Thursday, July 17, 2014

Coffee Sweet and Hot

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I was so happy to read this today. How much do we love coffee? We love coffee so much that we write songs about coffee. Good to know that our love for that first cup in the morning is not in vain.

Why Coffee Is Good for You
Kris Gunnars, Authority Nutrition

It is more than just dark-colored liquid with caffeine. Coffee actually contains hundreds of different compounds, some of which have important health benefits.

Several massive studies have now shown that the people who drink the most coffee live longer and have a reduced risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Read more ...



Monday, July 14, 2014

Ms. Mary Walker's Cucumber Soup

This is cucumber season. We are inundated with them. What to do? Make this delicious Cucumber Soup. I give it to you verbatim - straight from Ms. Walker's keyboard.
A note from Ms. Walker:
It's not my recipe. It comes from a 'Marks and Spencer' (British Dept. Store) cookbook called 'St. Michael's Cookery Book' - published in 1980, which I picked up at a flea market when I was visiting relatives a few years ago.

I don't need credit - but it you want to publish it and allot credit, it should be the original 'St. Michael's Cookery Book' by Jeni Wright..
Chilled Cucumber Soup
(VERY British)

2 tblsp butter for frying
1 onion (about 2inch) finely chopped
1 European cucumber diced (WITH skin and seeds - which is why it should be a European)
1-1/2 tblsp flour
20 oz hot milk
10 oz chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
And to finish - 1/2 pint heavy cream
chopped fresh mint
green food coloring - if desired

In 3 or 4 quart saucepan - saute onion and cucumber in butter - then cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes

Stir in flour and cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes - stirring constantly

Remove pan from heat and gradually stir in hot milk - stir thoroughly. Stir in the stock and return to heat. Bring to gentle simmer - stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg

Lower heat - 'half cover' so steam can escape - and simmer very gently for about 20 minutes - stirring occasionally. Be sure it doesn't stick or burn.

Puree with an electric 'stick' blender or in a food processor. Should be consistency of heavy cream!

Allow to cool before refrigerating. Serve chilled with cream and mint - if desired. OR - in the winter I serve it hot with croutons. YUMMMMM!

Let me know what you think. I usually make a double batch so I can share with neighbors.
When cucumbers are in season and available I usually make the onion/cucumber sauté 'base' and freeze it until I'm ready to make soup - which is what I used this morning.

NOTE: If European cucumbers aren't available - you can use regular cukes BUT you would need to peel and seed them - so you would need 2 or 3 to equal one European.
Good Luck.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Classic American Salad Dressings

Our farm stands and markets in Pennsylvania are stocked with fresh Lettuces perfect for salad. And at least five kinds of Radish. Soon it will be too hot to cook. Here are my recipes for two classic American salad dressings. These dressings are easy to do in your blender. Yes, you can use a whisk but why?

When it is really hot, and I cannot even think of grilling, my supper is vegetables I cut up the night before, a little good cheese, and one of these dressings used as a Dip. Both these dressings keep well in the refrigerator, use common pantry items, and cost less than store-bought dressings.

Note: T. equals tablespoon and t. equals teaspoon.

Tomato based “French’ dressings appear over and again in regional cookbooks. This is my version.

Sweet and Spicy “French” Dressing

½ cup oil
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
¼ cup vinegar (red wine is the best),
1 t paprika,
½ tsp. dry mustard,
1 t bottled steak sauce or Worcestershire sauce (optional),
1 T grated onion
1 minced clove of garlic

Mix the above ingredients in your blender or with a whisk. Makes 1 and 1/3 cups of dressing. You can make this dressing without the fresh onion and garlic and it will keep a longer time in the refrigerator without separating. Just substitute garlic powder to taste or 1/4 tsp. It is more than worth it to use fresh garlic.

Green Goddess Salad Dressing was created in 1920 at the Palace Hotel in California. The classic recipe contains tarragon and chervil. I do not always have these herbs in my pantry. If you have some tarragon or chervil in your herb garden, add 1 T minced. This recipe is legal on the Atkins diet and stores well in the refrigerator.

Supermarket Green Goddess Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped parsley
3 T chopped onion or green onion or chives
2 T vinegar (tarragon or wine are the best) or lemon juice
4 anchovy fillets, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Milk

Combine all ingredients except milk. Mix well in your blender or with a whisk. Use as a dip or dressing as is, or thin with milk to the consistency desired. Chill until very cold. This is an excellent dressing for seafood like Dungeness crab. Enjoy.



Friday, May 9, 2014

Football Food of the Jewish Persuasion

I was a chef for a very fancy dinner party on New Year's Eve 2000 for a partner in a Philadelphia law firm. You could see the Delaware River and the fireworks through huge plate glass windows. I love to do small elegant parties for 25. 

MENU
Baked Brie with Pear Chutney
Artisan Breads and Cheeses
Sushi 
Winter Squash Soup in Cups
White Asparagus and Frisee Winter Salad
Grilled Rosemary Shrimp
Filet Mignon
Baked Orzo with Garlic, Parsley and Cream
Sauce Verte
Onion Chutney
Petit Fours 

The picture of Phil Spector with the Frisee Head comes from this interesting food writer's blog. 

A Sister of the Hostess brought, and made at the party in the only oven, Baked Kosher Salami with Assorted Mustards and apologized, "So sorry, I know it is not elegant but we are Jewish and my family just love it." I am an Italian American. I never tasted kosher salami before. I cheerfully moved over and let her have at it. Good service is my motto. 

I am in her debt. I love said dish and have been known to make it for the Viper Girls and me for a quick easy meal with some good barrel Sauerkraut and Russian Black Bread. This whole long story is by way of introducing a new Appetizers recipe I found in Jewish American Cookbook of 1946 published by the Jewish Daily Forward. I produce the recipe here verbatim:

Stuffed Salami

Prepare 1 cup fried Onions mixed with 1/2 cup cleaned Mushrooms, 1 teaspoon Salt and a dash of Pepper in a frying pan. Pour 3 well beaten Eggs over the mixture, and fry over a low heat until the Eggs are cooked. While the Eggs are cooking, place 8 large slices Salami in a hot greased skillet, and fry until they are rounded like little cups. Place a bit of the Egg mixture into each Salami cup sprinkling over it a little Paprika. Yields 8 portions.