Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Country Ham with Brown Sugar Coating

Country ham is delicious, but making it is a labor of love. It isn't hard, but it's time-consuming and multi-step. This recipe makes a delicious ham for a party or a buffet. Remember that country ham is very rich and always somewhat salty. This recipe came from Southern Living Magazine.

Start at least 2 days ahead.

30 servings

1 10-12 lb uncooked country ham
1 64 ounce bottle apple juice
2 tsps ground cloves
2/3 Cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tbls dry sherry, red wine, or cider vinegar

Place ham in a large container. (I like to use an ice chest)Let soak 12 hours and discard water. Return ham to container and cover with fresh water. Let soak 12 hours more. Pour off water and scrub ham with a stiff brush and rinse well.

Place ham in a large cooking container and add apple juice. Add enough hot water to cover ham. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 2 hours or until meat thermometer registers 142 (Make sure thermometer doesn't touch bone or fat.). Let cool in liquid for 3 hours. Remove, cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Trim skin from ham. Place ham, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle fat with ground cloves. Combine brown sugar and sherry and brush over ham. Bake at 425 for 10 to 15 minutes or until coating is golden and crusty (ham will be cool). Slice thinly to serve.

To serve ham warm, bake ham as directed above to brown coating; then cover with foil, reduce heatto 350 and bake 1 hour or until thoroughly heated.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spicy Shrimp with Andouille Sausage on Grits

This is from The Boathouse, an outstanding restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, via I made it last night, and it is delicious, but too rich for my taste. Here's what I will do next time. First, I will cut the cream from the hot pepper sauce. I think that I will try it with evaporated milk or none at all. The dish really needs the acidity to cut through the richness of the other ingredients. Also, instead of fresh tomatoes, I think that canned, diced tomatoes would be nicer because you'll get a little more sauce for the shrimp. I will also make the grits without so much butter.
 Serves 6

* 1/3 cup green hot pepper sauce
* 1/4 cup dry white wine
* 1 shallot, chopped
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
* 1 cup whipping cream

* 5 cups water
* 3 cups whole milk
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
* 2 cups corn grits*

* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 8 ounces smoked andouille sausage,** sliced
* 1 red bell pepper, chopped
* 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
* 1/2 cup minced onion
* 4 garlic cloves, chopped
* 30 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
* 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
* 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
* 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning


Combine hot pepper sauce, wine, shallot, lemon juice and vinegar in heavy medium saucepan. Boil over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cream. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Bring 1/2 cup cream, 5 cups water, milk and butter to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Simmer until grits are very soft and thickened, stirring frequently, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add sausage, both bell peppers, onion and garlic; sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add shrimp, tomatoes, Cajun seasoning and Old Bay seasoning and sauté until shrimp are opaque in center, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring hot pepper-cream sauce to simmer. Spoon grits onto 6 plates, dividing equally. Spoon shrimp mixture over grits. Drizzle hot pepper-cream sauce over and serve.

*Corn grits, also known as polenta, are available at Italian markets, natural foods stores and some supermarkets. If unavailable, substitute 2 cups regular yellow cornmeal, and cook about 30 minutes.

**A smoked pork-and-beef sausage available at specialty foods stores. Smoked bratwurst, kielbasa or smoked Hungarian sausage can be substituted.

Roast chicken with pancetta

I made this for dinner last night with roasted potatoes and a salad. It's supposed to have black olives added halfway through the cooking, but your dad doesn't like them, so I left them out. To replace the acid from the olives I added lemon juice at the end.

I have put this in the Quick/Easy category because, although it's not super quick, it
is very easy. Buy a cut-up chicken or a package of chicken thighs and everything else is very simple to do.

Serves 4

1 chickens, cut into 12 pieces (Leave wings attached & cut breasts in 2) or a cut-up chicken from the supermarket
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons chopped thyme
1/2 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1/4-inch-thick) slices pancetta, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of one lemon
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.

Toss chicken with oil, thyme, rosemary, sea salt, red-pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon pepper, rubbing mixture into chicken.

Scatter garlic in large roasting pan. Arrange chicken, skin side up, in 1 layer on top,add pancetta on top and roast until chicken begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Drizzle 1/2 cup wine over chicken and roast until skin is golden brown and chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove chicken, cover & let stand 10 minutes. Deglaze pan with remaining 1/2 cup of wine and add lemon juice. Pour juices over chicken and serve.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Roast Pork with Port Jus and Chipotle-Glazed Apples

Love, love, love this recipe. The original recipe was from The Table Mountain Inn in Colorado, and was published in Bon Appetit. I have changed it to suit my family, but if you want to see the original recipe, go to
For 4

For dry rub:
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 1 1/2-2 pound pork tenderloin

For Sauce:
3 cups ruby Port
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 3/4 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
1 3/4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 fresh thyme sprig
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Chipotle-glazed Apples

Mix first 4 ingredients and 1/2 cup brown sugar in small bowl.
Rub spice mixture over pork. Place in ziplock back. Let stand 1 hour or refrigerate up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Transfer pork to roasting pan. Reserve juices in plastic bag. Roast pork until thermometer inserted into center registers 140°F., about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine Port, shallots and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Boil until syrupy, about 25 minutes. Add both stocks and thyme. Boil until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 30 minutes. Mix any pan drippings from pork into sauce (do not scrape roasting pan). Add butter; whisk until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut pork into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Divide among 4 plates. Spoon Chipotle-glazed Apples alongside, dividing equally. Spoon sauce over and around pork.

Chipotle-glazed Apples
Yield: Serves 6 as a side-dish

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cans sliced apples, packed in water
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2-1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chilies

Drain apples. Heat 1 tablespoon oil with chipotle chilies in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple slices,cinnamon, and sugar. Cook until coating caramelizes and apple slices are heated through, turning often, about 4 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. .

Chicken Curry

This is Ama B's Chicken Curry. Everyone, except your dad and Miss Debbie, loves it.
This would be a great way to use up leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken. If green pepper gives you heartburn, substitute red or orange pepper. Serve this with rice (Jasmine rice is nice), and a good chutney. Toasted coconut is a nice condiment also.

2 tbs butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbl flour
1-3 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 14 oz can chicken broth
1 unpared green apple, cored, and sliced thin
1/2 medium green pepper, sliced thin
2 cup cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 cup raisins

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add and saute onion and garlic. Blend in flour, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Cook,stirring constantly until bubbly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add chicken broth in a stream, stirring constantly. Add apple and green pepper, return to heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat. Stir in chicken and raisins, and heat through.

Lemon Soy Swordfish Steaks

Serves 8

1/3 Cup soy sauce
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 Cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

8 small swordfish steaks, pricked all over with a fork

Combine all ingredients, and marinate swordfish for 1-3 hours in the refrigerator.

Broil 5-6 minutes on each side. Basting with marinade.

Lamb Shanks Marengo

This is a great winter recipe. I love a recipe that you can throw in the oven and forget about, and produce something so unctuously delicious. Serve this with mash potatoes or risotto.


Serves 4

4 lamb shanks
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl butter
2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup white dry white wine
2 cup veal stock or chicken stock
2 tbl tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp thyme
tsp garlic, minced
pinch sugar

Heat oil and butter in dutch oven. Salt & pepper shanks and brown well in oil. Remove. Add onions and saute. Deglaze pan with wine. Add stock and paste. Add bay leaves, thyme, garlic, and sugar. Return shanks to pan, cover, and bake in oven
1 hour and 15 minutes.

Shrimp in Mustard Sauce

Another recipe that I can't remember who or where it came from. I don't think that I've tried this either, but it sounds really good.

8 1st course servings

2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
24 large, raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 shallots, minced
1/2 Cup dry white wine
1/2 Cup heavy cream
1 Cup unsalted butter, in small pieces
2 Tbl course mustard
salt & pepper
Fresh lemon juice

Heat oil in skillet until very hot and saute shrimp 1-2 minutes. Remove & reserve shrimp. Reduce heat to medium and saute shallots 30 seconds. Deglaze with wine. Add cream and cook until thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter gradually. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste. Pour over shrimp and serve

Crab Cakes

I'm not sure where I got this recipe, or whether it was one that I made up. This makes relatively large crab cakes. If you want to serve these as an appetizer or first course, just make them smaller and cook them a little less.

6 crab cakes

1 lb crabmeat, picked over
3/4 cup cracker crumbs
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbl minced onion
2 tbl mayo
1 tbl worcestershire sauce
1 tbl dijon mustard
3/4-1 1/2 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Additional crumbs for breading
vegetable oil & butter for browning

With a fork, mix all ingredients together lightly. Form into 3 inch patties and roll in additional bread crumbs.

Heat oil and butter until foam subsides. Fry until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and serve. These can be held in a warm oven, but they are best when served immediately.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Risotto, leftover

This is a take off on arancini, the Italian way to use up risotto. For it, you make balls of the leftover risotto, put a little piece of prosciutto inside, bread, and deep fry. I didn't want to deep fry, so I changed it to risotto patties. I think that next time I will make little torpedo shapes. If you don't want to fool with sauce, just add the pancetta to a good bottled marinara sauce & heat.

You could use this as a first course or a main. It just depends on how many you serve.

Heat oven to 150

Cold, leftover risotto

1 egg beaten
bread crumbs

Extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 inch slice pancetta, diced

Form the risotto into the desired shape. I pressed mine into a rectangle & cut it into squares. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet on medium heat and brown the pancetta. Remove & reserve pancetta. Flour the rectangles, dip into beaten egg, and into bread crumbs. Brown 3 minutes or more on each side. Remove to a plate & place in oven to keep warm.

Browned pancetta
1/2 onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes, pureed
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
salt & pepper

Return pancetta to skillet and saute onion. Add tomatoes, hot pepper, salt & pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat & simmer 5 minutes until thick.

Veal Shanks

I made this last night for dinner, and it was fantastic.

Serves 3
preheat oven to 325

3 veal shanks about 2 inches thick
extra virgin olive oil for browning
1/2 inch slice of pancetta, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbl flour
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup dry white wine or vermouth
3 tbl tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
salt & pepper

Brown the pancetta in some olive oil. Dry the veal and salt & pepper them. Push the pancetta aside and brown the veal. Remove the veal and add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, and saute until onion is translucent. Add flour and cook 2-3 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine and add veal shanks back to pan. Add tomato paste, rosemary, and thyme. The liquid should come halfway up the veal. Cover the pan and place in the oven & bake 1 hour. Check and add a little chicken stock or water if there isn't enough liquid. Let bake 1 hour more. ( You can hold this in a 150 oven for several hours if you want to make it ahead. Skim the fat and serve with risotto.

Hot Cheese Bits

Love these! This is Ama B's recipe, and we always make this for Christmas. You can make the dough and store it in the refrigerator until you want to bake a batch, or just bake the whole batch & freeze.

Preheat oven to 350

1 cup pecans, chopped very finely
1 cup flour
2 cups extra sharp cheddar, grated
1 stick butter at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne (add more if you'd like these a little spicy)

In the food processor: Shred cheese with grating blade. Remove blade & set cheese aside. Put in chopping blade, and chop pecans. Add cheese and all other ingredients back to pecans. Pulse until blended. Remove & form into logs on plastic wrap. Wrap & refrigerate until firm enough to slice. Slice thinly and bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 10-15 minutes. Let cool on racks and store in an airtight tin.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eggplant Marinati

I saw this on tv ages ago. I don't remember which show it was, but I just love this recipe. This is an antipasto, but could also be a side dish. I think that you could, chop the eggplant into large chunks instead of slices and it would be easier to serve at a buffet or as a side dish.

Container, preferably with a lid, large enough to hold all the eggplant. It will be unmolded before serving.

2 eggplants, in 1/2" thick slices

Flour for dusting

2 eggs, beaten
salt, pepper
parsley, chopped

olive oil for frying

extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, whole
red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
rosemary, tsp or more

Salt the eggplant & let drain for an hour. Rinse & pat dry.

Mix the batter: Combine all ingredients in a shallow pan, large enough to dip eggplant into.

Heat oil in skillet until in begins to film. Flour the eggplant & dip into egg batter. Fry about 1/2 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Make sauce: Brown 6 whole garlic cloves in olive oil. Add vinegar & seasonings and simmer 1 minute.

Layer eggplant & sauce in bowl, cover tightly, invert back & forth so that all the eggplant is well coated with sauce. Let stand up to a week. Unmold and serve.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Individual Warm Chocolate Cakes filled with chocolate sauce

These are amazing. I needed to make an easy dessert for Jim because I had made flan for everyone else and he doesn't like flan. So I took our favorite brownie recipe and turned it into warm chocolate cakes that ooze chocolate when they are cut into--unbelievably good!

Makes 7

2 oz Unsweetened chocolate
1 stick Unsalted butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 cup All-purpose flour
1/4 tsp Salt
7 chunks of German's Sweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line 7 cupcakes with cupcake liners & lightly spray with Pam.

In a heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate with the butter over low heat, stirring
completely melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs and
vanilla beat well. Stir in the flour, salt and mix well.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake tin until half full. Put 1 piece of the German's Sweet Chocolate into each cupcake. Then spoon batter over chocolate. The cupcakes should be almost full, and the chocolate chunk should be completely immersed. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes and remove from cupcake molds. Turn upside down on a plate, peel off cupcake liner, & sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

If you want to do these ahead. Let them cool completely, but leave in cupcake tin. Then reheat at 350 for 5-10 minutes.


Serves 6-8

1 cup melted butter
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbl minced garlic
4-5 chopped scallions
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
juice of 2 lemons

2 lb.s large shrimp, shelled & deveined

4 tbl chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
1 tbl capers
2 tbl cognac

Combine 1st 8 ingredients in blender & blend well. Pour over shrimp and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Pour into casserole dish and sprinkle with scallions, cheese, and capers. Broil 3-4" from flame for about 5 minutes. Turn, broil 1-2 minutes more. To serve warm cognac, ignite & pour over shrimp.

Cod Fish Bouillabaisse

I got this recipe from Miss Debbie who got it from Katie's grandmother (Mr. Hank's mom). She was a really good cook, and this is simple, but good. It really shouldn't be called bouillabaisse because it's not anything like bouillabaisse, but it's still very tasty.

3 large onions, sliced
1 tbl olive oil
6 canned Italian tomatoes, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups clam juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 lb.s potatoes, peeled & diced
1 1/2 lbs cod in 1" chunks

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add fish and simmer for 15 minutes more.

Cheese Strata

This recipe came from My mom's friends who hosted an engagement party for Jim and me. It's great for a do-ahead breakfast, but I also serve it without bacon for dinner with a green salad. It's always a big hit. Make sure you buy really good cheese! It makes a big difference in the flavor. You can riff on this recipe by adding almost any cooked vegetables. Just make sure that they are fairly dry or cut back a little on the milk.

Serves 8

The day before:
Grease an 8x12 casserole

7 slices white bread
8 oz grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
6 eggs
3 cups milk
4 minced green onions (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tbl worstershire sauce
3 slices bacon-cut in half or butter to dot top of casserole
Optional- 8 oz cubed ham or cooked sausage

Place bread and cheese in casserole. Beat eggs, milk & seasonings and pour over bread and cheese. Lay bacon on top. (If you don't use bacon, dot with butter.) Refrigerate, covered overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 Bake uncovered 50-55 minutes.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Spanish albondigas

I made these yesterday as an appetizer for a dinner party at the Schmidt's. Connie was serving paella, so I tried to do something Spanish. I patterned them after the Italian meatballs, but changed the seasonings. I use a 1 tbl scoop to portion them. Then I bake them on cookie sheets,lined with release aluminum foil, about 15 minutes in a 350 oven. Remove, cool and freeze in freezer bags or add to sauce. Whenever you want meatballs, just pull out a bag and throw them in the sauce. Simmer until defrosted and heated through.

Serves 10 as an appetizer

1 lb ground beef
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 lb ham,chopped finely in the food processor
4 slices of bacon, chopped finely in the food processor
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
tsp of more smoked paprika
1 egg
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
milk to moisten, about 1/4-1/2 cup
grated rind of 1 lemon

I do all the chopping in the food processor: Chop 5 garlic cloves, put half in bowl & half in saucepan (for sauce below). Chop 1 onion and divide between bowl & saucepan. Chop parsley & add to bowl, then ham & bacon. Add all ingredients to bowl & mix all together. Make 1 small meat ball & cook for 30 seconds in the microwave. Taste & correct seasonings. Form into meat balls (1tbl each) & bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
olive oil
1 tbl flour
1 can chicken stock
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 can diced tomatoes (not a big can)
1/2 can tomato paste
lemon rind from 1 lemon
1/2-1 tsp smoked paprika
salt & pepper
Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

Saute onion & garlic in olive oil. Add flour & cook for 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken stock & sherry & bring to a boil. add tomatoes & paste. Puree with a stick blender or put back in food processor & process til smooth. Add lemon rind & seasonings. Simmer 20-30 minutes. Add meatballs & reheat. Add lemon juice & stir.

Italian Meatballs-baked

I love to do a double recipe of these meatballs. I use a 1 tbl scoop to portion them. Then I bake them on cookie sheets,lined with release aluminum foil, about 15 minutes in a 350 oven. Remove, cool and freeze in freezer bags or add to sauce. Whenever you want meatballs, just pull out a bag and throw them in the sauce. Simmer until defrosted and heated through.

Serves 4-5

1 lb ground beef
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup ground parmesean or asiago cheese
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup ham, pancetta, or prosciutto, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
milk to moisten, about 1/4-1/2 cup
grated rind of 1 lemon

I do all the chopping in the food processor: First grate the cheese, measure & add to bowl. Chop garlic cloves, put in bowl. Chop onion and add to bowl. Chop parsley & add to bowl, then pancetta. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl & mix all together. Make 1 small meat ball & cook for 30 seconds in the microwave. Taste & correct seasonings. Form into meat balls (1tbl each) & bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Queso Fundido with Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette

Queso Fundido with Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette

Posted by The Serious Eats Team, January 29, 2009 at 7:04 PM

- serves 4 -

Adapted from Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook by Bobby Flay, with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (12 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, cut into 8 slices
Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 9-ounce bag of tortilla chips

1. Preheat the broiler.

2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated Monterey Jack cheese; season with salt and pepper.

3. Scrape the mixture into an 8-inch cast-iron pan and place the slices of goat cheese over the top. Put the pan under the broiler and broil until the goat cheese is golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the poblano vinaigrette or spoon it over the top, and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Serve with chips for dipping.
Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette

- makes 3/4 cup -

2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the poblanos, 2 tablespoons cold water, the vinegar, garlic, honey, canola oil, and salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. This can be made up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Grilled Figs Wrapped in Prociutto with Balsamic Drizzle

This is from It sounds really good. I can rarely find good fresh figs around here, so I think I'll try it with mango. I think that this would also be quite good with prunes.
Yield: 4

* 4 fresh black fig or 4 fresh green fig
* 4 thin slices prosciutto
* 8 large fresh basil, leaves
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 2 cup torn frisee greens
* 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
* shaved Parmigiano reggiano cheese

1. Halve figs; cut prosciutto in half lengthwise.
2. Wrap basil leaf then prosciutto piece around each fig.
3. Place on plate; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or for up to 8 hours.
4. Brush packages lightly with olive oil.
5. Place figs on greased grill over medium-low heat; close cover and cook, turning once, for about 2 minutes or until warmed through and prosciutto is barely browned around edges.
6. Divide frisée among 4 plates. Place figs on top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar nad top with cheese.
7. Substitutions: Substitute peeled slices of fresh peach or mango for the figs.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ham & Cheese Party Rolls

Susan Pasarello gave me this recipe. She made it for a Catholic High fund raiser, and I thought that these were delicious. They certainly are not diet food!

Use the finger rolls from the bakery to make this. They are just the right size for a party; however, you could do them on larger rolls. I would use the most flavorful ham & swiss cheese that you can find.

1 pan of 20 rolls, split in half
1 lb Good deli ham, sliced thin
1/2 lb swiss cheese, sliced thin

1 stick butter
2 tsps onion flakes
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp dry mustard

Fill rolls with ham & cheese. Melt butter with flavorings, and pour over rolls. Refrigerate over night. Bake rolls at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Greek Shrimp with Feta

1/2 Cup minced onion
1 1/2 tbl butter
1 1/2 tbl olive oil

1/2 cup white wine
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled,seeded, & chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp oregano

4 oz feta, crumbled
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled & deveined
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Saute onions in butter& oil. Add next 6 ingredients & simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in cheese & simmer 10-15 minutes more. Add shrimp & cook about 5 minutes or until shrimp is just done. Add parsley & serve in bowls with French bread to sop up the sauce.

Chicken Andalusia

I've forgotten where I got this recipe from, but I love it. I don't make it much, because your dad hates just about everything in it but the chicken. This is very quick and easy

1/4 cup sherry
2 tbl raisins

2 tbl orange juice (fresh)
1 1/2 tsp parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped

6 chicken breasts, boned
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter

2 tbl slivered almonds
3 oz sliced,pimento-stuffed green olives, drained

Let raisins macerate in sherry.

Dredge chicken breast in flour seasoned with salt & pepper. Heat olive oil & butter in skillet over medium high heat. Brown almonds and remove from pan. Brown chicken 5 minutes on each side. Add garlic, parsley, & orange juice to pan, scraping up brown bits. Add sherry & raisins and cook another minute or two. Add almonds & green olives.

Saltimbocca Cafe Guerriero

This recipe is from the restaurant recipe request section of an old Bon Appetit. It isn't particularly easy because it's so last minute, but it is delicious. Make it for good friends and be super organized. If you have everything measured, chopped, and ready to go, it won't take too long to make. You could steam the spinach ahead & reheat in the microwave oven.

Preheat oven to lowest setting.

6 servings

6 veal scallops (1 1/2 lbs total), pounded to 1/8" thick
All purpose flour
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1 tbl minced shallot
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup vean demi-glace

1 1/2 lbs spinach, stemmed & washed thoroughly
6 thin slices prosciutto di parma
6 thin slices Italian Fontina cheese

1/2 cup Marsala
2 tbl butter
2 tbl parsley, chopped

Pat veal dry. Dredge in flour, salt & pepper. Heat thin layer of oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. In batches, brown veal quickly on both sides. Remove from skillet. Add mushrooms & shallots and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping pan. Boil until reduced by half. Stir in demi glace and heat through. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to lowest setting. Steam spinach until just wilted. Divide among ovenproof plates. Top spinach with veal, then prosciutto, and cheese. Place plates in oven to soften cheese.

Bring sauce to simmer. Add Marsala and cook 2 minutes. Swirl in butter and add parsley. Do not boil. Spoon sauce over veal & serve immediately.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Mulled Wine

2 Cups water
1 Cup sugar
4 sticks cinnamon
4 cloves
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 bottles dry red wine

Boil water with sugar and spices for 5 minutes. Add lemon, cover and let stand 10 minutes. Add wine & heat slowly (do not boil). Strain & serve.

The Bolo Punch

This recipe is from Kathleen Rees an old friend of Ama B's. She is from New Orleans and is a great cook. (The shrimp creole recipe comes from her.) She served this punch at a bridal luncheon for Jim and me that she hosted at her house. This punch was the star of the day.

Serves 12-14

2 ripe pineapples, peeled, cored, & diced
8 tsp. sugar
1 bottle bourbon
2 bottles champagne

The night before, sprinkle the diced pineapple with the sugar. Add the bourbon, cover and refrigerate.

Just before serving, place in punch bowl over 2 large lumps of ice. Stir well and pour in 2 bottles of chilled champagne. Serve in goblets with long-handled spoons or in punch cups with toothpicks to spear the pineapple.

Artichoke Spread

I can't remember where I got this recipe, but I must have liked it. I think that I must have dreamt it up because I haven't written down any amounts. I haven't made it in forever, but it sounds good.

1 can artichoke hearts (in water), drained & chopped
ricotta cheese
cream cheese
chopped tomatoes
fresh garlic, chopped

bread crumbs
parmesean cheese
fresh rosemary, chopped or other fresh herbs

Mix all together. Top with bread crumb mixture. Bake at 350 until hot. Serve with french bread toasts.

Cheese Ball w/ dried beef

I got this recipe from Sherry Reed who is the wife of my old boss and friend from Memphis, Larry. It's salty, oniony, and very easy.

12 oz cream cheese
1 bunch green onions, green part only
1/2 tsp accent (optional)
2 tsp Worcestershire
1 jar dried beef

Chop onion & dried beef. Add 1/2 beef to all other ingredients and mix well. Form into ball & roll in remaining dried beef. Serve with crackers.

Ama B's Cheese Ball

Ama B always make these cheese balls at Christmas, but they're good anytime. Don't roll these in parsley if you want to store them for more than a few days. Don't get too hung up on proportions. If you don't like blue cheese, reduce it or eliminate it and substitute some good Extra sharp, white cheddar, grated. I have changed this recipe a little. My additions are in parentheses. I also added some sharp, Canadian cheddar to the recipe.

1 small jar Kraft Old English
4 oz blue cheese
4 small pkgs cream cheese
1 C chopped pecans
1/2 C chopped parsley
1 Tbl worcestershire
1 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp salt
dash garlic powder (I sub 1 small glove garlic, put thru a garlic press)
(1/2 tsp dry mustard)
(1 tbl dry white wine)

Reserve 1/2 the pecans & 1/2 the parsley to roll the balls in. Mix all remaining ingredients together and form into balls. Roll balls in reserved pecans & parsley (Don't use the parsley if you want to store them for more than a few days.) Wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate.

Cheese Spread

This is a great way to use up all those little bits of cheese that you end up with at the end of a couple of weeks. Good cheese is too expensive to waste, so try this.

scraps of cheese
1-2 tbl cream cheese or butter
1-2 tbl white wine
dash cayenne pepper
1 clove of garlic (optional)

Put all the scraps of cheese in your food processor with some cream cheese or butter. Add a splash or two of white wine and a dash of cayenne pepper. You can add a small clove of garlic also if you like. Process until smooth. Check to see if it's too stiff to spread easily. If so, add another swig of wine and process. Scrape it into a small bowl or custard cup. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or serve immediately with crackers

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Artichoke Dip

Yes, this is the old, much-loved artichoke dip. I know that it has gone out of style, but everybody loved it for a reason--It's fantastically good. So, give it a try, but use real parmigiano or asiago cheese, not stuff in the green can.

Preheat oven to 350

1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, packed in water
1 Cup mayo, Hellman's
1 Cup grated parmigiano or asiago cheese
1/3 cup mozarella, grated
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Drain & cut articokes. Mix all together. Place in baking dish & bake for 20 minutes. Serve with crackers or melba toast.