For the topping
3 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon black pepper
For the roasted cauliflower sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, cored, cut into florets
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12-oz box spinach linguine (DeCecco)
For the cauliflower
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
In a bowl toss together the cauliflower florets, shallots, garlic, seasoning, salt, red pepper, and olive oil. Spread on the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and browned.
For the topping
Cook bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add panko and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until panko is well browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer panko mixture to bowl and stir in cheese.
For the pasta
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water.
Return the pot to low heat and add the cream, roasted cauliflower, pasta water, and cheese. Stir until heated through. Add cooked pasta and mix well. Turn the mixture out into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the bacon panko topping. Serve immediately.
Fish and chips are traditionally sold wrapped in paper to soak up all the grease–because they are deep-fried in oil. To cut the calories and reduce the fat, bake the fish along with the potatoes. Serve with coleslaw and malt vinegar or lemon wedges. I included my recipe for Tartar sauce in case you prefer that with the fish.
FISH AND CHIPS
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 ½ teaspoons minced thyme
1 large garlic clove, grated on a Microplane or minced
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ pounds skinless wild-caught cod, or other white fish fillets, cut into 1-inch-thick strips
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 ½ pounds russet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick sticks
Prepare the fish and chips:
Arrange 2 oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the lower rack and heat the oven to 500 degrees.
Grease an oven-safe wire rack with oil and place it over another rimmed baking sheet.
In a shallow dish combine 2 tablespoons of oil, panko, thyme, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together mustard and eggs. Place flour in a third bowl.
Season fish with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Dredge each piece of fish in the flour, then the mustard mixture, then the panko mixture, making sure it is well coated with each one before moving to the next. Transfer fish to the pan with the wire rack.
In a large bowl, toss together potatoes, the remaining 4 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Carefully spread potatoes out on the preheated baking sheet and return to the oven’s lower rack. Roast until slightly golden and crispy, tossing after 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and transfer the second pan, with the fish still on the wire rack, to the oven’s top rack. Bake until fish is flaky and golden and potatoes are well browned and tender, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
Salt the fish and potatoes immediately after removing them from the oven. Serve hot, with tartar sauce alongside for dipping, if desired.
16 oz package of coleslaw mix
1 teaspoon honey or another sweetener
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
In a medium serving bowl with a cover, combine the dressing ingredients using a whisk.
Add the shredded cabbage, carrot, and scallions and stir gently to mix.
Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Homemade Tartar Sauce
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons dried dill
1 tablespoon minced scallions (white and light green parts only)
2 teaspoons chopped capers
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
For the tartar sauce:
In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, relish, dill, scallions, capers, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
This Chinese dish is from the Mandarin style of cooking and is therefore not spicy. If you like spicy food add hot sauce to taste.
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1/2 pound bok choy, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
3 carrots, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 sweet onion, quartered and layers separated
2 celery stalks, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, sliced
Hot cooked Jasmine rice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Remove any silverskin from the pork. Cut pork into thin 1-inch-long pieces. Season with pepper and salt.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or wok over high. Add half of the pork; cook, stirring, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from skillet. Repeat with 1 tablespoon of the oil and remaining pork.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Add bok choy, carrots, celery, onion, remaining salt, ginger, and garlic; cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender-crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.
Whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining sauce ingredients in a bowl. Pour the sauce mixture over the vegetable mixture in the skillet; bring to a simmer over medium-high. Add pork and simmer stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Serve with rice.
1 Porterhouse or T-Bone Steak, 1-inch thick. at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Mushroom Blue Cheese Sauce, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat for 5 minutes.
Coat both sides of the steak with steak seasoning. I use Montreal. When the pan is hot, add the steak and sear evenly for about 2 minutes per side.
Remove the pan from the heat and top with the butter, then place the pan in the oven. Cook the steak for 8 to 10 minutes to 120 degrees for rare and 125 degrees for medium-rare. Remove the steaks to a platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bone and thinly slice the steak. Pour the mushroom sauce over the steak and serve.
I like to serve this steak recipe with baked potatoes and sauteed spinach.
Mushroom Blue Cheese Sauce
4 oz can of sliced mushrooms, drained
1 large shallot finely diced
1 teaspoon butter
Pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon of crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the shallot, mushrooms, and pepper. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese, sour cream, and chives and cook until warm.
A chewy pizza crust that can be made quickly with just basic pantry ingredients for when you are in a hurry. Makes 1 lb of pizza dough.
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Stir in flour, salt, and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Place the dough in an oiled pizza pan and press and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
Place an oven rack on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
After the dough has rested, add the toppings as indicated below.
Sausage and Peppers Topping
8 oz spicy Italian Sausage, cut into thin slices
1 lb small bell peppers, sliced thin
1 large onion sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
26 oz container strained or chopped Italian tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine all the ingredients for the pizza sauce in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
Preheat a large sauté pan on medium-high and place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, then add sausage and cook until browned about 6 minutes, stirring until no pink remains. Add the remaining ingredients and saute until the vegetables are tender.
Let stand 5 minutes to cool.
Top the rested dough with slices of mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, peppers, onions, and sausage.
Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted, and the toppings are thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.
I made a baked ham over the holidays and of course, that meant leftovers. Here are some of the recipes I made with some of the leftover meat.
You can make your own ham broth for soup using a leftover ham bone:
Simmer the ham bone in a stockpot filled with 12 cups of water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid, and let simmer for one hour.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 onion finely chopped
2 carrots diced
1/2 cup diced celery with leaves
4 cups peeled and diced baking potatoes, about 3 large baking potatoes
3 cloves garlic minced or finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced (add more if desired)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups ham broth
3 cups of milk
1 pinch of salt (adjust to your taste)
Fresh cracked black pepper
Chopped fresh chives
Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, carrots, and celery until beginning to soften (about 4 minutes).
Add the ham bone used for the broth and potatoes, cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
Stir in broth mixing all ingredients together. Increase heat and bring to a boil until potatoes are ‘just’ fork-tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove ham bone and pick off meat to add to the completed soup.
Puree soup with an immersion blender.
Mix the flour and milk together and stir into the soup.
Reduce heat to medium-low and stir over the heat until thickened (about 5 minutes).
Add chopped ham. Adjust seasonings.
Top with chives and serve hot.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped leftover baked ham
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh chives
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat two large baking sheets with cooking spray or parchment.
Whisk 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut or rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Stir in cheese, ham, and chives.
Whisk buttermilk and egg in a medium bowl; stir into the dry ingredients until just combined.
Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tablespoon flour. Turn the dough out and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour.
Knead three to five times, or until the dough just comes together. Divide in half and pat each piece into a 5-inch circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
Bake the scones until firm to the touch, 20 to 24 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time
Reheat at 300°F for 10 to 15 minutes.
Ham Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
1 lb whole wheat penne pasta
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced bell pepper
1/4 cup flour
½ teaspoon mustard powder
2 cups of milk
12 ounces Velveeta cheese, diced
2 cups diced baked ham
Pinch black pepper
1/2 cup panko crumbs
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
In the same pot melt butter and add the bell pepper and onion, cook until soft. Stir in the flour, salt to taste, and mustard.
Slowly whisk milk into the roux, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
Allow milk and roux to heat for about one minute, then begin adding the Velveeta.
Continue to gently whisk the mixture until all the Velveeta has melted, then add a pinch of black pepper. Stir in the ham and pasta.
Transfer the mixture to a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle panko on top.
Cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.
America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland.
True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought its cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.
Hoppin’ John: A New Year’s Tradition
Forget champagne—in the Southern United States, Hoppin’ John is standard New Year’s fare. This simple dish of peas, pork, and rice has been a tradition since the 1800s. It’s believed to bring luck and peace in the coming year to anyone who eats it.
The first recipes for Hoppin’ John appear in cookbooks that date back to the 1840s, although the mixture of dried peas, rice, and pork was made by Southern slaves long before then. It seems to have originated in the Low Country of South Carolina, an area where plantation owners searched long and hard for a crop that would flourish in the hot, muggy weather. Rice grew well in the river deltas, so it was a natural choice, but the white farmers had no real experience with cultivating rice on a large scale until enslaved West Africans who had grown rice for generations arrived in America.
Although any type of dried peas can be used for Hoppin’ John, the black-eyed pea is the most traditional. This pea happens to have been domesticated in West Africa, which led to the belief that African slaves took the peas with them, planted them in their new surroundings, and created a dish that would remind them of their lost homes. This is probably only partly true. Newly abducted Africans were lucky to have clothes on their backs, and they certainly weren’t encouraged or even allowed to bring sacks of planting grain along with them. What is more likely is that slave traders saw black-eyed peas as an economical and easy way to feed their cargo.
The origins of the name “Hoppin’ John” are slightly less clear. Some say an old, hobbled man called Hoppin’ John became known for selling bowls of peas and rice on the streets of Charleston. Others say slave children hopped around the table in eager anticipation of the dish. Most food historians think the name derives from a French term for dried peas, “pois pigeons.”
It’s also uncertain why the dish became associated with New Year’s and good luck. The most likely story is that slaves would often have the period between Christmas and New Year’s off since no crops were growing at that time. Hoppin’ John was, and still is, often eaten with collard greens, which can resemble paper money and “golden” cornbread. The peas themselves represent coins. Some families boost the potential of their Hoppin’ John by placing a penny underneath the dishes—or adding extra pork, which is thought to bring more luck.
One tradition common in the United States is that each person at the meal should leave three peas on their plate to ensure that the New Year will be filled with luck, fortune, and romance. Another tradition holds that counting the number of peas in a serving predicts the amount of luck (or wealth) that the diner will have in the coming year.
This dish is traditionally a high point of New Year’s Day when a shiny dime is often buried among the black-eyed peas before serving.Whoever gets the coin in his or her portion is assured good luck throughout the year. For maximum good luck in the new year, the first thing that should be eaten on New Year’s Day is Hoppin’ John. If you eat leftover Hoppin’ John the day after New Year’s Day, then the name changes to Skippin’ Jenny since one is demonstrating their determination of frugality. Eating a bowl of Skippin’ Jenny is believed to even better your chances for a prosperous New Year!
Source: Beyond Black-Eyed Pease: New Year’s good-luck foods, by Mick Bann, Dec. 26,2008, Austin Chronicle.
Recipe for Hoppin’ John
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small ham hock or bone
4 celery stalks, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
8 cups lower-sodium chicken or ham broth
4 cups fresh or frozen black-eyed peas
For the rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups uncooked Carolina Gold rice
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh scallions, sliced
Heat oil in a large pot. Add celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Add broth and black-eyed peas and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until peas are tender about 40 minutes. Drain pea mixture, reserving cooking liquid. Return pea mixture and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to the pot. Cover to keep warm; set aside.
To cook the rice
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add rice and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the reserved cooking liquid and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until rice is tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, and gently stir into pea mixture in the Dutch oven. Stir in the remaining cooking liquid, 1⁄4 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Sprinkle servings with parsley and sliced fresh scallions.
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg and ¼ cup water, beaten together
1 ½ cups panko Italian unseasoned bread crumbs
Kosher salt, as needed
Black pepper, as needed
1 small-medium head cauliflower, trimmed and divided into large floret clusters
½ cup of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups Marinara Sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place flour, eggs, and panko into three wide, shallow bowls. Season each with salt and pepper. Dip a cauliflower piece first in flour, then egg, then coat with panko. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
Fill a large skillet with oil. Place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, fry cauliflower in batches, turning halfway through, until golden brown. Transfer fried cauliflower pieces to a paper towel-lined plate.
Spoon the marinara sauce over the bottom of an 8-inch baking pan. Place the cauliflower evenly in the baking dish. Transfer pan to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella and return to the oven until the cheese melts.
Lemony Chicken or Turkey Cutlet Piccata
1 lb boneless skinless chicken or turkey breast cutlets
Kosher salt and black pepper
½ cup flour for dredging
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Pat the chicken breast pieces dry and season with kosher salt and black pepper on both sides. Lightly coat the chicken on both sides with the flour (shake off any excess flour).
In a medium skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Cook the chicken on 1 side for about 2 minutes, then turn over to cook for 3 minutes. Add the butter and capers. Drizzle the lemon juice over the cutlets and let simmer for 2 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Linguini with Pesto Cream Sauce
Pistachio Basil Pesto Sauce
4 cups washed basil leaves
½ cup shelled pistachio nuts
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb linguini
1 cup pistachio basil pesto sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
For the pesto sauce
Place the pistachios, garlic, salt, and pepper in a processor bowl. Process until the nuts and garlic are chopped. Add the basil leaves and process for a minute or two. In the opening spout at the top, pour the olive oil as you process. Keep processing until the mixture is smooth.
Cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander.
In the same pot add the pesto, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Warm over low heat and then add the cooked linguine. Cook for a minute or two. Pour into a serving bowl and top with freshly ground black pepper.
2 servings-double for 4 servings
5 ounces spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
8 oz salmon fillet
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plain panko breadcrumbs, toasted
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large deep skillet. Add the salmon fillet and saute on both sides until cooked about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate, break into large pieces, and set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta cooking water.
Add the remaining oil, garlic, anchovy paste, crushed red pepper, and lemon juice to the skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until sizzling, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved pasta water, drained pasta, salmon, and salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce coats the pasta, about 2 minutes. Divide between two pasta plates, top each with breadcrumbs and parsley. Serve immediately.
Leaf Lettuce Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 minced scallions
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups leaf lettuce
1 cup of green olives
In a medium salad bowl whisk together the olive oil, the orange segments and juice from the orange, scallions, salt, pepper, and oregano. Add the olives and lettuce. Mix well and serve in individual salad bowls.
Corn is very plentiful and has a long growing season where I live. So when it is at its best, I freeze many quarts of this vegetable to use during the off-season. Even after spending several months in the freezer, you can taste its sweetness when using it in your cooking. You certainly can use frozen corn from the supermarket in this recipe.
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, diced
4 ribs celery with leaves, diced
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups vegetable stock
2 fresh whole sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ -½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1to 2 tablespoons honey
7 cups frozen sweet corn kernels, divided
2 cups whole milk
Additional salt to taste, pepper to taste
Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes to the pot and saute for ten minutes until soft.
Add honey if the corn isn’t sweet.
Add 4 cups of corn, vegetable stock, cayenne, salt, and thyme. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for an hour. Remove the thyme branches.
Remove the pot from the heat and puree the contents with an immersion blender. Add milk, salt, and pepper to taste and the remaining 3 cups of corn.
Return the pot to the heat and simmer the soup for about 30 minutes.
Garnish the soup with cheddar cheese or toasted tortilla strips when serving, if desired.