Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Morgh-e tu por-e torsh-o-shirin ©

Yet ANOTHER chicken recipe :-) The title translates into 'Sweet and Sour stuffed chicken'. This Iranian recipe is a wonderful meal served with rice, and will duly impress your guests.


4 Rock Cornish game hens
2 TBS sesame oil
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup pitted and finely chopped prunes
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup crushed pistaccio nuts (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp hawaish


Clean and rinse the hens in cold water, then pat dry and rub with salt.

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet and brown onion and garlic. Add prunes, apple, apricots, raisins, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, cinnamon, saffron water, and sugar in a separate bowl. Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. or prepare your charcoal grill for smoking and grilling. Stuff the hens or chickens with the fruit mixture and truss the cavities shut. Place the stuffed birds in a greased ovenproof dish or roasting pan(*) and pour in the orange juice. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, basting with pan juices, until the meat separates easily from bone.

Serve from the ovenproof dish or arrange the birds on a serving platter. Serve with Saffron Steamed Plain Basmati or Jasmine Rice, bread, salad, fresh fruit, and fresh herbs for garnish.

Rock Cornish game hens are best used for individual servings, and they take less time to cook in the oven.

(*) If you have a rotisserie (a plus, but not necessary) and/or a charcoal smoker/grill, these small hens are absolutely delicious smoked and continuously turned on a rotisserie with a few( 3 or 4) water-soaked apple wood chunks on the charcoals just to provide a delicate hint of smoke. Baste with the orange juice.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Banana-Blueberry-Lemon Bread ©

This is a quick and easy treat for a Sunday morning brunch, or simply a mid-morning snack with a cup of steaming hot coffee or tea.


1 Cup Sugar
1 Stick butter softened
2 VERY ripe bananas mashed
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups AP flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1 Cup walnut(*) flour (NOT walnut meal)
1/4 cup mini lemon bits
1/4 cup mini chocolate bits
1 Cup blueberries (frozen or dried are ok pre-soaked)
Cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Cream butter and sugar. Add beaten eggs, flours, baking soda, mashed bananas. Blend well with a hand mixer with beaters. Pour batter in a buttered/sugared or floured loaf pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon mix over the top of the batter. Bake in pre-heated oven at 325 degree oven for 1 hour and 15-20 minutes, or unitl a toothpick or metal skewer comes out clean and dry.

Walnut Flour(*)

Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet, one pound of shelled walnuts. Be sure there are no shell pieces mixed in. Roast walnuts in a 500-550 degree oven until they have turned a nice dark color, but NOT burned (about 20-minutes)

Let the nuts cool completely, then put small batches in a coffee bean grinder and grind into a fine powder. Once the entire batch has been ground, spread out on a cookie tray and place back in a 350 degree oven until very dry. Watch carefully because they can easily burn at this stage.

What you will get as an end result is a dark loaf of delicious banana bread with a multitude of complimentary tastes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Chicken Scallopini ©

Dontcha love chicken? It's so easy to prepare, and it's cost effective.


4 tbs. Butter, divided (unsalted)
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup water
½ tsp. Chicken bouillon or your own home made chicken base broth
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
¼ cup white wine
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream


Melt 2 tbs. Butter in a large non-stick skillet. Sauté mushrooms until tender and any liquid has evaporated; remove from pan; set aside. Melt remaining 2 tbs. Butter in same skillet. Sauté chicken breasts on both sides until golden brown and cooked through; remove from pan; set aside. (If chicken isn’t done when golden brown place in oven on 400 degrees until remaining recipe is finished)

Add onions to pan; sauté until tender. Add water, wine, and bouillon to pan. Bring to boil. Cook and stir until mixture is reduced by half. Add cream to pan. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Return mushrooms to sauce and let cook together about 2 minutes on low heat.

Serve over a bed of linguini, penne or ziti with chicken on top. Spoon sauce over plate. Serve with REAL garlic bread (posted here) , a nice dry white wine, and a salad.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma) ©

Lebanon, Greece, Yemen, and other Eastern countries have their own version of stuffed grapes leaves. This recipe is a combination of several different ones. Stuffed grape leaves are a delicious snack for a party, or watching a ball game especially when served with a cold, lemon dipping sauce.


16 oz Jar grape leaves or fresh-grape leaves
3/4 c Long grain uncooked rice
2 tsp Fresh dried mint
1 c Water
2 lb Ground lamb, beef and pork - even amounts
1/2 tsp Rosemary
1/2 tsp GREEK oregano
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
1 TBS cumin
1/2 tsp crushed or powdered dill seeds
4 lg Garlic cloves
2 - 3 large lemons

To prepare fresh grape leaves for rolling, dip one leaf at a time in boiling water for about 30 seconds and cool. Mix ground meat with rice; season with salt, pepper, cinnamon and the other spices. Remove stem from each grape leaf, if using fresh leaves. Spread each leaf on flat surface. Place about 1 teaspoon of meat stuffing across the leaf about 1/2" from stem point. Fold leave forward toward stuffing. Then fold right side over then the left side and roll leaf forward very tightly.

When fully rolled, squeeze it to secure. Repeat for each leaf. Neatly place each stuffed roll in a large pot in layers. Pound the garlic with mint and salt to taste, then add add 1 cup water or more as needed, and lemon juice; pour over grape leaves in the pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook covered, very slowly for 1 hour. Add more water if needed. Steam until grape leaves are soft and are pierced and cut easily with a fork. Do not over cook. The leaves should not fall apart. These can be further processed in a hot water bath. Put stuffed leaves in sterilized quart or pint canning jars, pour an even mixture of water and vinegar to 1/2" from top. Process for a full 15-minutes.

Lemon Dipping Sauce

6 egg yolks
Juice of 2 lemons
1 cup chicken or beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Beat together the egg yolks and lemon juice and add these to the stock. Cook over a low flame, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot or cold (yields about one cup). Note: This sauce can also be put to good use in soups, with fish and lamb dishes, and with salads.

Chicken with Orange, Almonds and Pistachio Nuts ©

The middle east is known for pistachio nuts, and are used in a lot of recipes. Here is one you may want to try.


1 1/2 cups Basmati or long-grain rice
2 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 TBS Cooking oil
2 TBS Butter
1/4 Cup slivered Almonds
1/4 Cup Crushed Pistachio nuts
1/2 Cup thin slices of Orange peel
3 TBS Sugar
2 Large onions
1 TBS Hawaish(*)

2 Cups Sugar
Saffron, 1/2 teaspoon
Fresh ground Black pepper


Soak rice in warm water for 2-hours. Rinse and dry chicken. Peel and thinly slice onions. Fry in oil until slightly golden. Add chicken pieces sprinkled with HAWAISH and fry until color changes. Add a cup of hot water, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add more hot water during cooking if necessary. About 1/2 cup of water should be remaining at the end.

Save three spoons of sugar for later use. Add remaining sugar to a cup of hot water and bring to a boil. Add chicken juice, 2-3 spoons of oil and saffron, and mix well. Soak almonds in cold water for an hour. Thinly slice orange peels. Boil for a few minutes, drain and repeat. Soak in cold water for an hour, drain, and repeat. Finally, boil for a few minutes with three TBS sugar. When rice is rinsed, pour a bit of oil and hot water in a pot, and add 1/2 of rice. Spread chicken pieces over the rice, and cover with 1/2 of remaining rice. Spread half of almonds and orange peel over rice and cover with remaining rice. Pour sugar and chicken-juice mix prepared earlier over rice. Cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. Add remainder of almonds, orange peel, and pistachios, and mix well.

Garnish with a sprig of sage.


HAWAISH (Spice Mix) All the spices are mixed proportionately and stored to be easily measured out for recipes. 2 TBS ground cumin 1 TBS pepper 1/2 tsp coriander, ground; 1 tsp turmeric, ground; 4 whole cloves, broken up; 4 pods cardamom seeds; 1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated; 2 bay leaves Mix all ingredients together. Store in a glass jar with a tight cover. Keep the 2 bay leaves in the mixture to keep the spices dry and clean. Do not include the bay leaves as part of the spice mixture.

Serves 2.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Lemon-Blueberry Cream Cheese Crumb Cake ©

Lemon and blueberries seem to go together very well for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner desserts. We tried this recipe and were pleased; hopefully you will be too. This recipe in the original version was posted in King Arthur's Baking Circle by Mrs. K The original recipe can still be found in the Baker's circle posted under knead2quilt's (or K2Q) recipes. The original recipe is one of the most popular on the site, and justifiable so. MrsK was a long time contributor and her recipes are all wonderful.

Lightly grease (BUTTER) and flour a 9 x 13 pan or a 10"x10"x2" corning ware glass dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


2 TBS butter
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour

With a fork or a pastry blender, cream contents to make a fine crumb mixture and set aside.


1 stick (1/4 pound) softened butter
1 1/2 c. white sugar
8 oz. of Marzetti's Fruit Cream Cheese dip.
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
1/4 cup lemon bits
2 cups blueberries (If frozen, thaw, dry, and coat with flour)

Cream the butter, sugar, and cream cheese.Mix in well-beaten eggs. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk and extract, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Gently stir in the dusted berries and lemon bits at the very end. Pour the batter in the pan and sprinkle the topping over the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake tests done with a toothpick or a metal skewer. The cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan when completely done.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Snow Crab Stuffed Mushroom Caps©

Ohhhhhhhhhh, what an appetizer!!!! Try doubling or tripling the recipe!!

20-25 Stuffing Mushroom Caps, Cleaned
1/3 c. Butter
6-8 oz. King Crab Meat
1 oz. White Wine
1/2 Tsp. Pepper
1 Tsp. Lemon Juice

1/4 Cup Shredded Swiss Cheese
1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs
1/4 tsp sage
1/2 tsp savory
1/2 Cup Onions, Diced
1 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
1 oz. Half and Half Cream
1/4 Cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add onion and sauté until they become translucent. Add wine, seasonings, parsley, lemon juice, crab meat and simmer for about 3 minutes. Next add cream and swiss cheese, cook an additional 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Finally add bread crumbs and stir well. Spoon mixture into mushroom caps and place caps on cookie sheet. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on to the tops of the caps and place cookie sheet in oven. Bake 10-15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned on top. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Chorizo Rice or Egg Casserole ©

Chorizo is something one has to aquire a taste for. It wasn't difficult for us having lived in Waco, TX for several years. We had some wonderful Hispanic friends there who taught us how to cook Mexican National foods. Gary and Kat - and Lance - thank you for the time you spent with us. Adding cantaloupe slices and eggs rather than rice, makes for an intimate brunch.

12 ounces Jasmine Rice cooked according to directions OR 6-8 scrambled eggs
4 Medium-size chorizo sausages or a 12 ounce chub (tube)
1 small Onion, coarsely chopped
1 TBS Lard
4 ounce can of green chilies, chopped
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 dash of pepper hot sauce
2 cups Shredded jack cheese or Pepper Jack (preferred with us)
6 To 8 tomato slices

Following package directions, cook rice until al dente.

Meanwhile, melt 1-TBS lard in a wide frying pan over medium-high heat. Remove sausage casings, crumble meat into pan, add onion, and cook until sausage is browned and onion is limp (about 5 minutes). Pour off drippings and add cooked rice or eggs, chilies, sour cream, salt and pepper sauce to taste.

Pour half the mixture into a greased 2 1/2 quart casserole; sprinkle with half the cheese. Add remaining mixture, arrange tomato slices on top, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. If made ahead, cover and refrigerate until next day.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350 deg F oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until top is slightly browned. Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Beef Chili and Beans

Spring, summer, fall or winter, there's nothing like a bowl of chili and corn bread. For the following recipe, we use either beef or venison round steak - can use lamb as well -that has cooked in the crock pot until very tender.

Meat Ingredients

2-3 Lbs of beef, venison, or lamb round steak
6-Cups hot water
2-3 Beef bouillion cubes
2 TBS Montreal steak seasoning
1 TBS cumin

Cut steaks in half or quarters and place in crock pot. Pour in water, and add bouillion cubes, seasoning, and cumin. Stir. Turn crock pot to high. It should be cooked in 3-4 hours.

Remove when cooked and let cool on a plate. When cooled, break into silver dollar sized pieces and place in food processer with the steel blade. Pulse until the meat is slightly smaller than bite-sized pieces. We don't use ground meat because by the time the chili is cooked, it has no definition or bite.

Chili Ingredients

Chili and beans

1 medium onion, chopped
2 pound of the meat you decided to cook
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice (or 2-10Oz cans of Rotel diced tomatoes and
chopped green chillis
4 cups red beans, with liquid


In a large pot, cook onions and chopped meat in olive oil over medium heat. Stir frequently.

When onions are soft and meat browned, season with red pepper flakes, basil, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, chili powder, dried oregano, cocoa powder, sugar, and bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and beans. Increase heat to bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until it thickens

FYI - the chocolate has absolutely no taste in the final product. It primarily provides a depth of color.

You can also add potatoes or squash slices to the chili if you're of the mind to.

Serve with corn bread with 2 Oz. Mexican corn added to the batter.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Cajun Burger ©

Burgers are in any time of year. When we lived in Colorado, it was a Friday luncheon ritual to head to a restaurant in Greeley for a Cajun burger, fries, and a pitcher of beer then take the rest of the day off from work. (The boss eventually discovered what we were doing;) we invited him to one of the luncheons and he joined us in the Friday soiree. Needless to say, he thought it was a good idea (we bought his lunch) to take the half day off. Ahhhh!! All's well that ends well! :-)

These are easy to make, and provide for a tasty start of a weekend.


1 Lb lean ground chuck
4 TBS Cajun Seasoning
2 TBS re-hydrated dried onion flakes

4 Onion Hamburger buns split and toasted
4 halved crispy bacon slices
Colby or Monterray Jack cheese slices
Sliced tomato

Thoroughly mix the first three ingredients and divide into quarters. Form patties, wrap in waxed paper and place in freezer for several hours for the spice flavor to infuse into the burger.
Charbroil your usual way. When 99% cooked, place the cheese slices on the burgers and close the lid of the BBQer so the cheese will melt.

Place burger on toasted bun, tomato slice, lettuce and whatever condiments that please your palate. Sprinkle on additional seasoning. (Vidalia onion slices are good too.)

Cajun Seasoning:

Now, open your spice cupboard, get ready to pull out the spices you'll need, and start measuring:

2 1/2 paprika
2 salt
2 garlic powder or granules
1 black pepper
1 onion powder
1 cayenne pepper
1 white pepper
1 1/4 dried leaf oregano
1 1/4 dried leaf thyme
1/2 crushed red pepper

The quantities above can be tsp, TBS, cups, etc; it's the same ratio for any measurement. I normally take all the spices and place them in a Krupps coffee grinder/mill and run it for 20-30 seconds several times so I end up with a spice powder, then store it in a tightly sealed jar and keep it in a dark place so the mixture maintains its flavor. The powder lasts twice as long as the spice flakes or leaves, and has twice the flavor; hence, you use less. I also place two bay leaves into the jar to help keep the powder moisture free.

Serve with a red or new potato salad (skins on) or new potatoes that have been quartered, skewered, oiled, spiced with the above seasoning and placed on the grill before doing the burgers so they will be ready when the burgers are done.

If you're REAL ambitious and into making your own onion buns, here's a recipe. (There's another variation of buns following this post.)

Onion Hamburger Buns

In the following order, add these to bread machine or stand mixer with dough hooks:

3 Tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. lukewarm water
1 tsp onion powder
1 TBS dehydrated onion flakes
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS instant yeast

Put ingredients into bread pan. Set machine on dough cycle and start. Let it run for 6-10 minutes. Remove dough, weigh it and divide into 8 even pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth round ball and flatten the balls with the palm of your hand or a rolling pin until they are 4-inches in diameter. Keep tops smooth.Place the rolls on a lightly greased sheet or on parchment paper. Cover lightly with oiled waxed paper so they don't stick to the paper, and set aside to raise till they are very puffy - about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Spread some melted butter on top for a more golden and softer crust.