Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cauliflower cheese soup

2 tbl tbl olive oil
1 tbl butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into large-ish pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced 
2 tbl flour
1 qt chicken stock (low sodium)
2 tbl tomato paste or 1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes 
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup, shredded sharp cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute all the vegetables in the oil and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add flour and cook stirring for 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and stirring, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Add tomato paste, bay leaf, cayenne, taste and add a little more salt and pepper if needed. Don't over salt cause the cheese is salty. Let simmer, partially covered for 20-30 minutes or until all the veg is tender. Turn the heat off and add the cheese, stirring.  If you reheat the soup, don't let it boil. It may separate.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Simca's Pork Braised in Bourbon with Prunes

I love this recipe. It is sophisticated tasting, but easy to prepare.

3 pounds Boneless Pork Loin (I used a Rib End Roast)
(1 1/2 inch slice tasty ham or proscuitto, cut into 1/2 inch strips)
18 Prunes
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
2/3 cups light brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
2/3 cups bourbon whiskey
Salt and pepper to taste
Bouquet garni of thyme, sage and parsley
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Dry the meat.  Put the prunes in a bowl to steep in 1 cup beef broth.

If you wish, stick a long thin knife through the middle of the roast, lengthwise, making a slit. Use your sharpening steel to enlarge the slit and then stuff the slit with the strips of ham.

Paint the meat with the mustard; then roll it in the brown sugar.

Heat the oil in a heavy ovenproof cooking pot and brown the meat in it, turning it when one side is colored so that it brown evenly (10 to 15 minutes).  The sugar will caramelize; watch carefully to see that it does not burn.

Pour most of whiskey over the meat.  Save about 1/4 cup.  Set it aflame.  When the flame goes out, pour in remaining 1/2 cup beef stock.  Cover the pot and place in the preheated oven.  Braise for 30 minutes.  Turn the meat over, season with the salt and pepper, add the bouquet garni and the prunes with their liquid.  Return to oven and continue to bake for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove the meat to a warm platter, strain the cooking liquid.  Return the liquid to the pot, set over heat, and bring the sauce to a boil, adding the remaining whiskey and stirring to dislodge the sediments.  Mix the cornstarch with a little water and add to the sauce.  Stir to combine and thicken.  Serve the sauce with the meat.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Oven roasted Boston butt

This is a delicious and easy cut of meat to prepare. It also is often on sale at my grocery store. I know that a lot of people don't buy it because it's so big, but the butcher will happily cut it in two, and you can cook one and freeze the other. So here are some ideas, plus some ways to use the leftovers.


1 boston butt 4-6 lbs
Garlic powder
(Italian-Thyme and rosemary and fennel)
(Mexican-cumin, coriander)
(Barbecue- John Wills dry rub or other commercial rub)

Season the meat all over with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add any other herbs and spices that you like. Place meat in a dutch oven and put cover on. I use my Le Crueset oval dutch oven. Put it in the oven on 280 and let roast about 6 hours. Ley cool 30 minutes and slice and serve.

I love to turn this into barbecue sandwiches by reheating with barbecue dry rub and Sticky Fingers Memphis style barbecue sauce.

This also makes great tacos, tostadas, enchiladas.

If mexican is not your thing, chop this up and add it to an Italian tomato sauce and serve with pasta.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Butterscotch blondies from Bon Appetit




  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4tcup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Peanut-Pretzel Caramel

  • 4 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4tcup honey
  • 1/4tcup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2tcup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2t cups 1 1/2'-wide thin twisted pretzels, coarsely crushed
  • Blondie

    • Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking pane with parchment paper, leaving a 1" overhang on long sides of pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Stir butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until browned bits form at bottom of pan 7–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add brown sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat until well combined and mixture resembles wet sand, 2–3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy and well combined, about 2 minutes. Add dry ingredients; beat until smooth (batter will be thick). Using an offset or regular spatula, evenly spread batter in prepared pan.
    • Bake blondie until golden brown, edges pull away from sides of pan, and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20–25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

    Peanut-Pretzel Caramel

    • Prehead oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread peanuts over sheet in an even layer. Bake, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, 5–7 minutes. Set aside.
    • Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring, occassionaly swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until caramel is deep amber, 12–15 minutes. Add honey; return to a boil, stirring often, about 1 minute longer. Add butter; stir until blended. Add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously); whisk until smooth. Stir in peanuts and pretzels. Pour over cooled blondie. Chill until cool, about 30 minutes.
    • Run a knife around short sides of pan to release blondie. Using parchment-paper overhang, lift from pan. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 10 bars. DO AHEAD: Chill for up to 1 week in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Cole slaw

I have lots of variations on cole slaw, but this is the current family favorite. It's best made a few hours ahead.

1 pck thin cut cole slaw
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 tbl white wine vinegar (if you like a less acidic slaw, start with 1 tbl and add more if needed)
2-3 tbl olive oil
2-3 tbl mayo
Tsp sugar
Salt and lots of pepper to taste

Sprinkle slaw with salt, add vinegar, olive oil, mayo and mix together. Taste and add sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.  Allow to sit in fridge for a few hours before serving.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Macaroni and cheese 2

Phillip has never liked my mac and cheese. So, I created this recipe for him. It's delicious.
Serves 4

1/2 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
2 tbl butter
4 tbl flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
dash Worstershire
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
Grated parmesean
Panko bread crumbs
Butter or Pam

Melt butter in a saucepan and add flour. Cook for 3 minutes without browning, stirring constantly. Add milk stirring well. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture boils. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Place in greased oven-proof casserole. Top with panko, parmesean, and dot with butter or spray with Pam. Bake uncovered, at 350 for 30 minutes.

Oven "barbecued" ribs

I made these tonight, and Jim and Phillip loved them. They are super easy, but take a long time to bake. I served them with Macaroni and cheese  and Cole slaw

1 slab spare ribs (I had loin ribs, but I like St Louis style better)
John Wills dry rub or a commercial dry rub
2-3 tbl sugar
Sticky fingers Memphis style barbeque sauce

Turn the slab over and with a sharp knife take off the silver skin on the back of the ribs. Once you get an inch or 2 of it pried up you can pull the whole sheet off in one piece.  Season heavily on both sides with the dry rub and a sprinkling of sugar. Wrap the ribs in heavy duty aluminum foil and bake at 285 for 4 hours. Unwrap the ribs and pour sauce over them. Raise the oven temp to 350 and bake 20 minutes more.  Remove from oven, close up the aluminum foil and let the ribs rest for 5 minutes. Unwrap and cut ribs into serving portions. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Eggs Jeanette from Jacques Pepin

Makes 6 servings

6 large, hard-cooked eggs, peeled

2 tablespoons milk

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (1 tablespoon)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil


2 tablespoons reserved egg yolk mixture (from above)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon water

Pinch of salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil

Cut the eggs in half as you would for deviled eggs. Remove the yolks and push them through a fine strainer or mash them with a fork. Mix the egg yolks with the milk, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. The mixture should be moist and hold together. Stuff the whites with the yolk mixture, reserving approximately 2 tablespoons for the dressing (the egg yolk mixture adds texture to the dressing).

Heat the oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick. When the oil is hot, add the egg halves, stuffed side down, and fry over medium heat for 2 minutes until browned.

Remove the eggs from the skillet and arrange on a platter.


Put all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor. With the motor running, slowly add the oil.

Pour the dressing on top of and around the eggs and serve.