Because the good ones should all be written down in as many places as possible. :-) I keep coming back to these.
SMOTHERED CABBAGE AND KIELBASA
Like many of our favorites, this is something we tried out of the newspaper. The juice seems to trickle down the throat directly into one’s bone marrow.
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1.5 pounds smoked kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 small head cabbage (about 2 pounds), chopped or shredded
1.5 cups water
1 chicken bouillon cube (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 squeeze of fresh lemon juice
2 pounds yellow-fleshed or russet potatoes
half cup of milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the kielbasa and sauté until browned, 3 to 5 minutes; remove and set aside.
Add the onion (if there’s more than a couple tablespoons of fat, pour some off); cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, fragrant and starting to brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the onions and set aside with the sausage.
Add the cabbage, water and bouillon cube to the pot, season to taste with salt and some crushed red pepper flakes and toss to mix. Simmer, covered partially, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender.
Fold in the onions and kielbasa. Scoop out 4 cups of the mixture and reserve for meal No. 2, then simmer the remaining stew another minute or so to reheat. Add a squeeze of lemon just before serving.
I first ran across this Ghanaian recipe in the book A Taste Of Africa, by Dorinda Hafner. They were having a sale of it on a table in (I think) Import Plaza (?), and I saw her smile on the cover, and you buy a cookbook from a cook who is smiling like that. You just do. I always recommend the book, but in truth I’ve only ever tried the one recipe out of it, Okro Stew on page 20… or rather my customization of it because I couldn’t find all the precise ingredients. The substitutions worked… God it’s good!!!! :o)
Here’s the recipe:
400 g (13 0z.) okra
300 mL (1/2 pt.) vegetable oil, pref. palm oil or if not then stir 10 g. (2 teaspoons) of turmeric in with the oil
3-4 medium onions, finely chopped
2 medium eggplants, peeled and finely diced
50 g. ( 1 1/2 oz.) root ginger, grated
1-4 red chillies (hot peppers), finely chopped (optional)
4 large ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled and mashed or 200 g, (6 1/2 oz.) canned tomatoes, mashed
150 g ( 5 oz.) dried prawns or shrimp
30 g. (I oz) of salted dried fish, any
150 g (5 oz.) of diced smoked ham
Optional: small piece of cured salted beef?
Slice okra into thin rounds about 1/2 in. in diameter. Have everything ready to go, diced/chopped, etc. before starting.
In large heavy saucepan, fry onions in oil until they are light brown. Stirring all the time, with 3 minutes simmering time between each, add okra, eggplants, ginger, chillies, and mashed tomato in that order. Careful, may burn, so stir constantly throughout.
Simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Add the meat/shrimp/fish etc. Simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.
My own substitutions/comments:
I couldn’t find dried prawns so I substituted 3 times the weight in frozen shrimp/prawns.
Be careful, the turmeric/oil mix will stain Formica bright yellow; I found out by experiment. This can be troublesome (you can leave the turmeric out if you want, it’s just for looks).
Once in a crazed mood I substituted chopped apples for the chopped eggplant, volume for volume; it was nice, just sweeter.
I’d recommend treating the chillies as non-optional the first time and then seeing if you want to keep them in future; the flavors blend well.
I’ve still never tried it with the salted dried fish, though I want to. … Dang, I’m drooling.
A baked Pearl yam is great on the side.
GREEN TOMATO AND BACON SPAGHETTI
This tastes good cold but tastes ESPECIALLY good hot and fresh. We got this out of The Oregonian a few years back; what follows is as pasted in from there. (Feel free to experiment with increasing the ratio of sauce/cheese to pasta. We have; however, we love the original version too.)
This quick, anytime pasta dish works well for a quick weekday supper or for late evening dining. Freshly grated cheese creates a creamy sauce when combined with the pasta water. Crispy bacon, sweet tomatoes and vibrant parsley accent the warm, white spaghetti strands. Always serve pasta on warmed plates. (We’ve never done that last bit. Who coordinates specially warmed plates?! - Alex)
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound green tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine (or just a good white anyway - who knows, at sight at the supermarket, what’s dry and what isn’t? It’s not like the tiny print on the labels usually mentions it. Don’t worry about that. When I don’t have “three-buck Chuck” I’ve used Yellow Tail pinot grigio and felt very happy about everything. - Alex)
2 tablespoons minced pepperoncini
1/2 pound cappelini pasta (or angel hair pasta… the thin spaghetti anyhow. - Alex)
2/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain and reserve 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Add the olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 60 seconds.
Raise the heat to medium high. Add the tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften and start to turn golden brown, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and pepperoncini and cook until the some of the liquid evaporates and the tomatoes are a bit saucy.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta.
Put the drained pasta back into the pot and add the cooked tomatoes, cheese, 1/2 cup parsley and cooked bacon. Toss until combined, adding reserved pasta water to moisten, if necessary. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper.
BO SSAM (from Momofuku restaurant)
This Korean recipe is a new keeper, from another newspaper this time, the New York Times. It’s really simple.
Of the actual “accompaniments” listed, we only did the kim chi, and otherwise we just made (some excellent, sushi-grade) white rice to have it with.
BUT DEFINITELY DO BOTH THE GINGER-SCALLION SAUCE AND THE SSAM SAUCE, AND HAVE THOSE ON THE MEAT AND THE RICE!!! :) :) :) They are… they have no RIGHT to be that good with it.
(EDIT: I found out later that the idea behind the lettuce is that you tear off bits of the pork and hold them with the lettuce leaves.)
INGREDIENTS, in multiple sections:
PORK BUTT: (Not the butt really - the “butt” is an old Germanic word meaning the widest part of the pig, which is the shoulder. This has come up once already in recommending this recipe to Angie in Australia; in online discussion of this recipe I saw indications that the term may be unfamiliar to butchers in Australia. So, if you’re in Australia, tell the butcher you need the shoulder, where the blade is.) (The recipe also says you can use the “picnic ham” - that being, not the real ham, but the area just below the shoulder… and I’m out of guidance. -grins-)
1 whole bone-in pork butt or picnic ham (8 to 10 pounds)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons brown sugar
2½ cups thinly sliced scallions, both green and white parts
½ cup peeled, minced fresh ginger
¼ cup neutral oil (like grapeseed)
1½ teaspoons light soy sauce
1 scant teaspoon sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons fermented bean-and- chili paste (ssamjang, available in many Asian markets, and online)
1 tablespoon chili paste (kochujang, available in many Asian markets, and online)
½ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup neutral oil (like grapeseed)
2 cups plain white rice, cooked
3 heads bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
1 dozen or more fresh oysters (optional)
Kimchi (available in many Asian markets, and online)
Place the pork in a large, shallow bowl. Mix the white sugar and 1 cup of the salt together in another bowl, then rub the mixture all over the meat. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, heat oven to 300. Remove pork from refrigerator and discard any juices. Place the pork in a roasting pan and set in the oven and cook for approximately 6 hours, or until it collapses, yielding easily to the tines of a fork. (After the first hour, baste hourly with pan juices.) At this point, you may remove the meat from the oven and allow it to rest for up to an hour.
Meanwhile, make the ginger-scallion sauce. In a large bowl, combine the scallions with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and taste, adding salt if needed.
Make the ssam sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the chili pastes with the vinegar and oil, and mix well.
Prepare rice, wash lettuce and, if using, shuck the oysters. Put kimchi and sauces into serving bowls.
When your accompaniments are prepared and you are ready to serve the food, turn oven to 500. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining tablespoon of salt with the brown sugar. Rub this mixture all over the cooked pork. Place in oven for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, or until a dark caramel crust has developed on the meat. Serve hot, with the accompaniments.
BLACK BEAN SOUP
A recipe printed in The Oregonian that is the best black bean soup recipe I’ve found. The following is the original text by Joan Harvey.
Be sure and get real, small, black turtle beans, not ones that are labeled “black beans” but are just dyed red beans (how do they get away with that?). I usually find the authentic ones in the bulk foods section.
Do not soak the beans overnight or pre-cook them for this recipe; the long, slow simmering takes care of them quite well.
This makes a lot of soup, about 12 servings, but you’ll be wise not to reduce it, because it is so good the next day.
3/4 pound slab bacon, with rind
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cups finely chopped carrots
2 cups finely chopped celery
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons cup ground cumin
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 quarts chicken stock
1 pound dried, black turtle beans
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Sour cream, for garnish
Remove the rind from the bacon and save it. Chop the bacon in 1/4-inch cubes. In a large soup pot, cook the cubes and the rind over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and brown and most of the fat is rendered.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, pepper, oregano, thyme and cumin and cook briefly, about five minutes, stirring often. Stir in the tomato paste, then the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, pick over the black beans to remove any debris, and then rinse them in cold water, allowing them to drain completely.
Lower the heat and add the beans and bay leaves. Simmer (don’t let it boil) for two to three hours uncovered, stirring occasionally. You’ll have to remove a couple times the yucky scum that will form on top. The beans should be just barely soft but not mushy.
Remove the rind and the bay leaves. Stir in the lime juice, chipotle powder and half the cilantro. Taste and add salt. Serve from a large soup tureen with the sour cream and remaining cilantro on the side or serve in individual soup bowls with the sour cream and cilantro on top.
When I first started making this, I served it from a large, hollowed-out pumpkin.
Cut down on the cumin and add about a half cup of sherry at the end.
Add large pieces of cooked duck leg and breast at the end.
I’ve substituted other forms of pork and even sausage, but prefer the bacon cubes.
OUR SPECTACULAR MEAT LOAF
I have yet to get tired of eating up the heated leftovers from this - and they rarely last long. :) This is our modification of an Adelle Davis recipe.
1.25 cups fresh milk
5 slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons fresh basil
a dash (1/8 teaspoon) of black pepper
12 (yes, twelve) cloves of minced garlic
quarter cup of wheat germ
5 pounds of ground beef (ideal is 12-15% fat)
3 cups of finely chopped or foodprocessed sweet peppers
3 cups finely grated carrots (grated specifically)
5 shredded/finely chopped/foodprocessed onions
5 tablespoons ketchup
(Choosing between fine knife-chopping and foodprocessing the onions and peppers gives a range of texture options. Up to you.)
Mix the above ingredients completely. Using your hands works best.
Form loaf in a large baking dish. (Ours is 10 inches by 15 inches, Pyrex glass.) The loaf should be flat on top, and try to keep some space in the dish all the way around the loaf in which gravy can collect. It’s a balancing act.
When loaf is formed, cover top of loaf with more ketchup. Then lay strips of bacon on top, across width, enough strips to cover the entire loaf.
Preheat oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake for approx. 2 hours, until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The gravy is lovely to put on baked potatoes on the side (along with butter/margarine and sour cream as usual).
Possible/optional modification: Adding one hot pepper (jalapeno, etc.), or probably part of one (depending on heat), to the finely chopped sweet peppers can add a nice faint back-of-the-mouth glow. Go cautiously, though.
MY AUNT BETTY’S FANCY TURKEY STUFFING
We’re never going to try another stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving. It’s that good.
2 boxes of wild/white rice mix
2 1/2 packages seasoned or unseasoned stuffing mix (pref. Stove Top Cornbread without seasoning)
2 onions, chopped
4+ celery stalks and leaves, chopped
1+ (potentially to infinity) cloves minced garlic
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 cup dried cranberries
2 chopped apples
1 cup chopped pistachios
chicken stock (1 can)
5 grams (0.2 ounces) dried tarragon
(The sherry is just for soaking the cranberries in before you start; it will not otherwise be an ingredient, except conceivably for keeping the chef good-humored.)
You’ll have some shelling of pistachios to have done beforehand, in front of the TV or whatnot. Don’t forget this and be surprised.
First, soak the cranberries in the sherry.
Cook the rice mix in the chicken stock with the bay leaves.
Saute all of the ingredients except the rice and the stuffing mix. As a last step, put some wine in the pan and let it cook together a little.
Add all ingredients to the stuffing mix.
Stuff the turkey loosely. Keep the remaining dressing as a side dish.
SOUTHWESTERN CORN PUDDING
From the cookbook Veganomicon. This instantly became a household staple.
2 tablespoons corn oil
4 cups fresh corn (about 6 ears)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped finely
2 jalapenos, chopped finely
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 cup finely chopped scallions
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan or casserole dish. A cast-iron pan would work here too (in fact, to cut down on dishes, you can saute the corn in a cast-iron pan and later use it to bake the batter).
Saute the corn, bell pepper, and jalapenos in a large skillet for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally; the corn should be very lightly browned. Meanwhile, stir together the cornstarch and coconut milk until the cornstarch has mostly dissolved.
When the corn and peppers are ready, transfer 2 cups of them to a blender or food processor. Add the coconut milk and cornstarch mixture, and pulse about twenty times, until the mixture is mostly pureed but not completely smooth.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl and mix with the remaining corn, cornmeal, maple syrup, scallions, cilantro, salt, and cayenne.
Pour the batter into a baking dish (or your cast-iron pan) and bake for 40 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and stirring.
PLUM PIE RECIPE
First I should say that using extraordinarily ripe, bursting, dangerous-to-pick climax-moment plums has worked out EXTREMELY well for me. I say this because I’ve seen a couple of things elsewhere that said that that’s not good/too late for pie fruit and that using less-ripe plums is the thing; I think that advice was just a matter of making a virtue out of usual necessity that then went a little overboard. If how the fruit tastes fresh makes you go weak in the knees, I think it’s worth finding out what that flavor is going to do when carried into a pie.
We went out and picked a bunch of plums when they were practically exploding into purple juice in our hands.
So I picked a recipe off the web and then customized it, ending up with this:
4 cups sliced plums
From 0 to 1/4 cup sugar (Original was 1/2 cup. Cutting the filling’s sugar by at least half or more has improved the taste of every fruit pie recipe I’ve tried it on so far. What’s gonna happen? It’s a fruit.)
1/4 cup tapioca, possibly slightly more
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie pastry
1 unbaked 9-inch pie pastry to go over the top
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons cold butter
In bowl, combine first 6 ingredients; pour into pastry shell.
For topping, combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg in a bowl.
Dice/cut the butter into the topping bowl, stirring up gently with spoon, until it’s coarse, or until fed to the teeth with this step.
Roll the second crust over the top of the pie; crimp. Doubt yourself about quality of crimping. Perfunctorily mess with folding excess back up and recrimping before giving up on it and trimming excess around pie plate edges.
Sprinkle the topping over the top of the pie. Fret about resulting distribution of topping; poke at it purposelessly. When exhausted from fretting, cut vents in top of pie in radial pattern.
Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.
It’s a good idea to line a big pan with aluminum foil and place it on the oven rack beneath the pie; drippage is virtually certain. See, you were right about the crimping.
Take out of oven and let sit for a couple/few hours.
Last updated May 26, 2016