Thursday, February 28, 2019


This is one of our favorite sandwiches. To make a Rachel Sandwich, replace the corned beef with pastrami and the sauerkraut with coleslaw.

4 slices rye bread
¼ cup Classic Russian Dressing
Corned beef, thinly sliced
4 slices Swiss cheese
Butter or olive oil

Brush 2 slices of bread with softened butter, and place butter side down on a grill pan or large cast-iron skillet.
Spread Russian dressing on the top of each slice.
Top each with a slice of Swiss cheese.
Put a layer of drained sauerkraut over the cheese.
Top with corned beef and another slice of Swiss cheese.
Brush top slice with a little more Russian dressing and
place on filling. Brush the top of the bread with a little butter or olive oil and grill on both sides.

Classic Russian Dressing
½ cup mayonnaise
3 T chili sauce
¼ t onion powder
½ t prepared horseradish
½ t Worcestershire sauce
½ t paprika
1 t hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix together and refrigerate until ready to use.


You can make this bread without an electric mixer, using a wooden spoon and knead about 5 minutes with your hands. I have been making bread for over 45 years and it is so rewarding to see the product of your efforts. The cocoa gives the bread a dark color and the espresso or instant coffee gives the bread a little "kick".

2 cups warm water
1 T active dry yeast
2 T brown sugar
2 T cocoa powder
¼ t ground ginger
2 ½ cups bread flour
2 cups dark rye flour
1 T instant espresso or coffee
1 T caraway seeds (optional)
2 t avocado oil
1 ½ t sea salt

Pour warm water into the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook.
Sprinkle in the yeast and let proof for 10 minutes

Add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, ginger, flours, espresso, caraway seeds, oil, and sea salt.

Turn on the mixer and mix for 6 minutes.
Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place to rise until double in bulk, about 60 to 90 minutes.

Press dough into a rectangle shape to the length of your loaf pan.
Roll into a loose log and place in an oiled loaf pan.
Let rise another 40 minutes.

Bake loaf in a 375 degree F oven for 45 minutes.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let bread cool on a wire rack.


You don't need a tandoori oven to make tandoori chicken. You can do this under your oven broiler. I cooked mine in our charcoal grill and it worked perfectly. A guajillo chile ("wha hee oh") is a dried Mirasol chile.

Spice Blend
2 dried guajillo chiles; stems and seeds removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 dried red chili peppers, stem and seeds removed
6 green cardamom pods, smashed to remove seeds
2 t coriander seeds
2 t garam masala
½ inch piece of cinnamon, cut up
1 t cumin seeds
1 t fennel seeds
1 t fenugreek seeds
½ t black cardamom seeds

1 ¼ cups plain yogurt
1 T avocado oil
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 t paprika
¼ t ground turmeric
½ t cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic, pressed
2-inch piece of peeled ginger, grated or minced

4 boneless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
In a dry skillet, toast the chiles, cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and fenugreek seeds until fragrant, about 2 minutes, shaking the pan often.
Let cool and pour the spices into a spice grinder and process until fine. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the toasted spice mixture with the yogurt, oil, lemon juice,  paprika, turmeric, cayenne, garlic, and ginger until well combined.

Using a meat tenderizer, pound the chicken to about ½ inch in thickness between plastic wrap.
Cut each chicken piece into 3 long strips and place in the large bowl with the marinade.
Cover completely with marinade.  Cover and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.

Prepare a charcoal grill with coals on the bottom.
Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto metal skewers so chicken lies flat.
Place skewers of chicken over hot coals, close the top and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once.

1 ½ cups plain yogurt
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
½ English cucumber, peeled and finely diced
1 t honey  
¼ t ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

In a medium bowl, mix together the yogurt, mint, cilantro, cucumber, and honey.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with buttered basmati rice, flavored with lemon zest, grated ginger, and cilantro.


Brunswick Stew was served at Virginia's tobacco-curing, sheep shearing, barn building, and other neighbor gatherings. The story goes that a hunting party in Brunswick County, well provisioned with tomatoes, onions, butter beans, okra, bacon, salt, and corn, left one man behind to have the dinner ready at the end of the day. He could only find a squirrel within range of the camp. So he shot it, cleaned it, and threw it into the pot with the vegetables. When it was served, all of the hunters agreed that squirrel was the finest and tenderest of all wild meats. Chicken is now substituted...and that's a good thing! 
In 1775 my 5th great grandfather, Capt. David Chadwell appeared at the Colonial Capitol Building in the City of Williamsburg to testify against another man who stole his horse. I like to think that maybe that evening he dined at one of the taverns and had Brunswick Stew, probably with squirrel. 

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
If you do not have or like okra, which also is a healthy thickener, just spoon out 3 tablespoons of the melted butter-bacon grease mixture into a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of flour to make a paste. Use this to thicken the stew before you add the boneless chicken pieces.
You can make this stew with your favorite bone-in chicken pieces or 1 whole chicken, cut up.

1 T avocado oil or your favorite oil
4 lbs, bone-in chicken pieces, remove skin, if desired
1-quart chicken stock or broth
3 cups water

6 slices applewood smoked bacon, diced
4 T unsalted butter
1 large sweet or yellow onion, diced
2 (14.5-oz) cans stewed or fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups frozen lima or butter beans
2 cups frozen corn
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cups sliced okra 
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t liquid smoke (optional)
1 sprig thyme or 1 t dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 t Old Bay seasoning
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce, optional

In a large cast-iron stew pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. 
Add the chicken pieces and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes on each side.
Add the chicken stock, and water.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour.

Remove chicken with tongs or a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl to cool. 
Pour the broth into a large pitcher or measuring cup. 
You should have about 3½ to 4 cups of rich broth.
Leave the brown bits in the bottom of the pot.

In the same pot, fry the diced bacon until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.
Add butter to the pot with the bacon fat and let melt.

Add the chopped onion to the butter mixture and sauté for 10 minutes.
Pour the reserved chicken broth into the pot with the sautéed onions.

Add the stewed tomatoes, lima beans, corn, potatoes, okra, Worcestershire, liquid smoke thyme, bay leaves, and Old Bay into the pot.
Slowly simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, remove pull the chicken off the bones into bite-size pieces and add to the pot. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Simmer another 5 minutes, add the cooked bacon bits and serve with cornbread muffins and hot sauce, if desired.

Serves 6

Thursday, February 21, 2019


This is a delicious appetizer to have on hand in your refrigerator for guests. Take it out to soften to room temperature before serving. This will definitely be a hit!

12 oz log goat cheese (chèvre), room temperature
3 T half-and-half
1 t lemon zest
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 T snipped fresh chives
2 t fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl mix together the goat cheese and half-and-half until fully combined and creamy.
Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, chives, thyme, red pepper flakes, and olive oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix until fully combined.

Spoon into a serving bowl and serve with crusty French bread or crackers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


We had a major snowstorm last night and I wanted to make something warm and special for dinner for my husband and me. I got out my old recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon and it was simply delicious. The meat was "melt-in-your-mouth" tender. The only time-consuming part was browning the meat. I had a chuck roast thawing in my refrigerator, but I did not have pearl onions, so I substituted cipollini onions instead. 

6 slices bacon, chopped
3 T avocado oil, divided
1 3 to 3½ lb chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 carrots, cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup Cognac or brandy, optional
2 cups Burgundy, Merlot, or Pinot Noir
2 cups beef stock
2 T tomato paste
1 t dry thyme
2 bay leaves

4 T unsalted butter, softened

3 T all-purpose flour
8 oz small button mushrooms, wiped clean and trimmed
1 package frozen pearl onions
Chopped parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Cook bacon over medium heat in a large Dutch oven until crisp.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and set aside.
Pour off most of the bacon grease and discard.

Pat the beef dry and season with salt and pepper.
Turn the heat to medium-high and add one tablespoon of the oil and one-third of the meat. 
Brown on all sides, then remove with a slotted spoon to the large bowl with the bacon. 
Repeat two more times with the rest of the oil and meat.

Add the carrots to the pot and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the diced onion and cook another 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute. 
Deglaze the pan with the Cognac or brandy and then add the wine and cook on high heat for 1 minute.
Add the beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaves.

Return the beef and bacon to the pan, cover with a lid and place in the oven for 3 hours.

Lightly brown the mushrooms and in a skillet with a little butter and set aside.

After 3 hours, place pan on top of the stove and combine the softened butter with the flour in a small bowl.

Stir the flour-butter mixture into the stew and add the browned mushrooms and pearl onions.
Bring stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and slowly simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and ladle onto plates or shallow bowls with a side of grits, mashed potatoes, or wide egg noodles.

Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serve with a green vegetable or salad.

Serves 6