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

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.

Andersonville Glögg

Funnier when rhymed with clog, it's properly pronounced gloog. Going glogging in winter is a long-standing tradition in Andersonville, Chicago's historically Swedish neighborhood; droves of Chicagoans still roam the bars off Clark and Foster to imbibe this mulled-wine variant - it's Sweden's version of wassailing! In our neighborhood, we're as likely to celebrate Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, Eid, or Diwali as good old Jul, but we say - the more holidays the merrier! Glogg is also akin to German Gluhwein. Here's our non-traditional easy version.

Regarding the type of wine to use, no need to buy anything fancy - delicate oenological nuances will be overpowered by the cooking and added spices and flavourings, anyway. Jug wine is fine, but I wouldn't recommend using artificially flavoured box wine, as it doesn't take well to heating.
  • 1 gallon jug red table wine (or 3 - 1.5 liter bottles of reasonably-priced red wine)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar, or more, to taste (some like a sweeter Glogg, some a dryer version)
  • 1 or 2 whole well-washed oranges, cut in half, squeezed gently, with light cuts in the rind
  • 1 pt. Aquavit if desired
  • 1 cup sweet vermouth, if desired
  • 1/2 tsp. Angostura aromatic bitters (optional)
Safety Note: Use extreme caution around open flames with the Aquavit, and don't ever reheat liquor-laced Glogg over a gas stove, fireplace, etc. because the alcohol vapors often burst into flame unexpectedly. Traditional Glogg recipes call for setting aflame an Aquavit-soaked loaf of sugar; but, visual appeal of a burning sugarloaf aside, I'd avoid it unless your renter's insurance is all paid up.

Then, in a 6-inch square of cheesecloth, tie up:
  • 1 tsp. powdered cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves, slightly crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger, or a 1-inch piece of whole dried ginger
  • 2 to 4 bruised whole cardamom pods, or 1 tsp. seeds (optional)
  • 2-inch piece of vanilla bean (optional)
Place about 3 cups of the wine in a large, covered enamel, glass or stainless steel (don't use cast iron or aluminum) pot along with the brown sugar and bagged spices. Cover and bring to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Let the cooked mixture stand for about 30 minutes. The reason we don't bring the entire quantity of wine to a simmer initially is to preserve its flavour and alcohol content. Afterwards, pour the remainder of the wine in the pot, bring to a low simmer and heat through. Adjust sweetness, and add aquavit if desired.

To serve randomly arriving guests, we don't recommend keeping the Glogg over continuous heat for the same reason - to preserve its flavour and punch. Allow it to cool to room temperature, and microwave individual mug portions as needed.

Kheer (East Indian Rice Pudding)

An aromatic East Indian version of rice pudding, with a cool exotic flavor.
  • 2 cups rice (basmati or medium grain)
  • 6 cups milk
  • 6 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 medium cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 c. broken cashews, pistachios or mix
  • 1/4 c. golden raisins
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. rosewater (if desired, available in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean or Indo-Pak groceries)
In a covered, non-stick saucepan, gently bring the rice, milk, nuts and spices to a boil, stirring frequently. Lower heat and cover tightly, gently cooking for about 1-1/2 hours, stir often to prevent sticking. At this point, stir in the sugar and cook gently uncovered until smooth and slightly thickened. Allow to cool. Stir in rosewater at this point if you wish. Serve in small dishes topped with a dash of ground nutmeg and a few crushed pistachios. This recipe tastes very good refrigerated, and is a wonderful end to a spicy meal.

Cucumber Raita

This cooling side dish is a must when serving spicy-hot Indian dishes.
  • 2 c. natural plain yogurt with cultures
  • 1/2 of a medium cucumber, peeled and grated or chopped finely
  • 1/2 of a medium carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala (available in ethnic groceries)
  • 2 T. chopped fresh cilantro, if desired
In a large non-metallic bowl, whip yogurt by hand until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, stir until blended. Cover and chill until time to serve.

Chicken (or Vegetarian) Biryani

This flavorful Indian classic is nutty, sweet, savory and spicy all at once - but easy to prepare! Good accompaniments are a cooling raita (shredded cucumber and carrot sprinkled with a little pepper and salt, combined with stirred plain yogurt), warm naan or pita bread, and lassi - a surprisingly refreshing yogurt shake easily made in your blender: 2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt, several ice cubes, a tablespoon of sugar or honey, and 2 cups skim milk.
  • 3 T. butter, margarine, vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1/2 to 1 cup nuts - cashews, sliced almonds, or shelled peanuts (not dry-roasted)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped - or bottled chopped garlic, or garlic paste (available in some markets)
  • 1 tsp. crushed fresh ginger if desired
  • 1/2 to 1 cup raisins
Melt butter or oil in a large covered saucepan (the wide, 'frying-pan' kind is ideal), add nuts; brown gently over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger (if used), saute until onions are clear. Add:
  • 3 T. Pataks biryani paste (or mild curry paste)
  • 3 cups mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen (as available): chopped carrot, celery, green or red bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, zucchini, etc.
  • 1 cup sliced chicken breast, or diced firm tofu (may be omitted if desired)
  • 2 chicken flavor bouillon cubes
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp. garam masala (if available - a fragrant Indian spice mix, available in small tins),
  • substitute 1/4 tsp. each ground cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper
Over medium heat, add chicken or tofu (if chicken is used uncooked, saute until pink is gone), followed by the spice paste; stir and toss pan contents until covered evenly with spice paste. Add your choice of vegetables.

When vegetables are partially cooked, add the dry rice. Mix into vegetables and spices, and stir to prevent sticking. When rice appears opaque and whitish, add water and bouillon cubes. Stir once, bringing mixture to a boil, then cover pan tightly. Reduce heat to low, and cook 20-25 minutes, until rice is done and all liquid is absorbed. Before serving, fluff with a fork and sprinkle in garam masala or individual ground spices.

Reznicek's Multinational Chicago BBQ

A spicy barbecue with a variety of ethnic flavors from Asia, India and Europe
  • 2-3 lbs. chicken, beef or pork pieces
  • 2 lemons or limes, juiced with pulp
  • 1/4 cup Shao Xing rice wine (or beer or white wine)
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1 cup Barbecue sauce
  • 3 T. Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. sambal oelek (crushed fresh chilies) or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
Start barbecue charcoal grill before preparing meat and sauce. In a large covered saucepan, gently cook meat pieces with citrus juice, rice wine and spices for about 15-20 minutes or until no pink remains. Remove meat from pan, reserve juices for Chicago BBQ Pilaf. Mix all remaining ingredients together in a glass or stainless steel container for Chicago BBQ sauce. When barbecue coals are ready, brown the pre-cooked meat in the hot covered grill for about 5 minutes per side. After both sides of meat have a slight brown crispness, liberally dab BBQ sauce on meat tops and cover grill. When the sauced meat appears fairly dry, carefully turn pieces and apply sauce to the other side. Repeat covered grilling so meat has been basted with sauce twice. Remove from grill and enjoy!

Quick Sambhar (Spicy South India Soup)

  • 1 T. ghee
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 T black mustard seed (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin seed (optional)
  • 2 T. Pataks mild curry paste
  • 2 cups finely chopped Napa or Chinese cabbage (plus chopped zucchini, eggplant, celery, etc.)
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 1 packet Knorr dry vegetable soup mix
  • 1 14-oz. can tomatoes
  • 1 - 2 tsp. medium red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 6 cups water
In a large saucepan or soup pot, saute onions (and cumin and mustard seeds if used) in ghee over medium heat until transparent. Add curry paste, continue to cook over low heat for 5 minutes, then add cabbage and/or other vegetables. Add lentils, water, soup mix, canned tomatoes and pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat 20-30 minutes, or until both dried and fresh vegetables are cooked to tenderness. Serve hot with Indian breads as accompaniment. In a large saucepan or soup pot, saute onions (and cumin and mustard seeds if used) in ghee over medium heat until transparent. Add curry paste, continue to saute over low heat for 5 minutes, then add cabbage and/or other vegetables. Add lentils, water, soup mix, canned tomatoes and pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat 20-30 minutes, or until both dried and fresh vegetables are cooked to tenderness. Serve hot with Indian breads as accompaniment.

Saucy Spicy Chicken

  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 pound chicken breast or other skinless chicken parts
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. Flambeau do Cap Bon harissa (spicy Tunisian red pepper paste, available in tubes at ethnic markets; substitute Tabasco or hot sauce with some garlic powder if unavailable).
  • 1 T. dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 cup water
Melt butter in a large, fairly deep covered frying pan; gently brown surfaces of chicken. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl; add to the chicken. Cover pan and simmer over medium-low heat in for 10-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly and no pink remains. The sauce should be slightly thickened at this point; and makes an excellent gravy over rice, noodles, potatoes etc.

April 08, 2003

Chicken Curry a la Guibord

  • 3 T. butter, vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup nuts - cashews or sliced almonds
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped - or bottled chopped garlic, or garlic paste (available in some markets)
  • 1 tsp. crushed fresh ginger (if desired)
Melt butter or oil in a large covered saucepan and then add nuts. Brown gently over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger (if used) saute until onions are clear. Add:
  • 3 T. Patak's curry paste (or mild curry paste)
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, sliced into small pieces
Toss chicken with curry paste and onion mixture until opaque; then add:
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 3 c. water
Bring mixture to a boil, and simmer over medium-low heat 10-15 minutes. When chicken is tender, thicken with
  • 1/4 cup flour (mixed with a small quantity of water to prevent lumps)
Simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes, serve hot with flatbread (naan or pita), rice and a selection of accompaniments like relishes, sambals, raita or pickles. The sauce should be slightly thickened at this point; and makes an excellent gravy over rice, noodles, potatoes,etc.

Un-Baked Beans

After you taste these homemade 'baked' beans, you won't go back to the can. The secret is using a crock-pot instead of baking (and drying) the beans in an oven - the result is juicy, moist, not mushy and dry. Although the actual process is lengthy, it's very simple; a perfect example of 'good things come to those who wait'!
  • 2 lbs. small dried beans (like navies, pintos, pinks or small limas), inspected and washed
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking soda
  • water
Put the cleaned beans in a large, covered stewpot (about twice the capacity of the dry beans) with water to cover about two inches above bean level. Bring to a boil briefly, then remove from heat and leave covered for one hour. The beans should have expanded to about twice their original size; now they can be cooked for about one to one-and-a-half hours over low heat until soft (but not mushy). Since the beans will absorb a large quantity of water, you may need to add more during the soaking and cooking stage. If you have a pressure cooker, cooking time may be as short as fifteen minutes! Note: The baking soda keeps the water slightly alkaline, ensuring tender beans.

Important: never cook dry (uncooked) beans or pulses with acid foods like tomatoes, citrus, vinegar, or ketchup: add these ingredients after the beans are cooked. The acid ingredients will keep the beans crunchy and hard, no matter how long they are cooked! Put cooked beans, including a small quantity of reserved liquid, into the slow cooker. Stir in:
  • 1 cup hickory barbecue sauce (or your favorite flavor)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. molasses, if desired
  • 1-2 T. prepared mustard
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T. dried minced onion
  • 2 pork flavor bouillon cubes (or substitute 2 tsp. salt)
Cover and slow-cook overnight. When you wake up, you'll have a delicious batch of homemade un-baked beans!

Adirondack Pea Soup

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (reserve 2 T. for sautéing ham)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 lb. Yellow or green dried split peas, inspected and washed
  • 2 qts. water
  • 2 large Knorr bouillon cubes, pork or chicken flavor
  • 1 T. ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. Liquid smoke flavoring, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. each of ground bay leaf (or use two whole leaves), rosemary, thyme, and savory
  • (if desired) 3 thin slices ham, chopped (or leftovers) and sautéed in a little olive oil
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
Saute the onion, celery and carrot in olive oil in the bottom of a large covered soup pot. When onion begins to look transparent, add the peas, water and all remaining ingredients. Gently bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for one or two hours. Stir occasionally, and serve!

Bavarische Böhnensuppe (Bavarian Bean Soup)

This is a hearty bean-and-pasta soup with a bold garlic-herb flavor; the secret of its uncommonly rich taste is the addition of wine - and, it can easily be made vegetarian style with the use of commercial or homemade vegetable stock. I have to give credit to Twelve Months of Monastery Soups (Broadway Books) by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourette for the suggestion of using wine; it's an excellent cookbook I'd recommend to any soup lover for both its wide array of seasonal recipes, and its selection of historical quotes. Fresh, crusty bread and a nice Riesling or Chardonnay would round out this idyllic European peasant meal perfectly.
  • 1 lb. medium or large dry lima beans (other white beans, like Great Northerns or white kidneys (Tuscan beans) can be substituted)
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • Water
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, scraped and diced finely
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (or 2T. dried minced onion)
  • 8 c. water
  • 6-7 cubes chicken (or vegetarian) bouillon (or 2 extra-large cubes Knorr™ bouillon)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. powdered garlic
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Italian mixed seasoning (basil, oregano, fennel)
  • 1 cup dry white wine or Chinese shaoxing wine (preferred for its hearty flavor)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil (adds richness)
  • 1 c. uncooked small soup pasta (orzo, alphabets, stars, etc., to add complementary protein and help thicken the soup)
In a covered soup pot, place washed, inspected beans, baking soda and enough water to cover 1" above beans. Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat for 30 minutes. Drain.Add all remaining ingredients except pasta, and gently bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 45 minutes or until beans are tender. Raise heat to a rolling boil briefly, add pasta, and stir continuously for one minute to prevent sticking. Lower heat to a simmer again, and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until pasta is done.

Philly Steak Sandwiches

  • 1/2 lb. leftover cooked steak, sliced thinly or shredded
  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese
  • 2 green peppers, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 fresh bakery baguette, or steak sandwich rolls
In one medium covered pan, sauté and 'sweat' the green pepper, onion, and a couple of tablespoons olive oil for about 15-20 minutes. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a heavy frying pan (cast iron works well), brown the sliced leftover steak in a small quantity of olive oil over medium heat. When the meat is almost done, place a split roll, or 6-to-8-inch long section of baguette face down on a clear section of pan. Toast lightly. Flip the roll over, place the desired quantity of mozzarella and browned steak pieces on the open side, and press shut. Grill the sandwich for a few minutes, pressing gently until the cheese starts to melt. When done as desired, carefully open the sandwich, spoon in some of the pepper-and-onion mixture, and serve immediately with ketchup or mayo. Repeat with other rolls.

Tourtiere (Canadian Meat Pie)

Virtually every Quebec (and North Country New York) ma-mere has his or her own version of this classic dish; some are a combination or pork and beef, some pork only, and the spice mix is as individual as a cook's fingerprints (which often grace the top of the pie). My favorite is this blend of mashed potato, ground beef and pork in a 50-50 blend, liberally seasoned with black pepper. The ideal condiments to go with are ketchup, cranberry sauce, or chutney.

For each 9-inch pie:
  • Upper and lower crust, frozen or from mix is fine
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes (leftovers can be used)
  • 2 cups each (dry measure) browned ground beef and pork, drained
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 T, dried minced onion
  • salt to taste
  • milk to adjust consistency of filling; should be a thick paste, but not crumbly.
  • Those with bionic arteries, who enjoy living dangerously can add a few tablespoons of bacon grease to the filling for extra flavor and richness.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with one layer of pastry, rolled medium-thick; press firmly against sides, leaving a generous overhang at the rim for folding over top crust. Mix the remaining ingredients well, adjust seasoning.

Pack the pie dish with the mixture, so there is a gentle 'heap' in the middle. Carefully lay the top crust on the meat and potato mixture, pressing edges of the crust shut, decorate edges in any fashion you desire; plain, scalloped, or fork-trim. Cut a small (1/2-inch) hole in the center of the top crust as a steam vent.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until lightly browned. If desired, apply an egg wash to the top crust during the last few minutes of baking (1 egg mixed with a few tablespoons of water) to give a glossy golden finish. Allow to cool to room temperature, and serve. Some like it hot - but microwave afterwards, since the pie needs an hour or two to 'settle'.

Chicken in Greek Lemon Sauce

This is a quick, light, and tangy dish perfect for summertime.
  • 2 lbs. boneless chicken breast
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
Heat oil in a covered frying pan over medium flame; add garlic pieces and chicken breast, browning gently.
  • 1 large cube chicken bouillon (or 3 regular size)
  • 1 lemon, quartered and seeded
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. butter (may be omitted)
Simmer chicken and lemon quarters for about 15-20 minutes in the seasoned broth; when done, gently press lemons against the sides of the pan, expressing their juice. Remove lemons.
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
Mix water and cornstarch, stir into pan. Simmer gently until thickened. Serve with rice and thinly sliced green onion.

Thai Chicken Satay

This makes a great appetizer or main course - spicy, flavorful strips of grilled chicken on or off skewers, properly accompanied by peanut sauce.
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, partially frozen and cut into inch-wide strips
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves or allspice
  • a dash of MSG is nice, too.
Heat a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil in a large frying pan. In a large bowl, toss the chicken strips with the mixed spices using your hands to rub thoroughly - you'll get a bit stained by the turmeric, so use gloves if you prefer - and place strips on soaked bamboo skewers if you plan on using them. When the pan is hot, place a few strips in the pan at a time (about 6 maximum), browning evenly on both sides. Set aside in a covered dish as each batch of chicken satay is done. When all strips are done cooking, serve with peanut sauce.