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.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

COFFEE CUP FLAN

Years ago, my mother made old fashioned vanilla custard. Later, I discovered Flan (Spanish) or Crème Caramel (French). It's my go-to recipe for dessert. Everyone has milk, sugar, and eggs on hand and it's so easy to make.


Caramel
½ cup granulated sugar
½ t fresh lemon juice
3 T water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place 6 heavy coffee cups (I use diner cups, not mugs) or custard cups in a roasting pan.  
Spread sugar in a medium size cast-iron skillet.
Add the lemon juice and water and bring to a boil.
Cook until an amber-colored caramel forms.
Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the coffee cups.

Custard
3 cups whole milk
½ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 t pure vanilla extract

Pour milk into a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, watching carefully so it does not boil over. Remove from heat. 

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs.  
Gradually whisk in hot milk, then whisk in vanilla.  
Strain through a mesh strainer into a large heatproof pitcher.  
Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil.
Pour custard into cups. 
Place roasting pan with cups on middle rack in the oven and then pour enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of cups.

Bake for 50 minutes.

Remove cups from hot water and cool to room temperature.  
Cover and chill until cold, at least 4 hours.  
Place bottom of cups, one at a time, in hot water for 30 seconds to help with unmolding.
Run a table knife around the edges of the cups.
Place a dessert plate on top and carefully flip over.
Let cups sit a minute and then gently tilt cups to let custard unmold.

Serves 6






Tuesday, July 25, 2017

OPEN-FACED TUNA MELT SANDWICHES

I remember long ago having an open-faced tuna melt sandwich at Woodward & Lothrop Tea Room. This is one of my husband's favorite sandwiches.


1 (5-oz) can solid white Albacore tuna in water
2 T minced red onion
1 celery stalk, minced
½ cup mayonnaise
1 T lemon juice
½ t seasoned salt
½ t lemon pepper
¼ t celery seeds
2 slices sourdough or whole grain bread, toasted
Butter, to spread on toast
4 slices Swiss cheese
2 large tomato slices

Drain water from can of tuna and spoon tuna into a medium size bowl.
Break up the tuna with a fork and add the red onion, celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, seasoned salt, lemon pepper, and celery seeds.
Mix until well combined.

Spread a little butter on each slice of bread.
Spoon on some tuna, top with a slice of cheese.
Add a slice of tomato and another slice of cheese.

Place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, or until cheese is nicely melted.

Cut each in half and serve with some potato chips and a pickle slice.

Serves 2



ROMAINE LETTUCE WITH BLUE CHEESE-RANCH DRESSING

I always make my salad dressings but I noticed a Blue Cheese Ranch salad dressing in the grocery store. I make a delicious blue cheese dressing and all you have to do is add fresh herbs and it becomes a Blue Cheese-Ranch Dressing. You can increase the Greek yogurt or sour cream to 1 cup and eliminate the mayonnaise, if you wish.



Dressing
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
1 T champagne or white wine vinegar
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pushed through a garlic press
1 small shallot, minced
¼ cup minced Italian parsley
2 T minced fresh chives
1 T minced dill
1 T minced oregano
¼ cup mashed blue cheese
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
½ t paprika
½ t sea salt 
1 t freshly ground black pepper

Romaine lettuce, cut into chunks
2 slices bacon, baked in oven or fried until crisp, and then crumbled

Combine the above salad ingredients in a bowl or 16-oz canning jar. 
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Divide lettuce between 2 salad plates.
Spoon on some of the salad dressing and sprinkle with bacon.

Makes 2 cups of dressing 








IZETTA'S TOMATO, CUCUMBER, & RED ONION SALAD

In the summer, my mom would bring back baskets of tomatoes from her Uncle John and Aunt Hessie's farm in Evergreen Mills, Virginia. I updated the salad by using extra-virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil, 3 different varieties of tomatoes, and red onion. This salad brings back memories of my childhood and summertime.



1 English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
4 medium assorted tomatoes, cut into wedges
½ small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

Dressing

¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 t granulated sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a salad bowl, add the sliced cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, olive oil, and sugar.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour salad dressing over salad and gently toss to combine.
Cover and let sit on counter for about 15 minutes for flavors to develop.
Gently toss again before serving.

Serves 4

Monday, July 24, 2017

OATMEAL-COCONUT COOKIES WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES & PECANS

These oatmeal cookies are soft, moist, and not overly sweet. I added coconut and dried cranberries for additional flavor. You can certainly omit the coconut and cranberries, just add another ½ cup of oats.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t pure vanilla extract

2 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ t sea salt
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, mix butter and sugars until smooth. 
Mix in the eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, oats, salt, and coconut.
Slowly mix flour mixture into the butter mixture.
Remove bowl from mixer and stir in the dried cranberries and pecans.

Drop by a level medium size ice cream scoop onto 2 baking sheets.

Flatten lightly with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.
Bake for 12 to 13 minutes.

  • Cookies can be frozen after they are dropped on the baking sheet until hard and then placed in a resealable bag.
  • Before baking, let cookies thaw then slightly flatten with a sugared glass.




Sunday, July 23, 2017

CHILE COLORADO

Chile Colorado is a traditional beef dish stewed in a red chile sauce. Colorado translates to "colored red" in Spanish. 


6 whole dried Guajillo chiles, broken into pieces, stems and seeds removed
2 cups boiling-hot water
2 T avocado oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 poblano, pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 T oregano leaves
1 3 to 4 lb beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into large chunks
1 28-oz can red chile sauce or 3 10-oz cans enchilada sauce
2 cups beef broth
1 T chile powder
1 T ancho chile powder
1 T ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place dried chiles in a large heat-proof bowl and add the boiling water.
Let sit in water for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and add one tablespoon of the oil.
Sauté the onion, poblano, jalapeño, garlic, and oregano in oil for 10 minutes.

Spoon into a blender and add the soaked Guajillo chiles along with the soaking water.
Blend mixture until smooth.

In the same Dutch oven brown the meat in batches. 
Transfer browned meat to a platter while browning the rest.
Return all the meat to the Dutch oven and add the pureed mixture from the blender.
Add the red chile sauce or enchilada sauce, beef broth, chile powders, and cumin.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place in a 300 degree F oven for 4 hours.

Serve with black beans and Mexican rice.

Serves 6