The Recipes

Recipes found here; in order-
Ratatoille! 
The Gumbo link
Quiche Me Dahling link
Cheddar, Apple, Ale Soup
Cassoulet
Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Mojito Chicken Fried Rice
Gazpacho
Best Cake Doughnuts
Basic Granola
Great Spaghetti Sauce
Basic White Bread
Snack Crackers Your Way
Great Popcorn & Kettle Corn
Aunt Mary's Bourbon Slushy
Fried Green Tomatoes
Turkey Mole Tamales


The recipes that I will have here have been collected over many years from many sources.  When possible, I will list the source and any other history I have on it.  Please trust me that I would not put them here if I did not think they are wonderful.  As I get more posted I will work up a way hopefully of categorizing.  Till then I will list them according to what they are.  

Ratatouille! (Featured in Happy Summer! Ratatouille) 

If you are not familiar with the dish it is a French Provencal dish that began a long long time ago.  Touiller mean to shake or toss food well.   So, while I have seen recipes where the ingredients are layered and look lovely, reminiscent of Remy's concoction in the Pixar film Ratatouille, my recipe that follows is not one of those.  As long as this dish has been around, I seriously doubt that the peasants who created it, fussed that much either.  Don't get me wrong -it is a labor of love, but other than simple chopping of veggies, and allowing 3-4 hours for creating, it need not be a soul wrenching endeavor.

This recipe makes about 6 quarts.  So, put some in the freezer to enjoy in the winter when you need
a French Provencal pick me up; or give a quart or so to the neighbor and make friends for life.

You will need the following:

2 pounds of Eggplant
2 pounds of Tomatoes peeled, (or you can use 2  -16 oz. cans of diced tomatoes)
2 pounds of onions (they can be mixed- I use sweet and red)
2 pounds of peppers- green, red, yellow, orange or whatever color strikes your fancy
2 pounds of zucchini and yellow squash - 2 of each.
1/4- 1/2cup of extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste- more in a bit on this
2 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4-6 cloves of garlic minced

Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Before going forward let me add that this is a forgiving dish, meaning that you can't go wrong.
I have made it for several years, and even though I am a meat lover, with this dish, I always entertain the thought of becoming vegetarian.

First wash and chop eggplant into 3/4" chunks; place in large collander and toss with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt.  Let set an hour.  After this hour,  rinse and place eggplant on baking sheet. Bake at 425 F for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes turn off oven and let eggplant rest in over till time to add to dish.

During the time where the eggplant is in the salt, or oven, go ahead with the rest of the dish.

Chop onions.  In a 6qt pot, heat 2 TBL of EVOO ; once warm (medium heat) add onions.  Stir to coat with oil, then cover and cook for 25 minutes.  Then remove from pot and keep them in a large mixing bowl or another pot.  Next, the peppers, chop then cook them in the same manner as the onions. After they're done, add them to the onion bowl/pot.  Then cook zucchini and squash for 10 minutes.

At the same time you are cooking onions, start the tomato portion.
If you are peeling tomatoes, heat medium sauce pot filled with water to boil.  Keep tomatoes on vine and after cutting an "X" on the bottum of each immerse in boiling water for 30 seconds or so.  Since you have them on the vine you can do this pretty quickly.  After immersion in boiling water, remove and place in bowl with ice water to stop cooking.  Skins should peel off easily.  Then chop tomatoes.
Use the same pot you boiled water in, (dump water) cook tomatoes, a dash of sugar, the bay leaves, thyme, and minced garlic for about 25 minutes over medium heat.  If you are using canned tomatoes, cook with dash of sugar, bay leaves, thyme and garlic, for about 25 minutes.

Time to put together:

Add onions and peppers, back to the pot with the zucchini and squash.  Then add the eggplant, and the tomato mixture.  Cook all together for 15- 30 minutes uncovered over medium heat.  Garnish with fresh basil.

The uses for this are boundless.  I like it over cous cous with a little goat cheese  as a side to chicken, lamb, or beef- burgers or steak.  Also, it's good hot or cold; mixed in with scrambled eggs, or put in a quiche shell, top with whatever cheese you like and voila! A lunch dish that's great for a friends' luncheon.


Hope you enjoy it and have fun experimenting.

  
ABC Quiche and Good Mornin' Nawlins Quiche Recipes 

Till I get around to writing out the recipes for these quiches, please click the link to go to 
Quiche Me Dahling!   Add to that The Gumbo pictured below.





Cheddar, Apple, Ale Soup                        First appeared in: Confessions of a Food Snob


Makes 4-6 servings                                                   

-1 cup of diced celery
-1 cup of diced sweet onion
-1 1/2 cup of diced apple (recommend, McIntosh, Cortland, Jonathan, or Empire)
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
-6 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
-1/4 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
-2 cups of chicken stock
-1 cup of half and half
- 1 cup of Bass Ale
- 3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
pinch of cayenne, nutmeg, Worchestire Sauce, and cracked black pepper.

Melt butter in large soup pot.  Add celery, onions, apples, and garlic and cook until soft over medium heat, 5-8 minutes.  Add flour, stir till combined well, and then cook for about 5 minutes.  Add chicken stock and bring to boil, making sure all combined well.  If you have a wand mixer, blend with a few pulses, if not, no worry, just will have a little more texture.  Reduce heat to medium, adding half and half and beer.   Stir regularly as you add cheese, so as not to burn on the bottom.  Add cayenne, nutmeg, Worchestire Sauce and cracked black pepper.  Garnish with diced apple, shredded cheese and hearty croutons such as Rye or Pumpernickel.


Cassoulet                                         First appeared in: Joys of Fall

*Wait until the very end to add salt; most likely you will not need it.

-1 pound of white beans, soaked in 8 cups of water overnight.
-1 cup of turkey or duck fat.
-2 heads of garlic
-2 large sweet onions chopped
-2 carrots chopped- (usually use about 20 precleaned miniature carrots that I put in kids' lunches)
-2 ham hocks- usually find these, smoked, cooked and packaged.  The smoked preparation adds a great flavor and alleviates the need for salt for the whole dish.
-1 lb. pork shoulder cut into cubes
-1/2 lb. pancetta cubed- (if you can't find, use bacon and it'll be great as well)
-4 sprigs oregano (or 1/2-1 tsp of dried)
-4 sprigs thyme (or 1/2-1 tsp of dried)
-3 large bay leaves
-1  28oz. can of tomatoes -low sodium, whole or diced
-1 cup (or so) of dry white wine- I usually use Sauvignon Blanc
-2 cups of broth from chicken or turkey
-4 *Duck legs Confit (buy at a specialty market or click and you'll be directed to a great recipe for duck confit at Food Republic)
-1 lb. of pork sausage- go mild or spicy according to your liking. I usually use Andouille.
-2 cups of bread crumbs. Use good crusty French or Italian.  Put half a loaf in a processor, or if it's already dried, place in a plastic bag and use your aggression and bang it to dust.

In first large pot, use 2-3 TBLS of bird fat to saute half of the garlic, onions and carrots till tender, about 10 minutes.  Add ham hocks, beans and soaking water to pot, bring to boil then lower heat to simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  After, this pull out ham hocks and allow to cool.  Once cooled, chop meat, discarding the skin, gristle and fat.

In the next large pot, use 2-3 TBLS of bird fat over medium heat to cook chopped pork shoulder, (10 minutes) then add pancetta or bacon, and cook until cooked through and slightly crisp.  To this add the remainder of garlic, onions, and carrots; cook until veggies slightly brown.  Add herbs.  If you are using the sprigs, tie 'em up with kitchen twine, or cheesecloth.  Add undrained tomatoes.  Cook about 15 minutes till all seems slightly melded and thickened.  Add wine.  Cook for 15 to allow to reduce, concentrating the flavors.  Add broth, and boil, then reduce to medium low, and cook for 1 hour, uncovered.  If you strung up your herbs, discard them, or if not just remove the 3 bay leaves at this point. 

Next, the duck legs; they are already cooked but just to add to the flavor you will sear them in 1/4 cup (4 TBLS) of bird fat in the large skillet for 8 minutes.  If sausages are links, slice into 1/2 inch slices.  Remove duck legs from skillet and fry sausage slices in same pan with the remaining fat in the pan, another 5-8 minutes, till slices are slightly browned and cooked through.  Pull duck meat from bones.  Add duck meat, sausages, and fat into pork stew, (2nd pot).

Heat oven to 300 F.   Combine pots.  I find it easiest to pour 1st pot into 2nd and mix thoroughly, if you have room.  If by chance you have used smaller pots, and are cooking in the oven in more than one baking vessel, no problem, just ladle back and forth from pots into baking dishes so that each baking dish has a half of bean mixture and half pork and duck stew.

Cover with bread crumbs so that you have a nice crust; drizzle remaining bird fat over bread crumbs.
Bake for 3 hours.  Raise heat to 500F and bake for 5 minutes to brown bread crumb crust.


If you do not have access to duck, use turkey or even chicken legs and the respective fat.  For chicken, I'd use at least 6 chicken leg quarters.  Just cook before starting and then as with duck, sear in fat again.  Especially with chicken, it will not be as rich of a dish, but will still be great.

Bonne chance et bon appetit!

                                                                                          
Chocolate Chip Biscotti                                    First Appeared in:  Sunday's Reason

 2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour                                                  Preheat oven to 350F

 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon of salt
 1/2 cup sugar
 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
 1/4 cup (half a stick) of cold unsalted butter
 2 eggs
 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Mix all dry (first 5) ingredients; then add butter, eggs, mix; add in chocolate chips.  Divide into 2-4 logs (depending on size of cookie sheet available).  Make sure you allow 2-3 inches between logs as they will spread a bit while baking.  Flatten each log so they look like an oblong rectangle of sorts- 1- 1/2 inches wide.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, and slice logs on the diagonal 1/2 inch thick.  Return to pan, baking slices on their sides, for 10 additional minutes.  Remove from oven, and allow to cool on wire rack, as pictured below.  They will harden as they cool.  Store in airtight container.  Enjoy!

 


Mojito Chicken Fried Rice                             First appeared in Mojito Chicken Fried Rice

A serendipitous creation that combines my love of fried rice and pad thai.

You will need:
3 cups of cooked white rice- yield from cooking 1 cup of uncooked rice with 2 cups of water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of diced onion
1 1/2 cups of diced cooked chicken
2 eggs
1 cup of frozen peas & carrots thawed
low sodium soy sauce to taste
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
                                                                                    chopped fresh mint and fresh squeezed lime

Coat a large deep pan or wok with canola oil, heat over medium.  Saute minced garlic for 1 minute, then add diced onion.  Next chicken, cook with onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes.  Crack eggs into small bowl and scramble.  Clear center of skillet and pour in eggs, scrambling them till cooked then mix with chicken, onion and garlic.  Add peas and carrots to mixture, increasing heat to medium high.  Add rice, mixing to ensure all ingredients are mixed.  Season with soy sauce to liking.  Turn off heat.  Garnish with sliced cucumber and chopped mint, then squeeze juice of one lime over rice.  Serve and enjoy.  Great cold for the midnight snack.     4 servings.  Note: Do not add in mint, cucumber, and lime to the entire batch of rice, rather reserve garnish till ready to eat.  The cucumber, mint, and lime do not reheat well.

Gazpacho
Easy to make and wonderful in the summer! 

4 good size ripe tomatoes- peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 large cucumber- peeled, seeded and diced
1 green pepper- seeded and diced
1 medium sweet onion diced
1 tsp of kosher salt
several dashes of Tabasco to taste

Mix everything in large bowl.  You can use a potato masher or a wand mixer to blend and extract juice, but we like it pretty chunky.  Chill for an hour before serving; and yes it will be even better tomorrow.  If there is any left.      



Best Cake Doughnuts   
from Better Home and Gardens New Cookbook; best guess, a late 60's edition.  It was Mom's If you've never had homemade doughnuts, nothing comes close.  If you are fortunate to live near a commercial orchard that feature apple cider doughnuts, they come close, but they're still second to these.  Mom sent me care packages in college, that often included these; they never last more than 2 days once word or smell gets out.

4 beaten eggs

2/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of milk (whole milk)
1/3 cup of shortening melted,  (I use Crisco)
3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Beat eggs and sugar till light; add milk and cooled melted shortening.  Sift together all dry ingredients; add to mixture and mix well.  Chill thoroughly.  (About 2 hours is good)


On a lightly floured surface roll out dough to  3/8 an inch thickness. Use a floured doughnut cutter,

(if you don't have one, I figure a pint glass for the big circle and a shot glass for the little should work fine, just make sure you dip the edges in flour).  Let stand to dry 15 minutes.

Fry in oil, (I use 3 cups of Canola oil) -375 degrees.  I use an electric skillet, but you can use deep fryer, or  a deep skillet on the stove.  You'll want about an inch deep, because the dough will puff once it hits the hot oil.  You'll fry till brown, turning once, total time will be at the most a minute.

Keep in mind the doughnut will turn a tad browner once removed from the oil. Drain on paper towels. While still warm, shake in a sack of 1/2 cup of sugar with 1-2 tsps of cinnamon.  Enjoy!


Basic Granola as found on www.chow.com

I went looking for this when I couldn't find granola with exactly what I wanted in it.  It is so easy, that I now usually double the recipe.  My daughters snack on it, and I add some dried cranberries and walnuts and add it to Greek yogurt, or add milk to it for great cereal.

Preheat oven 300F


3 cups of rolled oats

3 TBSP brown sugar
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of kosher salt
mix these in one bowl, then in another mix

1/3 cup of honey

1/4 vegetable oil (I use canola)
1 tsp of vanilla extract 

After each bowl is mixed well, add wet to dry and mix all together.  Spread out onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove and stir, then return to oven for another 10-15.  Remove from oven and stir every few minutes while it cools.  As it cools, it will get darker, and crisper.  Make sure to stir often, and clear from sides and corners because it will harden and be the dickens to remove from the pan.  If by chance you are drawn away and forget, stick it back in the oven for a few minutes, (no more than 5) and it will soften so you can work with it.
  
Susan's Great Spaghetti Sauce 
During my first hiatus from the restaurant world, I came up with the idea to create some recipes created by me for my family.   I researched other recipes, added a little of this, and that; went "bleck!" a few times; and played until I created what I thought was yummy.  It was then committed to an index card and submitted to the above recipe box.  This spaghetti sauce is one of those recipes.   There are lots of great sauce recipes, but this is the one that screams out to me, "Alla famiglia!"  It makes about 6 quarts, and is great to freeze for a great meal down the road.

1.5 lb. of ground mild Italian sausage AND 1lb. of ground beef

3 sweet onions (2" in diameter) diced
6-whole head of garlic minced
1tsp salt and ground pepper to taste
1 tsp EACH of dried oregano, dried basil, and crushed fennel seed
1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper 
 Cook meat in large pot till cooked, add onions and garlic, cook till tender

Add: 28 oz of diced or petit diced tomatoes

         28 oz of crushed tomatoes
           2 bay leaves
           6 oz can of tomato paste
           12 oz chopped fresh mushroom
           2 TBLSP of white sugar
          1 cup of good red wine (I like Red Zinfandel, Chianti, or Sangiovese)
           
Heat till boiling, then simmer for as long as you can.  At the very least, an hour but you will be justly rewarded for longer.  Up to 6 hours if you can, but not everyone has that luxury.  If you have a blender stick, a few jots of that helps if you don't have the time to let things come together in the "old country" way.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Add crushed red pepper flakes, or Tobasco for more heat.
If you have any Parmigiano Reggiano rinds left over, add them to the pot before boiling.  Garnish with grated or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.      Buon Appetito!
        
Basic White Bread
Do not let the word "Basic" fool you into thinking this is dull or boring.  Homemade bread is anything but, and this is a recipe that I discovered years ago in an Amish cookbook,  by Glenn Andrews.  I do not have a bread machine.  I simply make it by hand, usually with my 2 "helpers".
When it's time to knead, just take all of your aggression out on it for about 15-20 minutes; I think you'll find it very cathartic.   Even though the smell is intoxicating, please allow bread to cool for 20 minutes before indulging.  This recipe makes 2 loaves.  Remember there are no preservatives, so unless you are going through both loaves within 2-3 days, put one in the freezer or give to a neighbor, and make a friend for life.

2 cups of whole milk

3 TBSP of unsalted butter
2 TBSP of sugar
1 TBSP of salt
2 TBSP of dry yeast- dissolve in 1/2cup of warm water (110F) then let stand for 10 minutes or so
6-6 1/4 cups of unbleached white bread flour

Heat milk in a saucepan with 2TBSP of butter, the sugar and salt over low heat till butter melts and sugar and salt dissolve.  Cool till it's comfortable to stick your finger in.   When cool, pour into a large mixing bowl along with proofed yeast and water.  Mix till all blended.  Add as much flour, 1 cup at a time, as you can mix together with a wooden spoon.   Then turn out onto a floured board and knead in the rest.  You may need a tad more flour.  Knead until it is no longer sticky, and is smooth and elastic.  Form into a ball and place in a large buttered bowl.  Turn ball to make sure it is buttered all around.  Cover with damp flour towel and place in warm place till it has risen and is doubled in size.  About 1- 1 1/2 hours.  Punch down, knead a bit, then divide into 2 and place in buttered loaf pans. and let rise again; about another hour.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.


Bake for 40 minutes.  Brush with butter and return to oven for 5 minutes.   Allow to cool on rack.


Snack Crackers Your Way

Like a lot of people I love snack crackers.  However, I often find with some of the new twists that are introducing, whether it be Italian spice, or salsa flavored, that the new flavorings are powdery.  As you know by now, I like knowing what's in things. and I usually find that there is a lot more sodium and things I can't pronounce in these products.  So I got some basic cheese crackers and experimented.
 Here's the results:

Preheat oven to 350F

For coating 60  1" crackers-
2 Tbls of Olive oil
1-2 tsp of spices that you like - for one batch I did oregano, Basil, parmesan, and a teeny bit of cayenne; for the other just Old Bay

In an appropriate sized mixing bowl, mix oil with spice until well blended. Maybe even zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds.  

Mix crackers in.  They should be glossy with evidence of spice with no excess oil in bottom of bowl.
Remember: A little spice goes a long way.  You can always add more, but you can't take away.  No need to add salt; the crackers have enough from the original commercial recipe.
Let them marinate for a few minutes, then bake on parchment paper on a baking sheet for 5 minutes.
Let cool on a rack or paper towel.    

Great Popcorn and Kettle Corn 

I love popcorn and often get Kettle Corn at farmers' markets and fairs.  One day I got curious, figured it wouldn't be rocked science and found Alice Currah's site, Savory Sweet Life.
Great easy recipe, and now a staple at our house on movie nights.  I also apply Buck's from JustPoppin tip, by just adding 3 kernels at the beginning of heating the oil and waiting to add the rest after they pop.  This makes for fluffier, crisper corn since it's not sitting in the oil waiting for it to get hot.  Then I go crazy with the spices and gobble it up!  

Aunt Mary's Bourbon Slushy

Great to have this on hand when friends stop by.  Make's about 10-12 servings

2 cups of strong iced tea*
* I use 4 Lipton tea bags, and several sprigs of fresh mint (optional) to 2 cups of water
1 cup of sugar
7 cups of water
2 cups of Bourbon
6 oz. can of frozen oj concentrate
12 oz can of frozen lemonade


Mix all together in a plastic pitcher.  If you used mint, remove it from the mixture before placing in freezer.  You can either place the pitcher in your freezer, or if you like, pour carefully into a Tupperware container.   Will reach slushy consistency in about 6 hours; or just keep on hand till desired.
Garnish with sprig of mint and slice of lemon or orange.

Fried Green Tomatoes 
I grew up with Fried Green Tomatoes.  I love them.  It may be an acquired taste for some, 
for others, once they try them, they're hooked.  There's lots of recipes out there, but I think the simplest is the best.  

For each green tomato you will need:

1/4  cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
fresh ground pepper to taste.
Canola oil to fry

Rinse and dry tomato.  Slice tomato in 1/4" to 1/3" thick slices.  Mix flour, salt and pepper in shallow bowl.  Coat both sides of green tomato slice in flour mixture.  Coat fry pan with enough oil to give the tomatoes a "foot bath with it".  Should not be so deep that it covers tomatoes once immersed.  Heat oil over medium high heat.  To test oil, drop a bit of the tomato flour in oil- if it sizzles, it's ready.  Lower heat to medium, then carefully place tomatoes in oil.  Fry each side till light brown, (all flour coating should have tan color) they'll darken a tad once they're removed.  About 4-6 minutes each side.  Line a plate with paper towels for draining after removing tomatoes from fry pan.  Enjoy!

These are a great side dish.  You can garnish with many different types of sauce if you like.  An ancho ranch is good.  I like just a bit of Parmesan and Tabasco on mine.

They are also great on sandwiches.  Either a Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Sandwich; or a Fried Green Tomato and Crab Sandwich (great use of left over crab from crab boil) - with a little bit of mayonnaise and a sprinkling of Old Bay seasoning is wonderful.  Especially if you have a nice crusty sub roll.  Have fun!
  
Turkey Mole Tamales

You'll need:
Corn husks -Ahead of time; soak 50 husks in hot water for 2+ hours.  You can do this in a large pot, or in your kitchen sink.

4 cups of Masa
Mix and knead masa with 1 tablespoon of salt
Add to this 2/3 cup melted lard or bacon fat.  It's okay, you won't be eating it all at once.
Then add 2-3 cups of stock; adding and mixing by hand a 1/2 cup at a time.  I had turkey on hand, but chicken stock would be fine.  The consistency you are aiming for is for the masa to stick together when you grip it in your hand.  Cover with a wet towel until ready to use.

For the filling:
3 cups of shredded turkey
1 cup of Queso Fresco
1cup of Salsa Verde
1/2 -3/4 cup of prepared mole

Process in a food processor, just a few pulses till ingredients are mixed and resemble a chunky paste.

To assemble:

Flatten out a husk on work service (cutting board).  At times you'll need to use 2. 
Spoon out 2 1/2 Tbls of masa mixture onto husk; flatten into a rectangle about 2x3x 1/4 thick.  
Top with about 1 tablespoon of turkey mole mixture.
To roll up: fold up what will be the bottom; then with the side closest to you, carefully roll until masa forms a tube completely covering turkey mix and husk covers all.  Fold down top.  Place in steaming pan on end.

Steam for an 1 hour.  Enjoy plain or top with sauce and cheese.  Can be stored in freezer for 3 months in freezer bags.  To re-steam,  just take from freezer and steam for 20 minutes. 

Hope you enjoy them as much as we have.





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