This unique appetizer is absolutely wonderful. It makes use of the underused and somewhat unknown vegetable, parsnips. I started using parsnips in my cookery several years ago. The first time I served this appetizer was several people’s first exposure to parsnips. Parsnips have a mild flavor reminiscent of carrots but with a creamy spiciness. I often add them to mashed potatoes, include them in roasted vegetable medleys, and use them in soups. I wanted to feature them in an appetizer and found a recipe on the web that I modified to my taste and simplified. When I tasted the first bruschetta, I knew we had a keeper.
When we bought our current house, there was a currant and a gooseberry bush on the edge of the garden, and these bushes are still there and producing a crop of berries every year. I never really used them for anything other than eating a few off the bush when I walked by. After 36 years, I thought it might be nice to do something with the currants, so I came up with this delicious recipe. Maybe I’ll figure out something for the gooseberries one of these days.
I got the original recipe from my friend Paul Kalmes and modified it as I usually do. (I can’t help myself!) I have rosemary growing in my herb garden about 8 or 9 months out of the year, so this gets made often.
I’ve been trying to work more beans into our diet as they are a very healthy source of both protein and fiber. This appetizer was inspired by a Jacques Pepin recipe. It went over very well when I made it for our Friday Night group. It has been made quite often since then.
This is one of our oldest appetizer recipes and dates to the first years of our marriage. It’s still a great appetizer.
It seems like every country in Eastern Europe has its own version of stuffed cabbage. Natalie learned this from her mother, who we think got it from her dad’s mother, who, of course, was Ukrainian. It’s a bit different from the Hungarian stuffed cabbages that I grew up with, but again, Izabella’s mom, Edith, makes Hungarian stuffed cabbages that are different from my mother’s. So it is with regional cookery. In any case, these are delicious.
This is my “gold standard” for meatloaf. That, and a pile of mashed potatoes, and I am happy.
Jared always makes this for Easter. It is one of several main dishes on our Easter table.
I love this recipe because it lets the flavor of garden-fresh zucchini shine through. I usually make this in summer when I have fresh zucchini from the garden. It is a wonderful summer meal.
I came up with this dressing for a shrimp salad, but it would work on a variety of salads. It’s a heavy dressing and ideal for a main-dish salad.
Nothing beats a well-made Caesar Salad dressing. Authentic recipes are often made in the salad bowl with fresh egg yolks. Since I think it is wise not to eat raw eggs and since I don’t usually have pasteurized eggs on hand, I came up with this recipe that I think rivals some of the best Caesar dressings that I have had. You can whip this up in less than 10 minutes. There is enough dressing in this recipe for a family-sized salad.
I make a lot of smoked salmon appetizers, especially in the summer, and another go-to for us is Smoked Salmon Spread with fresh slice baguettes. But an occasion came up where I needed an appetizer that was gluten and dairy free. So I eliminated the cream cheese and built a recipe based on my Quick Aioli recipe. Click on the words Quick Aioli in the recipe to get to that recipe. This recipe received many compliments, and thus it earned a place on the website. It’s not difficult to make, but the assembly takes a little time.
We have been making this dish for almost as long as we have been cooking. The original recipe came from a little paperback Italian cookbook of unknown origin. It is one of our favorites because it can be thrown together in a few minutes when you don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen but would still like a home-cooked meal. I always have the contents of this recipe on hand – just in case. We have made a few modifications to the original recipe over the years, most recently adding a bottle of capers to the sauce. Thi9s creates an over-the-top gourmet meal with little effort.
The roots of this recipe are from a Masterclass I took online from Alice Waters. Delicata squash is a wonderful light winter squash. It doesn’t keep as well as other winter squashes so the availability is usually limited. If you find it at the grocery store or your farmer’s market, it’s worth a try. Grab it when you see it because it will be gone soon.
When Natalie and I go to St. Louis to visit Kevin, Katy, Evan, and Nicholas, we usually have breakfast at one of the First Watch restaurants. They are a breakfast/lunch-only restaurant and their menu is unique with fresh and healthy foods cooked with care. On a recent visit there, I discovered they had a cookbook, which I bought. Included was a recipe for their seasoning used in much of their cooking, First Watch seasoning. But, of course, I always adjust and modify recipes. (I can’t help myself.) I increased the spices a bit and added the smoked paprika.
So here’s my version which I call St. Louis Seasoning in order to avoid any copyright and trademark issues.
Now, there is really nothing wrong with Kosher Salt except for the fact there are two distinctly different types, and if you use the wrong kind you will really mess up your recipe.
When we so to St. Louis to visit Kevin, Katy and Evan we will almost always eat breakfast at a restaurant names First Watch. I had always thought it was a small local chain, but recently found out it is a relatively large US chain.
We love the breakfasts at First Watch. They are healthy, they use the freshest ingredients, and do a superb job of providing an alternative to the sugary, fat-laden breakfasts that are typical in most places.
We went there the last time we were in St. Louis and I was delighted to find out that they have published a cookbook, which I immediately purchased.
The next week, I mixed up some special First Watch seasoning from the cookbook and proceeded to use it to re-create their fabulous roasted potatoes. With great anticipation of the potatoes on my plate, I tasted them and found that they were so salty, they were inedible.
Terribly disappointed I checked my recipe against the book and determined that I had followed the book correctly. Was it a misprint? Did they print Tablespoons for the amount of salt when they really meant teaspoons? I assumed that there was a misprint and was planning on contacting the publisher, but as usual got sidetracked with all the other demands of life.
A few weeks later, I was reading Samin Nosrat’s bestseller, Salt Fat Acid Heat, and got my answer. True Kosher salt is dried by a process that forms light, flaky crystals of salt that dissolve easily. The brand that most restaurant kitchens have is Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. On the other hand, Morton Kosher Salt (the kind I had) is formed of large cubical crystals. A tablespoon of Morton Kosher Salt weighs almost twice as much as a tablespoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and thus is twice as salty. They are both pure salt, but because the Morton variety is much denser, it is twice as salty as the same volume of Diamond Crystal Kosher salt.
The problem is not in the salt, but the way we measure. If we measured by weight (grams), it wouldn’t matter which kind of salt you used. One gram of either would have the same saltiness. But, since we in the states typically measure by volume, (cups, tablespoons, teaspoons) we find that a tablespoon of Morton Kosher salt weighs almost twice as much as a tablespoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. This makes a good case for measuring by weight rather than volume and is especially important in things like pickling, canning and baking.
I am assuming that most recipes that specify Kosher Salt imply a light salt like Diamond Crystal Kosher salt because that seems to be what most chefs use. It is also better to err by using a less salty product like Diamond Crystal Kosher salt because you can always add more salt if the dish isn’t salty enough. If you oversalt, there is usually no easy fix.
I decided to depart from the “recipes only” format and add a section on cooking tips and techniques. Now, that the kitchen remodeling is done and we have a nice new kitchen, I am spending more time honing my cooking skills and enjoying it immensely.
I’ve been taking some online classes from famous cooks at MasterClass.com and learning some interesting ideas. I have also read Samin Nosrat’s bestseller, Salt Fat Acid Heat, and it’s the first book that I have read that talks in depth about balancing flavors in food.
So, I’ll periodically post some of the most useful gems that I find in this material.
We were caught in a January Polar Vortex with temperatures in the minus range and I needed to drive Natalie to work since her car wouldn’t start. I knew I had part of a loaf of multigrain bread left for a quick breakfast of toast and coffee. I went to slice the bread, but mold had beat me to it. Panic! I looked in the refrigerator and the closest thing I had to bread was a package of corn tortillas, but toasted tortillas wouldn’t cut it for breakfast. So. in a few minutes, this is what I came up with. Usually desperation cooking produces OK results, this one turned out superb, so it made the website. Unfortunately, my Spanish vocabulary is very limited.
When Natalie and I travel we often stay at Marriott
Here’s a potato salad that makes use of summer vegetables and is lighter than traditional potato salad and should hold up better in the heat because it contains no mayonnaise or eggs. It’s also delicious! I found the basic recipe idea on Food Network and modified it for my tastes. It features Castelvetrano olives which have become a favorite with me.
We have been blessed to live in a friendly and loving neighborhood since the boys were very young, and participated in many picnics and parties with our neighbors. Everyone had their specialty item, and Charlotte Welch always made a pot of Calico Beans, which several of us guys referred to as “Beans to die for.” There were never any leftovers on the beans.
When Char moved to Santa Fe, there were no more beans until she graciously gave us the recipe, which she got from her sister, Jeanne. Char always doubled the recipe, and there were still no leftovers, and I would recommend you do the same.
Now, I’ve never met a recipe that I wouldn’t mess with, and this one is no exception, thus the optional Jack Daniels. I’ve been adding Jack Daniels to my barbecues sauces for years since I picked up the Jack Daniel’s Old Time Barbecue Cookbook while driving through Tennessee, many years ago. It seemed appropriate for this recipe, too.
Years ago, there was a Soda Fountain/Magazine Shop in downtown Barrington called the Towne Shoppe. I think it had been there forever. There was the typical long counter that you would find in a Soda Fountain along with the requisite round stools attached to the floor with red vinyl cushions. The food was simple, bagels in the morning, soup and sandwiches the rest of the day. I went in almost every morning for a bagel and tea, and would sometimes pick up soup for lunch since it was only a short block away from my studio. My all-time favorite soup was one that they had only occasionally, and that was hamburger soup. It was unique as it was not tomato based, and it wasn’t overly flavored with beef broth as you might find in a beef-barley or beef vegetable soup.
Recently, I was preparing soup for a dinner with friends and thought I would try and replicate it from my 20-year old memory. Unlike my normal cooking experiences when I try to replicate an unknown recipe, which usually requires many attempts and adjustments, I hit this one on the first try. The soup matched my memory of the Towne Shoppe’s soup and my friends raved about it. This recipe will serve at least 12, and you can adjust the amounts of the ingredients to your liking. Enjoy!
We are always looking for new vegetables and interesting ways to serve them. Celery root or celeriac is a root vegetable that probably most people aren’t familiar with. It is rich in fiber and vitamins and has less than half the carbohydrates of a comparable amount of potato.
In the past, Natalie and I have attended the Food and Wine Festival at Disneyworld’s EPCOT. You can literally eat your way through EPCOT sampling wines and small plates of food from many different countries and different regional American cuisines. This last time, we tried a dish of seared scallops served over pureed celery root with sauteed mushrooms. It was exquisite.
A month or so after that I was wandering through the produce department of my local grocery store looking for something different and saw some large beautiful celery roots, so I bought one with that dish from the Food and Wine Festival in mind. When I got home, I consulted my copy of The Flavor Bible, a book by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg which is my most-used cooking resource and it indicated that celery root pairs well with seafood. It also listed mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon as a favored combination with celery root. After a bit of tasting, I worked out this recipe. It paired well with salmon, and I served it several times thereafter.
I hope you will try it and enjoy it
We made this recipe quite often in the past and recently made it again and remembered how good these cheese balls were. This is a relatively easy recipe to make and a bit different than the usual fare. They are a nice addition to any holiday platter.
When we went to St. Louis to view the 2017 eclipse, Kevin and Katy built a party around the event and served these luscious Asian Turkey Burgers. They reminded us of our Porkies (Barbecued Pork Patties) on this site, but are probably a bit healthier. We made them for a group of friends and they were a real hit.
Dried Plum Tomatoes are absolutely luscious. The drying process intensifies the flavor and sweetness. These dried tomatoes freeze well and pulling out a package in the dead of winter, returns you instantly to the taste of fresh tomatoes from the garden. They are great in salads and can be used wherever sun-dried tomatoes are called for. It’s also an easier process than canning, and when the peak yield of tomatoes hits in late summer, this is a way to enjoy the crop later in the year, long after the tomato plants have been pulled up
Castelvetrano olives are a real joy. I discovered them in the Olive Bar at our local Heinan’s grocery store and have become addicted. They are buttery in flavor and not overly salty. They are great for snacking or in recipes. (Buy from the olive bar, the bottled ones are a little too briny.) So here’s a recipe I came up with to use them for a quick, but elegant dinner. I’ve made this 4 or 5 times in the past couple of months, so it’s time to add it to the website.
There is nothing like freshly made croutons to add the perfect finishing touch to a soup or a salad. I’ve been making these for a while and never thought much of it. I recently made them with soup for my friends Danielle and Bill. When they called me for the recipe, I knew it was time to add it to the website, so here we go. The trick is to use a good-quality bread and extra-virgin olive oil.
My friend Adrienne had a good idea. When you have leftover ends of loaves or bread that are going stale, cube the bread and put it in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. After a while, you’ll have a good supply of pre-cubed bread to make croutons quickly. No thawing needed! Just throw them in the pan.
This is one of my favorites for a quick, healthy breakfast. I developed this recipe when the boys were young to try and come up with a muffin that wasn’t loaded with sugar, saturated fat and empty calories. It has reduced sugar, no trans-fat and lots of fiber and all the nutrients from apples and nuts.
As with many others, I’ve updated the recipe with Vegan options and have fun testing out these recipes on my Vegan friends. There are probably other Vegan substitutions, but this is the one I have tested.