Archive for the ‘Yummy Sounds +3’ Category


29 July 17


3 lbs potatoes, scrubbed
2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups hot milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1 (1-pound) piece ham or bacon, cooked the day before
4 scallions, finely chopped
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish


  • Steam the potatoes in their skins for 30 minutes. Peel them using a knife and fork. Chop with a knife before mashing. Mash thoroughly to remove all the lumps. Add 1 stick of butter in pieces. Gradually add hot milk, stirring all the time. Season with a few grinds of black pepper.
  • Boil the cabbage in unsalted water until it turns a darker color. Add 2 tablespoons butter to tenderize it. Cover with lid for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly before returning it to the pan. Chop into small pieces.
  • Put the ham in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes until tender. Drain. Remove any fat and chop into small pieces
  • Add cabbage, scallions, and ham to mashed potatoes, stirring them in gently.
  • Serve in individual soup plates. Make an indentation on the top by swirling a wooden spoon. Put 1 tablespoon of butter into each indentation. Sprinkle with parsley.

Servings: 6
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours


Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms with Walnut Dressing

22 July 16
1 lb Brussels sprouts
1 lb mushrooms
1-2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
1 Tbs minced shallot
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp whole-grain or Dijon mustard
1/2 Tbs mirin


Trim the stems of the Brussels sprouts and cut a cross in the base. Steam the sprouts and the mushrooms together for 8 to 10 minutes until the sprouts are tender.

Meanwhile, whisk oil, shallot, juice, mustard, walnuts, mirin. Add salt and pepper to taste if you think it needs it, but I find that it really doesn’t. Really works well with shaking in a capped jar if you’d rather do that than whisk. Sometimes whisking chopped nuts is a bit of a pill.

Drain the veggies well, rough chop and serve with the dressing.

Braised Kale With Pork And Onions

11 December 12
Kale salad

Kale salad (Photo credit: Salim Virji)

[For the Orthodox Christians among us, this is obviously NOT a fasting recipe!]

Most of us old Southerners had kale when we were growing up. Mostly it was just boiled forever with some fatback. Then you poured some white vinegar over it and chowed down. If you were good you might get some cornbread to sop up the pot likker. Not bad.

However – there are better ways to do this stuff. This is one of the latest health food crazes. But this version will NOT make a “food-Nazi” very happy.

 1  bag  kale, or 2 bunches, or a little over a pound
 6  1/4” thick hog jowl  slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces  
 2  chopped onions
 1/4  cup  red wine vinegar
 6  drops  Tabasco sauce

Simple ingredients to get a superb result.

Chop up the kale, removing the big stems and cook in a big pot of salted water for 10 minutes. Don’t be shy with the salt. Drain and set aside. Wipe out the pot and use for the next step.

Cook the hog jowl down until it is getting crisp – about 5 minutes. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon. Don’t burn it. Don’t be concerned that there will be some sticky residue in the pot – it will get used. There are those who use bacon for this step. Well, you can. Not as good as the curing medium would obscure some very nice flavors.

While the hog jowl is cooking down chop up a couple of decent sized onions. The sweets are the best. Vidalias when you can get them. Some other sweet if you can’t. Dump the onions in with the pork and continue at a good sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they start getting tender. Add the kale and sauté about 10 minutes and the greens start getting tender. If you stir a lot with the wooden spoon all of the nice brown stuff in the bottom of the pot should be cleared up and incorporated.

Original Tabasco red pepper sauce

Original Tabasco red pepper sauce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover and cook for about 15 minutes on low heat. Stir often. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the red wine vinegar. Do not use the cheapest junk in the store. Use a good grade of red wine vinegar and the flavor will be much better for it. Stir in about 6 drop of good Tabasco sauce. Don’t overdo the hot sauce or the flavor will be wrong.

This can be a side dish for four or a main dish for two. Yes, it is that good. Not your mama’s kale.

Braised Shank of Lamb

26 November 11
my own photo

Dutch Oven Image via Wikipedia

The shank, or shin, is usually some of the toughest meat on a critter. Think about it – this is the part between the knee and the foot that does a great deal of the work of holding the animal up and moving it around. Lean muscle, as it were. This means that there is lots of connective tissue (collagen), which means tough meat with lots of flavor potential.

What we want to do is cook long and slow so that the connective tissue becomes dissolved, tender, and yields all the flavor back in to the pot. The French, as usual, have a better way – braising with flavorings. Now braising – from the French “braiser” – combines both dry and moist heat. Beef Bourguignon is world famous for its delicious flavor, yet it is only simple braised beef with wine. Here the same technique is applied to the lamb shank – with wonderful results.

2 lamb shanks
salt and pepper
10 cloves of garlic
12 white mushroom caps
1 tsp coarse ground pepper
1 tsp salt
4 Tbs olive oil
1 bouquet garni – thyme, basil, and rosemary
1-1/2 cup Burgundy or other hearty red wine
1-1/2 cups beef stock
1 tsp tomato paste
2 Tbs finely chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 400°F, with the racks set such that you can get your Dutch oven in about the middle of the oven. Yes – you can use something else – but a good cast iron Dutch oven is best. You’re on your own where other utensils are concerned. There are also people who do this in a crock pot – I’m not one of those. Anyway, dress your shanks with salt and pepper and sauté in hot olive oil until well seared on all sides. Reduce the heat and add the garlic. When the garlic is nicely golden – about a minute or so –
add your wine, salt, pepper, and the bouquet garni. If you’ve got fresh herbs, just tie them up with a string. If all you’ve got is bottled then you can wrap them in cheese cloth or –easiest of all – put them in a tea caddy and drop that into the mix. Advice: use a separate caddy for your garni’s or really get it clean after. I don’t think that lamb flavored tea would be quite right. Anyway, slow simmer things for 8 to 10 minutes.

I guess we need to talk about salt somewhere, and here is as good as any. Go easy on the salt – you can add more later, but taking it out can be fun. In fact, if your beef stock is not salt free then don’t add any salt, other than sprinkling the meat before browning.

Add the beef stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and slow simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes. Cover the pot, reduce the oven to 325°F, and cook for 90 minutes. This is called cooking in a falling oven. Quite traditional with the old wood-fired stone ovens.

Turn the lamb over, add the mushrooms and a bit more liquid only if needed. Don’t drown the meat. The liquid does not cover it. Cook for another hour.

Remove the lamb and mushrooms to a covered dish and strain the liquid through a sieve. Add the tomato paste and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pull the lamb off the bones – it should just about fall off and serve with mushrooms covered with sauce.

Let There Be Ham

25 January 10

In every civilized society that is not Middle-Eastern there are many and varied recipes for the noble pig. Basically, pig is quite safe and not at all unclean if there are several requisites met.

  1. You must raise the pig in relatively clean conditions
  2. You must not allow the pigs to eat offal and other contaminated food
  3. You must not allow the pigs to eat rats and other vermin (they are as good or better than cats)
  4. You must have cool weather (preferably cold) for slaughter
  5. You must have good refrigeration for preservation
  6. You must be very clean in the preparation of pork
  7. You must cook pork done – above 137°F and hold for killing any little vermin, around 150°F for flavor

Now if you follow all of the above guidelines pork is a wonderful and tasty food. If you do not, it may have trichinosis – a form of roundworm. You can also get this infection from just about any form of game that is undercooked. This is one of the reasons that – Edgar Rice Burroughs to the contrary – most primitive and rural people eat their meat cooked to shoe leather. That is not necessary if you know where the meat comes from and can trust your butcher. I don’t know why the Middle-Easterners got so flakey about pig as opposed to many other game animals – but they did – and are still really weird about it.

Actually – if you give them a chance to be clean – they will be. Cleaner than sheep or goats in many ways – as anyone who has raised farm animals should know.

This time around we will talk about ham. Ham is the thigh or rump of the pig. Most hams have been cured for most of recorded history.

My mother – and probably yours too – had ham when the special occasions seemed appropriate. Usually diamonds were cut into the upper fat side – spaced about 1” apart – and studded with cloves inserted into the center of the diamonds. Then some sort of dark brown sugar was pressed firmly onto the flesh about ¼” thick all over the upper side. Usually it was roasted at around 325°F to 350°F for around 20 minutes a pound, lightly covered with an aluminum foil tent. The foil tent was then removed and roasting continued until the glaze was nicely browned. You then let the roast rest for about 15 minutes or so until cutting into slices and serving. Wonderful.

There are tons of glazes which can be applied to your ham of whatever form. There are canned hams – some of which are pretty decent – and which will keep for a loooong time. Just be sure whether you have shelf ham or refrigerated ham, they are both canned. There is also the ubiquitous Spam. Some like it – herself does, the Koreans LOVE it. Some aren’t particularly fond of it in large amounts, but like it in small doses – I guess I fall in that group. Then there are those who just cannot stand it – or say they can’t – which amounts to the same thing.

Pre-cooked hams (most of what you get at the store) mostly only need about 15 minutes per pound. Then there’s the whole city ham vs. country ham business. Really – it isn’t all that complex. The hams called city cured are mostly soaked in a brine solution and then smoked or boiled and are probably what most are used to. The country hams have been salt-cured and then slow smoked and cured for a much longer period of time. They are drier and may need some soaking/rinsing so as not to be too salty. What we usually will not see are raw hams, sometimes called fresh hams – you don’t want this unless you intend to cure your own and know what you are doing.

A pre-cooked ham (most from the grocery store) only needs to get to around 150°F to develop full flavor. If you’ve got a canned ham or Spam, follow the manufacturer’s directions – probably around 15 minutes a pound.

Generally, if you use a glaze, you don’t want the oven much more than 350°F because you will get the glaze so hot that it liquefies and just slides off the slope of the ham. Not very satisfactory. If things are getting too much for your glaze either cut down the heat or tent with foil or both. You generally want a thick and sticky glaze so that it will stay in place long enough to crystallize and sweeten the meat.

Just about anything that tastes good with pork can be used. Cloves and cinnamon, brown sugar and honey, just about anything that goes with standard pork does well with hams. The basic Mama mix that I mentioned earlier – stud with cloves and pack with brown sugar works nicely.

A standard mustard and honey looks like this:

3 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey

A kind of Latinish sort of glaze is:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup dark rum
1/2 cup orange juice
1 Tbs grated orange rind
1 Tbs ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

You can add cinnamon to just about any pork that you like. Just use a small amount and it will enhance the pork nicely. For any of the dry glazes you will probably want to do the cut diamonds into the meat and/or stud with cloves to give something for the glaze to hold onto. For the wet glazes soak the meat in a light application for an hour or so before cooking, and dribble or brush on more layers every 15 minute or so. For real hams the tenting with foil is probably in order. For canned ham or Spam (or small hams) you may need to switch over to the broiler for a few minutes at the end of cooking to crust up the glaze. Do let the meat rest for a few minutes to re-absorb the juices before cutting. If any liquid glaze is left over you can just dribble it over the slices as you serve.

{{HERSELF SEZ}} Spam is a thing of joy. Reminds me of my childhood and going to camp. We’d go on hikes and carry a little sack lunch of 1 PBJ and 1 Spam sandwich. I’d trade my PBJ for another Spam sandwich! I don’t know why, but at that time the Spam just appealed more. Recently, Himself handily prepared a canned ham using the “Latinish” sort of glaze. It was delicious. I restrained myself from second helpings so we could have it for lunch the next day! Yumm!

Jumped-Up Pilaf of a Sort

13 November 09

This is something that is extremely quick, easy, and tasty. This is quite good when you are just out of steam, as it were. This will serve two. Do the math for your lot.

76 g chopped onion (about 1 small)
38 g chopped celery (about 1/2 as much as onion)
38 g chopped carrot (about 1/2 as much as onion)
1 cup chicken broth or stock
1/2 cup rice of choice
6 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, cut bite size
scallops (equal to shrimp), cut bite size
olive oil

Lube a medium skillet or heavy pan with olive oil, butter, or both. Sauté the mirepoix or trinity – the onion, celery, and carrot over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes or so until the onion is translucent. The combo of 2 parts onion, 1 part celery, 1 part carrot has been revered by cooks the world over for centuries. When finished set aside.

You can use any rice you please. Long grain will give you more of a French pilaf sort of thing. Short grain will give you more an Italian risotto. You may need to diddle the chicken broth/rice proportions for your particular rice. This works great for the long grain rice that I usually use. Begin heating the chicken broth while you re-lube your pan and pour in the rice. You want enough butter to coat the rice without being excessively wet. Cook the rice over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring and turning occasionally. The rice will turn translucent and back to a brighter white, but don’t worry about that. When you have cooked for between 2 and 4 minutes it will be fine.

{{Herself Sez: If you use a multi-rice mix (like Texmati or Lundberg Farms rice blends) you will have a more Middle-Eastern flavor. Cooking times and methods vary, so read the packages carefully. Himself doesn’t like these very much, but I happen to like these very much!}}

As the chicken broth comes to a boil add in the mirepoix, rice, and seafood. Be careful, if things have timed correctly the rice will be hot enough to kick the boil into high, so make sure your pot is big enough to handle a sudden doubling of liquid volume. Cook the rice, covered, for 20 minutes at a simmer. Your rice may vary a bit in time. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes. Serve. Enjoy.

You do know to use raw shrimp and scallops? Do not use the pre-cooked stuff. Fresh is best, but frozen raw is fine. We get shrimp raw and deveined in re-sealable bags. Still have to peel them, but that that is no big deal. I didn’t specify any number of scallops because that will depend on the size of the things. Sometime all that is available are about dime-sized in diameter, sometime they are more like half-dollars. So, just match the volume or weight of the shrimp. If they are big then chop them into bite-sized pieces.

You might also try this with chunks of ham instead of seafood. I would use smoked of sweet-cured ham. I would not use salt-cured ham.

Mayonnaise the Easy Way

21 September 09

Now that you have seen the original energetic way to make mayonnaise and have discovered the full flavor of the real stuff, you may wish there were an easier way. There is (are). The first method requires a food processor, which I suppose that most people have nowadays. This is pretty easy in that the processor does all the elbow work, but it is still a drop at a time method.

1 large egg
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbs lemon juice or wine vinegar
1-1/4 cups oil

If you have an emulsifying disk – use it – it works much better. Otherwise use the normal chopping blade. Then add the egg, mustard, cayenne, sugar and vinegar and blend until smooth. Now, you still need to add the oil SLOWLY! So – with the motor running, slowly dribble in the oil. The mixture will become thick and creamy. You may want to scrape down the processor side and mix again once or twice. You can stop blending when you have gotten to mayonnaise thickness. Keep it in an air tight container in the refrigerator. This uses the whole egg and does not get as nicely stiff as the yolk only recipes.

Now – the best possible way. You need two things: first – one of those handy stick-type blenders – you know the type – the blade is on the bottom of a fairly long stick. Also called an immersion blender by the technically correct. The second thing you need is a jar that is tall and not much wider than the bell of your blender. It so happens that a standard dill pickle jar works nicely for me. Oh, yeah. It should also be large enough to hold all the mayo for that session plus some extra room.

4 egg yolks
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
2-1/8 cups sunflower oil or safflower oil
1 Tbs lemon juice

Put the egg yolks, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in the jar. Mix them together until smooth. Turn off the blender but leave it in the jar. Gently pour in the oil – all of it. You will notice that the oil sits on top of the egg yolk mixture, and that’s the secret. With the bell at the bottom of the jar, turn on the blender and slowly draw it up to the top of the oil. As you will have noticed, when you draw the blender up you keep blending only the small amount of oil that is at the border of the emulsified liquid. Pretty slick. You will probably need to keep the blender running and move it up and down and around a bit until all the oil is blended in and the more you beat it the stiffer the mix will get. You will get up to full mayo stiffness in a very short time. At this point add in the lemon juice and blend it in.

Take a taste and adjust your seasonings as you like. There is only one problem with this method: it is so easy that you may be ashamed to let anyone see you do it. After all – mayonnaise is supposed to be one of those things that only real cooks do. Oh yeah – since you should have mixed the stuff in the container that you are going to store it in there is much less waste since you don’t have to transfer the goodie – and one less mess to wash. Just scrape of the blender, cap the jar, and stuff it in the fridge. Too easy – way too easy.

Now then – you can add other things in as you see fit. Crush a clove of garlic and dump it in – wonderful. Add a bit of sugar – either white or powdered – for that sweet flavor that commercial mayo has. Try different mustards and more or less mustard for different kicks. French mayo has mustard – non-French has none – simple. Try cayenne pepper. Now the other thing to notice is that all the mayo recipes differ slightly in ingredients and/or proportions. That is fine. You need 3 things: egg, oil, and acid. Which ones you use and which other things you add will determine flavor. The essential method is: beat the devil out of the eggs as you add in the oil slowly. This forces an emulsion to take place. That is mayo.

Here are some variations:

Remoulade: chop up a hardboiled egg, some capers, parsley. Blend in & add a little more lemon juice to taste.

Aioli: Add 4 cloves minced garlic. Mediterranean sauce used with fish, veggies and such.

Add some sour cream, sweet cream, or yoghurt.

Add a couple of tablespoons of the herb of choice.

Add more mustard and some brown sugar and dill to taste.

Dream up your own variation(s).

Finally – use any of the mayo recipes with any of the methods – and enjoy superior flavor.

This stuff will keep for a week in a cold refrigerator.

{{Herself Sez: I keep our “upstairs” refrigerator at about 33 – 34 degrees – colder than most. Things tend to keep longer at this temp than at the “normal” temp of about 38 degrees. Problem is, occasionally it drops a degree or so, and some things freeze. Usually not a problem. Even the eggs will be ok if you plan to scramble them or beat them up in a recipe. But you can’t separate them and make the whites “work” for meringue. The lettuce, however, has to be tossed! O Well!!}}

Mayonnaise – The Real Thing

11 September 09

Or – How to get some exercise.

This is the second great classic sauce that every cook should be able to hammer out with little or no effort. I’ve already covered Hollandaise (see Eggs Benedict), so this bit on mayonnaise completes the Allemande (emulsion of lemon and egg yolk) class of the mother sauces of Escoffier. One of these days I’ll gather them all together in one place.

There are all kinds of stories about how mayonnaise came about and was named. I suspect that anywhere quality oil and eggs were available someone figured out how to emulsify the oil into the egg yolk. The name seems to be French in origin.

For those who are used to modern mayo from the jar this stuff is a bit of a shock. It actually has real flavor – and lots of it. It is also about 10 minutes of work – guaranteed to work your arm and give you a bit of cardio-vascular workout.

3 egg yolks
1 Tbs acid: wine vinegar or lemon juice
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp dry mustard – up to ½ tsp by taste for French style (optional)
2 cups corn or safflower oil or NON-Virgin olive oil
2 Tbs boiling water

Make sure the mixing bowl is big enough for lots of elbow action. Also make sure the whisk is comfortable to use.

You want ingredients room temperature: 70°F or so. So don’t take stuff right out of the refrigerator and expect good results. If the eggs are cold you may heat up the mixing bowl with lots of hot water – just not hot enough to cook the yolks. It also helps to separate the yolks by hand, which will help warm them up. If your oil is cold, warm it up – but then, why should your oil be cold?

Whisk the egg yolks for a few seconds until they start to thicken a bit.

Add the acid – whether lemon juice or wine vinegar – and salt. Bit of discussion here: adding mustard is French, most others don’t. The mustard not only adds flavor but also helps to stabilize the mixture – your choice. Anyway – continue whisking while you add this stuff and beat for about another 30 seconds to a minute.

Take a deep breath. Shake your arms and get some blood into them. Relax. From here you cannot stop whisking for the next 5 to 8 minutes or so.

You do not have to whisk particularly fast – just steady – without stopping. You can switch hands or change directions – just don’t stop. Use a teaspoon and dribble the oil in a drop at a time while whisking steadily. When about half of the oil is in you can take a deep breath and take a SHORT pause. Then start adding from the measuring cup, about a teaspoonful at a time – whisking steadily. If at any time you see the mix looking oily stop adding oil and continue whisking until all has been absorbed. Usually it works out that about every 2 or 3 teaspoons of oil you will need to stir for a few extra seconds to get proper absorption. At no time let the mix get oily and loose.

When you get about ½ the oil worked in the danger of failure is pretty much over.

If you don’t get enough volume before the mix stiffens up too much to add more, then you can dribble in a few more drops of the acid, then go back to adding oil.

Add the boiling water, which will help the final consistency. Correct the seasoning to taste.

You can decant into a sealable container and store in the refrigerator for a few days. This is NOT commercial stuff with all the preservatives, etc. Therefore don’t think that you can ignore it in the fridge for more than a very few days.

Yes – you can make this in a blender on the lowest speed. Yes – you can use olive oil but it must NOT be extra virgin. Olive oil works and tastes very nice, but corn oil is a whole bunch easier to work with and tastes very, very good.

{{HERSELF SEZ: There is nothing – absolutely nothing – like homemade mayonnaise! This version is similar to other versions of homemade mayo that I’ve had or made – it’s a little “runnier” than the commercial kind. Doesn’t seem to be anything to do with this recipe to make it a thicker consistency. But I can easily get used to a runnier mayo for the taste!! Yum!}}

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