Recipes inspired by India, Asia, Europe, Chicago and the Adirondacks, from the Official Reznicek-Guibord Family Cookbook.

March 10, 2007

Pinto Bean Soup with Lap Cheong and 'Forbidden' Rice

1 lb. dry pinto beans
1/2 gallon water
3 lap cheong sausages, rinsed
2 large cubes ham or pork bouillion, or equivalent stock (substitute for water)
1 finely diced pepper
1 finely minced white onion, medium
3 T. vegetable oil
1 c. black ("forbidden") rice, substitute white rice if unavailable
2 T. Kikkoman soy sauce or to taste
3 cloves garlic

October 25, 2005

Garlic Soup with Spinach and Matzo Balls

This soup is rich and flavorful, carrying all the goodness that arrives with one-and-a-half heads of garlic. It's not as pungent as you might think, as the cooking process mellows the garlic's bite; but it still packs one hell of a bark that will frighten away evil spirits (and some germs and parasites*), nosy neighbors with delicate sensibilities, and vampires.

In fact, coincidentally, we watched an old Kolchak, The Night Stalker episode that night called "The Vampire"; the soup was much more entrancing than the show, if I do say so myself.

*If chicken soup is "Jewish penicillin," then this soup should be called "Jewish Cipro™." The only special tool you need is a handblender or countertop blender, to puree the cooked cloves into the soup.
  • One and one-half heads (yes, heads) of garlic, separated into cloves, peeled, with hard bottoms removed
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 3 T. butter (or oil)
  • 2 jumbo cubes chicken or vegetable bouillon (or 6 small ones)
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach
  • dash blackpepper
  • 3 T. flour (or chick pea flour if available)
  • 3 matzos, crushed finely
  • 2 eggs, beaten
In a large covered soup pot, gently fry the peeled garlic cloves in one tablespoon butter over medium low heat until slightly browned - about 10 minutes - taking care not to burn them. Add the 8 cups water, pepper, and bouillon cubes. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a golden-brown roux in a separate nonstick pan, using the flour and remaining butter. Cook over medium heat until bubbly and slightly brown, stirring frequently. Remove roux from heat and allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine matzo crumbs with a few teaspoons of the boiling garlic stock. Stir until evenly moistened and crumbly. Mix in the two eggs, and stir until you have a firm but malleable mixture. If it is too stiff to mold into one-inch "balls" with hands (dip your hands first in water, but it will still be messy and sticky. That's part of the fun.) add a teaspoon of cold water at a time until you have the desired consistency. Set aside.

When your garlic stock is done simmering, whisk the cloves into a puree using the handblender (or carefully transferring soup into a standard blender). They should disintegrate easily at this point. Then, while soup simmers in the pot, stir in briskly the cooled roux. The soup should thicken up a bit in minutes, and keep stirring to prevent lumps. Toss in the frizen spinach, and bring to a boil once again.

Then, the matzo balls: using dampened hands and spoon, shape the matzo ball mixture into one-inch balls, dropping one at a time in the soup, working quickly. Gently stir with a wooden spoon after all are in the pot, to prevent sticking, taking care not to break the balls (the above recipe should yield abou 10-12 matzo balls). Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve, and enjoy the pleasures of having your very own seat on the "L" - for the entire trip!

August 13, 2005

Chicago-Style Beans on Toast

Heinz Beans, just like the kind Roger Daltrey of the Who bathes inThis week, I cooked up (oops, now I'm using "drug slang") my first batch of honest-to-goodness Beans on Toast. If the turquoise-blue can looks familiar, it's because you've probably seen a gigantic version on the cover of the Who's 1967 album, The Who Sell Out: the one where Pete Townshend sticks a foot-high can of *Odorono in his pit in the left panel, while Roger Daltrey sits in a bean-filled bathtub holding a huge can of Heinz Baked Beans on the right. The tub-full-of-beans image seems to have been imitated a few times by other people: its humorous gunge-fetish esthetic is obvious. But, I'm going off on a tangent...we're talking Beans on Toast, a much tastier and healthier dish than its mid-Century U.S. counterpart, Sh-t on a Shingle [click for an S.O.S. recipe from the Navy Wives Cookbook].

Of course you need the blue can to make real Beans on Toast. American baked beans, while fine for picnics and barbecues, don't work as a substitute. Campers, college students and minimum-wage workers have been eating baked bean sandwiches for ages, but they're nothing like this dish. You'll find stateside beans are smaller and unsatisfyingly mushy, and the tomato sauce too sweet and syrupy for this savory meal. British Heinz Beans can be hard to find, but I recently discovered Patel Brothers grocery (a splendid East Indian market on Devon Avenue in Chicago) carries authentic import beans for only 99 cents per 13.5-ounce can - much cheaper than I've seen in various European import markets.

Traditionally, Beans on Toast is prepared by toasting a piece of sandwich bread and topping it with heated - not boiled, because that "impairs flavor" according to the manufacturer - Heinz Beans, and a fried egg and/or grated cheese if desired. Now, toasted bread and beans by themselves are surprisingly tasty and filling together, and you can find some good recipes and Beans on Toast lore at and the UK Food Standards Agency website, but I decided to create Beans on Toast, Chicago Style.

[When a government agency posts a recipe for Beans on Toast, you know it has to be good, right? Wait, don't answer that...anyhow, you'll find over 37,000 pages referencing "Beans on Toast" at Google.]

Here is my recipe for One-Pan Chicago Style Beans on Toast, for two:
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.) imported Heinz® Beans
  • 4 slices whole wheat or multi-grain bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 oz. kielbasa, Vienna Beef™ hot dogs, or smoked sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rings
  • salt and pepper to taste if desired
First, you'll need a covered medium non-stick frying pan. Cook your choice of meat (if you're using meat) until nicely browned and some of the fat is released. Remove meat and place on a covered dish to keep warm, and toast the bread slices in the same pan using the retained pan drippings.

[Look, I didn't say this was a diet says "Chicago Style" in the name!]

Place the toasted bread slices on two plates, two on each, slightly overlapping. If you're feeling fancy, cut the slices diagonally into Toast Points.

Now that the non-stick pan is relatively dry - since the toast has absorbed the meat juices - add one teaspoon of olive oil to the pan on medium heat. Crack the four eggs onto the pan, taking care not to break the yolks. Cook in sunny-side-up fashion to desired doneness, using the pan's cover to retain heat for the last few minutes. Divide the eggs into two sets of two, and remove them carefully to the covered plate holding the meat. Finally, empty the can of Heinz® beans into the saucepan, and heat up just to the simmering point.

Assemble your Beans on Toast as follows: divide the browned meat across the two plates of toast slices, then pour half of the heated beans over each serving. Top the beans with the eggs, and sprinkle pepper (and salt if you wish) lightly on top. If you're feeling extravagant, and you've recently received a clean bill of health from your physical, grate some cheese on top and place oven-proof dishes (you did use oven-proof dishes, didn't you?) briefly under a hot broiler until cheese melts.

Consume with a cuppa - or a pint of Guinness ale - in front of the telly while watching Red Dwarf, Monty Python's Flying Circus (or Ab Fab) with a good friend who doesn't mind bubble baths tomorrow. Cheerio!

May 21, 2005

Middle Eastern Spinach Pie

This recipe, based on a very tasty spinach pie offered at Chicago's Cedars of Lebanon restaurant, is a bit different from a typical Greek spanakopita in that it contains red bell peppers, lemon juice and cumin. Cedars' pie has also a firmer non-phyllo pita shell and no feta cheese, but I found this combination to be very good as well.
  • 1 package #4 phyllo dough sheets
  • 1-1/2 bags Trader Joe's frozen spinach (or 2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed and drained)
  • 1 red pepper, dicely finely
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 raw egg
  • seasoned salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
Saute onion in olive oil, add garlic and cook just until warmed. Add spinach, red pepper, spices. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes until mixture looks dry. Remove from heat, cool 10 minutes. Add lemon juice, feta and egg, stir until blended. Divide phyllo sheets into equal two piles, and using half the mixture on each half of the box of phyllo, oil between each 2 sheets and roll up spinach mixture. Press roll gently to flatten, pierce top to allow steam to escape, and tuck the ends under. Brush top of roll generously with olive oil, and bake in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown. Cool.

2 Ways to Revolutionize Your Baking Success

As in many ventures, in baking, the devil is usually truly in the details; if you've ever had trouble with baking recipes not "turning out" properly, consider these two measures that help insure both you and the people who wrote your recipe are on the same page.

One: invest in an oven thermometer. Unless you have a new stove with a known properly calibrated thermostat, chances are the temperature you've set your oven dial to may be somewhat different than its actual internal temperature. With many recipes this can make a difference in baking time, "rise," and the proper color of the finished product. These can be purchased for under $10, and will quickly pay for themselves in successfully baked items from your kitchen.

Two: consider purchasing a kitchen scale. Many cookbooks offer their recipes in both volume measure (cups and spoons) and weight (ounces or metric grams), and personally, I can say that whenever I've used a scale for baking, my recipes are more consistent and closer in results to the published recipe. With just a little practice, using a scale will become as easy as using cup measure - and measuring ingredients by weight guarantees you'll never have to account for how lightly or tightly you've packed dry ingredients into a measuring cup, or whether you've used a "level" or "heaping" scoop.

September 20, 2004

Imam Bayildi - "The Imam Fainted"

The name of this tasty, exotic Turkish dish, imam bayildi, translates as "the imam fainted.*" If, like me, you can't visit the local greengrocer without buying a big, shiny black eggplant but then don't know what to do with it, you'll love this.
1 large eggplant
1 T sea salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green pepper diced
3 roma tomatoes diced
1 large onion diced
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
dash turmeric, oregano and crushed red pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

First, cut off the stem, and slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. Make several deep slashes in the cut surfaces of both halves, but be careful not to cut through the skin on the other side. Sprinkle sea salt on both cut halves and place the eggplant pieces face down in a colander in the sink for one hour; this will drain out the bitter juices. Rinse in water throughly to remove excess salt, and pat dry with a paper towel. Then, fry the eggplant halves face-down in a heavy pan for about five minutes in the olive oil, until the surfaces turn slightly brown. Remove the eggplant, and place face-up in an ovenproof shallow baking dish.

Next, saute the onions, green pepper, tomatoes and garlic in the same pan in the remaining olive oil for 5-10 minutes until softened. Add the remaining spices and sugar, cook for 5 minutes longer. Adjust salt and seasonings to taste. Place one half of this mixture on each eggplant half, and bake for 30 minutes at 400°F. Remove from oven, and allow to cool to room temperature. Scoop the imam bayildi directly out of the eggplant shells at the table, and serve with pita wedges or French baguettes.
* The origins of the name are shrouded in history, but legend says that long ago a Muslim holy man, the imam, tasted this dish and fainted to the ground from sheer delight. Either that was some eggplant, or delights must have been in short supply back then. Anyhow, this stuff is very tasty, and the quantities here serve 2 as dinner, 4 as an appetizer - feel free to double or triple amounts as needed.

August 26, 2004

Potsticker Soup

Potstickers are delicious crescent-shaped Asian dumplings, filled with vegetables and/or meats and seafood. The can be deep-fried, boiled, or characteristically pan-fried. They also make wonderful additions to this light but satisfying Asian-style soup that's pleasing in any season.

The traditional "potsticker" method involves heating some oil in a non-stick frying pan (with a lid), placing the dumplings neatly in a "pinwheel" pattern so none of the sides touch, then slowly browning them on one side with the pan covered. After about ten minutes, uncover the pan, add about 2 tablespoons of water and cooked covered tightly for 10 more minutes, allowing the steam to cook the dumplings.

If you're so inspired, you can make these potsticker dumplings from scratch, or you can use frozen ones which also give a great result with far less prep time. We like the Chicken and Vegetable Potstickers from Trader Joe's®.
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 T. each chicken and beef bouillon paste (Tone's™ or Better Than bouillon™ are good brands), or use canned or homemade stock and reduce water by one-half
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 medium carrot, scraped and finely shredded in food processor or grater
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded romaine or greenleaf lettuce
  • 1 cup cooked rice, if desired
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 12 to 18 cooked potsticker dumplings
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
Bring water and bouillon to boil in a soup pot, add soy sauce, peas and carrots, cook five minutes on medium heat. Serve by placing desired number of potstickers (allow 4 to 6 per person) in large soup bowls, and adding cooked rice and a dash of sesame oil in each bowl. Fill with soup mixture, top with scallions and lettuce.

April 13, 2004

Mexican Molé Burrito Bake

Molé is a distinctive Mexican seasoning, made of cocoa, pumpkinseeds, oil and spices, and can be bought prepared in jars in the ethnic section of many supermarkets. By itself it can have a slightly smoky, bitter taste, but when combined with a more conventional Mexican sauce the molé adds a delicious flavor. These burritos freeze and reheat wonderfully, so make a big batch and save for a quick supper later. Chihuahua cheese is a fresh Mexican queso from the Chihuahua region, now available at many supermarkets.
  • 8 large flour tortillas, 10-inch diameter
  • 1 lb. ground beef or chicken
  • 3 mild cubanelle peppers, diced
  • 1 large bunch scallions, chopped
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 3 T. chili powder mix
  • 2 T. molé seasoning paste, divided in half
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water or stock
  • 1 cup each grated mozzarella, Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese and sharp cheddar (total 2 cups grated cheese)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 cups water or stock
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
In a saute pan, brown the beef or chicken with the 1/2 cup water or stock (to keep meat loose and separate), add chili powder, molé seasoning, and cinnamon and a dash of garlic. In a separate pan, saute the scallions and cubanelle peppers in olive oil until slightly soft, then mix with the meat. Allow to cool slightly. In a smaller saucepan, prepare the sauce: combine tomato paste, water, molé and remaining garlic and chili powder, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring until sauce is smooth. Assemble the burrito rolls by placing one-eighth of the meat mixture in each of the flour tortillas, and rolling each into a "cigar shape." Place the rolls side-by-side in a 9-by-13-inch ovenproof glass baking dish, top with grated cheese, and pour warm sauce evenly over the top of the baking dish. Bake uncovered in 400°F oven for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and cheese starts to brown.

March 04, 2004

Kasha Varnishkes with Chick Peas

Last night, I tried this Old World favorite with a twist - by adding cooked chickpeas for extra flavor and protein.
  • 1 12oz. bag farfalle, or bowtie pasta (the "varnishkes")
  • 1 cup quick cooking toasted buckwheat kasha (like Wolff's™)
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 T. vegetarian or chicken bouillon
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can)
  • water
Cook bowtie pasta as directed on package to al dente stage, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, sauté onions, bell pepper and celery in covered fry pan until fragrant. Add buckwheat kasha, stir and toast lightly. Add black pepper, water to cover and absorb (2 to 2-1/2 cups), bouillon, and chickpeas. Stir, cover, and cook on low heat for 10 minutes or until water it absorbed. Fluff buckwheat mixture, fold in cooked bowtie pasta, and serve.

December 19, 2003

Boursin Goat Cheese Ball

A tasty party appetizer with a tangy, full flavour.
11 oz. tube of good quality plain chèvre (goat cheese)
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 blanched garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp. mayonnaise
extra coarse black pepper for decoration
Mix the first 8 ingredients together in a glass bowl, adjust salt to taste, cover and chill overnight to firm up and develop flavor. When chilled, scoop out onto wax paper and form into a ball. Sprinkle outside with extra black pepper, and serve with an assortment of crackers.

A Simple Haggis

Although I can't take credit for this recipe (it appears on Scottish, bless their bonny hearts), I wanted to share it with you because one of my longstanding secret culinary ambitions has been to prepare a homemade haggis. Not wanting to bother with the traditional sheep's stomach and "lights" (heart, lungs, etc.) I was very grateful to find this recipe. I have an extra day off this New Year's, so I may just prepare Simple Haggis for Hogmanay 2004 (Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebration will be a blast this year, featuring a performance by techno-dance duo Erasure).

"For those of you who don't really wish to take the effort to produce the 'real thing', here's another recipe for a "simple haggis".
1/2 lb. liver in a piece
4 oz. chopped suet
1/2 lb. cooked tripe
4 oz. chopped onion
4 oz. finely ground oatmeal
salt and black pepper
Boil the liver in a saucepan with just enough water to cover it for 15 minutes (this is just long enough to 'set' it). Grate it or put it through a mincer; mince the cooked tripe also.

Mix all the ingredients, seasoning well with the pepper and salt. Make it into a moist dough with some of the water in which the liver was cooked. Boil in a cheesecloth or cotton cloth tied into a bag for 2 hours, or steam in a bowl for 3 hours."

Although I have not tried it yet, I suspect a food processor might make short work of grinding the liver and tripe, and I might add a little sage, thyme and a dash of whisky for authenticity...arrrggh! That'll be my excuse to purchase a nipster bottle. "It's for the Haggis!"

June 21, 2003

Refried Spaghetti, or 'Spaghetti Lo Mein'

Okay, perhaps the name of this dish isn't the most accurate. It's closer to a Chinese Lo Mein dish, with the noodles nicely separated, coated evenly with highly flavored sauce. Try this method of prepapring spaghetti, and I guarantee you'll like it as a nice change of pace!

It's important to cook the noodles aldente for this dish, as overcooked spaghetti will tend to stick together. A nice advantage is that you can cook the pasta far in advance - even days - and keep it in a refrigerated container until ready to use. The recipe here makes enough for two servings.
  • cold spaghetti, prepared from 8 ounces dry weight (half an average box)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • dash of black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of your favorite spaghetti sauce
In a large covered frying pan, saute the garlic in olive oil until the aroma is released. Add cold spaghetti and saute over medium heat until the noodles separate, soften, are are evenly covered with oil. Add tomato sauce, and toss until heated through. Add pepper is desired, and serve.

June 04, 2003

Vegetarian Couscous with Vegetables

I was inspired to concoct this dish after eating something similar at the University of Chicago's Divinity School cafe. Their version is made with large, round "Israeli couscous" rather than the finer-textured sort, but quick-cooking bulgur can be used here as well.
  • 2 cups quick-cooking bulgur (try the Turkish tomato-flavored bulgur, if you can find some), or coarse couscous
  • 1 cup each sliced onion, green or red bell pepper and tomato
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • dash of turmeric for color
  • 1 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt, or to taste - or subsitute 2 large cubes chicken or vegetable bouillon
  • 1/4 tsp. each dried thyme and basil
  • 3 cups water, or a little more if mixture becomes too dry in cooking
In a large covered saucepan (at least 10-12 inches in diameter) saute the couscous or bulgur until lightly toasted. Add onion, peppers and garlic, saute until vegetables wilt. Add 3 cups water and spices. Stir gently, cover pan tightly and lower heat to a simmer...cook 30 minutes, stirring lightly the first five minutes to prevent sticking. Serve, topped with sliced tomatoes, and sprinkled with a little good-quality olive oil if desired.

May 06, 2003

Braised Pork Medallions in Apple, Caraway and Garlic Reduction "Estilo Aleman"

A deliciously different way to cook pork tenderloin on a lazy afternoon, especially good over hot buttered egg noodles, or served with quartered new red potatoes.
  • 4 1-1/2 inch thick slices lean pork tenderloin
  • 2 cups unsweetened apple juice or cider
  • 3 T. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. caraway seed
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse black pepper
  • 1 large or two small cubes pork, chicken or vegetable bouillon
  • dash turmeric, for color
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 T. minced onion or 1 tsp. dried minced onion
In a large covered saucepan (at least 10-12 inches in diameter) saute minced onion, garlic and caraway seed until fragrant. Add pork tenderloin, searing each side. Add apple cider, vinegar and remaining seasonings. Stir gently, cover pan tightly and lower heat to a simmer. Braise for two-three hours until meat is very tender, and then uncover pan and raise heat a little. Allow the juices to simmer and reduce until slightly thickened. Serve.

May 01, 2003

Garlic Shrimp Pasta Twirl

This is a great one to throw together when you're in a hurry, but still want a fancy little "romantic" dinner; it certainly beats spaghetti, and takes the same time to prepare. Excellent with a crisp Chardonnay or chilled Riesling - just pour off about half a cup of your white wine for cooking while the bottle chills and breathes. For two persons:
  • 1/2 lb. pasta in your choice of shape; we like to use fettucine, linguine or bowties
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions (6-7 pieces), chopped finely
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. Lawry's Seasoned Salt (TM)
  • 4-6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • about 20 medium cooked shrimp, frozen are fine.
While your pasta water boils, heat the olive oil in a large covered frying pan. Add the scallions, pepper, seasoned salt and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and wine, stir and cook covered over medium heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, allow sauce to reduce until slightly thickened. When pasta is cooked to firm al dente doneness - this is important, because mushy pasta does not work well here - drain thoroughly, and put pasta in pan with shrimp and sauce. Lower heat, stir and toss until pasta is well coated with sauce. Serve.

April 16, 2003

Beanie Weenie Spamburrito!

  • 4 large flour tortillas, warmed slightly
  • 1 - 16 oz. can pork and beans
  • 1 can SPAM(TM), julienn...ahem...sliced. We don't use them French terms in our kitchen no more.
  • 1 can vienna sausage, or Mississippi Smoked Sausage, which is far more patriotic
  • Velveeta(TM), or shredded cheddar if desired
On each tortilla, spread one-fourth of the pork and beans, two links sausage, and some SPAM pieces. Then, lay on some Velveeta slices, or cheddar cheese if you're feeling upper-crusty. Fold up the tortilla so none of the insides are leaking out, and microwave for two minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the meat is heated through.

Vegetables Even Meatatarians Will Love

Sherry-Glazed Carrots

  • 1 lb. carrots, either a bag of baby-cuts or sliced regular ones
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. cooking sherry
  • 1 teaspoon dried chopped onion (or an equal amount of fresh, chopped fine)
  • pinch of salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of tarragon, if desired - adds a great flavor to carrots
In a medium tightly covered saucepan, cook the carrots in a very small amount of water (this helps retain the vitamins) until just tender.

Separately, combine the remaining ingredients in a small non-metal pan and boil briefly, just until everything is dissolved and the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat, add the mixture to cooked carrots. Reheat briefly, stir so all the carrots are coated. Serve.

Green Vegetables ala Reznicek

Looking for a tasty way to get your 5 servings down? Try this method of preparing broccoli, zucchini, green beans - the toasted nuts add nutrition (like essential fatty acids) and lots of flavor, and the combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar makes a mild vinaigrette-type sauce.
  • 1 lb. vegetable of your choice, cut into medium-sized pieces
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. (if desired) broken-up nuts like cashews, pignoli (pine nuts), almonds or walnuts
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 T. good-quality balsamic vinegar
In a non-stick covered saucepan, saute the nuts, stirring regularly until just browned (be careful not to burn them). Add the vegetables and a tablespoon or two of water. This will produce a lot of steam, so stir quickly and cover the pan at this point. Stir every minute or so, until the vegetable are just tender. Add the soy sauce (we like the imported, brewed lower-salt kind, like Kikkoman or Yamasa) and balsamic vinegar, stir gently over medium heat for about a minute, and serve.

Garlic-Rosemary Red Potatoes

  • 1 lb. small young redskin potatoes (or other small �salad� potatoes, not bakers or russets, which are better for mashed)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 tsp. dried (or fresh) rosemary
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • black pepper to taste
Wash and boil the potatoes in their skins for about 15-20 minutes, or until tender (you can put a fork through them easily). Drain. Set aside to cool slightly, then cut individual potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on their size.

In a small saucepan, mix the olive oil, butter and seasonings. Heat over a low flame 2-3 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble, and the scent of garlic fills the room. Pour over the sliced potatoes, and toss to cover evenly. Heat gently about 5 minutes to allow flavors to soak in, and serve.

Asian Mixed Vegetables

Combine any proportion of:
  • Chopped celery, red pepper, onion, broccoli, carrots
  • Snow peas, bean sprouts and water chestnuts (get the fresh kind if you can from an Asian market)
  • If desired: canned Chinese mushrooms, baby corn, or bamboo shoots (try the kind you slice yourself, they have a better texture)
Stir-fry quickly in a little vegetable oil (in a wok or large nonstick pan) until tender-crisp. For a basic quantity of the sauce (multiply as needed for quantity of vegetables):
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 c. low-salt soy sauce
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • if desired: garlic powder, red chilies, chopped fresh ginger or black pepper to taste
Blend cornstarch with a small amount of water to form a paste, add remaining water and soy sauce with seasonings. Cook over low heat until thickened. Mix with cooked vegetables and serve.

Bust-a-you-oven Lasagna

This isn't just a big lasagna, this is a HUGE lasagna - big enough for a dinner party. You'll need an enameled oval roaster (the covered kind you can roast a turkey in) to hold this monster.
  • (3) Three 32-oz. bottles of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • water
  • black pepper and salt to taste
  • oregano
  • basil
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 head garlic (yes, a whole head), cloved, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
Preliminary preparation

In a stockpot or soup oven, saute the onions and garlic until almost clear; add green pepper and mushrooms, cook about 5 minutes longer. Add the spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, some black pepper and 2 cups water. Cover, bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat to a simmer, then cook for about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Sauce should be a little thin (not too much), as the additional water will cook into the dry lasagna noodles during baking.
  • 2 lbs. ground beef, browned in a pan with a little water (to loosen the meat).
  • Add some pepper, oregano, basil
Cook until most of the water has evaporated. Set aside to cool.
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 lbs. ricotta cheese
In a big glass bowl, cream together the eggs and ricotta with a dash of salt and black pepper, with some garlic powder if desired. Blend in:
  • 2 lbs. spinach, fresh, cooked down in a microwave; or 3 frozen boxes, thawed and drained. Set aside for assembly
  • (2) 1-lb. boxes dry lasagna, not the 'no-boil' variety
  • 1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
Assembling the lasagna

Into the bottom of the oval roaster, ladle about one half inch of the cooked sauce (about one third of the sauce). This is the base onto which you will lay your first layer of dry lasagna noodles, close together, breaking pieces to fit as necessary. When the first layer is done, spoon the ricotta cheese/spinach mixture onto the lasagna noodles. Spread to touch the roaster�s sides.

Lay on another layer of dry noodles, and spread the cooked ground beef over that layer. Sprinkle the meat with most of the shredded mozzarella, reserving about a 1/2 cup for later; then ladle on about another third of the tomato sauce mixture.

Then, press the third, final layer of lasagna noodles on top of the sauce/cheese/meat layer. Top off the creation with the remaining sauce, and you should be about an inch or so below the lip of the roaster. Cover the filled roaster, and carefully transfer to a 400 degree F. oven. Bake for about 75 minutes, until noodles are cooked thoroughly. Sprinkle the reserved mozzarella cheese on top, and allow to bake a few minutes longer until melted. Allow the finished lasagna to settle for at least an hour before serving, then cut into square.

Serves 10-12 generously, if you haven't-a bust-a you oven.

Wow! Garlic Spread

That's what everyone says when they taste this more-powerful-than-a-speeding-locomotive garlic recipe. Try it mixed with a little extra virgin olive oil, for dipping pieces of fresh bread; or spread a little on each piece of a sliced baguette, wrap in foil, and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 cup god quality olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
Separate and peel garlic cloves, and crush in a food processor or garlic press. Mix with oil and salt, heat very gently in a covered saucepan (preferably non-metallic) for about 5 minutes. Cool and store in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator. That's it. Wow!


Translated, they are called "dreams" - or Swedish "Amonia" cookies. Don't let the name scare you - amonia is just ammonium carbonate, a type of baking powder used by professional pastry chefs, available in ethnic groceries, gourmet shops or by mail. It's worth the effort to find some, because it's what gives these rich little round shortbreads their meltaway texture.
  • 1 c. Butter
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 2 c. Flour, enriched - sifted
  • 1 tsp. Ammonium carbonate salt (amonia)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
Cream the butter; add sugar and cream thoroughly, using an electric beater if possible. Beat in the sifted flour, ammonia salt, and vanilla. Put in refrigerator for a few hours, then shape into small balls and bake in a slow oven (300 degrees F). Note: you may notice a mild smell of ammonia during mixing or baking; this is normal. It will dissipate during the baking process, and you won't be able to detect the smell in the finished cookies.