Tag Archives: recipe

Happy Birthday, Pappa!

June 18th was Father’s Day in 1933.

It was also the day my father was born, which made a certain amount of sense when I was little  –  why wouldn’t fathers be born on Father’s Day?  (My mother was christened that same day in Italy, which is the start of the connections between the two of them…..)

And he  LOVED Chinese food.

chinese-take-outLike blue eyes and curly hair (what was left of it) this was such a fundamental part of who he was and what he did,  that I never asked, nor do I remember anyone else ever once asking,

“Chinese food? What is about Chinese food, Bill? Why Chinese food? How does an Irish boy learn about Chinese food”

Good questions…wish I’d thought of them sooner. Not only was  Chinese food the treat of treats, it brought him into the kitchen after he retired.

He had a wok.

Serious Wok action. This was the attitude, if not the reality.

Serious Wok action. This was the attitude, if not the reality of the ancestral home cooktop.

For a very long time, perhaps as far back as the ’70’s, a paperback copy of  “The Pleasures of Chinese Cooking” by Madame Grace Zia Chu has been kicking around .Chinese Cooking larger

Several recipes have markers….but the basic of the basics is Fried Rice.

HAM FRIED RICE

2 Tablespoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon sugar

2 eggs

4 tablespoons peanut or corn oil, divided

¼ cup scallions cut into ¼ inch pieces

4 cups cold boiled rice

½ cup diced cooked ham

  1. Mix the soy sauce with the sugar. Set aside.
  2. Beat the eggs and scramble them slightly in 1 Tablespoon of the oil. Set aside.
  3. In a heavy frying pan or a wok heat 3 tablespoons of oil over high heat.
  4. Add scallions and stir a few times
  5. Add rice and stir quickly so that rice won’t stick to the pan and will be well coated with the oil
  6. Add the soy sauce/sugar mix, stir well.
  7. Add the ham and the slightly scrambled egg, mixing and breaking the eggs into little pieces in the rice.
  8. Serve hot.

NOTES: The rice needs to be THOROUGHLY cold or all you’ll get is a sticky mess. Madame Chu’s note and my experience. Brown rice may be used for a more hippie version, just be sure that the rice is cooked thoroughly.

Cooked chicken or beef may be substituted for the ham.

The original recipe does not call for a wok, but I think they’re a little more common now, so if you got one, go ahead and use it.

The original calls for ¼ teaspoon MSG, which I stopped using years, make that decades, ago. If that departure from the recipe makes it Irish/Chinese fusion, so be it. Call the Food Police. Guilty as charged.

Serves 4.

Grace Zia Chu. The Pleasures of Chinese Cooking. Pocket Books, March 1969. p.51.

Fried_rice

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Filed under Birthday, Books, Irish, Perception ways, The 1970's

Cookies, eaten like grapes

header –Snail, Fruit, Nuts, Grapes, and Pinecones by Giovan Battista Ruoppolo, 2nd half 17th century. 

I was thinking about shortbread, a cookie I used to make, and then having made it for two years, it HAD to be made because we

ALWAYS

had it. Until it didn’t get made for a year or two, because new cookies joined the fray….I mean

TRAY

cookie_tray

According to Wikipedia, this is an American Christmas Cookie Tray.

I found a shortbread recipe….or four….or six…..some have splatters and some do not….from the many shortbread years. This will not be a shortbread year. Maybe next year.

I also found a recipe from my cousin Flora. She e-mailed it in 2006. This is her version, with some notes from me. I re-wrote the recipe in 2008, so I had made it several times by then. An easy add to the Holiday Tray.

RICOTTA COOKIES

Blend until creamy:

1 stick ROOM TEMPERATURE butter

1/4 cup ricotta (I actually put in about 1/3 cup)

Add and mix well

1 cup sugar

1 egg

Slowly stir in:

2 cups SIFTED flour (this is less than 2 cups flour sifted)

1/2 tsp baking soda (note from me – baking soda and baking powder are not the same thing, and aren’t really interchangeable. Don’t ask me how I know this, but I do, I REALLY do!)

1/2 tsp salt (note from me – don’t leave out the salt – it activate the soda to leaven)

Drop batter from a tsp onto a greased baking sheet. (I use RELEASE which I think is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I TOTALLY agree!)

Bake in the upper half of oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Tops will be white but bottoms will be brown. Makes 36 cookies. Cool and glaze. Store in a covered container and they will last for a couple of weeks (you won’t get to this point because they will be eaten like grapes).

Glaze: 2 cups sifted confectionery sugar

3 tbls orange juice or whatever flavoring you choose

sprinkles if you have them

Blend well (NOTE: the sprinkles go one the cookies after they have been glazed – don’t add the sprinkles to the glaze)

Bon Appetito!

forte-luca-still-life-with-grapes-1630s-copper-gettyStill Life with Grapes and Other Fruits by Luca Forte, Getty Center, 1630s

“eaten like grapes”

roses_boutons_fr_2012

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Filed under Christmas

Comfort Food

What makes comfort food COMFORTING is that it’s big, and fast and easy and pulls no punches. And possibly takes you back to childhood, even one that wasn’t quite yours….so when someone from Minnesota mentioned missing Tator Tot Hotdish…..we were skeptics, but the Tater Tots….the tater tots…..so when she brought it in to share (this is a sharing dish), she had to write up the recipe.

tatertots

Tots, taters, potato goodness, potato rounds, potato puffs, tater puffs, Mexi-Fries

Here it is:

 

Minnesota Tator Tot Hotdish

1 lb. ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cans cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup

14 or 16 oz bag of frozen vegetables (I use peas/corn/carrots/bean mix)

1 lb bag frozen tator tots

2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350°

Brown beef and onion together on stove

Mix in the soup and vegetables

Spread mixture into a 9×13 pan

Arrange a layer of tots on top of mixture

Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes, or until tots are golden brown

Sprinkle cheese on top, and bake again until the cheese is melted and the mixture is bubbly

Erin Gillette, 2015

Want more hotdish the Minnesota way? Click here

hotdish

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Filed under Recipe, Supper, winter

National Indian Pudding Day!

mug_indian_pudding_day

If there’s a mug, it MUST be a real holiday!

 

The ‘Indian’ in Indian Pudding is cornmeal – or Indian Meal

cornmeal-wiki

The not-so pretty color of Indian Pudding is the molasses that sweetens it

molassesgrandmas_orig_12oz_400x400

 

Many recipes call for sugar, too…add or not as your choice.

With the added spices it tastes a lot like gingerbread…

Ice cream on top is never a bad thing. In Charlemont MA there was a little place serving Indian Pudding with Pumpkin Ice Cream – genius!

One of the worse – and I do mean totally dreadful Indian Pudding recipes I have ever seen called for

  • a box of corn muffin mix
  • a box of instant butterscotch pudding

Do I need to say any more???????

Sure, pour milk over it and set it in a slow cooker for a couple of hours and it’ll sorta look like IP – but what about the

TASTE?

jiffycorn_muffin_mix

The corn muffins of my youth. Add blueberries or cranberries or just serve warm with butter and honey.

And now a link for a recipe…..

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

 

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Filed under Autumn, New England

Crantart

Fen grapes, marish worts, mosse-berries, moore-berries, fenberries, bearberries, croneberry, cramberries…..how many nick names can one little bouncing berry have?

cranberries

Whatever else they’ve been called, they’re all still cranberries. In 1672 John Josslyn suggests:

“Some make Tarts with them as with Goose Berries.”

gooseberry-330px-stachelbeeren

Gooseberries

stachelbeere_ribes_uva-crispa1

Red Gooseberries

Cranberry Tart – Precedence and Persistence

“Tartes of Gooseberries.

Lay your gooseberries in your crust, and put to them cinnamon and ginger,

sugar and a few small raisins put among them and cover them with a

cover.”

A Booke of Cookery with the Serving of the Table; A.W.; 1591;

page 28

Berries, cinnamon, ginger, sugar and small raisins between pastry. Bake is implied. Easy.

And somewhat familiar…..

CRANBERRY – RAISIN PIE

3 C raw cranberries

1 C raisins

1 ¼ C sugar

2 Tbsp. flour

¼ tsp salt

¾ C water

1 ½ tsp vanilla*

Pastry for a 2 crust 9 inch

Put the cranberries and raisins through food grinder.Place in saucepan and add all ingredients except vanilla.Cook over low heat until thick, and cranberries are cooked. Add vanilla and place in pie shell. Bake until crust is done. Dots of butter and nutmeats may be added on

– Florence H. Angley. A Book of Favorite Recipes. complied by the Ladies Solidarity of St. Joseph the Worker Church Hanson, Mass..1968. p. 52.

This is sometimes called Mock Cherry Pie.

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Filed under New England, Pie, The 17th century, The 1960"s

Lust for Life

If you’ve been paying the least little bit of attention, you might have noticed I’m quite taken by the work of Vincent Van Gogh

Lust-for-Life-Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Self-Portrait_-_Google_Art_Project_454045-1887

Self portrait 1887

I’m also very fond of Kirk Douglas….

kd-favorite

That’s no whale of tale, I swear on my tattoo….20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

SOOOOOO

Kirk Douglas AS Vincent Van Gogh….

total fave

lust for life08-kirk-douglas

Lust for Life

I also loved the book

 

lust for ife pb

I posted Van Gogh’s Potatoes recently…and then I found a celebrity recipe site – really, there IS such a thing – and there was Kirk Douglas with a potato recipe.

Kirk Douglas’ Nutmeg Mashed Potatoes

4 large potatoes
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, or to taste
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 cup sour cream

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender and split open, about 20 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to pot.

Mash potatoes with butter, nutmeg, and salt using a potato masher until well incorporated; stir in sour cream and whip until mashed potatoes are creamy.

Classic Celebrity Recipes

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National Cheese Pizza Day

…was September 5th – I can’t believe I missed it!

But wordpress was too busy publishing what I was trying to schedule, so the docket was pretty full that day, anyhow.

 

FNM_100116-Sicilian-Pizza-Cake_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni18col

Sicilian Pizza Cake FoodNetwork Magazine October 2016

A CAKE that looks like a pizza…and pretty convincing, too

Might I make a few changes….

  1. Pizza is a PIE, not a cake

so – change out the cake mix for Pasta Frollo (sweet, short crust)

2.  then – instead of strawberry preserves, why not some sweet tomato jam – here’s a recipe – I’d leave out the hot pepper – or not….

Tomato Jam

The top with Marscapone cheese

marscopone NEC

New England Cheesemaking Supply Company if you want to make your own

and then white chocolate shavings as the grated cheese…

white-chocolate-curls2

FoodNetwork Magazine adds fruit leather pepperoni….but pepperoni has never been my number one pizza, and it IS

National Cheese Pizza Day.

National Pepperoni Pizza Day is February 9th.

 

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People, people who need pudding….

National Indian Pudding Day isn’t until November, but Indian Pudding was in the headlines recently…

with Barbra Streisand

streisand Paul Marotta wireimages for BSB

Paul Marotto Wireimages for BSB

Who was in Boston to sing……

(review of her show here )

and nosh…..

But one thing Babs said really caught everyone’s attention: she said in one of her first visits to Boston, she went to Durgin-Park and ate Indian Pudding. But then just recently, she said, when she asked about Durgin-Park, she was told it was closed!

We’re not sure who Babs was talking to, but clearly they provided her with wrong information. Durgin-Park is still open for business, and after Streisand’s concert, the restaurant was deluged with phone calls the next morning.

“Were not closed, we’re still open,” said Petya Petkova, one of Durgin-Park’s managers.

Globe Story

indian_puddingdurgin park

So this is Durgin-Park’s

Baked Indian Pudding recipe

in case they ever do close. They have been serving Indian Pudding since 1827 when they opened.

Barbra – save this recipe!

Here’s a slightly different version:

Indian Pudding

and another:

An Ode to Durgin Park’s Indian Pudding

 

Ipforbes closeup

Durgin-Park Indian Pudding with ice cream

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Filed under Autumn, New England, Recipe

Cherries, Take Two

Take some cherry tomatoes

Tomates_cerises_Luc_Viatour(1)

Add some fresh mozzarella  –ciliegini – little cherry size

mozzerella, fresh

 

With basil and  a little olive oil …a lovely summer salad. Serve with Scali bread to mop up the juices..

scali bread

If you can’t find Scali bread, here’s a link on how to make some : http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2008/03/26/for-the-love-of-scali-bread/

The next night…

Take what’s left of the tomato and cheese, which has been marinating in balsamic vinegar all night…..drool….And add to hot pasta

Practically instant, low cook supper.

 

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Filed under Bread, Eating, Recipe, Summer, Supper

Birthday Cake!

Today is someone’s birthday….

Well, that’s true about every day, but today it’s someone close to me….

Jacob and me

and much, much taller then he was twenty five years ago!

I found the recipe I used for his fifth birthday, so it seemed time to use it again.

First, get out the trusty 9×13 pan

13x9-pan nordicware bake and store

one with a lid…and get to work.

Chocolate Birthday Cake

2 eggs

1 ½ cups firm packed brown sugar

2 oz (2 squares) unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

2 cups sifted cake flour (like I had a 5 year old and cake flour in the house at the same time – HA!)

1 t. baking soda

½ t. salt

¼ C white vinegar

¾ C milk

1 t vanilla extract

½ C butter, softened

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Have all the ingredients at room temp
  3. Butter and flour a 13x9x2-inch pan.*(I used a pan that has its own travel lid.)
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt (the Drys)
  5. Separately, combine vinegar, milk and vanilla (the Wets)
  6. In a big, deep bowl beat together eggs, brown sugar and chocolate (3 minutes by hand – 1 minute with an electric Mixer)
  7. Into the big, deep add the drys and half the wets.
  8. Beat 3 minutes by hand and or 1 minute electric.
  9. Add the rest of the wets and beat for another minute.
  10. Pour into the prepared pan.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes or until it shrinks from the sides of the pan and tests done.
  12. Cool completely and frost.

*or 2 8-inch layer cake pans

– Adapted from ‘3-Minute Fudge Cake’ in Nika Hazelton. From Nika Hazelton’s Kitchen. Viking Penguin. 1985. p. 298.

from-nika-hazeltons-kitchen

And don’t forget the candles – and some matches….

Birthday-Cakecandles closeup

Happy Birthday!

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Filed under 1990's, Birthday, Cake, Holiday, Recipe, Summer