Monday, October 31, 2005

Ricotta Pie With Figs

Figs and ricotta are a delicious combination

1/4 c Dried figs; chopped to 1/4" pieces
1-2 TBS Brandy
5 Egg whites
2 Cups Ricotta cheese
1 tsp Lemon zest
1 tsp Orange zest
1 cup Brown sugar
A pinch of cinnamon
A pinch of ground cardomon
1 baked 10 inch pie crust - only half baked

In a small bowl combine the figs and brandy. Microwave on full power uncovered until the brandy has been absorbed and the figs are fragrant, about 1 minute.

Combine the egg whites, ricotta, zests and sugar in the bowl of a food processor with steel blade and run until creamy smooth. Pour into the pie shell, then gently spoon in the figs. Many of the figs will sink and that's okay. Dust the chopped figs in flour and that will help the sinking issue a little. Bake in the middle of a preheated 375 degree oven until set, about 50 minutes. Chill before serving

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Andouille Sausage - Po' Boys

Cajun food has always been popular, and has recently had a revival. If you like sausage, you should think about buying a meat grinder with the sausage stuffing tubes - that is, if you don't already have one. These sausages combined with toasted, homemade Hoagie Rolls provide an excellent lunch or tailgate party food.

1 1/2 each yards large sausage casing,
1 about 2-3 inches wide
4 lb lean fresh pork
2 lb pork fat
3 1/3 tbsp finely minced garlic
2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp mace
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground bay leaf
1/4 tsp sage 5
1 liquid hickory smoke

Soak the casing about an hour in cold water to soften it and to
loosen the salt in which it is packed. Cut into 3 foot lengths, then
place the narrow end of the sausage stuffer in one end of the casing.
Place the wide end of the stuffer up against the sink faucet and run
cold water through the inside of the casing to remove any salt.

(Roll up the casing you do not intend to use; put about 2 inches of coarse
salt in a large jar, place the rolled up casing on it, then fill the
rest of the jar with salt. Close tightly and refrigerate for later

Cut the meat and fat into chunks about 1/2 inch across and pass once
through the coarse blade of the meat grinder. Combine the pork with
the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a wooden
spoon. You'll get the most flavor if you refrigerate the mix overnight in the refrigerator.

Cut the casings into 26 inch lengths and stuff as follows: Tie
a knot (double granny or square knot) in each piece of casing about 2 inches from one end. Fit the open end over the tip of the sausage stuffer and slide it to about 1
inch from the wide end. Push the rest of the casing onto the stuffer
until the top touches the knot. (The casing will look like
accordian folds on the stuffer.)

Fit the stuffer onto the meat grinder as directed on the instructions that come with the machine, or hold the wide end of the stuffer against or over the opening by
hand. Fill the hopper with stuffing. Turn the machine on if it is
electric and feed the stuffing gradually into the hopper; for a
manual machine, push the stuffing through with a wooden or plastic pestle. The
sausage casing will fill and inflate gradually. Stop filling about 1
1/4 inches from the funnel end and slip the casing off the funnel,
smoothing out any bumps carefully with your fingers and being careful
not to push the stuffing out of the casing. Tie off the open end of
the sausage tightly with a piece of string or make a knot in the
casing itself. Repeat until all the stuffing is used up.

If there are any air pockets in the stuffed casing, poke the air pocket with a needle and gently squeeze the air out.

Hoagie Rolls:

Dough Ingredients:

2 ½ cups Unbleached, high gluten bread flour
1 2/3 tsp non-iodized salt
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp diastatic barley malt powder
1 TBS olive oil
7-8 Ounces milk
8 Oz Pate fermentee
Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting
Stick butter
Use only 8 Ounces (half) the pate dough, freeze the other half


Pate fermentee should be at room temperature.

With a wooden spoon, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and malt powder in your largest mixer bowl. Add the olive oil, and water. Mix until it forms a ball, adding flour and/or water according to need. Mix on medium speed with dough hooks until you get a dough that passes the ‘windowpane’ test, is slightly tacky, and soft, but not too stiff.

Knead for 10-minutes on floured counter, or 6-minutes in mixer bowl with dough hooks. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Roll the dough in the bowl several times so it is coated with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it ferment/rise until double in size. Because of the small amount of yeast used, the rising will take about 3-4 hours. DO NOT increase the amount of yeast.

Once doubled in size, add the 8-Oz of pate fermentee. Knead the pate into the raised dough, adding flour as necessary to get a silky, yet fairly stiff, flexible dough. Lightly dust with flour and return to bowl and let rise to double once again. This rising should take no more than 45-minutes.

Divide into either four or six equal pieces, depending on how large you want the rolls. Let the pieces rest for 10 minutes. Roll and shape into hoagie shaped rolls - about 8” long by 3” wide by 2 inches thick (for 4-roll.) The roll ends should be blunted, not pointed so you have a rectangular shaped creation.

Place the shaped rolls on a sheet pan that is lined with parchment paper, lightly oiled, and dusted with semolina flour or cornmeal. Spray tops of rolls lightly with olive oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise to one and one half the original size.

Turn on oven and set to 500F. making sure there is an empty steam pan in the oven. Score the rolls with two horizontal slashes. Pour four cups of water in the steam pan, and spray the walls of the oven with water. Place the rolls in the oven. After 30 seconds, spray the oven walls again and quickly close the oven door. Repeat spraying again after another 30 seconds. After the final spray, lower the oven temperature to 400, and rotate the pan 180 degrees. It should take about 15 - 20 minutes for rolls to complete baking.

When rolls are golden and cooked through, remove from oven to a cooling rack and rub the tops of the rolls with a stick of butter for a soft, golden crust.

Pate fermentee

This recipe yields approximately 16 ounces.

Pate Fermentee Ingredients

1 1/8 Cups of unbleached high gluten bread flour
1 1/8 Cups of AP flour
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp instant yeast
6-7 ounces of bottled water at room temperature

With a wooden spoon, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast in your largest mixer bowl. Add the olive oil, and water. Mix until it forms a course ball, adding flour and/or water according to need. Mix on medium speed with dough hooks until you get a dough that is neither too sticky nor too stiff.

Knead for 4 to 6 minutes by hand, or 4 minutes in the mixer with the dough hooks. Dough should be soft and pliable and tacky, but not sticky.

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Roll the dough in the bowl several times so it is coated with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it ferment/rise until 1 ½ times the original size.

Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly to de-gas, and return it to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator over night. You can keep this in the refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze in an airtight plastic bag for up to three months.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Curried Chicken Ala Dave Arnold

This recipe was given to me by Col. Dave Arnold - the son of General 'Hap" Arnold, the first general the United States Air Force ever had. The first time he made it for me some 25-years ago when I was visiting him in Sacramento, CA I couldn't believe he made it so fast, and it was absolutely exquisite. Some of the quantities are sketchy, but you can use your creative cooking abilities based on your taste preferrences.


2-3 Boneless Skinless chicken breasts
Peanut oil
3/4 Cup Indian Chutney
1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut
1/2 CupRaisins
REAL Bacon bits
1/2 (+ or-) Cup crushed Spanish peanuts OR Almonds
1/2 (+ or -) CupDried banana
1/2 Cup (+ or -) Dried Apple
4 Eggs hard boiled and chopped
Rice for two large servings
1/4 Cup Dried onion flakes

White sauce

2 TBS flour
2 TBS Butter or peanut oil
1+ Cup milk
1 Heaping tsp madras curry


Sautee the chicken in peanut oil; let cool and cut into 1/2" cubes.

Cook rice in wok or large pan with the dried onion flakes; over rice with water - add one chicken bouillion cube to water, cover with foil, and cook until done. Add remaining ingredients, then reduce heat to very low; add a little water if necessary.

While the mixture is simmering, make white sauce with the flour and butter or peanut oil, add milk and stir until thickened. When thickened, whisk in the curry powder. Pour white sauce over chicken mixture and stir well. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Raisin Cream Pie

This is a quick and easy dessert that is sure to please.

1 Cup raisins
1 Large box Vanilla Instant pudding
2 cups milk
2/3 tsp cinnamon
8oz container Cool Whip
1 TBS lemon juice
1 Cooked pie shell

Add raisins to boiling water. Let sit until they swell up. Drain raisins and let cool.
Make vanilla pudding per directions on box. Mix in cinnamon and lemon juice to
cooled pudding. Fold cool-whip into pudding mixture, then pour into pie shell.
Refrigerate until set.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Sliced Garlic-Peppercorn Italian Bread

We had this bread in Colorado a few months ago and it was outstanding. It's wonderful toasted as a garlic bread without any additional slatherings - SAVE - a spritz of quality olive oil after it has been sliced and toasted.

2 - packages fast-rising yeast (SAF quick Rise works well here)
1 - teaspoon sugar
2-1/2 - cups tepid water (110 degrees)
6-1/2 - cups good-quality unbleached bread flour (**)
1 - teaspoon salt
1 - teaspoon water
3- Garlic buds thinly sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 tsp freshly crushed peppercorns
1/2 - cup cornmeal


I mistakingly used AP flour, and I'm glad I did!! This was the chewiest Italian bread I have ever eaten. It was perfect - Your choice!!)

In a large mixer bowl, dissolve sugar into 1 cup of tepid (105-degree) water. Stir in yeast. Let stand until it is nice and frothy.

Add the four cups of flour. Beat mixture 10 minutes. The dough should pull away from sides of the mixing bowl.

Add salt and remaining 1-1/2 cup water. Then add the additional 2-1/2 cups of flour. Knead mixture with the dough hook of an electric mixture for five minutes. If kneading by hand, knead dough for 15 minutes. Add more water if dough becomes dry.

Add garlic and crushed peppercorns, and knead them into the dough by hand.

Grease large bowl. Put in the dough to bowl and cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough raise 1-1/2 hours or until double in size. In the middle of the dough, punch down and form the dough into 2 or 3 loaves. Clean a surface and spread some flour. Place loaves on floured surface and cover with towel. Let loaves rise to double in size - about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450° F.

In the oven, you can add a pizza stone or bread bricks. Also, place a pan of hot water on bottom oven shelf. This gives it a nice crust.

After loaves have doubled, spread cornmeal or semolina flour on pizza stone or bread bricks. Or, you can use a greased cookie sheet thaat has been floured. Slide in loaves and bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. The loaves sound hollow when you tap a loaf. Cool the bread on metal rack.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Creamed Stuffed/Topped Apricots

Cream Stuffed Apricots (kaymakli kuru kayisi) is a Turkish delight that is sure to please most everyone's tastes. This is a simple and unusual dessert. Marscapone sweet cheese replaces the hard to find Turkish kaymak cheese. Worst case scenario, you can use cream cheese.

1 lb. dried apricots
2 1/2 C sugar
3 C water
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 lb. heavy whipped cream or marscapone
3/4 Cup grated or finely crushed pistachio nuts

Soak apricots in cold water overnight and drain.

Heat sugar and water together over medium heat for ten minutes, then add apricots. Cook until apricots are tender and syrup is formed.

Add lemon juice and remove from heat. With a perforated spoon, transfer apricots to a plate or cutting board to cool. With a spoon, half open the apricots and fill the inside with the cream or cheese. Arrange the apricots, slit side up on a platter, pour over them as much syrup as they will absorb. Garnish with the grated nuts.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Chicken Scallopini #1

This recipe is our daughters. Delicious, quick and easy :-)

4 Chicken Breasts - Sliced in half so they are about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 Cup Diced Green Onions
1 Pkg (8 oz) Mushrooms - washed and sliced
8 Tbls Butter - cut in half
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup White Wine
3-4 Tbls Olive Oil
1 Pkg (8 oz) Linguini - cooked Al Dente

Cook Pasta while cooking Chicken Scaloppini. When done set aside.

In large skillet heat olive oil. Sauté mushrooms until done - set aside.

Melt 1/2 the butter - sauté chicken - cook 6-8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and golden brown on each side. Set on plate in oven (on warm).

Melt remaining butter. Sauté mushrooms and scallions together for approximately 2-3 minutes. Whisk in wine and cream and whisk gently until boiling (3-4 minutes).

Top pasta with chicken then cover with sauce. Serve with shredded parmesan.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Ocean Spray Trail Mix Cake©

The crushed almonds and cashews make this cake a real treat. It is an adaptation of the brown sugar pound cake posted here.


1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup sugar1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 6 Oz package of Ocean Spray Craisins Trail Mix (peanuts removed)
1 - 1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon rum extract


Crush or finely chop the cashews and almonds in the trail mix. We don't care for peanuts in cakes, so we remove them from the mix.

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour or sugar a 10-inch tube pan, a 12-cup Bundt pan, or two 9" x 5" bread pans. If using bread pans, divide evenly between the two.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and crushed nuts; set aside. At medium speed with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars for 4 or 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer running at low speed, add the oil and beat until incorporated; then, beat in the eggs, one at a time(*). At low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until ingredients are blended; do not overbeat. Fold in the crushed nuts, cranberries, and chocolate bits. Stir in the rum extract.

Pour into your prepared pan(s), and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove cake from oven and check for doneness with a cake tester, metal skewer, or toothpick. If tester does not come out clean, bake for an additional 10 minutes, then test again. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

A heavy layer of whipped cream on this cake, and a steaming cup of espresso tops it off.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chile Sauce

I was never a fan of Mexican food until in 1988, a Mexican National friend and co-worker of mine at a beef packing plant where we worked together introduced me to real Mexican food. His wife, Minnie, was a petite 4'11 girl who was no more than 21 years old at the time, and had the cooking experience of a 70 year old who had cooked for a living. So many recipes labeled as Mexican, are Americanized versions of what the real thing is supposed to be. I remember one day he brought in a dish for me that Minnie had made. I asked: 'What is it?' He told me. ( My spanish was weak at the time and WHOOSH, right over my head! )I then asked what's in it? He said: 'You don't want to know amigo!" I still don't know what was in it, but it matters not; it was one of the most delicious meals I ever ate. Thank you Lupe and Minnie.



1 T. butter
3/4 C. chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground cumin (We use LOTS more- up to 2 TBS!)
2 T. flour
1 1/2 C. chicken broth
2 cans or jars (4.5 ounces each) chopped green chiles (undrained)
vegetable oil for softening tortillas
12 corn tortillas
2 C. coarsely shredded cooked chicken
2 C. shredded Mexican-blend cheese
1 C. whipping cream
1/3 C. sliced green onions
1 can (2.5 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
3 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Green enchilada sauce
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Saute onion until transparent. Stir in garlic, salt and cumin. Stir in flour until well combined. Slowly stir in broth. Add chiles and stir well. Reduce heat to simmer; cook, uncovered, about 15 minutes. (Sauce can be prepared to this point, cooled and refrigerated 24 hours in advance.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place as many tortillas on 2 cookie sheets as will fit in a single layer. Brush lightly on both sides with vegetable oil. Bake 3 minutes to warm and soften tortillas before rolling. Stack on plate and cover with foil to keep warm while filling. Repeat until all tortillas are warmed. Combine chicken and 1/2 cup of the green chile sauce.

To fill tortillas, place 2 tablespoons chicken or pork mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese across center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side-down in shallow 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over rolled enchiladas; then pour cream evenly over entire mixture and top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with the green onions and ripe olives. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and cilantro, if desired, and serve.

Pour the enchilada sauce over everything when assembled.

A green chili with pork would go well with this as an additional sauce with the creamy sauce here, and the green enchilada sauce. Diced tomatoes, chopped raw onions, shredded lettuce - there is no end to what will work as an accompaniment. Enjoy :-)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Toffee Pudding Cake

An excellent, tasty dessert for the holidays.
Quick and easy.

1 ¾ cups dates, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup butter
¾ cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/8 cups self-rising flour
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 ½ cups boiling water to cover

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a small bowl combine the dates and baking soda. Pour enough boiling water over the dates to just cover them.

Cream ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of the butter with the white sugar until light. Beat in the eggs and mix well to combine.

Add the flour and date mixture (including water) to the egg mixture and fold to combine. Pour the batter into one 8 inch round baking pan.Bake at 350° F for 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool, slice and serve with warm caramel sauce.

To Make Caramel Sauce: In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla and ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon butter. Cook over medium heat and bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionallyWhen thickened, add 1/4 tsop almond extract. Serve immediately.

A scoop on vanilla ice cream would the extra added attraction

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Italian Venison or Beef Soup

The cold weather is on its way and that signals soup season. This recipe works best with venison, but you can substitute beef or lamb.


1 Lb ground venison (you can use beef or lamb)
1 Onion Chopped
1 14.5 Oz. can stewed tomatoes
2 8 Oz Cans of tomato sauce
3 Cups of water
1 TBS minced garlic
2 TBS dried basil
2 TBS dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 15 Oz can pinto beans
1 15 Oz can green beans
1 carrot chopped
1 Zucchini chopped
½ (8 OZ) package ziti pasta

1 Lb ground venison (you can use beef or lamb)
1 Onion Chopped
1 14.5 Oz. can stewed tomatoes
2 8 Oz Cans of tomato sauce
3 Cups of water
1 TBS minced garlic
2 TBS dried basil
2 TBS dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 15 Oz can pinto beans
1 15 Oz can green beans
1 carrot chopped
1 Zucchini chopped
½ (8 OZ) package ziti pasta

Brown venison, onion, and garlic over medium heat
Until meat is no longer pink. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce,
Water and spices. Brimg to a boil, then simmer for
About 30-monutes

Stir in beans, carrots, and zucchini. Simmer for about

Add pasta and cook until tender. Top individual servings
With grated Parmesan or Romano and serve.