I have another podcast up at Hacker Public Radio.
Now it’s your turn.
A city boy will never learn everything a country boy knows by instinct. A country boy will learn everything a city boy knows in six months.
1 14-oz. pkg. extra firm bean curd, cut into small pieces (approx. 1/2-3/4 inch)
4 oz. (approx.) snow peas, stringed
8 medium mushrooms, quartered
1 stalk celery, sliced (no, not lengthwise)
1 Bell pepper, coarsely chopped (approx. 1/4-1/2 inch)
4 scallions, chopped
Spices of choice to taste. I used approximately
1. Prepare ingredients. Placing them separately in little bowls or saucers makes adding them easier, as they are not added all at once. They will be added in a sequence from slowest to fastest to cook.
2. Hear wok or skillet over medium heat until drops of water quickly bead up and evaporate. Add oil (use an oil that is tolerant of higher cooking temperatures, such as grapeseed or rapeseed–er–canola oil).
3. Add one-third or one-half the spices (see the note in item 4.) and allow to cook for a few seconds while stirring.
4. Add bean curd (note: do not add more than will form just one layer–you may to cook it in shifts). Cook until it starts to brown, then reserve it in a warm oven. Repeat as necessary to finish all the bean curd, refreshing the oil and spices before cooking the each batch.
5. Once the bean curd is done and reserved, refresh the oil and spices, then add the scallions, stirring them for three or four minutes.
6. Add the pepper and celery and cook for three or four minutes.
7. Repeat for the mushrooms, then for the snow peas.
8. Add the bean curd and cook, stirring, until it’s thoroughly reheated. Serve over rice.
*Tofu is nothing more than social-climbing bean curd.
This is a good dish for the holidays. It’s simple and easy and it can be prepared ahead of time and baked when the big dinner arrives.
For the white sauce:
Sauce (this starts with a basic white sauce and then gets interesting–if you can make a white sauce, you can reach the Acme of cooking: be popular; fool your friends):
I have a new toy, and I’ve been learning to use it. It’s very easy to use, as long as it has been properly seasoned.
Last night I made a variation on this recipe, and it was excellent. The recipe below will feed three or four persons, depending on appetites.
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, with strings removed.
5 large mushrooms (or equivalent smaller fungi), sliced.
3 cloves garlic, minced.
5 spring onions, chopped.
1 pound raw shrimp.
1. Heat wok (you can also use a skillet) until water droplets evaporate in about a second.
2. Add about 1 tbs. oil and allow to heat.
3. Sauté shrimp until pink (about five minutes), stirring frequently (after all, it is a “stir-fry”). Reserve shrimp.
4. Saute onions and garlic for about a minute, then add mushrooms and peas and cook until tender, stirring frequently, until done (about five minutes). (You may need a bit more oil.)
5. Add shrimp and enough teriyaki sauce to coat ingredients lightly (about 3 tbs.). Stir to thoroughly reheat shrimp (about one minute). Serve with rice.
Crumpet rings double as excellent egg rings.
Frankly, I think that’s a better use for them than making crumpets.
Spending $1.79 for a set of skewers was worth it.
Cook for about 15 or 20 minutes on the grill on lowest setting, turning once or twice to ensure even cooking. If you wish, brush them with an Italian or Balsamic Vinegar dressing while they cook.
We served them with these grilled zucchinis. The combination was so good that the same menu was called for an encore two days later.
Prep time for the entire menu, less than five minutes, plus another five to grate the lemon zest (see the link)
Nothing could beat my mother’s scalloped potatoes, nor her macaroni and cheese (to call it “mac and cheese” would dishonor it). Neither dish suffered the crime that such dishes usually suffer–to swim in milk, slowly sogging to mush.
I don’t have her recipes for either and I wish I did.
I made these yesterday. They weren’t as good as my mother’s, but they passed the girlfriend test.
It’s an original recipe, but it’s hardly revolutionary.
6 medium white or red russet potatoes (or 3 large Idahos).
Salt, pepper, and paprika (the real thing, Hungarian paprika from Hungary, not the sad Spanish stuff that passes for paprika in your average American spice rack*).
3 tbs. approx. chopped parsley, fresh, if possible.
Enough thin slices of sharp cheddar cheese to cover.
For the sauce:
2 tbs. butter.
2 tbs. flour.
1/2 cp. milk.
1/2 cp. approx. grated sharp cheddar cheese.
1. Boil the potatoes. Let cool.
2. Grease an 8″x8″ casserole.
3. Slice the potatoes and layer them in the casserole. Lightly sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika on each layer. Add the parsley.
4. Prepare the sauce (a basic white sauce with cheese).
5. Pour the sauce over the potatoes. Cover with the cheese slices.
6. Bake in a medium oven (350 Fahrenheits) until the cheese is nicely browned.
This is not a dish that must be served as soon as it’s ready. If it’s ready too early, reduce heat to 175 Fahrenheits until ready to serve. If necessary, you can prepare it in advance and reheat it for serving.
*Yes, there is a difference. When the kids were young, ex and I would fix them celery stalks stuffed with cream cheese and covered with your average run-of-the-mill Spanish paprika. We called the paprika “red sprinkles.” Hungarian paprika has flavor–it would never allow itself to be called “red sprinkles”–it would demand to be recognized.
**Making a white sauce can be tricky. You must catch the boiling milk at just the right point, while avoiding burning the flour. This means browning the flour and boiling the milk simultaneously, one eye on each pan. It is best to place them on adjacent burners to avoid eye strain.
When milk reaches the boiling point, it will rise up in the sauce pan all at once as if it is going to erupt like a volcano. The moment it starts the rise up, pour it into the roux and the sauce will thicken properly. Too soon or too late, and the thickening genie goes right back into the bottle.
British cooking is not known for highness of its cuisine.
When I spent my junior year in England, lo! these many moons ago, I fell in love with Indian restaurants, which were as common there as Chinese restaurants were here. The one strictly English dish I really liked was steak and kidney pie.
Be forewarned: the result is very rich.
1. Cut beef into 1″ cubes. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
2. Cut kidneys similarly.
3. Saute beef in approx. 1/2 the butter. Remove when browned.
4. Saute kidney in the same skillet. Remove when browned.
5. Add remaining butter to the skillet, then add mushrooms. When the mushrooms are limp, add shallots, tarragon, tomatoes, garlic, and wine. Stir in brown sauce and thyme. Bring to a boil, stirring, then simmer for ten minutes or until the meat is tender.
6. Pour the mixture into a 2 1/2 qt. casserole and allow to cool to lukewarm. (I used two 1 1/2 qt. casseroles so I could freeze one.)
7. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, slice the eggs in quarters lengthwise and place them on top of the mixture. Cover with the pie crust, being sure to make a slash so the steam can escape. (My pie crust skills are sorely lacking–the crust broke in a couple of spots.) Brush with beaten egg and water.
8. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for half an hour or until the crust is nicely browned.
Here’s another recipe from Anisha Kaul.
I made this last night. Yummers. I’ve modified the wording in a few spots to make it more colloquial, but otherwise this is her recipe, posted with permission.
Hard-boil the eggs, allow them to cool, shell them, then slice them in half length-wise.
Chop the onion and chilies finely.
Grind the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves, and garlic together to make a fine paste.
Grate the ginger.
Fry the eggs in oil till they get golden brown on both sides. Drain the remaining oil and put the fried eggs aside.
Add chilies and fry them till they turn florescent green. (I used poblano chilies).
Add the paste of spices and the grated Ginger. Fry them for a few seconds.
Add Onions and Salt, and fry till onion gets light brown.
Add meat masala and turmeric powder and for few more seconds.
Place the fried eggs in the curry [yolk side facing up].
Cover and let boil till the curry thickens. Remember you need to boil the curry till it gets somewhat thickened; add additional water if necessary.
Serve hot with boiled rice.
Approximately 20 minutes prep time, 30-45 minutes cooking time.
I used poblano peppers.
We had some left-over barley and used that instead of rice. Just as good.
This is quite spicy. Be prepared.
Here is another recipe from Anisha Kaul.
I had to do some legwork to make this one.
A bottle gourd is also known a calabash. It was quite a hunt to find one (or a reasonable facsimile thereof). I discovered a local Indian market; the lady there did not know the term “bottle gourd,” but she did have something that looked like the one pictured here, which she called an “Indian squash,” so I decided to try it.
I also picked up packages of cumin and mustard seeds, since they are normally found already-ground at American markets, as well as Indian chilis, lime and mango pickles, and meat marsala spices, which one of her other recipes on my to-do list calls for.
This recipe is not firey-hot–it’s more of a slow burn and will make your scalp sweat.
Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, garlic cloves, and green chillies need to be ground together to form a fine paste. Ready-made powders/pastes won’t do. Freshly ground pastes have different tastes.
Bottle gourd and onion need to be chopped finely in tiny pieces.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a non-stick bowl, put in the spice paste and fry till it gets light brown.
Add onions and salt, and fry till Onions get golden brown.
Add bottle gourd and fry til it gets tender (you should be actually able to break a piece with the slight press of the spatula).
Add water such that the bottle gourd gets covered till top. Let it boil on the simmer gas till the curry thickens. Taste the curry, and check for the consistency.
Serve hot with boiled rice.
Prep time is about 20 minutes, primarily because it takes a while to chop up that gourd thingee. Cooking time is about half an hour over a medium heat.
I chopped the garlic and chilis. Next time, I shall mince them.
I diced the bottle gourd to 1/4 to 1/2 inch bits; that seemed to work quite nicely. That was easy part. The hard part of dicing them was getting the little black dots painted in . . . .
I have nothing “non-stick” in my kitchen. I used a cast iron skillet that belonged to my mother. Well-seasoned cast iron is as non-stick as can be, and you don’t have to worry about scratching the surface.
We had enough to serve four, but I think my bottle gourd was on the large size, though it was typical of the ones at the store.
Just to clear up any misconceptions–and an email led me to think I might not have been clear–in my culinary world, “make your scalp sweat” is a compliment. Spicy is good. Bland is bad.
We ate this dish quite happily two days in a row.
This recipe comes from my LQ acquaintance Anisha Kaul and is posted with her permission. Follow the link for her original post.
I asked her to allow me to post it because it is, quite frankly, delicious. as well as authentically Indian, not modified for someone’s concept of the American palate. I shall post more of her recipes as I try them.
She explains that the Hindi name for the dish is Dhuli Moong dal.
Pressure cook the dehulled green gram lentil with salt and turmeric powder till it tenders. (I did not pressure cook the lentils, having given away my little pressure cooker, but boiling per the instructions on the bag worked quite nicely.)
Chop onion, tomato, green chillies as thinly possible and grate fresh ginger.
Fry cumin seeds till they turn a shade darker and add chopped ginger, onion, green chillies.
After the above ingredients turn golden brown, add chopped tomatoes and fry for few more minutes.
Add the above fried ingredients with the remaining powders in the utensil containing the dehulled green gram lentil. (No need to fry the remaining spices).
Let the mixture boil (without cover) for 3 minutes. Making this lentil thicker than usual will increase the taste.
Serve hot with boiled rice.
I used this recipe, doubling the amount of cayenne and sprinkling them with hot Hungarian paprika. I also grated my own block of extra sharp cheddar, rather than getting that shredded newsprinty stuff from the store.
I rather surprised myself. I did not eat them all the first day.
I’ve been experimenting with bread lately, having fun making olive bread, asiago cheese bread, and other variants.
Here’s my basic bread recipe.
Warm water: Use approximately 3/4 to one cup per loaf desired.
Yeast (for lighter bread, use two packets).
Salt. I usually use about 1/4 teaspoon.
Sweetener (to feed the yeast): Cane sugar or brown sugar. Depending on the desired sweetness, use one to two tablespoons per loaf; use more brown sugar than you would white sugar.
Flour: Unbleached white flour with either white whole wheat flour (it’s made from a different strain of wheat from the whole wheat flour we are used to) or rye flour.
Honey wheat bread: Substitute 1/4 to 1/2 cup honey per loaf for the sugar before adding the flour.
Olive bread: About 3/8 cup or more chopped or sliced green olives or “salad” olives plus the juice before adding the flour. (I save olive jars when the olives are gone so I can use the juice); supplement with black olive slices if desired. Pimento-stuffed olives are fine.
Asiago bread: About 1/2 cup or more shredded cheese per loaf before adding the flour. May substitute or blend grated Romano and Parmesan (avoid the pulverized kind that comes in a shaker).
Garlic bread: About three to four tablespoons of minced garlic per loaf. Avoid the hard, dried minced garlic from your spice rack; prefer the minced garlic that comes in a tube or jar; supplement with garlic powder for extra oomf. Alternately, peel and sauté one bunch of garlic, cutting the cloves into large chunks, and mince and sauté one clove per loaf in butter or olive oil and add the whole mixture, including butter or oil, before adding the flour.
Onion bread: About a quarter cup of onion flakes per loaf before adding the flour; supplement with onion powder. May also used fresh chopped sautéed onions.
Because everyone needs a break from time to time.
I will spend today enjoying homemade bagels from this recipe.
This is what they looked like on their way into the oven.
I ad libbed: two sesame as called for in the recipe, two onion, two garlic, one salt. And one too big because it’s the first time I tried the recipe.
From the top left, clockwise: Plain, honey, garlic, olive, Italian cheese (asagio, romano, parmesan).
I started with this recipe and quickly left it behind.
I filled a large mixing bowl slightly more than half full of warm water and proofed the yeast.
I mixed in half a handful of light brown sugar, some salt, and an egg, then added flour (about 50-50 unbleached and whole wheat) until the mixture would absorb no more. Once you bake your first successful loaf of bread, you can feel when the dough is ready.
After the first rise, I separated the dough into five parts and kneaded in the stuff listed above–grated cheese, that minced garlic stuff that comes in a jar since I didn’t have any fresh garlic, chopped olives, and honey. I formed each part into a loaf and let them rise again.
The taste tests have so far been successful. The cheese loaf nearly did not survive last night’s supper.
No, I didn’t measure anything. Measuring is for the first time you make something.
For the olive, garlic, and honey loaves, I had to add some more flour as I kneaded the loaves to counteract the additional moisture from the added ingredients.
I won’t be taking them up on the gardening tips.
My Daddy used to pay me 35 cents an hour to pull weeds in the soybean field.
In the South.
Yeah, I know it’s the Upper South, but it’s still the South.
I know that some persons look at a garden and see recreation, relaxation, and creativity; all I see is (Maynerd G. Krebs voice) work.
Groceries are what supermarkets are for.
Check out this recipe.
Farm Fresh, here I come.
Aye, there’s the rub:
1. Marinate chops in dry sherry or dry red wine.
2. Coat chops thickly with rub, pressing it in.
3. Grill to medium or medium well over medium fire.
10 minutes on the grill at 425 Fahrenheits:
Add lemon butter, jalapeno corn bread, and Hungarian cucumber salad.
I got them at Taste at their summer fresh food stand.
A very simple recipe which, when served, tastes very special. I worked it up tonight and was very gratified by how it was received.
1. Marinate chops in sherry, turning at least once.
2. Combine spices to make a dry rub. Approx. 30 mins. before cooking, rub chops well with spices.
3. Grill to medium or medium rare, either on a grill at lower heat or under a broiler. A grill is preferable because you can lower the heat, whereas a broiler in a stove is all-or-nothing.
Serve with sweet corn grilled in the shucks.
A dry red wine would also work for the marinade. I keep sherry around because it can be used in place of either red or white wine and the full flavor of sherry goes well with the rich flavor of lamb. (Do not marinate with anything you aren’t willing to drink–straight. If you won’t drink it, don’t cook with it.)
Increase ingredients proportionately for larger quantities. You want to enough rub to cover the chops well on both sides.
The rub would also work well with a roast, such as leg of lamb.
Other spices can be added. Thyme and marjoram should work well, Rosemary, which is traditionally associated with lamb, would probably conflict with the dill.
This is a derived from an old camping recipe I read somewhere.
Fish (catfish, cod, or similar fish are best; fillets are easiest)
Note: The quantity of vegetables depends on the amount of fish. See step 4 below.
1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
2. Slice vegetables. For the onion, thin wedges work best.
3. Pull enough aluminum foil to wrap seal in the fish and other ingredients. Brush the aluminum foil with olive oil.
4. Layer the vegetable slices on the foil, then lay the fish on them, then layer more vegetables on top of the fish. Sprinkle with pepper, parsley, and anything else that sounds good. (Salt is not necessary for ocean fish. They come already salted.)
5. Seal the foil tightly around the fish and vegetable mixture and place it on the grill until done (depending on the grill, 30 to 45 minutes).
Goes well with asparagus roasted with olive oil and garlic, which can be cooked on the same grill.
For a charcoal grill or campfire, place directly in embers and cover with the embers. Cooking time will be reduced.
Any vegetable that can be sliced thin and still maintain some, such as zucchini, and be added to the ingredients.