Sunday, September 30, 2007

Beef Stew

Another favorite of your dad's. This is just good homey food that tastes great on a winter night.
Change this according to your mood. It would be good with mushrooms, prosciutto, and rosemary. Take out the potatoes and serve over polenta. This is really just a cooking method, more than a recipe.

Serves 4-6

1-3 tbl olive oil
1-1 1/2 lbs chuck roast, cubed or stew meat
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 carrot, chopped finely
2 tbl flour
1 Cup of dry vermouth, white wine or red wine
2 cans beef stock
1-2 tbl tomato paste
1 tbl Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
salt & pepper
3 carrots, chopped in fairly large pieces
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 package of frozen baby onions (optional)
1/2 package of frozen peas (optional)

Put oil in a heavy dutch oven and heat up. Salt and pepper the beef and brown in batches in the pan. Don't crowd the pan or it won't brown. Remove the meat and add the onions, garlic, and the chopped carrots. Season with a pinch of salt and cook until browned. Add the flour and cook, browning for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato paste, the wine and stock and cook, stirring until smooth. Add the meat, worcestershire, bay leaf, thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour. ( This is even easier if you put it in the oven at 350.) Add the carrots, potatoes, and onions and cooks another 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Taste & correct the seasonings. Just before serving, add the frozen peas.


This isn't "authentic" (if there is such a thing). It's just an easy family recipe. We used to always make this for Halloween. You can make this recipe healthier by using ground turkey instead of beef. When I do this I always add some beef stock to give it a meatier taste.

Your dad likes this served over elbow macaroni. Some people like it over rice, but I like it best plain with saltines. If you like you can top this with cheese, chopped onions, salsa, jalapeƱos.

Serves 6-8

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey (1 tbl olive oil if you're using turkey)
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small can tomato paste
2 small cans tomato sauce
1 can Rotel
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 cans red beans
1 tbl cumin
1 tbl chili powder
1-2 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
salt, black pepper

Cook ground beef w/ some of the spices until no longer pink and skim off most of the fat. Add onions and garlic and another sprinkle of spices and saute until translucent. If you're using turkey--Saute the onion and garlic with some spice in olive oil, then add the turkey and some more spice and saute til no longer pink. Add tomato paste and saute 3 minutes. Add remaining tomato products (1 cup beef stock if using turkey) and beans and add some more of the spices, a little salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for at least 30 minutes. Taste and reseason if necessary.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How to print a recipe

The simplest way to print a recipe is to highlight* the recipe, copy it, and paste it into a word document.

*For some reason, it's easier to start at the end of a recipe and highlight back to the beginning than vice versa.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Spanish Bean Soup

Original recipe (Mom's revised recipe follows)
¼ lb. Dried garbanzos
1 Chorizo (Spanish sausage)
4 oz. Wh. bacon
1 onion, diced
1 ½ qts. Water
1 ham bone
1 beef bone
½ lb. Potatoes
2 oz. Lard
1 pinch saffron
1 Tbl. Salt

Soak garbanzos overnight with 1 tsp. Salt in sufficient water to cover beans. Before cooking, drain salted water from beans and put garbanzos, beef bone and ham bone in 1 ½ qts. Water. Cook 45 minutes over slow fire. Fry bacon (salt pork) and finely chopped onion, then place in pot, adding potatoes, saffron and salt. When potatoes are done, remove from fire, add chorizo sliced thin. Serves four.

Note: this recipe can be increased by just adding another potatoe or a little more ham. I taste a lot when I am cooking to make sure the flavor is right, so you may want more beef broth to enrich the flavor.

SPANISH BEAN SOUP - (Barbara Bratton’s revised recipe)

In order to make this recipe quicker to prepare, just as flavorful or more so, and to avoid those dried garbanzos which refuse to soften, I made the following


3 slices regular bacon
2 or 3 cans chicken stock
Pinch Saffron
1 large onion, diced
1 can beef broth
l ½ oz. Chorizo
l clove garlic, minced
½ slice of center cut ham in large dice or leftover ham
6 Potatoes, in chunks
2 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

In a large dutch oven:
Chop bacon and saute in a little olive to prevent sticking. When crisp, remove from pan, drain on paper towels and use to sprinkle in bowls of soup or save for a salad. Add diced onion and garlic to pot and cook on medium heat until transparent. Add chicken and beef stock, potatoes, ham and saffron and garbanzos. Add salt if needed, but not too much because the stock and ham both are salty and more can be added later if needed. Cook until potatoes are almost done before adding chorizo..

Remove casing from chorizo sausage. I make a shallow cut down the side and use a paring knife to peel casing away. Slice rather thin and add to soup pot for the last 10 minutes or so of cooking. Correct the seasonings. Serve with good French bread or Cuban bread if you can find it and a salad.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chicken and Dumplings

I'm going to tell you how to make this just like my grandmother told me, but I'll give you a few tips along the way. This is quicker if you do the stock the day before. This is definitely not a diet dish. It is very rich and filling. I think that you should serve it with turnip or collard greens.

Serves 6

1 pkg chicken necks and/or backs
1-2 stalks of celery
1 onion, whole
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces

1/2 C rich milk or 1/2 and 1/2
1/2 stick of butter (optional)

In a large stock pot, put the chicken necks and backs, the celery, and the onion and enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer for at least 2 hours . You can skim the scum several times. Strain and return to the stock pot. Season the stock with salt and pepper, add the chicken pieces, and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the chicken is done, about 40 minutes.


2 Cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 C crisco

Cut the crisco into the flour and salt as if you were making pie crust. Add enough water to hold the mixture together. Generously flour your board and roll dough out thinly. Cut into roughly 2 inch x 6 inch strips. Flour the top of the dumplings. (this is going to thicken your stock)

Bring the stock to the boil and lay the dumplings on top 1 at a time. As each one is covered by stock, you can add another. Don't stir unless you have to. I use the end of a long spoon if I need to. Add 1/2 Cup of milk and optional butter. Serve immediately

Monday, September 10, 2007

Breakfast Fried Rice

This is the only recipe that your father taught me, but it is really good--a great way to use up leftover rice. The amount you make depends on the amount of rice that you have. If you have more rice than the recipe calls for, just add more bacon and another egg. You can also add any leftover meat or veg (like peas or carrots) you have.

2 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 Cup cold, leftover rice
2 eggs
1 tbl soy sauce
salt & pepper

Fry bacon over medium high heat until crisp. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add any leftover meat or veg. Add rice and cook until hot. Move rice to the sides of the frying pan, leaving an empty space in the middle. Beat eggs with a fork and add to the middle of the pan. As the egg solidifies, push the outside edge to the middle. Turn and chop into small pieces and mix into rice. Season with soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Taste & correct seasonings.

French Toast

You can use lots of different kinds of bread for this--cinnamon raisin, brioche--whatever you have. Your dad likes this with maple syrup. I like strawberry preserves.

Custard mix
1 egg
1 C milk or cream
1 tbl sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt

sliced bread, 4-6 slices depending on their size

butter & oil for frying

Beat the egg in a shallow dish and add remaining ingredients except for bread. Heat 1 tsp butter & 1 tsp oil in a non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add bread 1 or 2 pieces at a time to custard and let it soak up the mixture. Don't let the bread soak so long that it falls apart. Place bread in skillet and cook until browned and puffed, turning once. Continue cooking bread until all the custard mixture is gone, adding butter and oil when necessary.

You can sift confectioners sugar over the toast if you like. Serve w/ maple syrup and strawberry preserves

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sawmill Gravy or Sausage gravy

This is what my grandmother made to go on biscuits. We never had sausage gravy, but it's exactly the same. Just use the drippings from frying country sausage like Jimmy Dean. I never measure, but I'll give you some guidelines-2 tbls of fat + 2 tbls of flour will thicken 1 Cup of liquid. So for 2 cups of gravy you'll need about 4 tbls of drippings.

4 tbls fat left from frying bacon or fatback or sausages
4 tbls flour or enough to form a thick paste
2 Cups milk
salt & pepper to taste

Over med-high heat cook, stirring constantly, brown the flour in the fat for at least 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the milk stirring like mad. Raise the heat and keep stirring, until it comes back up to the boil. If the gravy is too thick, thin it with somemore milk. Turn off and season with salt and pepper. If you're making sausage gravy, crumble one of the sausage patties into the gravy.

Cream cheese & pesto roll-ups

I made these for the UT-S. Miss tailgate party. They were very good and super easy. I used homemade pesto. If you use commercially prepared pesto you may need to add some fresh basil, garlic, & grated parmesean.

6 whole wheat tortillas or sandwich wraps
1 large block of cream cheese
1/2 C pesto

Mix softened cream cheese & pesto together. Taste & adjust seasoning if necessary. Spread on tortillas & roll up. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Unwrap, slice and arrange on a tray.

Italian Sausages & Sundried tomato sauce dip

I made this yesterday for the UT/S.Miss game tailgate party. It was really good and, of course, easy. It would be even quicker if you just jazzed up a bottled marinara sauce.

2 tbl olive oil
2 lbs. hot Italian sausages
1/2 C dry white or red wine

Marinara sauce:
about 8 sun dried tomatoes, re hydrated in a 1/2 cup or more of water or use the kind packed in olive oil & use the oil from the jar to make the sauce.-- roughly chopped

2 tbl extra virgin olive oil (or oil from sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil)
1/2 small onion finely chopped
1 big fat clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 can (about 1 cup) crushed tomatoes
1 tbl tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt, pepper to taste

In a non stick skillet over med-high heat, brown the sausages in the olive oil. Add the wine, reduce heat, cover and let cook for 12 minutes, turning once. Turn off heat and allow to cool in pan.

Re hydrate sun-dried tomatoes by placing them in a microwave safe bowl and covering with water. Put a plate on top and microwave for about 3 minutes. Check & add more water to cover
and microwave for 3 more minutes. Repeat if needed until fairly soft. Remove from liquid and chop. Add back to liquid & reserve.

Saute onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and some basil. Add the crushed tomatoes, the sun-dried tomatoes with their liquid, and the paste. Season w/ basil, oregano, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick. Correct seasonings.

Remove sausages from pan and slice. Serve w/ toothpicks and sauce.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sweet and Spicy Sausages

I think that I got the idea for this recipe from something I saw on Justin Wilson's old TV show. These are super-easy and delicious. The men will practically stand over this and eat until they are all gone. The flavor is dependent on the kind and quality of the sausage that you buy. Andouille is much spicier than kielbasa. So if you want a milder dish, use the kielbasa. It can be made completely ahead, frozen, and reheated in the microwave.

1 lb andouille or kielbasa sausage, sliced into rounds
3 tbl brown sugar
2 tbl dijon or creole mustard
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry Vermouth

In a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat, brown the sausages. Add the brown sugar and let in melt. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Add the mustard and let cook down until syrupy.
Taste and add more mustard or sugar if needed. Serve warm or at room temp with toothpicks. If you're doing a big party, serve these in a chafing dish to keep warm