Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Antipasto ©

Many of the meals here call for a salad or an antipasto either before or with the entree. Here is a simple and quickly made antipasto.

1 Green Pepper thin sliced
1 medium Tomato 1/2" diced
1 Onion halved and thin sliced
8 Oz. Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
1/2 cup halved pitted black olives
Hard (Genoa) Salami 1/2" diced
Provolone Cheese 1/2" diced
Parmesan and/or Romano cheese freshly grated
Artichoke Hearts


¾ Cup Olive oil
¼ Cup Wine Vinegar or dry Marsala wine
3 Crushed Garlic Buds
1/4 tsp oregano
Fresh Ground Pepper

Toss salad ingredients, and pour dressing on the veggies immediately before serving. Mix well and serve with REAL garlic bread (Posted here) or croutons. Garnish with a sprig of oregano or thyme.

You can add cherry or grape tomatoes, tortellini - anything really. An antipasto is just to whet the appetite.


If using grape or cherry tomatoes, pierce them first metal skewer, and let them soak in the dressing for an hour or so before serving.

Amish Scrapple

This version of scrapple does NOT use hog's head, jowels, liver, offal or any other pork by-products.

2 pounds pork shoulder (or pork butt)
1 whole fresh pork hock
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup white cornmeal
1 teaspoon cayenne
1-2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp savory
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 large shredded apple-skin and core removed

Cut up pork shoulder (butt) into 2 inch chunks. Place the pork chunks, pork hock, sage and cayenne in a stock pot and cover with water. Simmer for about 2 to 3 hours or until meat falls apart. Drain and reserve stock. Pull meat from bone and chop all the meat with a knife or food processor, being careful not to grind it too fine. Set aside.

Measure 5 cups of stock and return to pot. Bring it to a simmer; add meat, cornmeal, salt and peppers, and stir constantly until thick and smooth, about 15 to 30 minutes.When thick, stir in shredded apple. Pour mixture into 2 loaf pans and refrigerate until completely chilled and set into a firm block. Un-mold scrapple. Slice and fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides.

Goes great with eggs, sausage, hash browns, home fries, and a toasted Kaiser roll with your favorite jam or jelly. Apple jelly is particularly good here. Once removed from the loaf pan, it can be frozen in a large freezer bag until you are ready to use it. Makes 12 servings

New England Clam Chowder ©

One summer very long ago, we went to Maine for a weeks vacation at Old Orchard Beach, and stayed at the summer home of friends. The ocean body surfing was great, the water was freeeeeeeeeeezing, but the jazz at the local clubs was hot - not what one would expect in the 50's and 60's in a Maine summer resort town. We even got to sit in with the groups; I was a musician by trade.

It was during that trip, that I finally realized that a clam was not just simply a clam or something to be used for bait, but a delicacy to be savored. As a teenager in the 50's, a bunch of us kids would go clamming every weekend near Ocean Beach, a Connecticut coastal city where we lived. Normally, we'd bring back 1 to 1 1/2 bushels of clams. The next day we'd break them open and use them for flounder or fluke fishing bait. Little did we know.

The friends we went to Maine with were originally FROM Maine. The second day we were there, we went to the docks and bought four 2-pound lobsters and a bushel of clams. We spent several hours shucking them, and finally had nearly a gallon. Then came the chopping and cooking. When they were cooked and cooled, the following recipe was the appetizer that was to preceed the lobster. We never did get to cooking the lobster that night, because our hosts made 5-gallons of chowder. It was addicting.

• 1 - 3 Cups/Cans of Cooked Chopped Clams
• 1 Onion Diced
• 3-4 Medium Potatoes, peeled and diced to 3/4 inch cube
• 3-6 Strips of thick bacon
• 2 TBS butter
• 2 TBS bacon fat (can also use fatback salt pork diced and browned in lieu of bacon)
• 4 TBS Flour
• 2 Cans of evaporated milk or the equivalent of heavy cream
• 1 8-Oz. bottle of clam juice
• Additional milk (Optional)
• Salt and Pepper
• 2 Tsp Chopped Parsley

Drain clams and reserve the juice. Fry the bacon in a pan. When done, remove bacon strips, place on a paper towel and let cool, then crumble the strips and set aside. Saute onions until they are near translucent. In the meantime, make a roux consisting of the 2-TBS of bacon fat, 2 TBS butter, and 4-TBS flour. You want a nice white roux, so strain the bacon fat before making the roux. Add butter to bacon fat and heat to melt the butter until hot, but NOT smoking - just hot enough so that when you add the flour, the flour will bubble.

Remove from heat then whisk in the flour for the roux until well blended. Add evaporated milk, sauteed onion, bacon bits, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, and then add diced potatoes. If it is too thick for you, add 1/2 cup of milk at a time until it is of the consistency you like. But remember, the potatoes will add liquid when cooking. When the potatoes are tender, add the chopped parsley and the clams. Bring back to a simmer, and simmer for another 5-minutes. Sprinkle fresh ground pepper, chopped parsley, and additional bacon bits on the chowder before serving. Serve with REAL garlic bread.

This is a wonderfully thick chowder that can be served in a regular or sourdough bread bowl.

This chowder is a great pre-cursor to any seafood meal.

Smoked Southwest Chicken Marinade ©

This marinade is not overpowering and provides a nice Southwest flavor.

Tequila Marinade

1/3 Cup Oil
1/2 Cup Lime or Lemon juice
1-2 Diced jalapeno or habanero peppers
1/4 Cup tequilla
2-3 TBS chopped cilantro
4 Cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS cumin
1 tsp rubbed sage
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Place chicken in a sealable bag and add marinade. Seal, shake around a few times during the refrigeration period of 2-4 hours. Prepare the charcoal, and pre-soaked mesquite chips. Place chicken pieces on grill half way up the BBQ'er. Then thoroughly cook, slice in strips and arrange attractively on a plate with a cilantro garnish. Serve with lots of salsa and chips, fried green tomatoes, or jalapeno corn bread.