead easy mint sauce for lamb, adapted from Cook's Illustrated, but removed from their database. It's so much better than mint jelly!:

Sweet and Sour Mint Sauce

0.5 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
0.25 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
Salt to taste

Mix together mint, vinegar, and sugar, till sugar is dissolved.

Let sit for 20 min, minimum, stirring occasionally.

When ready to serve, add salt if you think it needs it, and/or maybe pepper.

Serve with lamb.
cissalj: (scribe)
2017-03-30 12:09 am
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Making Soup: Our Guidelines

This is not any particular kind of soup. This is just Soup- basically, a meat and vegetable dish in a tasty broth, with things like noodles, rice, dumplings, etc. optional. Change it out, use what you have and/or what you like.

Start with a rich broth. This can be the broth from a pot roast or corned beef boiled dinner (but with the corned beef, dilute well if it’s too salty!), or a purpose-made stock from poultry bones and carcasses, or one made from a nice ham bone.

Stock- make the day before
If you’re making the stock, take the bones from a poultry roast- after stripping the meat from it and reserving it for the soup- and break them up. Roast them at 400F for an hour or so, along with coarsely cut celery, onions, and carrots, and a couple of cloves of garlic. Stir every 20 min or so. Go longer if you have to- you want a deep brown caramelization.

Put bones and roasted veg into a large pot. Add seasonings if you like- a bay leaf or 2 and some peppercorns are good. Deglaze roasting pan with a half cup-1 cup of wine- white usually- until you have dissolved all the fond and boiled off the alcohol. Add to pot with veg and bones. Add water to cover, and simmer for hours- at least 2-4, and more is not a problem. Strain stock and discard bones and played-out veg.

Ham is different. Take a meaty ham bone and simmer, with bay leaf and peppercorns, until the connective tissues have melted. Remove, cool, and pull meat off bones. Discard bones and chop up meat.

If your stock has a LOT of fat, refrigerate it overnight, or put it on the porch in the winter, then pull off most of the hardened fat. You really do want to leave some fat- it helps both the flavor and the “fillingness” a LOT.


Now it’s time to craft the soup. I always include onions, carrots, and potatoes (usually gold or red). More celery is possible. Sweet potatoes break down and thicken and enrich the broth- I especially like them in our annual goose soup. Turnips and/or parsnips are great in most soups. Ham-based ones, to my mind, require legumes- split peas are easy, and beans are good. The trick here is sequencing. If you are adding dried beans, add them first and let them get mostly cooked before adding anything else. If you are adding brown rice, add it with the tougher veg- carrots and celery. Basically, move from the stuff that takes more cooking to the stuff that requires less. Potatoes are in the middle, and turnips and parsnips toward the end. The chopped meat is added right before serving the first day.

(Ham soup, for us, usually has beans or split peas, carrots, celery if we have it, onions, and potatoes; corned beef has carrots, onions, potatoes, turnips; goose has sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, potatoes, turnips, maybe parsnips; etc.)

If you are wanting noodles, I strongly suggest cooking them separately and adding them to the bowls right before serving. If dumplings, cook in the pot but remove and reheat them separately- else the whole thing becomes a porridge. Tasty, but not great-looking.

You can always add more water to soup, for texture or quantity.

If you are not happy with your soup, think about what’s missing. For several years I was not pleased with mine because I thoroughly de-fatted it, which is a Bad Idea; even if you forswear fat, leave a tablespoon or 2 for a batch of soup. It may also need salt. I often add a pinch of salt to the veg before roasting them, and that suffices- but we tend to eat pretty low-salt, and you might want more, especially with poultry soup rather than ham or corned beef.

This generally makes at least 6-8 servings. Lots of good veg, “bone broth”, and very frugal. And delicious!
cissalj: (scribe)
2017-01-02 06:24 pm
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The Traditional Fisher Family Xmas Cookies

The lore: This is a recipe from J's great-grandma, as far as we can figure it. She probably cut it out of a magazine or newspaper, because various aspects date it to 1910 or so, particularly the use of dates and coconut- these were starting to be popularized then, but were still really "fancy" and exotic ingredients. Also, the butter was initially listed as "1.5 inches"- and I remember seeing J's mom using a yardstick to measure that out of a quarter-pound stick of butter! The cookies were tasty, but TOUGH! and really, REALLY hard to mix up! So when I started thinking about it, I realized that about the time the recipe was created, butter was sold in 1-pound blocks (not quarter sticks), and that put the butter amount into normal territory for cookies.

Making: this works fine with GF flour, even the beany ones. The texture will be slightly different but not much. There is a lot of variability in how they turn out- sometimes they spread a lot and get lacy and chewy; sometimes they clump more... but they are delicious however! I think it has to do with the heat of the kitchen impacting how much they spread.

These are basically a granola in cookie form. I think they'd be great with any kind of dried fruit instead of the dates, and other nuts instead of the walnuts; I am contemplating a pina colada variation (HERESY!!!) with dried pineapple and macadamia nuts... I do NOT think adding chocolate, or other chips would be true to the history. And- especially if you went with raisins- cinnamon or a spice blend might be a tasty addition... but below is the purist version!

Traditional Fisher Family Xmas Cookies

2/3rds cup (0.67 cup) butter, or 1.5 inches!
1.5 cup brown sugar (10.15 oz)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.5 cups flour (gluten-free fine)
1 teaspoon baking soda
0.5 teaspoon salt

2 cups (5.25 oz) shredded coconut
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup walnuts, chopped to med pieces
1 pound chopped dates (buy already chopped; chopping dates is long and hard!)

Heat oven to 375F. Grease cookie sheets, or use parchment or silmat or similar.

Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat.

Mix flour with soda and salt. Add to egg mixture and mix.

Add coconut to mixture. Mix. Add oats; mix.

By hand, mix in nuts, then dates. The dough will be very stiff, and kneading them in by hand is usually the best method.

Drop from a spoon onto cookie sheet- roughly 1-2 tablespoons per cookie.

Bake at 375F for around 10 min, depending on oven, spreading, and taste.

Yield: quite a lot! And I don't know of anyone who hasn't liked them!
cissalj: (scribe)
2016-12-30 02:19 am
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Recipe: Green Chili Turkey Enchilada Casserole

Green Turkey Enchilada Casserole, based on a Cook’s Country recipe
6-8 servings

This is not spicy-hot at all, although I am sure one could make it so!

The original recipe calls for 16 oz of green enchilada sauce; we’ve made it with as much as 28. It all depends on the size cans or jars you have åavailable. Better to err on the side of more rather than less, so 16 oz is a minimum.

It’d probably be fine with red enchilada sauce, too.

We think this is best with dark meat turkey.

It would probably be ideal to spray-oil both sides of the tortillas and brown them…but it works fine without doing that and is so much easier! That would add some nice toasty flavors, though.

1 T oil or fat
1-2 onions, thinly sliced or chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 T taco seasoning (we use bold Penzey’s, but whatever)
2 cups leftover cooked turkey, pref dark, cut into bite-sized pieces, or a bit smaller.
0.5-1 cup frozen corn, thawed (Trader Joe’s Roasted is excellent!)

20-28 oz bought green enchilada sauce
12 corn tortillas

2 cups/ 8 oz pepperjack cheese, -or mix of jack and hot cheddar, shredded

0.5 cup sour cream

0.33 cups chopped cilantro, optional

Heat fat in a large skillet. start onions cooking- they need to be soft, and only slightly browned (if that). A small pinch of salt helps them break down. Cook until tender and maybe golden brown, at least 8 min. Meanwhile:

Mix sour cream with 0.5 cups enchilada sauce.

Heat oven to 325F. Spray-oil a 9x13-inch pan. Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce over the bottom of the pan (around 0.5-0.75 cups). Layer in 6 tortillas, in a 2x3 matrix, overlapping OK. Spray lightly with spray oil.

Add garlic and taco seasoning to onion skillet when the onions are ready, and cook until fragrant, about 30 sec. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped turkey, thawed corn, and remaining enchilada sauce, however much it is.

Layer half of the turkey mixture on the tortillas. Sprinkle with around half the cheese. Layer on 6 more tortillas, lightly spray them, and add remaining turkey mixture and most of the rest of the cheese.

Bake until starting to brown around the edges- at least 10 min, and maybe 20. Spread sour cream/sauce mixture over the top. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and/or mixture is bubbling, at least 10 min.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15 min before cutting.

Reheats very well, esp in microwave!
cissalj: (scribe)
2016-12-29 09:36 pm
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Goose: Red Wine Giblet Gravy

This is also from the Cook's Illustrated Poultry cookbook, and makes a rich and exquisite gravy, though sadly not a lot of it. We are experimenting with how to adapt this part, but the recipe below is pretty much out of the book.

Red Wine Giblet Gravy for Goose

1 recipe Brown Goose Stock (~1.5 cups goose stock)*
0.5 cup sweet sherry

0.5 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken stock, if necessary

2.5 tablespoons melted goose fat

2.5 tablespoons flour

Cooked heart and gizzards (optional)

1 goose liver, cut into small pieces (optional)

Bring the goose stock to a simmer.

Remove goose from pan and let rest. Spoon most of the fat out of the roasting pan (reserving it for future potatoes!) Add sherry to pan (amount based on the amount of goose stock you have) and deglaze. Pour deglazing liquid into pan with goose stock and simmer 5 min.

Strain the mixture, pressing on solids, and discard solids. Let mixture sit until fat rises to the top; skim off fat. if you do not have 2 cups- based on a single recipe of Brown Goose Stock and no extra liquid- add broth to make up the difference.

Rinse out stockpot and add strained stock to it. If using, cut heart and liver into tiny dice and add to stock.

Heat goose fat and flour in a heavy, med saucepan over low-med heat until it starts to color, stirring (5+ min).

Whisking constantly, stir in hot stock all at once. Return to low heat; simmer 3 min. Add finely diced liver, if using, simmer 1 more minute. season to taste, adding much black pepper.

*At this time we are pre-cooking our goose by braising it in a flavorful and veg-infused liquid, which can be added to the above to make MORE GRAVY by doubling or whatever the rest of the stuff. I have never found an excess of gravy to be a problem without a solution...
cissalj: (scribe)
2016-12-29 09:15 pm
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Brown Goose Stock

This is from Cook's Illustrated old "poultry" cookbook. It makes an excellent gravy base.

Brown Goose Stock

3 tablespoons goose fat, removed from cavity and chopped
Goose neck and wing tips, and arguably flats, cut into 1-2 inch pieces (this is hard), patted dry
Goose gizzards and heart (reserve liver), patted dry

1 med or 2 sm onions, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 med carrot, washed and chopped coarsely
1 celery rib, chopped coarsely

2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups full-bodied red wine, not tannin-y

0.5 cup chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium commercial
6 large fresh parsley stems
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
0.5 teaspoon dried thyme

Heat the goose fat in large saucepan over med heat until it renders leaving small browned bits.

Heat fat until it starts to smoke (turn on exhaust fan), then add the goose pieces as above. Saute, stirring often, until the goose is a deep mahogany color. recipe says 10 min; more like 20-30.

Add onions, carrots, celery. Add pinch of salt. cook, stirring often, till veg browns around the edges, 10-20+ min.

Add sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until it caramelizes and begins to smoke. IMMEDIATELY pour in wine and stir to deglaze.

Add stock, parsley, bay, peppercorns, and thyme.

Bring to a bare simmer and turn down heat. Simmer partially covered at least 2 hours, adding water if solids are exposed.

Strain and discard solids, except for giblets. Chill and remove fat cap, saving fat for cooking potatoes.
cissalj: (scribe)
2016-12-29 05:45 pm
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Ostakaka recipe

This a weird, ostensibly Swedish dessert. it translates as "cheesecake", but is more of a rich- VERY rich!- pudding, with some cheesecake flavors. It is a family recipe through my family, and I am excited that I can make it with the appropriate raw milk! serve in small portions, ideally with lingonberry jam to contrast with the richness.


1 gal milk: raw preferred, but non-homogenized works
1 cup flour
0.33 cake cheese rennet (unsure of equivalences; will use enough for 1 gal milk)
0.75 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, pref NOT ultrapasteruized
pinch salt

Heat milk until lukewarm. Mix some of it with the flour, then add to the rest, stirring it in. Dissolve rennet if you need to; add to milk and stir in. Let stand until thickened, about 1 hour.

Stir; let sit an additional 15 min.

Drain in colander or cheesecloth, etc.

Put in baking dish. Add sugar, cream, a bit of salt, and some vanilla (1 teaspoon?). Bake 1.5 hours, at 350F, stirring once or twice.

Serve warm or cold, with lingonberries.
cissalj: (scribe)
2016-12-23 09:44 pm
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In the Twin Cities, MN, julekaga was to be had EVERYWHERE. Here in MA- never see I had to make my own. After 35 years or so, this is what we do. (I still miss poppyseed kolaches; maybe this year...)


Makes 3 loaves

6.25 cups flour + 2 tablespoons flour
0.25 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons sugar
1.5 tsp salt
0.75-1.5 tsp cardamon
3 Tablespoons shortening, oil, or butter

3 pkg OR 3 scant tablespoons instant yeast

1 cup warm water
1 cup milk

3 eggs: 1 yolk reserved for glaze, the rest beaten

0.5 cup currants
0.75 cup raisins
0.75 cup fruitcake mix

1 Tablespoon cold water (glaze)

3 candied cherries

Mix flour, sugar, salt, cardamon, yeast, and shortening/oil/butter.

Mix milk, eggs (except for reserved yolk), and water. Add to flour mix and knead 3-5 min.

Toss fruits with flour. Knead into dough until dispersed.

Put in greased bowl, Turn over to grease the top. Let rise until doubled.

When doubled, deflate. Divide into thirds. Form 3 loaves. put on parchment or silpat to rise, covered.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix reserved yolk with 1 Tablespoon water. Paint loaves with this glaze. Indent the center top slightly; add cherry, glaze top.

Bake for 20min. remove, re-glaze, return to oven rotated 180 degrees. Cook 10+ more minutes, until golden.

Once out of oven, paint again with glaze if there’s any left.

Cool, slice and enjoy!

Notes: In the Twin Cities julekaga is generally glazed with a powdered sugar/water icing, but that makes it harder to toast. It’s great toasted with butter and cinnamon sugar! so I do not do the sugar glaze. If stale, it makes great French toast and/or bread pudding!

The main difference with this compared to other Northern European fruited sweet breads is the use of cardamon.
cissalj: (scribe)
2016-12-16 09:40 pm
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Peanut Butter Chess Pie

This is a favorite, from an issue of Bon Appetit at least 20 years ago. It had an article on various chess pies, of which the most renowned is pecan pie...but there are others!

The filling in this one is pure candy, and it'd be great in a chocolate wafer crust, or maybe with a layer of ganache under the peanut butter filling, if the lilies need gilding.

I am typing it in, because we came close to losing it once. Horrors! Also, it is well worth sharing!

Tidewater Peanut Pie

1 partially baked 9-inch pie shell

0.75 cups creamy peanut butter (we use natural, with or without salt)
0.5 cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
0.33 (one third) cup light corn syrup
0.33 (one third) cup milk or evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt, optional- don't if you used salted PB

Preheat oven to 325F.

Melt peanut butter and butter in a heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Combine sugar, brown sugar, eggs, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and (optional) salt in a large bowl and mix well. Blend in peanut butter mixture. Pour filling into pie shell.

Bake until filling is puffed, about 1 hour and 20 min. Filling will still be quite soft.

Let pie cool to room temp before cutting and serving.
cissalj: (scribe)
2016-10-16 12:21 am
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Easy Succotash

Even someone notorious for loathing vegetables gobbled this down!

Green Bean Succotash
(from Cook's Country)

Serves 4

Green beans replace traditional lima beans in this easy succotash. If you don't have fresh thyme, finish with 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or basil.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound green beans, stem ends snapped off, beans cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons lemon juice


1. Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add onion and cook until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to boil.

2. Add beans, cover, lower heat, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add corn, cover, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is heated through and beans are very tender, 3 to 7 minutes. Remove lid; simmer briskly to further reduce cream if necessary.

3. Stir in thyme and lemon juice and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Notes: we used basil. We made it a couple of days ahead and nuked it before serving, and it was gobbled up by even someone who hates vegetables on principle. :) Easy and good!
cissalj: (scribe)
2016-08-14 06:45 pm
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Rhubarb Crisp- a family recipe

Rhubarb Crisp

(This is a family recipe that is good for both dessert and breakfast. I prefer it fairly rhubarb-heavy. The bisquick gives it a nice buttermilk tang, but flour would also work,)

2-4+ cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup sugar
pinch salt
0.5 tsp cinnamon
3-4 Tablespoons bisquick

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup bisquick

Preheat oven to 350F.

Put chopped rhubarb into greased 9x13 pan.

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, and 3-4T bisquick together; sprinkle over the rhubarb.

Mix the butter and brown sugar. Add oatmeal and bisquick and mix well. Spread over rhubarb.

Bake for approx 1 hour, until browned and the juices are caramelized.
cissalj: (scribe)
2016-04-09 08:17 pm
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Moussaka- 6-8 servings

This is our current moussaka recipe. It's based on the recipe in the Victory Garden cookbook, but cut in half and with some additional embellishments. I have not yet tried subbing chicken broth for the milk in the white sauce layer, but have read that that makes it very excellent indeed.

Also, we tend to have a mix of parm, romano, and maybe asiago cheeses in our ground hard cheese, and we use what we have.

Moussaka- makes 6-8 servings (definitely 8 if you add the potato layer; reheats wonderfully, esp in the microwave)

2.5-3 pounds eggplant*
Salt and pepper
Spray oil

0.5 tablespoon Olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 onions, chopped
1.5-2 pounds ground lamb**
1 tsp chopped or minced garlic (garlic press fine)
3 cups tomato sauce or crushed- 28 oz can fine
0.5 cups red wine
0.5 teaspoons rosemary***
1 teaspoon dill***
2 eggs
6 tablespoons grated romano cheese
0.25 cups bread crumbs

3 tbsp butter
0.25 cups flour
1.5 cups milk****
0.25 cups romano cheese
2 egg yolks OR 1 egg

Set oven to 350F

Wash the eggplant, slice it, and salt it on both sides. Allow to drain for 30 min to 1 hour.

Wipe off moisture and salt, spray with spray oil if you like, and broil until browned on both sides.

Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large sauce pan. Saute chopped onions until soft. Add ground meat and garlic and cook until browned. Drain fat if necessary.

Add tomatoes, wine, and herbs/spices. Simmer until reduced. Let cool some.

Beat 2 eggs. Add them and 6 tbsp romano cheese to the meat mixture.

Spray 9x13 pan with spray oil. Scatter bread crumbs on bottom.

Put 1/3 to 1/2 eggplant in pan. Cover with half the meat sauce. Put another 1/3 eggplant (or potatoes) in pan; cover with remaining meat mix. Add final layer of eggplant.

Make béchamel sauce: melt 3 tbsp butter and mix in flour. when cooked, add milk or stock; cook till thickened. whisk in remaining cheese and egg. Pour over casserole.

Bake at 350F for 45-60 min. Allow to sit for 15 min before slicing.

*More is OK. If less, add 1.5 pounds or so of boiled potatoes to the layering, cut similarly.

** We usually use 1 pound ground lamb and 1 pound ground beef; you can use all ground beef especially if you have lamb fat to saute it in.

*** and/or 0.5 teaspoon cinnamon, and add parsley and basil at the end

**** Or chicken stock
cissalj: (scribe)
2016-03-19 03:25 pm
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Brown Soda Bread

This is from Cook's Illustrated, and is a more authentic soda bread than the scone-like ones with white flour, currants, and often caraway seeds. This one is not especially sweet.


Authentic Irish soda bread has a tender, dense crumb and a rough-textured, thick crust—definitely a departure from the more common Americanized soda bread, which is closer to a supersized scone. We wanted to try our hand at the authentic version of this bread, which relies on a simple ingredient list of flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk.

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
0.5 cup cake flour
1.5 cups whole-wheat flour
0.5 cup toasted wheat germ
1.5 teaspoons cream of tartar
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1.5 cups low-fat buttermilk*
1 tablespoon melted butter, optional

If you do not have a cast iron pan the bread can be baked on a baking sheet although the crust won’t be quite as crunchy. Soda bread is best eaten on the day it is baked but does keep well
covered and stored at room temperature for a couple of days after which time it will become dry.

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and adjust a rack to the center position. Place the flours, wheat germ, cream of tartar, soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour using your fingers until it is completely incorporated and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk. Work the liquid into the flour mixture using a fork until the dough comes together in large clumps. Turn the dough onto a work surface and knead briefly until the loose flour is just moistened. The dough will be sticky and you may add a small amount of flour as you knead. The dough will still be scrappy and uneven.

2. Form the dough into a round about 6 to 7 inches in diameter and place in a cast iron skillet. Score a deep cross on top of the loaf and place in the heated oven. Bake until nicely browned and a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with a tablespoon of melted butter if desired. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

* I have used clabbered raw milk, and whey from making ricotta, to good effect instead of the buttermilk. It is important that the dairy provide some acid. Yogurt would also probably work, as it does in many recipes that call for buttermilk. These all change the flavor somewhat, but not all that much.
cissalj: (scribe)
2016-02-19 09:48 pm
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Apricot Scallion sauce/chutney

I lost the recipe for this, and so have done my best to re-create it. I think it turned out well.

Excellent with ham. it is more assertive if cool, and more succulent when warm. Both are good, as it is with or without the butter.

Apricot Scallion Sauce

4-6 scallions
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tsp finely minced ginger
4-6 oz dried apricots, sliced into ribbons
0.5 cup water or more for simmering
white pepper to taste

1 tsp+ sugar IF using sour apricots
1 tsp+ white wine vinegar IF using sweet apricots

2-4 Tbsp butter, cold (optional)

Slice white- lt green parts of scallions. add to small saucepan. Slice tops of scallions and reserve.

Add garlic (garlic press is fine) and 2 tsp ginger to pan. Add apricots. Add water.

Simmer until the apricots can be mushed up with a fork, covered. Keep an eye on the water level; we want a texture that’s a bit loose but not wet.

If the apricots are sweet (Turkish), add vinegar to make it sweet/sour; if the apricots are sour, add sugar to make it sweet/sour. Simmer briefly to blend flavors.

Add scallion greens and remaining ginger.

Remove from heat. Add cold butter, a tablespoon at a time, whisking all the while to thicken and enrich sauce. Do not allow the butter to separate!

Serve with ham.

Note: it is also good without the butter.
cissalj: (scribe)
2014-12-24 06:39 pm
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Clam Chowder- traditional for us for Xmas Eve

Here is our traditional clam chowder Xmas eve recipe. It's not a brilliant recipe, but it's convenient (meaning, no fresh clams necessary!). Adapted from a recipe from Bon Appetite, if I recall correctly.

4 oz fatty ham, or bacon (note: NOT highly flavored maple bacon; lots of smoke OK)
3+ medium onions, chopped
2 med celery stalks, chopped

3-4 medium potatoes- I like red or golds

2 ~10 oz cans baby clams, drained with liquid reserved

2 cups water (optional)

0.5 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
white pepper to taste
salt to taste (we usually do not add extra, except a wee amount when sauteing the veg)

2 cups milk, or 1 can evaporated milk (around 1.67 cups)*
1 cup cream (unnecessary with evap milk)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour

Brown ham or bacon till almost done. Pour off fat if you have more than 1-2 tablespoons. Add chopped onions and celery, and a tiny sprinkling of salt. Saute slowly until the veg is soft but not browned.

Meanwhile, cube the potatoes, in roughly 0.5-0.75-inch chunks.

When the onions and celery are softened, add the potatoes, plus the liquid from the clams, the water (start with 1 cup), thyme, bay leaf, and pepper. simmer slowly until the potatoes are just done, probably 15-35 min.

Meanwhile, melt the butter. Add the flour, stirring and cooking until it's bubbly. Add the milk/cream or evap milk slowly, stirring it in. Once it starts to thicken, add some of the liqiid from the soup.

When the milk mix is thick, and the potatoes are done, stir them together. Add the clams and heat until warm.


*I usually use the evap milk- skimmed or not, as you prefer- it then re-heats better. Depending on the consistency you want, you may want to add more water if you go this route.
cissalj: (scribe)
2014-12-16 09:12 pm
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Fruit-Nut Poultry Stuffing

Fruit-Nut Poultry Stuffing

This is another Traditional Family Recipe I got out of the newspaper. It was originally a stuffing for turkey for Rosh Hashanah, but it works wonderfully in fatty birds like goose and duck, since it has nothing really absorbent to soak up the fat.

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped

0.5 cup orange juice
0.5 cup sugar
1.5 cup cranberries

12 prunes, chopped
6-8 dried apricots, chopped
1 cup raisins or currants
3 med or 2 large apples, diced (I use Granny Smiths, and do not peel)
1.5 cups slivered or sliced almonds, or other nuts
2 lg eggs, beaten

0.5 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon cinnamon
0.25 teaspoon ground cloves
0,125 teaspoon ground ginger (more is OK)
salt, pepper to taste

Melt butter (or goose fat). salute the onions and celery until tender. Set aside in large bowl.

In same pan, mix juice and sugar. Bring to boil. Add cranberries and boil. Lower heat and cook until the skins pop, usually 10 min or so. Add dried fruit, mix, remove from heat, and add to veg. Cool to room temp.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Stuff bird and bake.
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2014-12-16 08:52 pm
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Danish Strips cookies

Danish Strips

A homemade version of the Danish butter cookies that come in a tin. This makes a LOT of cookies, and is dead easy. It is a Traditional Family Recipe I clipped from a newspaper many years ago.

2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups (1 pound) butter, room temp, NOT margarine, and use good-quality- Land of Lakes is both decent and affordable.
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 scant teaspoon salt

Decorations: sugar, sanding or colored sugar, chopped nuts, etc.- I usually use colored sugars

Separate 1 egg, reserving the white. Mix the other egg, the yolk, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. it can be chilled at this point; this will make puffier cookies.

Heat oven to 350F. Grease cookie sheet.

Roll 3-3.25 oz dough into a cookie-sheet-long log. Put 3 such logs onto cookie sheet. pat out till they are around 1.25 inches wide and around 0.25 inch thick.

Beat egg white with 1 teaspoon water till frothy. Brush dough with this and sprinkle with decorations.

Bake for 8-10 min, watching carefully. Ideally, they are just barely cooked, but I like some browning. Remove, and while hot, use a knife of pizza cutter to cut them into narrow diagonal strips. Remove to a rack, or newspapers covered with waxed paper to cool.

Once they are really cooled, put into sealed containers.
cissalj: (scribe)
2014-06-18 10:27 pm
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EASY: Sweet and sour mint sauce for lamb

Here's a great, delicious, and dead easy mint sauce for lamb, adapted from Cook's Illustrated. It's so much better than mint jelly!:

Sweet and Sour Mint Sauce

0.5 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
0.25 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
Salt to taste

Mix together mint, vinegar, and sugar, till sugar is dissolved.

Let sit for 20 min, minimum, stirring occasionally.

When ready to serve, add salt if you think it needs it, and/or maybe pepper.

Serve with lamb.
cissalj: (scribe)
2014-06-15 06:52 pm
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High-roasted Butterflied Chicken over Potatoes

This is one of our favorite meals. SO easy and good! The juices from the roasting chicken permeate the potatoes, making them extra-tasty. The leftover potatoes do not reheat well, though, which is sad, but they are brilliant freshly cooked.

The underskin rub is optional, but really good, and it does flavor the potatoes. Do not over-salt the potatoes- the chicken juices have salt content themselves.


High-roasted Butterflied Chicken over Potatoes
Serves 4, generously, especially if you increase the potatoes from 2.5 lbs.

1 whole chicken- giblets and extra fat removed. Use a really high-quality chicken for this. You're looking for one free-range, and around 4 pounds (a bit smaller or largteer won't hurt, but the timing is for a fryer, not a roaster)

0.5 cup sugar
1 cup kosher salt, or 0.5 cup table salt

2.5-3.5 pounds of russet and/or yellow potatoes, sliced thin (0.125-0.25 in)
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper top taste

1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
good pinch of dried thyme

Broiler pan in DARK color. Shiny silver does not work. Mine is enameled steel. This should be a shallow pan that fitys under a slotted, bumpy upper sheet.
Helpful: mandolin slicer, poultry shears

Butterfly the chicken by cutting out its spine. You may also need to use a chef's knife to break the front part of the breast keel bone. Once the spine is gone, flip it over and press down to flatten it. (save spine and neck for chicken stock; save fat for schmaltz; give the innards to critters or eat them.)

Mix salt and sugar into water in a bowl large enough to hold the bird. Once they dissolve, add the bird. Let brine for 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile, slice the potatoes- a mandolin is helpful if you have it. You do not want them paper-thin. Once sliced, soak in cold water.

Also mix up the butter, smashed garlic, mustard, and thyme into a paste.

When you near the end of the brining, heat your oven to 500F.

Line the bottom broiler pan with foil (easier clean-up). Spray with spray oil. Also spray the bottom of the top part of the pan.

Dry the potatoes- a salad spinner works well- and toss with a SMALL amount of salt, some pepper, and the olive oil. lay the slices flat into the foil-lined broiler pan. There will be several layers. make sure the corners aren't too scanty or they will burn.

Spray the top of the top, perforated part of the boiler pan with oil. Position the chicken on, it, flat- the legs should be together, and fold the scrawny tips of the wings under. Using the butter/mustard mix, put a quarter or it each under the skin of each thigh- moving it it the drumstick if possible- and under the skin on each half of the breast.

Dry off the surface and smear with olive oil, and/or salt and pepper if you like. Put the top part of the broiling pan- with the chicken- over the potatoes.

Bake 20-25 min. Rotate 180 degrees, and bake another 20-25 min.

Remove from oven, put the chicken on a plate and cover it to rest.

Meanwhile, turn on broiler, and broil the potatoes until the top is crispy.

Serve hot, especially the potatoes.
cissalj: (Default)
2013-01-11 06:12 pm
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Chard and Onion Pie

This is based on a kale pie i found online. I think the chard works better. I added the mushrooms and the cheese, and will probably continue to experiment. Most veg would work well in this, as long as they are pre-cooked.

I tried it mostly because the idea of a batter crust appealed to me. It's rather like yorkshire pudding in texture and flavor.

Chard and Onion Pie
serves Serves 6-12

• 2 tablespoons butter, plus more as needed (unless bacon)
• A bunch of swiss chard, leaves removed from stems and sliced, and stems chopped
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 8-10 oz mushrooms, sliced
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, thyme, chervil and chives
• 4-8 oz cheese- cheddar, colby-jack, pepperjack, etc., shredded or cubed (optional)
• 3 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
• 0.25-0.5 lb bacon, chopped and browned before the onions etc.- optional

• 3 uncooked eggs, whisked
• 1 cup whole-milk yogurt or sour cream
• 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 1/4 cups flour

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat the butter over medium heat until the foam subsides, or cook the bacon so the fat renders. Add the chard stems, mushrooms, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10-12 minutes. Add leaves and stir till wilted. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
2. Add the chopped herbs, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs to the kale mixture, stir gently to combine, and remove from the heat.
3. In the meantime, combine the yogurt or sour cream, mayonnaise, and whisked eggs. Add in the flour, baking powder, and a good pinch of salt and whisk until just smooth.
4. Pour half the batter in the bottom of a greased 12-inch pie dish or a 9 x 13" dish. Layer in the veg mixture, then cover with the remaining batter. Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is shiny and golden. Cool for 15 minutes and serve warm.