Tag Archives: American Food

Chicken and Cheddar Burgers with Green Onions and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

So as you can imagine these are seriously good. I made them for staff lunch at work today. Simply mix all the ingredients together and cook them. Rather than having it on a sandwich, I diced mine and tossed it into a salad. Anyhow…really, really delicious (did I mention how good these are). 

Chicken and Cheddar Burgers with Green Onions and Sun-Dried Tomatoes 

Makes about 10 burgers 

2 pounds ground chicken
2 cups shredded cheddar
2 large eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup minced sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Combine all of the ingredients together and mix thoroughly. Let stand 5 minutes, then mix again. Divide and shape the burgers, then saute, grill, or bake them until cooked throughout.

Urban Simplicity.

Cook Like Your Great-Grandmother…how to make tallow or lard

Okay. I do realize that this is not the healthiest food in the world, but as an ingredient is it very useful and every cook should know how to make it (and it is so easy to make). My cooking fat of choice these days is olive oil. But I’m spoiled. By this I mean that I live in the northern hemisphere far from any olive trees, but I can easily go to the store to purchase olive oil. That said, this wasn’t the case for my ancestors. In that case animal fats would be indispensable for cooking (one needs fat to cook), but also for so many other things, such as soap, candles, and skin care. Anyhow, I hadn’t made this in a while and I had a large prime rib dinner this week where I work so I had a lot of beef fat trimmings. So rather than throw them in the trash I turned it into tallow (this is so easy to make and look at how much you would pay for it if purchased). Tallow, of course, is rendered fat made from beef whereas lard is rendered fat made from pork. But both are made in the same way. Here’s how to do it…

Take any amount of fat with no or at least minimal meat remaining and cut it into chunks, dice it, or grind it. Place it in a pot and add just enough water that it is covered.

Bring the pot to a boil then lower it to a simmer. Then simmer, simmer, simmer. It’ll take a few hours.

After some time the water will have evaporated and the fat will have cleared. You will notice the difference in the way it sounds as it simmers now. It will sound thick; viscous. 

Shut the pot off and let it rest for a little bit, to a llow it to cool slightly and let everything settle. Then strain it twice. First to remove the remaining meat and fat pieces, then a second time trough cheesecloth to remove any small particles.

Transfer it to small containers; it should look crystal clear.

Once chilled it will turn pure white and solid. It will keep for months under refrigeration.

Urban Simplicity.

Two Loaves; Two Recipes…

I’ve posted both of these recipes before but not in a while and I made them recently and thought that I would re-post them. They are both two of my favorites, Whole Wheat Maple-Oatmeal Bread and Spicy Turkey and Pork Meatloaf. Recipes are below.

 

Whole Wheat Maple-Oatmeal Bread

Makes 2 or 3 loaves

6 cups whole wheat flour, divided

2 cups oatmeal, plus additional for coating

2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

3 ½ cups water, divided

2 tablespoons instant yeast, divided

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons kosher salt


Separate the ingredients into two bowls using this ratio: In one bowl combine 4 cups of flour, two cups of oatmeal, the wheat gluten, and 2 ½ cups of water; stir until just combined. In the second bowl combine the remaining 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of yeast, and 1 cup of water; stir until just combined. Cover the bowls and allow the ingredients to rest and begin fermenting for at least an hour, but up to 12. Then combine the contents of bowl bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining tablespoon of yeast, along with the olive oil, maple syrup, and salt. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes, then cover and allow to rise for one hour. Transfer the dough to a work surface, cut it into two or pieces, gently shape it into loaves. Dust the counter with extra oatmeal and roll the loaves in it, gently pressing oatmeal into the surface of the raw dough. Place the loaves into oiled loaf pans, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat an oven to 425F. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on. Remove the bread from their pans and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Spicy Turkey and Pork Meatloaf

Yield: 6 servings

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, diced

1 rib celery, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

1-1/2 pound ground turkey

1-1/2 pound ground pork

1 bunch parsley, washed and minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon basil

2 large eggs

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1/2 cup breadcrumbs


Heat the oil in a heavy skillet then add the onion, celery and bell pepper. Sauté until translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and jalapeño and sauté a minute longer. Remove the vegetables, spread them on a clean plate and place them in a refrigerator for 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked and cooled vegetables to a bowl along with the turkey, pork, chili powder, parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, eggs, ketchup and hot pepper sauce. Mix thoroughly then add the breadcrumbs and mix again until. Pack the meatloaf into a lightly oiled loaf pan, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake it at 350F for about 1/2 hour. Remove the foil and continue to bake it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160F. Allow it to cool 10 minutes before slicing.

The Anatomy of a Healthy but Really Delicious Pizza…

Okay. So this pizza was delicious. I say “was” and not “is” because I ate more than half of it for dinner and I’ll likely eat the rest before the night is out. Anyhow, this post is more about the crust than what is on it (because you can really put whatever you like on a pizza). In an ongoing effort to make healthier bread and pizza dough I not only used 100% whole wheat flour (which I usually do) but I also added beans to the dough. This last step isn’t that unusual for me either as Ezekiel bread and its many variations are one of my favorite doughs. But what is a bit unusual is the amount of beans-to-flour ratio…the dough is made up of about 50% beans. I added just enough water to the beans to allow them to puree smoothly. Pictured below.

And then added enough flour to the bean puree (with a few other basic ingredients) to make a dough. Delicious. I’m not sure this would make a good bread, or should I say light bread, because of the high ration of beans, but it did make a fine pizza dough. On the pizza–as pictured below–I also added a thin coating of pesto (click for a recipe), a thin layer of tomato sauce (click for a recipe), a layer of broccoli aglio e olio (click for multiple recipes), and of course cheese (Ok, so the cheese is not the healthiest ingredient, but it is good and I cannot eat pasta or pizza without it). Anyhow, the recipe for the dough is listed after the photos.

Whole Wheat and Bean Pizza Dough


Makes enough dough for a 12-inch pizza


1 (15oz. can) beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup water

————————

1/3 cup bean puree

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

————————

2/3 cup bean puree

1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

————————

3 tablespoons virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (if needed)


Combine the beans and water in a blender and puree until smooth. This should make about 1 cup of puree. Divide the puree into two bowls; 1/3 in one bowl and 2/3 in another. In the first bowl (the one with 1/3 puree) stir in 1 teaspoon yeast and 1/4 cup flour. It will be thick and sticky; almost dough-like. In the second bowl (the one with 2/3 puree) stir in 1 tablespoon wheat gluten and ½ cup flour. This will also be dough-like. Cover the bowls with plastic and allow them to rest and ferment for 1 hour. Then combine the contents of both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Also add to the bowl the olive oil, two teaspoons of instant yeast, the honey, and the salt. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 10 minutes. If the dough is too wet or sticky add the additional 2 tablespoons of flour. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for an hour or two. Use with any pizza recipe.


New Orleans Red Beans-and Rice Burgers

These are a variation of a few different vegetarian/bean burgers I’ve made and posted somewhat recently, and a play on the classic New Orleans red beans-and-rice recipe. While this recipe is equally delicious it is a bit more labor intensive than my other vegetarian burger recipes (but not really) in that you have to cook rice before you make the burgers. Now I know that if you are a native New Orleanian or have Creole/Cajun roots you will disagree with this recipe. But I mean no disrespect and it is–I believe–really delicious. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Crescent City on more than a few occasions and had fallen in love with it at first glance. The first time I was there in the mid 19-80’s I was traveling with a friend and pretty much survived on red-beans-and rice for a couple months (which was 99 cents at a local restaurant), and plenty of Dixie beer, too. Anyhow, I hope you try this recipe; it is easy to make and really delicious.

New Orleans Red Beans-and Brown Rice Burgers


Makes about 10 (4 ounce) burgers


4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon oregano leaves
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons black pepper
¾ cup brown rice
2 cups vegetable broth
1 (15 ounce) can red beans, rinsed and drained
2 eggs
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 bunch green onion, sliced thin
1 cup shredded cheddar (3-4 ounces)
½ cup hot pepper sauce
1 ½ cup bread crumbs (plus extra for dusting)
Olive oil for cooking


Heat the olive oil in a small pot over medium heat and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook the onion and pepper for about five minutes, or until they just begin to brown, then add the onion and cook another minute or two. Turn the flame to low and stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, turmeric, and black pepper; cook the spices for a minute to bring out their flavor. Stir in the rice, coating it with oil and spices, then stir in the broth. Bring the broth to a boil, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer the rice for 30-40 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked (if too much broth evaporates before the rice is cooked ad more as needed). Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the beans. Transfer to a shallow pan and refrigerate until cool. Divide the rice-and-bean mixture into two portions. Place the first half in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarse but not pureed, then transfer it to a clean bowl. Add the remaining half of rice-and-beans to the food processor along with the eggs, salt, green onion, cheddar, and hot pepper sauce; process until a smooth paste. Add this to the bowl with the coarser mixture along with the breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly. Divide the mix into ten balls and shape into burgers, transferring them to platters or a baking sheet that is lightly dusted with breadcrumbs. Heat a large heavy skillet with 1/8th inch olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers for about 10 minutes, turning them as necessary, or until golden, crispy, and cooked throughout. Transfer to absorbent paper before serving.

Urban Simplicity.

Barbe à queue!


Food historians and etymologists generally claim two theories on the origin of the American barbecue. One is that it comes from the French barbe-a-queue, referring to cooking a whole animal on a spit “from beard to tail.” The other is that it’s derived from the Spanish barbacoa, a method they found indigenous Caribbeans using some five centuries ago.Whatever the origin there are likely as many different recipe and methods as there are cooks who make it. But truth be told the sauce is really easy to make, and it makes nearly anything taste great. The sauce featured in this post is a basic but universal one…it is pictured on shrimp in the above picture but I had it on chicken today as well. Anyhow, this is really easy to make (put all the ingredients in a pot and simmer them) and also really delicious. The sauce will keep for at least a week in the fridge and can be frozen for longer periods. 
 
BBQ Sauce

Makes about 3 cups


2 cups ketchup

2/3 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup yellow mustard

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt


Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 20-30 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid scorching. 

Urban Simplicity.

Black Bean Cheddar Burgers (Yum!)

Yes these are as good as they look, and of course they are easy to make also. If you’ve ever wanted to make your own meatless burger this is a good one to try. And also, as usual, this recipe is simply a guide. Change the beans, seasonings, etc., to suite your person liking. And before you ask–because I already know that your thinking it–I’ll answer three questions:

1. Can these be made completely vegan? Yes, simply omit the egg and the cheese, and if you like replace it with soy cheese. It may have a more crumbly texture, but still be just as flavorful.

2. Can these be made gluten free? Yes. Cooked brown rice or uncooked instant oats would likely be good substitutes for the breadcrumbs. To use the cooked rice puree it with the beans, and when using oats (which would likely be a better option), add them when you would the bread crumbs and let the mix sit for 20 minutes or so to allow the oats to absorb moisture. This, too, will probably yield a more crumbly texture but still be just as flavorful.

3. Can these be baked instead of pan-fried to alleviate fat. Yes, definitely. Simply lay them flat on a baking sheet and bake them in a preheated oven. The only difference is that they probably will not have the crispy crust as pictured, but they will still be just as flavorful.

I really hope you try these because they are so easy to make and really flavorful. I’d be interested in hearing how they came out, and if you tried any variations (of those listed or your own).

Black Bean Cheddar Burgers
Makes about 10 (4 ounce) burgers
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shredded cheddar (3-4 ounces)
1 cup bread crumbs (plus extra for dusting)
1 small bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ small onion, minced
½ red bell pepper, minced
¼ cup hot pepper sauce
Olive oil for cooking
Place half of the beans in a food processor and pulse for just a few seconds, until coarse but slightly mashed; transfer these beans to a large bowl. Add the remaining beans to the food processor with the eggs, and process until very smooth; add the bean-egg puree to the bowl with the coarse beans. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl (but not the olive oil which is for cooking the burgers) and mix well. Let the mix rest for a couple minutes, then mix it again. Divide the mix into ten balls and shape into burgers, transferring them to platters or a baking sheet that is lightly dusted with breadcrumbs. Heat a large heavy skillet with 1/8th inch olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers for about 10 minutes, turning them as necessary, or until golden, crispy, and cooked throughout. Transfer to absorbent paper before serving.

Broth, Bouillon, Brodo (y Caldo)

Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.”
LouisP. De Gouy

A couple things…

Firstly, I have relatively little trouble eating (and ultimatley sustaining on) meatless or near-meatless meals. Actually, I prefer it. But I have to admit the one thing that would keep me from being a full-blown vegetarian is meat-based stock or broth…or what a vegan friend of mine refers to as “meat juice.” Rice cooked in water is bland, but cook it in a rich broth and it is a meal unto itself. If you have a rich broth and want a soup the flavor is already accomplished…whatever else you add is simply a bonus. I add chicken stock to most things I cook aglio e olio. The famed chef, Auguste Escoffier–whom which chef De Gouy worked under–has said that (and I’m paraphrasing) with a good stock anything can be accomplished. Stock/broth, to me, is a form of alchemy. And I love how the kitchen smells with a broth slowly simmering away (home kitchen or work kitchen). Today at work was slow and I made seven pots of the golden stuff (about 40 gallons) and the kitchen smelled amazing. Anyhow, for recipes and lore about soup and stock read this article I wrote for Artvoice a couple years ago. In the meantime…simmer. 

Maccheroni al Forno con Quattro Formaggi

That’s a pretty fancy name (referring to the title of this post) for something that translates to American English as Macaroni-and-Cheese (okay, macaroni-and-four-cheeses). The recipe is really, really easy, and really, really delicious. It may not be the healthiest thing to eat, but geeze o’ man is it delicious (did I mention how delicious this is?). The recipe pictured is the same one that is written below, but the beauty is that you can add your own twist to this. You can, for example, add or subtract whichever cheese(s) you like/dislike. Or better yet, add various other foods to the dish, such as broccoli florets, roast peppers (sweet or spicy), sausage (chorizo is awesome), diced ham, or even shrimp. Anyhow–and just to reiterate–this is super easy and super delicious. Enjoy.

Macaroni-and-Cheese
(with four cheeses)
Makes about four servings
8 ounces elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup shredded cheddar
¼ cup crumbled Gorgonzola
¼ cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup grated Fontinella
¾ cup breadcrumbs
Preheat and oven to 350F. Boil the macaroni in salted water, drain, and set aside. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan then add the flour, stirring to form a roux. Cook the roux over medium heat—while stirring—for a few minutes, then add the milk, cream, salt, and pepper. Using a wire whisk, stir the sauce over medium-high heat until smooth. Continue stirring until it is heated and thick. Cook the sauce for a minute or two then remove from the heat. Add the cheeses and stir until smooth. Add the cooked macaroni to the pot and gently fold into the cheese sauce. Transfer to a lightly oiled skillet or other oven-proof baking dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Bake the macaroni-and-cheese for about 20 minutes, or until it is hot throughout, bubbling, and golden.

Urban Simplicity.

Macaroni and Four Cheeses

This is a variation of the classic American dish, Macaroni-and-Cheese. The variation from the classic recipe in this one is that I used four cheeses…cheddar, Parmesan, Fontinella, and Gorgonzola. It is–if I do say so myself–mouthwatering delicious. And while this may not be the heart-healthiest meal you can eat it is easy to make, versatile, and delicious (did I mention how delicious it is). The recipe is really simple. It’s basically a Bechamel sauce (milk sauce thickened with roux) into which one or more cheeses are added, and then it’s folded into cooked macaroni (or other pasta). It’s usually topped with something–I use a bit more cheese and breadcrumbs, but crushed crackers, potato chips, and even corn flakes are not uncommon–then the whole concoction is baked in the oven until browned and bubbly. This is most often served as a side dish, but other ingredients can be added to make it more of a main meal. Vegetables will lighten it up a bit (fresh spinach and chopped broccoli are good choices), and more decadent options include–but are not limited to–foods such as ham, sausage, crab, shrimp, or even lobster. And if you want to reduce the artery-clogging cholesterol level of the recipe, some or all of the milk/cream may be replaced with chicken broth. Anyhow, this is really easy to make and way better than the all-to-common boxed variety…and you can make it in bulk and freeze it in increments (as pictured below).

Macaroni-and-Cheese
(with four cheeses)
Makes about four servings
8 ounces elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup shredded cheddar
¼ cup crumbled Gorgonzola
¼ cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup grated Fontinella
¾ cup breadcrumbs
Preheat and oven to 350F. Boil the macaroni in salted water, drain, and set aside. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan then add the flour, stirring to form a roux. Cook the roux over medium heat—while stirring—for a few minutes, then add the milk, cream, salt, and pepper. Using a wire whisk, stir the sauce over medium-high heat until smooth. Continue stirring until it is heated and thick. Cook the sauce for a minute or two then remove from the heat. Add the cheeses and stir until smooth. Add the cooked macaroni to the pot and gently fold into the cheese sauce. Transfer to a lightly oiled skillet or other oven-proof baking dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Bake the macaroni-and-cheese for about 20 minutes, or until it is hot throughout, bubbling, and golden.

Clams Casino Recipe

This is a really simple and delicious recipe if you enjoy clams (as I do), and if you don’t mind some extra cholesterol in your diet…everything in moderation, right? I wish I could follow my own advice. The beauty of these is that they can be made in advance and just pop them in the oven when friends or guests arrive; they can also be frozen.  Anyhow, the recipe is below.

Yield: 36 pieces
4 slices bacon, minced
1/2 small onion, peeled and minced
1/2 green bell pepper, minced
4 ounces unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
4 ounces fresh bread crumbs
36 littleneck clams, scrubbed
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until just done, drain most of the fat from the pan, then add the onion and bell pepper and cook for an additional couple of minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce. Stir in the breadcrumbs and transfer the topping to a small bowl and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Using a clam knife, open the clams and loosening the meat and leaving it in the bottom shell; discard the top shell. Preheat an oven to 375F. Arrange the clams on a baking sheet and top them with the chilled stuffing. Bake the clams for about 10-15 minutes, or until browned and bubbling. Serve hot.

Macaroni-and-Cheese with Ham and Shrimp (recipe)

Macaroni-and-Cheese with Ham and Shrimp
1 small onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 or 2slices of ham, 8-12 ounces cooked or raw shrimp, 2 tablespoonsunsalted butter, 2 or 3 tablespoons flour, 1-1/2 cups milk, 1-1/2cups shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, saltand pepper, breadcrumbs, 8 ounces macaroni
Peel and dice the onion; peel and mincethe garlic; dice the ham; peel and de-vein the shrimp. Heat thebutter over medium heat in a large skillet then stir in the onion,garlic, and ham. Cook these ingredients until the onions aretranslucent but not browned then stir in the flour. Cook the flourfor a few minutes over medium heat, stirring almost constantly. Whiskin the milk, making sure there are no lumps. Bring the milk to aboil—it will thicken—then lower it to a simmer. Cook the saucefor about 5 minutes then stir in the cheddar and Parmesan cheese.Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Once the cheese has meltedinto the sauce, stir in the shrimp and remove the pan from the heat.Boil the pasta, drain it thoroughly, and then add it to the sauce.Stir the pasta, making sure the ingredients are evenly distributed.Lightly butter a casserole dish or oven-proof skillet that is justbig enough to hold everything. Transfer the macaroni to the dish orskillet and dust its surface with breadcrumbs. Place the pan in apreheated 375 degree oven and bake it for about 25 minutes, or untilit is bubbling and the surface has begun to brown. Serve four. 

Spicy Cheddar Meatloaf Recipe


I am far from being a vegetarian but some days–most days–I eat far less meat than grains and vegetables…but comfort foods like this literally make my mouth water. Now I don’t expect you to make 50 lbs / 22.6 kg of the stuff (pictured above) but I hope you try the below recipe. It is simple to make, really delicious, and the leftovers are even better the second day. The recipe below calls for turkey and pork but those pictured above were made with pork and beef. You can interchange your meats or just use one. Delicious.

Spicy Turkey and Pork Meatloaf with Cheddar
Yield: 6 servings
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1-1/2 pound ground turkey
1-1/2 pound ground pork
1 bunch parsley, washed and minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet then add the onion, celery and bell pepper. Sauté until translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and jalapeño and sauté a minute longer. Remove the vegetables, spread them on a clean plate and place them in a refrigerator for 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked and cooled vegetables to a bowl along with the turkey, pork, chili powder, parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, eggs, ketchup and hot pepper sauce. Mix thoroughly then add the cheddar and breadcrumbs and mix again until combined. Pack the meatloaf into a lightly oiled loaf pan, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake it at 350F for about 1/2 hour. Remove the foil and continue to bake it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160F. Allow it to cool 10 minutes before slicing.

Chaudrée (deux recettes)

Many American foods have their rootsfirmly planted in Europe and have developed in this country in a sortof convoluted fashion. The recipes were often brought to our countrywith immigrants when they migrated here, and usually adapted toutilize ingredients that were readily available. Chowder, forexample, had its beginnings in France, then was brought to FrenchCanada before finally evolving into the chowders that are famous tothe New England region of our country. The English word chowder, infact, is said to be derived from the French word chaudière—thepot in which chaudrée, or chowder, is cooked. The root wordfrom which these are based is chaud, French for hot; chaudièretranslates literally to cooker or heater. And if there were such athing as a family tree relating to foods, chowder’s first cousin onceremoved would be, in my opinion, Louisiana gumbo. That hearty dishtakes its name from the West African word gombo, meaning okra,and seems to be a sort of abstract of a chowder recipe that hasevolved with the conglomeration of peoples in Southern Louisiana,including some of the French that fled Eastern Canada to that region.
The chaudrée of NorthwestFrance is a sort of fisherman’s stew, which consists of seafood ofthe region simmered in broth along with vegetables and herbs. Alisting in the French cookery encyclopedia Larousse Gastronomiquetranslates chaudrée to English simply as “fish soup.”It goes on to state the various seafoods that can be included in thedish, including eel! When the French of that area migrated to Canada,not surprisingly, they brought with them their beloved recipes forchaudrée. A 1970 edition of the bi-lingual book Food-À LaCanadienne lists two recipes for chaudrée; one is basedon fish and the other potato. When some of these French migratedsouthward, into New England, the language of course was English andchaudière, or chaudrée, began to be pronounced as—andeventually known as—chowder. There, the chowders were based onclams simply because of their regional abundance. It wasn’t until theearly 1900’s that a creative restaurateur at Coney Island replacedthe milk in chowder with tomatoes to create Manhattan Clam Chowder;this was, at the time, a travesty to a New Englander.
Chowder today can be based on almostany meat, fish or vegetable, though many purists will probablydispute this. There are a few guidelines that should be followedthough. Chowder is usually a rather rustic soup with coarse-choppedingredients; though it is often thickened naturally, traditionalchowder does not contain flour as a thickening agent, but a littleflour will give the soup a certain viscosity. Most importantly, thetwo defining ingredients that denote chowder are diced potato andcured pork, such as salt pork or bacon.
Potato Chowder
(Chaudrée de Pommes deTerre)
Yield: 3 quarts
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces diced lean ham
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2-1/2 pounds peeled and diced potatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup milk (optional)
Heat the butter in a large heavy souppot over medium high heat, when it begins to bubble add the ham,onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Sauté the vegetables and ham forapproximately 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent but notbrowned. Stir in the potatoes, chicken stock, thyme, salt and blackpepper. Bring the soup to a boil then lower the heat to a low simmer;skim any impurities that may have risen to the surface of the soup.Simmer the soup for 45-60 minutes, stirring often.
Using a wire whisk, gently break apartsome of the potatoes to give the soup some viscosity. If adding themilk, do so directly before serving the soup and do not boil it oncethe milk has been added.
New England ClamChowder
Yield: 4 quarts
2 dozen chowder clams(quahogs)
2 quarts water orchicken stock
1/4 cup diced salt pork
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup diced potato
1 teaspoon freshthyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon blackpepper
1 quart milk
Place the clams in a pot with the wateror stock. Cover and steam them for about 10 minutes, or until theyare fully cooked and completely open. Strain the broth and reserveit; remove the clams from their shells and discard the shells. Chopthe clams and reserve them.
In a heavy soup pot over medium heat,sauté the salt pork until it is golden brown, crispy, and all thefat has rendered from it. Add the onion, celery, and carrot; sautéanother 2 minutes. Stir in the flour, lower the heat slightly andcook the vegetables and flour for 5 minutes, stirring continuously.Add the potato, thyme, salt and pepper, stir the potatoes to coatthem with the fat and flour. Add the clam broth to the pot a littleat a time, while stirring, to avoid any lumps. Bring the soup to aboil to a boil and add the chopped clams. Lower the heat, skim anyscum that has risen to the surface and simmer the chowder for 15minutes.
Stir in the milk, but do not boil it.If desired, garnish the chowder with a sprinkling of chopped parsley,paprika, and a pat of butter.

Three Photos and Six Recipes

Did you know that January is NationalSoup Month? Well it is, and rightly so. It’s perfect for the cold weather and seemsto nourish both body and soul. Soup is delicious and nutritious,and it’s easy to make. If you can boil water you can make soup. Andthere’s something about a simmering soup pot…it’s the originalcomfort food. Soup is, in fact, one of the simplest and oldest foodpreparations there is…cooking food in liquid to tenderize it andinfuse both nutrients and flavor to the ensuing broth. The word soup, in fact,is derived from the Middle English, sop, or sup,referring to a stale piece of bread onto which hot broth was poured,thus giving a slight meal some substance. To eat in this fashion was“to sup;” which is from where the modern word “supper” isderived. Thus, the classic French Onion Soup is one of the trulyancient soups remaining today, and its ingenuity lies in itssimplicity: broth, onions, and bread (cheese is a modern and moreluxurious addition). Anyhow, soup is about the simplest recipe one can prepare, it’s nutritious and flavorful…and you only have one pot to clean.
French Onion Soup
Yield: 5-6 cups
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large onions, peeled and slicedthinly
2 cups beef broth
2 cups chicken broth
6 slices French bread, toasted
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces grated Gruyère cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter and oil in a heavysaucepan. Add the onions and sauté over low heat until onions aregolden brown, about 40 minutes. Stir in the beef and chicken stock,bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook the soup for 30minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup intooven-proof bowls and top each soup with a slice of French bread andthe grated cheeses. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 to 20 minutes,or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
CurriedVegetable Soup
Makes about 12 cups
3tablespoons canola oil
1small onion, diced
2carrots, diced
2stalks celery, diced
1parsnip, diced
1turnip, diced
2cloves garlic, minced
2tablespoons curry powder
1teaspoon turmeric
1teaspoon cumin seed
2teaspoons crushed hot pepper
2teaspoons kosher salt
1cup diced cabbage
1cup chopped cauliflower
1cup diced tomatoes
1cup chopped kale
8cups chicken broth
1/4 cup lime juice
Heat the oil in amedium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery,parsnip, and turnip. Cook the vegetables in the oil for about fiveminutes, allowing them to realease their flavor but not brown. Addthe garlic, curry, turmeric, cumin, hot pepper, and salt; saute foranother couple minutes. Stir in the cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoesand kale; stir to coat the vegetables with oil and spices. Stir inthe broth. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cookthe soup for 30-60 minutes, skimming as necessary; if it becomes tothick add more broth. Taste it for seasoning, and add the lemon juicejust before serving.
SplitPea Soup with Garlic and Smoked Sausage
Makes about 12 cups
3 tablespoons canolaoil
2 cups diced smokedsausage
1 small onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic,minced
1 pound split peas,cleaned and rinsed
1 potato, diced
8 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
Heat the oil in amedium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook itfor a few minutes, until it releases some of it’s fat and begins tobrown. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic; cook the vegetableswith the sausage for a few minutes, until the vegetables begin tocook but are not browned. Add the peas, potato. Broth, and salt.Bring the pot to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Cook the soup forabout an hour, stirring frequently. If it becomes to thick add morebroth.
ButternutSquash Bisque with Apple and Toasted Walnuts
  Makes about 6 cups
2tablespoons butter
1small onion, peeled and diced
2tablespoonsflour
2tablespoonssugar
1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4teaspoon allspice
1/4teaspoon nutmeg
1/2teaspoon salt
1teaspoon black pepper
2pounds peeled and diced butternut squash
2cups chicken stock
1cup heavy cream
1/4cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2cup small diced apple
Meltthe butter in a small pot over medium heat and add the onions. Sweatthe onions over medium heat for 5 minutes or until they aretranslu­cent. Add the flour and stir over medium heat for 2minutes. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, pepper,and diced pumpkin; sauté another minute. Add the stock and simmerfor 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is very tender. Add the creamand simmer for 1 or 2 minutes longer. Puree in a blender or foodprocessor. After ladling the soup into warm bowls, garnish it withthe toasted walnuts and diced apple.
 
Roast Red Pepper Bisque
Makes about 12 cups
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced onions 
1/2cup diced celery
1/2cup diced carrots
2teaspoons minced garlic
2teaspoons salt
2teaspoons black pepper
1/2cup flour
4cups chicken broth
3cups diced roast red peppers
2cups heavy cream
Sautéthe onion, celery, and carrots, over medium heat in the butter orolive oil for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for anotherminute or two. Stir in the flour and cook over medium/low heat for5-10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, stir with a whisk to remove anylumps. Stir in the diced peppers. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10minutes. Add the heavy cream simmer 2 minutes. Puree in a foodprocessor or blender. Strain if you desire a smoother consistency.
PotatoChowder
Makes about 12 cups
3tablespoons unsalted butter
12ounces diced lean ham
1cup diced onion
1/2cup diced carrots
1/2cup diced celery
2teaspoons minced garlic
2-1/2pounds peeled and diced potatoes
6cups rich soup stock
1teaspoon thyme
1teaspoon salt
1/2teaspoon black pepper
1cup milk (optional)
Heatthe butter in a large heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. When itbegins to bubble add the ham, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic.Sauté the vegetables and ham for approximately 5 minutes, or untilthey are soft and translucent but not browned. Stir in the potatoes,chicken stock, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Bring the soup to aboil then lower the heat to a simmer; skim any impurities that mayhave risen to the surface. Simmer the soup for 45-60 minutes,stirring often. Using a wire whisk, gently break apart some of thepotatoes to give the soup some viscosity. If adding the milk, do sodirectly before serving the soup, and do not boil it once the milkhas been added.

Broth, Bouillon, Brodo, Caldo

Well, if you are an American reading this blog, or an expat living abroad, you likely celebrated Thanksgiving dinner yesterday with a traditional turkey dinner. I personally love this holiday–it’s not so gift-centered and commercialized as Christmas has become–it’s more about getting together with family, being thankful, and eating a really good meal. Unfortunately the day after has become known as “Black Friday,” but with me–while all the lunatics are out at pre-dawn trying to save a few dollars–I usually lounge around the house while turkey broth simmers on the stove from yesterdays carcass…the left-overs, to me, are as good as the meal proper, and making broth from the carcasses is yet another perk. I’ll make a large batch of it, strain it, then cool it (that’s it below occupying the an entire bottom half of my apartment-sized fridge), and then package it in increments of quarts and pints. Afterwards, I’ll freeze it and have super-delicious broth for  the next couple months (it’s great not only for soup, but is especially suited for rice dishes). And while broth is about as simple as it gets when it comes to cooking, there are a few rules to follow. There’s a simple recipe below, but if you’d like a more in-depth look at it, with additional recipes, click this link: Broth, Bouillon, Brodo.

Turkey Broth
1 cooked turkey carcass, and anyscraps, juices, and pan scrapings
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut into thirds
4 ribs celery, cut into thirds
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns
Combine the ingredients in aheavy-bottomed stockpot and cover with enough cold water to coverthem by two inches. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a slowsimmer. Cook for a few hours, skimming the surface as necessary.Strain and refrigerate until needed.