Salad Nicoise For Two

I was inspired by watching Martha Stewart for this recipe.   I am using her dressing recipe and for the rest of the ingredients I used Food Network’s recipe, links below.   I am still working to make a dressing that I enjoy, perhaps a homemade Italian.  I am not big on dressings with Dijon mustard because it’s too strong.  If you have a suggestion put it in comments.  Tip:  although the steps are easy, there are many to follow.  Prepare the ingredients ahead of time.

Salad Nicoise

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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A nutritious and unique blend of colorful ingredients that are sure to delight. I found jarred Yellow Fin Tuna at Whole Foods.

Credit:   Food Network and Martha Stewart (video).

Ingredients

Martha Stewart’s dressing:

1/2 large Shallot or two Scallions, minced

2 tsp. capers

1 T  Dijon mustard

1 tsp. Anchovy Paste

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/3 C. olive oil

Whisk together shallot, capers, Dijon, anchovy paste,  lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil; set dressing aside.

Food Network’s salad, sans the dressing:

Ingredients 

½ lb. thin-skinned potatoes, sliced 1/3 inch thick

Salt

5 ounces haricots verts [Whole Foods frozen] or thin green beans, trimmed

Salt and Pepper

4 cherry tomatoes or small cocktail tomatoes, halved or quartered

1/2 head Red French or Butter lettuce, leaves separated

1 5-1/2-ounce jar Toninno yellow fin tuna packed in olive oil, drained [Whole Foods]

1/4 cup niçoise olives or kalamata, pitted

2 hard cooked eggs

Directions

Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water and season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl; drizzle with 1 T. dressing and let cool. Reserve the saucepan.

Meanwhile, bring a separate saucepan of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with salted ice water. Add the haricots verts to the boiling water; cook until crisp-tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water to cool; drain and pat dry.

Toss the tomatoes in a small bowl with 1 T. dressing, salt, and pepper to taste.  Gently toss the cooled potatoes.  Quarter the hard-cooked eggs.

Tear off whole lettuce leaves and divide between 2 plates, about 3 leaves each. Arrange the potatoes, haricots verts, artichoke hearts, and tuna on top. Add the tomatoes and eggs to the plates. Drizzle with the dressing and top with the olives.  Serve with a baguette.

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara – Vatican Cookbook

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A surprisingly simple recipe made with bacon and eggs that is full of flavor and nutrition. We couldn't find grated Pecorino cheese and substituted a quality thinly shredded Parmesan by Sartori from Safeway.

Ingredients

1 pound spaghetti
1/2 pound bacon, diced
2 T. white wine
4 eggs, beaten
4 oz. grated Pecorino or Parmesan (we prefer shredded)
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Directions

Place a pot of salted water onto boil.  Cook spaghetti in the salted water until al dente.  Meanwhile, dice the bacon and cook until crisp in a large pan over medium heat.  Scoop out half of the bacon grease with a measuring cup.  Add the white wine.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, the grated cheese, pepper, and salt.  Set aside until the pasta is cooked.

Drain the spaghetti and add to the pan of bacon.  Mix well.  Remove the pan from heat.  Add the egg and cheese mixture to the pan and stir vigorously.  Mix until the eggs begin to bind.  Season to taste, distribute on individual plates and serve.

Cultural Food Appropriation Is Snobbery

It should not matter to anyone living in the freest nation on earth where you come from.  That is the entire idea behind freedom here.

Here is what I learned on the radio today.  The San Francisco Chronicle hired a new food critic.  Her name is Soleil Ho.  (I mean no disrespect but found I needed to add “Miss” to her name for readability.  NinaOnFood.)

Miss Soleil Ho is boastful about being THE Expert Cultural Appropriation Sheriff in town.  The Chronicle agrees!

Boy, does she have a chip on her shoulder!

Soleil Ho Named San Francisco Chronicle Food Critic. 12/5/18.

21st Century Paranoia About . . . Cuisine?  Give Me A Break!

Writing about recipes and ingredients should be off-limits to social justice platitudes and threats.

Here is what I consider a threat:

“If a radio program is about Mexican food, then a person from that culture should be the one chosen to discuss it.   Otherwise, it is misappropriation. “ (Paraphrased.) Miss Soleil Ho on KQED radio Forum December 18, 2018.

Earth to miss Ho:  Julia Child was not French yet she hosted “Bon Appetite” and authored cookbooks on the subject.  Would Child be accepted in this ice-cold Utopian environment of today’s young people?

In the early days of this country, finding food from your particular ethnic recipes was somewhat difficult.  But nobody launched websites about it.   In particular, they were not taken seriously if they demanded the “right” to it.

What Can Possibly Go Wrong With Demanding Cultural Appropriation in Food?

Plenty.

Real example.  I know of a Mexican family that runs a Greek restaurant.  What do impossible Utopians like Miss Ho want to do with this family?

Fair Warning to Cultural Utopians

Do you think it cruel to inform Ms. Ho that The Mexican Race is nonexistent?  New York Times – Genetically There’s No Such Thing As A MexicanThe citizens of Mexico are mostly of Spanish European ancestry, i.e., White.

Never Trust A Food Critic!

Quotes by Miss Soleil Ho.  She is so self-convinced of her original thinking!!

(1)  “Food is so much more than sustenance. It’s political, it’s cultural, it’s personal, and I want to learn about how others experience the things they eat.”

(2)  “A lot of my work is focused on how we can use food to talk about bigger issues—racism, sexism, sexual harassment, identity—[…] at the center of so many global trends and power dynamics when you think about colonialism . . .

“If you look past the existing narratives about you can see so many things at play and so many people jockeying for control over the narrative.”

But Can She Cook?

I wonder if Miss Ho knows how to cook.  Is she another Food Critic Fraud like played by actress Barbara Stanwick in “Christmas In Connecticut?”

Plot:  A renowned magazine food critic known for her holiday meal planning and exceptional knowledge of cuisines is actually a fraud and cannot even boil an egg or make scrambled eggs.

More reading from the Utopian Planners for a world I do not identify with:

The Feminist Guide to Being a Foodie w/o Being Culturally Appropriative.

 What’s Wrong with Cultural Appropriation?  Everydayfeminist.

 

Scallops Saute Provencale

Shopping Tip – Buy the jumbo sized scallops; serving size is approx. 4 scallops per person. We like both the fresh and frozen.

 

Scallops Saute Provencale

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is a great substitute for the more complex preparation of Coquille St. Jacques. The recipe calls for rolling the raw scallops in flour but it's messy so we skip that step.

Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds jumbo scallops, fresh or frozen (defrosted), rinsed in tap water

1-1/2 T. butter and 1-1/2 T. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 Cup parsley, chopped

Directions

Rinse and dry the scallops.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and melt the butter, add the scallops and cook them very quickly, frequently tossing them lightly.  While they are cooking add the garlic and mix it in well.  Then salt and pepper to taste.  When the scallops are lightly browned with a bit of crust, add the parsley and toss it around so that the scallops are nicely coated with it.  Serve with lemon wedges and Orzo pasta.

German Chicken Paprika – Slow Cooker

This Paprika Chicken recipe from Luchow’s German Cookbook calls for “2 young chickens, about 2-1/2 pounds each.”  The cookbook’s first publishing date was 1952.  Back in those days, cooks could find smaller chickens in the grocery stores.  Today, chickens are typically 3 to 4 pounds.

 

Shopper’s Tip – The surprise ingredient is the fresh dill.  If you use dried dill (we usually do this time of year), take a whiff to make sure it’s fresh prior to cooking.  If not, go and buy a new jar.  I usually buy a small fresh bunch at the grocery store and dry it myself.

 

Our Alterations – We make more sauce than called for; we usually use whole milk rather than cream; and we like to add garlic.

 

 

Luchow’s – This cookbook was in my mother’s collection and passed onto our family.  She loved the restaurant and raved about it.  Luchow’s opened in 1882 in Manhattan and closed its doors in 1984.  The list of celebrities and statesmen who were patrons of the famous restaurant is long and fascinating.  (Wikipedia)

 

German Chicken Paprika - Slow Cooker

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Credit:  Luchow’s Restaurant Cookbook.  Adapted for a slow cooker by NinaOnFood.

Ingredients

½ stick butter or more

8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless

¾ C. flour

2 tsp. Paprika

2 tsp. Salt

1 onion, diced

1/3 green bell pepper, diced

2 C. chicken broth

2 T. milk

Dried dill for garnish

Directions

Place the flour in a clean 1-gallon plastic storage bag and season with paprika and salt; toss with fingers. Add the thighs and gently shake to coat.  As you remove them and place on a plate, turn each piece over to check it is coated.

If you have a cooker with a brown/saute setting follow here.  Otherwise, use a skillet to brown.

Set the cooker to Brown/Saute at 400°.    Add the butter; quickly spread with wooden or plastic spoon.  Gently place thighs one at a time in the butter.  Lightly brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side.  When thighs are light golden color, remove them at set on a plate (without paper towels).

Reduce heat to 350°.

Add the diced vegetables to the remaining butter in the cooker (or skillet); toss with wooden or plastic spoon to coat. Cook for only a minute or two.  Add the broth and milk; stir.  The mixture will begin to boil.  Gently nestle the browned thighs in the sauce. Cover the cooker.

Switch the unit to Slow Cook on Low. Set Timer to 4 hours.  Check at 4 hours that internal chicken temperature is 165° to 170° and very tender.

To Thicken Sauce:  Remove the thighs and place in a serving dish; cover to keep hot.  Add 1 C. of sour cream to the sauce in the cooker; stir to mix well. Stir constantly until the sauce is hot.  To Serve:  Place hot egg noodles in a serving dish, top with the thighs, and pour the sauce overall.    Alternatively, place the hot egg noodles into the cooker and toss to coat.  Sprinkle Dried Dill over all.

Mexican Dry Soup with Vermicelli – Sopa Seca

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  She is the patron saint of The Americas.

“Guadalupe:  the Miracle and the Message” is a very enjoyable film documentary narrated by actor Jim Caviezel.

In our small way we celebrate by watching this film and reading about Mary’s apparition.

We also plan to prepare a simple Mexican meal at home.

 

Shopping Tip:  We buy Mexican short vermicelli known as fideo at the grocers.

Mexican Vegetable Soup with Vermicelli

Sopa seca, like many famous terms in Mexican cuisine, is the down-to-earth description of a magnificent dish. Broth is absorbed by rice or noodles during cooking; serve the dry soup as a separate course or as a side dish.

Credit:  Sunset Mexican Cookbook:  Classic & Contemporary Recipes. 1989 Edition

Ingredients

8 ounces Mexican vermicelli pasta, cut short

2 T. butter

3 T. cooking oil

1 medium-size onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 4-oz. can chopped Anaheim chilies, e.g., Ortega brand

1 15-oz. can petite diced tomatoes with juice

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1 Cup fresh or frozen thawed peas

2 Cups chicken broth

Salt and pepper

Heat butter and oil in a 2-1/2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, and chilies and cook, stirring, until soft (about 5 minutes).  Add noodles and stir well; continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 2 more minutes.  Add tomatoes, oregano, peas, and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and lower heat.  Simmer until liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Substitution:  replace the onion and chilies with 1 can of Ro-tel  brand tomatoes and chilies.

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Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

Our recipe is the product of one part detective work and one part educated guessing.  I had a Ken’s bottled version and with only 3 tablespoons left in the bottle, I got the inspiration to make my own.  With the bottle in my hand, I selected the listed ingredients I had on hand.  I just guessed at the measurements.  It’s pretty darn good.  So is Ken’s.

 

The Mysterious Origin of Thousand Island Dressing

According to a delightful CBS News televised report, legend has it that the recipe for Thousand Island Dressing is shrouded in mystery.

Watch the video.

Preparation Tip:  Don’t underestimate the preference for “fresh” tasting spices you have on hand for this recipe and others.  If you’ve had any spices in your pantry for over six months, check for a strong, fresh aroma.  Otherwise, it is best to toss and replace.  If you’re on a budget, shop for spices at stores like Winco and also wait for sales.

 

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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This dressing is big on flavor if you use whole mayonnaise and fresh herbs and spices.

Ingredients

In a 4-cup measure or mixing bowl, combine:

1 cup mayonnaise, preferably full bodied and not low-fat

1/4 cup whole sour cream

2 tablespoons chili sauce like Heinz

Add and stir to blend:

2 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp. salad oil

1 tsp. dried onion flakes

1 tsp. dried parsley or 2 tsp. fresh, minced

 

The following ingredients are measured “to taste” and imprecise.  Use your judgment.  Start with the smallest amount.

Spices:  chili powder, garlic powder, dry mustard (a pinch), paprika, ground white or black pepper, and salt.  Stir or whisk vigorously to blend well.  At the last, add 2 teaspoons of sweet relish.  Stir.  Turn the dressing into a jar and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Potato-Cauliflower Curry

Time-Life published a series of cookbooks in the early 1970s known as Foods of the World.  The image is my copy of “Recipes:  The Cooking of India.”  The companion picture book I no longer have and it was a book about India and its cuisine.

If you’ve made curries you know that adding more spices can kick it up to as hot as you like.  This recipe is medium-hot.

 

Potato-Cauliflower Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A satisfying and colorful vegetable medley that is sure to delight spice lovers. Serve it over rice for a complete meal or as a meat side dish.

Credit:  “Recipes:  The Cooking of India” by Time-Life.  Adapted by NinaOnFood.

Ingredients

  • ¼ C. butter
  • 1 T. scraped fresh ginger
  • 1 T. finely chopped garlic
  • ½ C. finely chopped onions
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 T. Madras brand curry powder or these spices:

1 tsp. ground cumin,  ½ tsp. turmeric, and ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper

  • 3 diced tomatoes or 1-15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 T. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 head Cauliflower, cut into small crowns
  • 2 lbs. gold potatoes, par-boiled, peeled, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1 small handful fresh whole green beans
  • 1 C. water
  • (optional: ½ tsp. garam masala)

Directions

In a large deep pan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Stir in garlic, onions, ginger, and salt.  Cook onion mixture until soft.  Add Curry Powder (or separate spices) and stir to blend.  Add tomatoes and 2 T. chopped cilantro.  Toss. Cook until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and potatoes.  Toss to coat. Add the whole green beans stirring gently.

Stir in the water, bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat to low.  Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and not overcooked.

Garnish with remaining cilantro.  Serve over Basmati rice.

Scotch Broth Soup

Recipe courtesy of All Recipes.

To Outlander fansand you can call me a prudish Trad Catholic fan because I fast forward through the erotic scenes to “take custody of the eyes” — this is not a recipe from the Outlander Kitchen cookbook.  Nor is it from the cookbook author’s blog.

Lamb shanks are the absolute best cut.  They are mild and tender.  I use rutabaga because they have a mild flavor and are less bitter than turnip.  I adjusted the preparation steps for clarity.  The photo below is mine.  The photo above is from America’s Test Kitchen because I can’t find my photo of the finished soup.

Scotch Broth Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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This thick and hearty soup takes time to prepare for a special occasion. Preparation includes overnight refrigeration but it is well worth the effort. Garnish with fresh parsley. The soup can be frozen.

Credit:  All Recipes

Ingredients

THE STOCK – Yields 5 cups

  • 2-1/4 lb. Lamb Shanks
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 rutabagas, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp. salt

TO COMPLETE THE SOUP:

  • 1/2 cup Barley, soaked overnight
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 Leek, chopped
  • 1 Celery Stick, diced
  • 1 rutabaga, diced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Herbs:  Oregano, Thyme, Sage to taste
  • Thicken with 3 tsp. flour and water mixture, if needed
  • Chopped parsley

Directions

DAY ONE.  In a small bowl soak barley in water to cover; cover the bowl and set aside.  Make the stock.  In a large soup pot, place the lamb shanks, onions, turnips, carrots, peppercorns and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, remove scum,  reduce the heat and simmer, partly covered, for 3 hours. Skim the surface as required.

The Meat.  Remove from the pot the shanks and any meat that has fallen off the bones. Cool slightly for handling.  Remove the meat from the bones and chop fine.  Place in a storage container, cover and refrigerate overnight.

The Stock.  Strain the stock into storage container such as another pot or 8-cup size measuring cup, discarding the vegetables and peppercorns. Cool the stock.  Cover and refrigerate overnight, or until the fat has set on top and can be spooned off.

DAY TWO.  Drain the soaked barley and set aside. Remove stock from the refrigerator.  Scrape off the solid fat.  Reheat the stock in large soup pot over medium-high heat, adding 1 cup water.  Add the drained barley, the carrot, onion, leek, celery, rutabaga, and the herbs.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, or until the barley and vegetables are just cooked. Return the meat to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Thicken with a flour-water mixture if desired.  Season well and top with parsley.

Popovers for Breakfast

I finally purchased a Popover Pan!  It makes a difference – the 6-oz. cups made larger and fluffier popovers as compared to using an average muffin pan.  Set out everything you need that isn’t refrigerated the night before.  First thing the next morning, set out the eggs (cracked open into a bowl) and milk (in measuring cup) to bring them to room temperature while the oven is pre-heating.

Popover pan by Sur la Table Stores

 

Popovers

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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These crispy and light hollow puffs will be a hit for breakfast served warm with butter and jam.

Credit:  Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook

Ingredients

Shortening or butter or nonstick cooking spray

2 beaten eggs, room temperature

1 cup milk, room temperature

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil (we like canola)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions

You will need six 6-ounce custard cups or a popover pan.

Preheat oven to 400°.  With a paper towel, generously spread ½ teaspoon cooking oil over the bottom and sides of each cup; or, spray cups with nonstick coating.  Place the custard cups on a 15x10x1-inch baking sheet; set aside.

In a blender or mixing bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk and cooking oil.  Add flour and salt.  Blend or beat with wire whisk till mixture is smooth.  Scrape side of bowl or blender, if necessary.

 

Fill the greased cups half full.  Bake in a 400° oven about 30-35 minutes or light brown and very firm.  Immediately after removal from the oven, prick each popover with a fork to let steam escape. Serve hot.  Makes 6 popovers.