Wednesday, August 9, 2017

OLD-FASHIONED MOLASSES COOKIES

These cookies were my daughter's favorite when she was growing up. It came from an old Colonial recipe for ginger cookies. I added less ginger and more butter. They are chewy and scrumptious.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsulphured molasses
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ t ground cloves
½ t ground ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
¼ t ground nutmeg
½ t salt
½ t baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and molasses.
Mix in the egg and 1 cup of the flour.
Add the melted butter and slowly mix in.
Add the rest of the flour, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.
Mix until completely combined.

Drop tablespoons of cookie batter onto a greased baking sheet.
You can also use a small ice cream scoop.
Leave 3 inches of space between cookies.

Bake until cookies start to darken, 8 to 9 minutes. 
Transfer cookies to a wire rack while still soft.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.




Tuesday, August 8, 2017

PHILLY CHEESE STEAK SANDWICHES

There has always been the debate over the type of cheese used on a Philly Cheese Steak. The three popular cheeses are Provolone, Swiss, White American, and the one I would never use - Cheez Whiz. Cheez Whiz was introduced because of convenience. I would say that the Provolone is my favorite cheese to use. I put slices on the bottom of the toasted roll and on top of the steak and caramelized onions. 



1 lb Strip Loin, T-Bone, or Rib Eye Steak
½ t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
2 t extra-light olive oil
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper

Place steak in freezer for about 2 hours. 
Slice the steak as thin as you possibly can with a sharp knife and then chop the meat.
Place in a bowl with the above ingredients, toss to combine, and refrigerate for one hour, while caramelizing the onions.

2 large yellow onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T unsalted butter
12 thin slices Provolone cheese
2 Hoagie Rolls 

In a medium skillet sauté onions in oil and butter over medium-low heat for about 40 to 45 minutes, stirring often.
Spoon onions into a bowl, set aside and cover to keep warm. 
In the same skillet cook steak on high heat for about 3 or 4 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Open rolls and place under a broiler for just a couple of minutes to brown. 
Add 3 slices of Provolone to the bottom of each roll.

Divide the steak between the 2 rolls, then add the sautéed onions and top with the rest of the cheese slices.  
Heat under broiler for about one minute, or until cheese is melted but not burned.


Serves 2

Saturday, August 5, 2017

SOUTHERN SEAFOOD BOIL

This is the Southern equivalent of a New England clambake. Add Chesapeake Bay blue crabs along with shrimp and it will be Southern. You can make this a Cajun seafood boil by replacing the Old Bay seasoning with Cajun seasoning and replacing the shrimp with crawfish. My seafood boil was made with shrimp, king crab, and Dungeness crab. I live in the Pacific NW and cannot get blue crabs.



Seafood Boil Seasoning
1 T yellow mustard seeds
1 T coriander seeds
1 T dill seed
1 T whole allspice
1 T celery seed
1 T black peppercorns
1 t red pepper flakes                    

Cut a piece of double layered cheesecloth into approximately an 8-inch square.
Add the spices and tie up tightly with cotton butcher’s twine and set aside.

2 T avocado oil
1 lb Andouille sausage or kielbasa sausage, thickly sliced
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
4 cups water
3 cloves garlic, left whole
12 small red potatoes, scrubbed clean
3 ears of corn, cut into thirds
1 lemon, cut in half
3 T Old Bay seasoning
4 bay leaves
1 (12-oz) bottle amber beer
2 t sea salt
2 t freshly ground black pepper

2 lbs crab claws (king, snow, or stone crab)
2 lbs large shrimp, deveined and unpeeled

Cocktail sauce, for serving
Melted butter, for serving
1 lemon cut into wedges

Nut crackers, for cracking claws

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.
Sauté the sausage, onion, and jalapeño for 5 minutes.
Add the water, garlic, potatoes, Seafood Boil Seasoning, corn, lemon, Old Bay, bay leaves, beer, sea salt, and black pepper.
Reduce heat, cover and cook until potatoes and corn are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the crab and cook another 10 minutes
Add the shrimp, cover and cook another 5 minutes.

Strain through a colander or use a large spider strainer and transfer to a large serving platter or pour out onto a newspaper lined table.
Add small bowls of cocktail sauce and melted butter.
Sprinkle with additional Old Bay and garnish with lemon slices.

Serves 4 to 6



CHICKEN SALAD WITH WALNUTS & GRAPES

Back in the early 1980s, I remember having chicken salad with walnuts and grapes served in a half cantaloupe, at the restaurant, The Mad Hatter, in Cape May, New Jersey. Here is my version of that recipe. I found Tuscan cantaloupes at my grocery store.


6 boneless chicken breast halves, cut each into 3 chunks
½ cup chopped walnuts
3 stalks celery, diced
½ small red onion, diced
½ cup red seedless grapes, quartered

¾ cup mayonnaise
2 t honey Dijon mustard
2 T chopped tarragon or dill (use your favorite)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cover chicken with water and simmer in a medium saucepan for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the chopped walnuts to a dry skillet and toast until lightly brown; set aside.

When chicken is finished cooking, drain and place chicken on a cutting board, to cool.
When cool, chop the chicken, and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the celery, red onion, and grapes.

In a small mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, honey Dijon, and tarragon or dill.
Mix to combine.
When chicken is cool, add the mayonnaise ingredients and stir to combine.
Add the chopped walnuts and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serving idea:
Spread a little mayonnaise on multi-grain-seeded bread and add some mesclun salad mix or arugula, alfalfa sprouts or pea shoots, thinly sliced cucumber and radishes.

Makes 8 sandwiches or as a salad, it serves 8.

Friday, August 4, 2017

BAKED ONION & CHEESE DIP

Set this appetizer out for company and you will see it gone before it cools.



1 cup mayonnaise 
1 cup minced sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla)
1 T dry minced onions
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¾ cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
½ cup grated Swiss Emmentaler cheese
1 t paprika
Finely chopped parsley, for garnish

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, onions, garlic, and cheeses.

Spoon into a small baking dish, sprinkle with paprika and bake uncovered at 325 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley before serving.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

IZETTA'S SUNDAY PICNIC POTATO SALAD

I still have fond memories of my mom's Sunday picnic potato salad. She always put it in large Mason jars and packed it in ice in the cooler. We would drive to the country and have a picnic with some of our country relatives. Mom would tie on her pretty apron, put a couple of table cloths on the picnic tables and set up her food. Her potato salad always contained chopped eggs. I buy eggs from local farms where they have a stand setup outside their entrances. You put the money in a tin box and take the eggs; all based on the honor system. Their hens are allowed to roam free and eat a variety of left-over veggies from kitchen scraps. When I was a little girl, my Aunt Stella would give me a basket and let me go into the hen house and collect a few eggs. She showed me how to gently cup the hen's head with one hand and slip out an egg from under her with my other hand. They never saw me take the eggs. Poor little hens; they just sat there as if they still had an egg under them. 



Left to right - my dad, Uncle Julian & Aunt Dorothy, Grand Uncle Edward & my mom, Izetta
My Aunt Hattie probably took the photo. I was off playing somewhere.



2 lbs yellow or red small potatoes
2 t sea salt

½ cup mayonnaise (I use mayo made with olive oil)
¼ cup sour cream or ¼ cup crème fraîche
1 T prepared yellow mustard
1 T dill pickle juice or apple cider vinegar
½ cup diced dill pickle
½ medium sweet or white onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
½ t celery salt
½ t garlic powder
3 T finely minced parsley

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Sea salt and fine ground black pepper
Paprika, for sprinkling

Minced parsley, for sprinkling

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water to 2 inches.
Bring to a boil and add the salt.
Lower heat slightly and cook potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
Drain potatoes through a colander and then transfer to a large bowl of cold water with ice.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, sour cream or crème fraîche, mustard, pickle juice or vinegar, dill pickle, onion, celery, celery salt, garlic powder, and parsley. 

Peel skin from eggs, using your hands and place on a cutting board. 
Cut potatoes into 2 or 4 chunks and place in a large bowl.

Spoon in the mayo mixture, add the potatoes and chopped eggs.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir gently to combine.

Spoon into a covered container and sprinkle with paprika and minced parsley.

Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour for flavors to combine.

Serves 6 to 8

* You can substitute the dill pickles for sweet pickles, if you desire.

Friday, July 28, 2017

MARYLAND SEAFOOD CHOWDER

If you love seafood chowders, I think you will love this one. It has a hint of Old Bay Seasoning and plenty of seafood.




1 lb fresh clams, littleneck or manila
4 strips bacon, diced (I use applewood smoked bacon)
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t fresh or dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 T Old Bay Seafood Seasoning
1 jar clam nectar
1 medium potato, peeled and grated or ½ cup instant potato buds
½ cup white wine
½ lb haddock or cod, cut into bite size pieces
½ lb sea scallops
½ lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup dry sherry
1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk or half-and-half
3 T unsalted butter
½ lb cooked crab meat
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Paprika, for garnish
Diced bacon, for garnish


Place clams in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, place clams in a bowl of cold water and set aside.

Fry bacon in a Dutch oven or soup pot until crisp. 

Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. 
Pour off half of the bacon fat and sauté onion, celery, and potatoes for 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the thyme, bay leaves, Old Bay, clam nectar, and shredded potato or ½ cup instant potato buds.
Cover and very slowly simmer for 10 minutes. 

While chowder base is simmering, pour wine into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil Add the clams, cover and slowly simmer until clams have opened, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Remove clams with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.
Pour the clam broth through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-proof pitcher.

Add the fish, scallops, shrimp, and clam broth (from the clams) to the chowder pot.  
Simmer for 5 minutes. 

Remove the clams from the shells, coarsely chop (if needed), and add to the chowder pot. 
Add the sherry, evaporated milk, whole milk or half-and-half, and butter.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer one more minute. 

Add the crab meat, turn off heat and let chowder sit for 15 minutes. 
Reheat until just below boiling.

Ladle into 4 warm soup bowls.
Sprinkle each serving with paprika and top with some diced bacon.



Makes 4 bowls or 8 cups of chowder.