Sunday, November 25, 2007

Summer Rolls with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

I don't remember where I got this recipe from, but it is great--more trouble than the other summer roll recipe, but worth it if you have the time. I would probably replace the beet with fresh shredded cabbage, cause who has fresh beets in the house?

Yield: 20 rolls

3 ounces Vietnamese cellophane noodles, cooked according to package directions
2 cups bean sprouts
2 carrots, julienned
1 large beet, julienned
1 fresh red chile, cut in circles
2 handfuls fresh cilantro, hand-torn
3/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 lime, juiced
Sea salt
20 (8-inch) round rice paper wrappers
40 mint leaves

Put the cellophane noodles, vegetables, cilantro and peanuts in a large bowl; toss with sesame oil and lime juice to give the filling some flavor; season with salt and pepper.

Pour 3 cups of hot, not boiling water in a large shallow bowl. One at a time, immerse the rice paper wrappers in the hot water for 10 seconds to soften, then place on a slightly damp towel. The rice paper is very delicate, don't soak them any longer or they will break apart. Keep them covered while you work to prevent them from drying out and curling.

To form the rolls, lay a rice paper wrapper on a flat surface. Grab a small amount of the cellophane and vegetable mixture and lay it across the bottom third. Use less filling than you think you should, if you overstuff the wrapper it will tear. Carefully fold the bottom of the wrapper up to cover the filling. Fold in the left and right sides, then tuck and roll it over once. Lay 2 mint leaves on top, then tuck and roll it over to close the whole thing up like a tight cigar. The mint leaves should show through the transparent rice paper. Arrange the finished rolls on a platter and cover with a damp towel.

Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon red chili paste, such as sambal

In a blender, puree the rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, hot water, sugar, lime juice, garlic, and chili paste until combined. Pour into a small bowl and serve with the summer rolls.

Yield: 1 cup

Pork Shu Mei (Money bag dumplings)

These dumplings are from the Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines. They are easy to do and can be frozen and pulled out whenever you want some. Everybody loves them. If you don't have gyoza skins, you can use wonton wrappers, but the dumplings are not quite as attractive. Without the wrappers, the filling make super chinese meatballs that you can eat with toothpicks.

The Wrapper
1 package shu-mei skins or Gyoza skins -These look like small round won ton wrappers. Look for them in the frozen section of your Asian market.

The Filling
1 lb lean ground pork, finely chopped
2 tbls light soy sauce
2 tbls dry sherry
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tbl sesame oil
pinch of sugar
1 tbl chopped green onion
1 egg white
1 tbl cornstarch
1 tsp salt
4 tbl chopped bamboo shoots or water chestnuts (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Mix all of the filling ingredients together well. Place about 3/4 of a tablespoon of filling in the center of a shu-mei wrapper and bring up the corns so that you have a little bag enclosing the filling. The top will be open so that you can see some of the meat.

Line a bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves . Fill with dumplings, but don't let them touch. Set the steamer over water in a wok. Turn the heat to high and Steam for 15 minutes.

You may freeze the dumplings and steam them frozen. Add about 5 minutes to the steaming time.

Dipping Sauce

1/3 C soy sauce
1-2 tbl hoisin sauce
1/2 - 1 tsp hot chile paste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1-2 tbl rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
2-3 tbl chopped cilantro

Mix all together, taste & correct seasonings

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pan gravy for Turkey

Boil turkey neck with chicken stock, cool and strain.

Remove turkey from oven and place on cutting board to rest.
Remove rack from roasting pan.
Pour off juices into a measuring cup.

Skim fat and return about 6 tbl to roasting pan. If you don't have this much, add some butter. Place roasting pan over 2 burners and bring up to heat. Add 6-8 tbl flour. Brown flour and add stock, stirring constantly, scraping pan. Bring to a boil. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme.

Make ahead Gravy for Turkey

about 3 cups of gravy

Turkey stock (substitute canned chicken stock)
1-2 weeks in advance make turkey stock and freeze. If you don't have turkey stock, use canned chicken stock, preferably unsalted.

Roast or broil turkey wings with carrots, celery & onion in oven at 375 until nicely browned
put turkey & veg in stock pot
Deglaze hot roasting pan with water & add to pot
Add water or chicken stock to cover

Bring to a boil & simmer until flavorful & concentrated 4-6 hours. Strain & cool. Refrigerate or freeze

brown roux

1 stick (6 tbl) butter
6-8 tbl flour

In a heavy skillet, melt butter & add flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until dark brown. You may make this 2-3 days ahead & refrigerate.


Heat 3 cups of stock, reduce heat so that it is not boiling. Add roux, slowly, stirring. Bring to a boil and boil for at least 3 minutes, stirring constantly. If this is not thick enough, you can mix some cornstarch with water or cold stock, reduce heat, add to stock and bring back to a boil, stirring. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme to taste.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

This is what I make for Thanksgiving now. It's really tasty & easy.

Sweet potatoes, peeled, halved, and sliced into 1/2 pieces.

Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and bake @ 400 until brown and tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This can be made 1-2 days ahead, and baked. Reheat, top with desired topping and broil.

6-8 servings

4-5 sweet potatoes, baked
brown sugar to taste
pinch of salt
orange juice
grated orange rind

Bake sweet potatoes for 30-45 minutes @ 350 or until very tender. Halve & scrape out flesh. Mash, and add sugar, pinch of salt, oj, and cream to taste. Place in a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until hot.

You may top this with marshmallows & broil til browned.

Or top with chopped pecans, mixed with brown sugar, and dotted with butter. Broil til browned.

Cranberry Sauce

This is from Gourmet Magazine. You can put this in a greased mold, and unmold it, but I don't bother. It's very good.

1 pkg cranberries, fresh
grated rind from 2 oranges
1 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 cup sugar

Bring oj & sugar to a boil, dissolving sugar. Add cranberries and cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add grated rind. Refrigerate.
Can be made 3-4 days ahead.

Pumpkin Pie

This is from Ama B's Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. I use the higher measurements for spices.

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
2 Cups evaporated milk, or cream
3/4 Cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 - 1 tsp dried ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp cloves
3 slightly beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla or 2 tbl brandy

Mix all together. Pour into a 9-inch, pastry lined pie pan. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and bake 45 minutes or until mixture doesn't adhere to knife. (To test, insert knife into middle of pie, knife should come out clean.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bolognese Sauce

This was always Patrick's favorite. It takes some time, but it's worth it. I think that it's really delicious served over paparadelle with peas and generous lashings of freshly grated Parmeseano Reggiano. It's best to use homemade or unsalted stock. If you use canned stock with salt, don't add any other salt until it's reduced and you taste it.

2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl butter
1/4 cup diced pancetta
1/2 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 tsp thyme
1-2 tbl tomato puree
1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups stock, mixture of beef & chicken (veal stock would be excellent), unsalted
salt & pepper to taste

In the butter and oil, saute the onion,celery, carrot, pancetta, and garlic with a pinch of salt & thyme. Add the meats and season with a pinch of salt, pepper, & thyme. Cook until no longer pink. Add the tomato paste and cook 3 minutes, stirring. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the cream and reduce by half. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours. You should check on it every 20-30 minutes so that it doesn't get to dry. If it does just add some water and let it keep cooking.

Indian style squash saute

I don't do very much Indian cooking since your dad does not care for it, but one night when he had a business dinner, your Ama B made her chicken & green apple curry. I wanted a veg to go with it, so I checked out Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook and found a recipe for eggplant. I stole the spices and added a few twists of my own and it turned out very well. You can eat this as a side dish or as a main course with rice. You'll have to season to taste as I did not measure anything.

4 servings as a side dish

1 tbl olive oil
3 zucchini or yellow squash or a mix of both, in large dice
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 orange bell pepper, in large dice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium fresh tomatoes, in large dice
cumin powder
coriander powder
fennel or anise seed
salt & pepper
fresh coriander
fresh hot chile, chopped fine

Saute squash, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add generous sprinkle of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and fennel seed, salt & pepper. Add tomato and continue to saute. Add a 1/4 c water and continue cooking til tender. Taste & correct seasonings. Serve with fresh coriander, chile, and fresh lime juice over rice.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Asian style Spinach with Oyster Sauce

I served this with the Asian-style Salmon Fillets.

1 pkg frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbl oyster sauce
1-2 tbl chicken stock
1/2 tsp sugar
black pepper

Defrost spinach in microwave and drain well. Place in pan with remaining ingredients. Heat, add black pepper, taste and correct seasonings.

Asian Salmon Filets

I made this last night and we really liked it. I served it with brown rice and spinach with oyster sauce.

4 Salmon filets

Marinade & Sauce:
1/2 Cup soy sauce
4 Tbl hoisin sauce
1/4-1 tsp hot chile paste (to your taste)
3 Tbl rice wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic

1/4 C chopped cilantro

Place salmon filets and 1/4 C. marinade in a ziplock bag in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Remove fish about 1/2 hour before cooking. Add cilantro to remaining sauce. Over medium-high heat, heat a non stick skillet and add 1 tbl peanut or olive oil. Add fillets, skin side down and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, turn and cook for 3-5 more minutes or until desired doneness is achieved.

Place on plates and top with remaining sauce.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Squash Casserole from Sherry Reed

Sherry is the wife of my old boss from Memphis, Larry Reed. She is a great cook, and, although I don't see them much, I always think of Larry & Sherry when I cook one of her recipes.

300 oven

3-4 lbs squash, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
dash thyme
couple of sprigs of fresh parsley

Cream Sauce:
2 tbl butter
4 tbl flour
2 cups milk,1/2 & 1/2, cream, or a combination
salt & pepper to taste

2 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 cups Gruyeres or sharp cheddar, grated
salt, pepper to taste
Worcestershire sauce
dash grated nutmeg
2 dashes cayenne

buttered bread crumbs

Boil squash w/ onion, bay leaf, parsley, & thyme until barely tender. Drain & discard bay leaf.
Place in a buttered, oven-proof casserole dish.

Make sauce by cooking butter in a sauce pan until melted, add the flour and cook at least 3 minutes. Add liquids slowly while stirring constantly. Bring back to the boil, reduce heat and add egg yolks, salt & peppers, and worcestershire, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup cheese, stirring.
Pour over squash, top with buttered bread crumbs and remaining cheese. Bake 35-40 minutes.

Scalloped Onions

This recipe comes from your dad's biological half-sister Barbara Geiger. We didn't meet her until she was almost 50 (she was almost 20 years older than your dad), but she was a great person. She died a number of years ago of pancreatic cancer. I got this recipe from her when we spent Thanksgiving with her and her family.

Serves 6

2 lbs small white onions or an equal portion of frozen onions
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1 cup cream
1 cup onion water or 1 cup milk if using frozen onions
1/4 lb. grated sharp cheddar
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/8 tsp white pepper
generous pinch of cayenne

Bread crumbs & 1 tbl butter, cut in pieces (optional)

For fresh onions: Cut an X in the bottom of each onion. Cook in boiling water until barely tender. Drain, saving 1 cup of the water. Place onions in a greased, 2 qt oven-proof casserole. Make sauce by cooking butter in a sauce pan until melted, add the flour and cook at least 3 minutes. Add liquids slowly while stirring constantly. Bring back to the boil, reduce heat and add cheese, salt & peppers. Pour over onions. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Top with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Broil,watching carefully, until browned.

Sweet Potatoes & Apricots

Ama B used to make this for Thanksgiving. I don't make it because your dad isn't crazy about apricots, but it is delicious.

6 Sweet potatoes, peeled & quartered
1 1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 can drained apricots, juice reserved
1/2 C chopped pecans
1 1/2 Tbl cornstarch
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 cup apricot juice
2 tbl butter

Cut potatoes in half and place in buttered dish with apricots and pecans. Dissolve cornstarch in apricot juice. Combine all remaining ingredients and cook, stirring constantly over high heat until thick. Pour over potatoes and bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Green Bean Casserole

Yes, this is the infamous green bean casserole. I don't care that it is a cliche, I love it. I have two versions-the old stand by and a lower cal version with no mushroom soup that I make cause your dad doesn't like mushrooms.

Serves 6-8
Set oven to 350

Old Fashioned Green Bean Casserole

2 packages frozen Italian-cut green beans or an equal amount of fresh green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans Campbells mushroom soup
4 tbl soy sauce
1 can sliced water chestnuts (optional)
1 large can french fried onion rings
salt & pepper to taste

If using fresh beans, wash, tip, slice, blanch, and drain. If using frozen beans, defrost and drain.
Add garlic, soup, soy sauce, 1/2 can of onion rings, salt & pepper to taste. Place in a greased, oven-proof casserole dish and bake covered for 40 minutes. Remove foil and top with remaining onion rings. Bake 15-20 minutes more or until onion rings are browned

New Green Bean Casserole
2 tbl olive oil
1 very large onion or 2 small onions, cut in 1/2 and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tbl flour
1 1/2 cans chicken stock (no-fat, salt-free)
4 tbl soy sauce
2 packages frozen Italian-cut green beans or an equal amount of fresh green beans
1 can sliced water chestnuts (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 large can french fried onion rings (optional)

If using fresh beans, wash, tip, slice. If using frozen beans, defrost and drain.
On top of the stove in a covered pan over low heat, cook onion in olive oil w/ a sprinkle of salt for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid from pan, add garlic, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes and let brown. The onions should be rich and sweet tasting. Add flour and cook 3-4 more minutes. Add stock, soy sauce, water chestnuts, green beans, salt & pepper. Place in a greased, oven-proof casserole dish and bake covered for 40 minutes. Remove foil and top with onion rings. Bake 15-20 minutes more or until onion rings are browned

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sour Cream Cake

This is Ama B's recipe. It is very good--a twist on pound cake.

1/2 lb butter, soft
3 cups sugar
6-7 eggs
1 tsp. almond flavoring
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour (White Lily)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp soda

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour. Dissolve the soda in the sour cream. Add the flour, alternating with the sour cream: 1/3 flour, 1/2 sour cream, 1/3 flour, 1/2 sour cream, 1/3 flour.
Bake 1 hour - 1 hour 20 minutes in greased tube pan.

Memoy's Pound Cake with lemon glaze

This is my grandmother's recipe. It is an old-fashion, buttery pound cake. She never added the lemon glaze, but I like it. This cake is delicious by itself or with fruit.


1 lb butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour (White Lily is best)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
7 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
(grated rind of 1 lemon)

Cream butter & sugar until light and fluffy. Sift dry ingredients twice. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each, until you have used 3 and then add two at a time.  Add vanilla and mix well. Make sure all the butter is well mixed in. Put in a greased and floured tube pan. Bake 1 hr 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Or pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans and bake 60 minutes.

Lemon glaze
juice from one lemon
3/4 Cup confectioner's sugar or enough to make a pourable glaze

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in pan. Invert onto cake rack and let cool.  Pour lemon glaze over cooled cake and allow to set. If you want a more intense lemon flavor, you can poke holes with a toothpick in the warm cake and pour the glaze on.