Thursday, May 22, 2014

May Foodie Holidays: Week 4

May 22 - Vanilla Pudding Day
May 23 - Taffy Day
May 24 - Escargot Day
May 25 - Wine Day
May 26 - Blueberry Cheesecake Day
May 27 - Grape Popsicle Day
May 28 - Hamburger Day, Brisket Day
May 29 - Coq au Vin Day
May 30 - Mint Julep Day
May 31 - Macaroon Day

Grilling season is here! Maybe you have men in your family who rule the grill. Be sure to ask them for recipes or tips for the things they cook.

Cherry-Lime Macaroons (my own recipe, developed for a friend)
1 C. sweetened condensed milk
3 C. + shredded coconut
1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. minced sour cherries and/or maraschino cherries
4 Tbsp. lime juice
lime zest from the lime
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add more coconut if it seems too gooey. Drop into small balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake 12-13 minutes until brown. Let cool on the cookie sheet 10 minutes before removing – once cool, they will peel off easily.

Available at Amazon.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May Foodie Holidays: Week 3

May 15 - Chocolate Chip Cookie Day; International Day of Families, Family Cookbook Day
May 16 - Coquilles St. Jacques Day
May 17 - Cherry Cobbler Day
May 18 - Cheese Soufflé Day
May 19 - Devil's Food Cake Day
May 20 - Quiche Lorraine Day
May 21 - Strawberries and Cream Day

Beginning in 1993, May 15th was declared by the United Nations to be the International Day of Families: "The International Day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families." I think it's also the perfect time to celebrate family, acknowledge roots and history, cultural shifts and traditions... through food.

Family recipes trace a subtle (or overt) history, where we come from, what our heritage is, what traditions we hold. It's important to preserve those histories and traditions, important to know where we've come from. A family cookbook is just one way to do that.

Chocolate chip cookies have a million variations. How many does your family have? (Be sure to include them all, so no one's favorite gets left out!)

Available at Amazon.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May Foodie Holidays: Week 2

May 8 - Coconut Cream Pie Day
May 9 - Butterscotch Brownie Day
May 10 - Shrimp Day
May 11 Mocha Torte Day; MOTHER'S DAY!
May 12 - Nutty Fudge Day
May 13 - Apple Pie Day
May 14 - Buttermilk Biscuit Day

Sunday, May 11th is Mother's Day! Seize the opportunity to spend some time with your mom if you can, whether you talk about family recipes or not. 

Not all of the recipes in your family's boxes will be handwritten; expect to find plenty of clippings, too! This one was in my grandmother's box, from Nestle. I wasn't able to find a date, but it's old enough that I don't recognize the package design (so 1970s probably?), and I don't think butterscotch chips are even sold in 6-ounce packages anymore.


Debbie’s Fudge (white or chocolate)

1 stick margarine
2 C. sugar
2/3 C. Milnot
14 large marshmallows
small pkg. chocolate chips OR 4 oz. white chocolate
1/2 C. peanut butter OR 1 C nuts
Directions: In a heavy saucepan, boil the first four ingredients for exactly 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Stir until melted and add the peanut butter or the nuts. Pour into a buttered 9x9” pan and cut when cool.
NOTE: On a humid day, cook for 10 seconds longer.


They aren't buttermilk biscuits, but they are my mamaw's biscuits, that Mom stood next to her, measuring ingredients (because her mother-in-law didn't, she just dumped things in a bowl) to get.

Grandma Mabel’s Biscuits
4 C. self-rising flour
1/2 C. powdered milk
handful shortening

Directions: Put flour in a bowl. Make a well in the flour; pour the powdered milk in it. Add the shortening. Add water, a little at a time, working in flour from the sides. When the consistency is right, scoop by handfuls onto a floured surface. Pat into a biscuit shape with floured hands. Bake at 450ºF until light golden brown.

Available at Amazon.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Foodie Holidays: Week 1

May 1 - Chocolate Parfait Day
May 2 - Truffle (Candy) Day
May 3 - Raspberry Tart Day
May 4 - Lemonade Day, Candied Orange Peel Day
May 5 - Chocolate Custard Day, Hoagie Day
May 6 - Crêpes Suzette Day
May 7 - Roast Leg of Lamb Day

No recipes this month -- I don't have family recipes for any of those holidays!

Mother's Day is May 11th this year, and a great time to get together with your mom and go through those family recipes. If you want to compile a family cookbook in time for Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or Yule), now's the time!

Why is Mother's Day the best time to start this project? Because women do the balance of the cooking in most households, most recipes are passed mother to daughter, and starting now gives you six months to get all the recipes you want from your family and have your family cookbook ready in time for the winter holidays. Creating an Heirloom: Writing Your Family's Cookbook takes you through every step of the process. It's easier than you think!

Available at Amazon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April Foodie Holidays: Week 4

April 22 - Jelly Bean Day
April 23 - Cherry Cheesecake Day, Picnic Day
April 24 - Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day
April 25 - Zucchini Bread Day, DNA Day
April 26 - Pretzel Day
April 27 - Prime Rib Day
April 28 - Blueberry Pie Day
April 29 - Shrimp Scampi Day
April 30 - Oatmeal Cookie Day

Jelly beans are a fairly recent confection (at least in terms of food history), having been around since the mid-1800s. The Jelly Belly brand of beans came into prominence when Ronald Regan was in the White House, as he favored them specifically.

Depending on where you live, April 23rd may still be too chilly to enjoy a picnic outside, but there's also cherry cheesecake for that day, so you're still covered. 

Having a recipe for zucchini bread comes in handy later in the summer, when that one zucchini plant in your garden is producing way more than you ever considered it might. This one is from my mother's mother: 

DNA Day marks the day the Watson, Crick, Wilkins and Franklin published their paper in Nature on the structure of DNA. There has been a fairly recent trend in genealogy to make use of this science to better understand lineage. It's not a cheap test, generally $100 and up depending on how much information you want, but it can be a really interesting one. (When I win the lottery, I'll probably do this, but until then... it's not a priority.)

I love oatmeal raisin cookies, but my husband prefers them with chocolate chips (weird). I'm working on a recipe for oatmeal bacon cookies, that the first trial was a huge success according to a friend of mine. Here's the recipe my mother-in-law gave me when I was compiling our cookbook: 

Oatmeal Cookies

1 C. brown sugar
1 C. sugar
1 C. oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 C. oatmeal
chocolate chips or nuts as desired

Directions: Cream the sugars and oil together. Add vanilla. Add the dry ingredients except oatmeal and mix well. Add oatmeal gradually. Stir in chocolate chips or nuts as desired. Drop in spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350ºF for about 10 minutes until golden.

Available at Amazon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April Foodie Holidays: Week 3

April 15 - Glazed Ham Day
April 16 - Eggs Benedict Day
April 17 - Cheese Ball Day, Ellis Island Family History Day
Apri; 18 - Animal Crackers Day
April 19 - Garlic Day, Amaretto Day
April 20 - Pineapple Upside-down Cake Day
April 21 - Chocolate Covered Cashews Day

Cheese balls may have their origins in the Southern United States, and are frequently made as a party food at Christmas or for other gatherings.

I'm pretty sure that's my aunt's handwriting, but the paper it's written
on is from the car dealership her dad (my Papaw) worked at before
he retired. Things like this will help you research family history
because it will tell you where they were at that point in time.
Also on April 17th, is Ellis Island Family History Day. Did your ancestors come through Ellis Island? Use the Ellis Island search form and find out!
Ellis Island Family History Day was first celebrated on April 17, 2001 to commemorate the opening of the American Family Immigration History Center® at Ellis Island and its companion website:

Animal crackers were originally imported from England in the late 1800s, but were so popular in the U.S. that companies began making them domestically. The "Barnum's Animals," named for the circus, didn't appear until 1902. The string on the box was so that they could be hung on the Christmas tree, as they were produced as a holiday treat. It was so popular, that the packaging persists even today.

Pineapple Upside-down Cake is a particular favorite of mine. Mom always asked us what kind of cake we wanted for our birthdays. For my 21st, I requested pineapple upside-down cake. Mom got creative since you can't frost it, used crushed pineapple instead of rings, and used the cherries to create the number 21.

Available at Amazon.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April Foodie Holidays: Week 2

April 8 - Empanada Day
April 9 - Chinese Almond Cookie Day
April 10 - Cinnamon Crescent Day
April 11 - Cheese Fondue Day
April 12 - Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day
April 13 - Peach Cobbler Day
April 14 - Pecan Day

Celebrate your Spanish and Portuguese heritage with empanadas! These are similar to Cornish pasties, and may trace their long food history all the way to Indian samosas. There are so many national variants of this portable food!

Or maybe you come from a Swiss background -- fondue originates from Switzerland.

For a slightly less messy way to enjoy melted cheese, there's grilled cheese sandwiches. Even though this seems to be a ubiquitous kid's meal, there are plenty of ways to enjoy grilled cheese that are not so simple. Add different cheeses, add meat, add herbs and spices, add a slice of tomato -- it doesn't have to be American cheese on white bread! My favorite is Colby cheese and bacon bits.

Cobblers seem to have originated in the British American colonies, and were made with biscuit dough or dumplings cooked on top of a hot filling. (Crisps and crumbles differ from cobblers by the oats used in the crust.) There are many regional variations and names for this dessert. Which does your family use?

Pecans are native to the North America. My dad's mother's recipe for pecan pie calls for "butter the size of a walnut." If you have recipes like that, measure that "walnut-sized" lump and include the measurement in your cookbook, along with the original instructions. While "2 Tbsp butter" may be easier or more accurate, "butter the size of a walnut" is more charming, don't you think?

Available at Amazon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Foodie Holidays: Week 1

As I mentioned previously, the daily posts were killing me so I'm moving to a weekly format.
April 1 - Sourdough Bread Day
April 2 - Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
April 3 - Chocolate Mousse Day
April 4 - Cordon Bleu Day
April 5 - Deep Dish Pizza Day
April 6 - Caramel Popcorn Day
April 7 - Coffee Cake Day

Cordon Bleu means "blue ribbon" in French, but the dish made with chicken or veal, ham and Swiss cheese was developed in the United States, not France, and it has nothing to do with the Cordon Bleu cooking school.

Deep dish pizza is a Chicago invention, and Uno's takes credit for it. Prepare to wait a while when you order it at their restaurants, for a couple of reasons. One, it takes a while just to get a table downtown; two, that pie takes a while to bake.

I worked at Karmelkorn one summer in college. It was a pretty fun, if hot and sticky, job, and I loved the cotton candy machine. After I left that job and we graduated (got married, moved), I developed my own recipe for making caramel popcorn on a much smaller scale.

Caramel Popcorn

1 bag microwave popcorn
1/2 stick butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
3/4 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
generous pinch of baking soda

Directions: Pop the popcorn and remove unpopped kernels. Place in large bowl, bigger than you think you'll need – I use a 5-qt. metal bowl. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and add the sugar and corn syrup. Boil gently. You want the sugar to burn a little. The longer you leave it cooking, the "darker" your caramel will taste, but don't overdo it.
When the mixture starts to smell like it's burning, remove from heat, and add the baking soda, mixing well -- this will make the sugar mixture a little foamy. Pour over the popcorn and toss to coat it evenly using a long-handled spoon. Be careful: this is HOT! Once the corn is coated, you can either turn it out onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and break into smaller pieces as it cools, or sit down with your favorite movie and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
Variation: Use molasses instead of corn syrup and make Cracker Jacks!

Available at Amazon.

Monday, March 31, 2014

National Clams on the Half Shell Day - Mar. 31st; Chef Ruth Reichl

Chef Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl is an author, editor and food critic. Her food writing started with Mmmmm: A Feastiary (1972), and went on to be food writer, restaurant editor and restaurant critic at New West magazine, the LA Times and the New York Times before being the editor-in-chief at Gourmet. She has been outspoken on the sexism in restaurants and the pretentiousness of fancy New York restaurants. She’s received wards for her books by the James Beard Foundation, as well as by the Association of American Food Journalists.

* * *

March 31st is Clams of the Half Shell Day. Not a fan. Not raw, not cooked. The closest thing to a recipe I have containing them is actually for oyster dressing that my dad and husband eat at Thanksgiving. I did find an informative article about them, though, for those of you who do like them.

After three months of writing daily posts, I am switching to weeklies that have seven foodie holidays per post instead of single holidays. Frankly, even writing several scheduled posts at a time is melting my brain. 

Available at Amazon.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

National Turkey Neck Soup Day - Mar. 30th; Chef Stephanie Izard

Chef Stephanie Izard
Stephanie Izard won season four’s Top Chef, the first woman to win. She is co-owner and executive chef at Girl & the Goat, and Little Goat in Chicago. She has also written the cookbook Girl in the Kitchen. She has numerous awards including the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2013, and Bon Appétit magazine named her one of the top 10 chefs to follow on Twitter.

 * * *

March 30th is Turkey Neck Soup Day, which may sound odd, but it comes from a mindset of not wasting anything. The neck, when simmered for a few hours, makes a delicious broth for soup. Of course, because of the many tiny bones it's not edible (not even for pets!), but the broth can be used for many things. You can also freeze the broth in an ice cube tray and have small portions of broth for cooking!

Available at Amazon.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day - Mar. 29th; Chef Cristeta Comerford

Chef Cristeta Comerford
Cristeta Comerford is the White House executive chef, the first woman, and first Asian person, to hold that position. She studied food technology in the Philippines, but didn’t complete her degree, immigrating to the United States. She worked in Chicago, Washington, DC, and in Vienna before she was recruited to work in the White House kitchen. She was appointed executive chef by Laura Bush, and was retained by Michelle Obama. Since she is the chef to a head of state, she is a member of Le Club des Chefs des Chefs.

* * *

March 29th is Lemon Chiffon Cake Day. Chiffon cake is different because the eggs are separated before beaten (whites beaten separately from yolks), and it uses vegetable oil instead of butter. The man who developed the recipe, Harry Baker, kept the secret close until he sold his recipe to General Mills, who then published it with variations under the new name of "chiffon cake" in a Betty Crocker booklet in 1948. I may have a recipe for it somewhere, but neither grandmother has one. A recipe that old, seems like I should have a version of it in one of these cookbooks...

Available at Amazon.

Friday, March 28, 2014

National Black Forest Cake Day - Mar. 28th; Chef Nancy Silverton

Chef Nancy Silverton
Nancy Silverton trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London, and Ecole Le Notre in Plaiser, France. She’s the co-founder and head baker at La Brea Bakery. She’s written 4 cookbooks, and won several awards, including Best Pastry Chef by the James Beard Foundation (1990).

* * *

March 28th is my dad’s birthday, and his favorite cake is not Black Forest, but German Chocolate, so I'm sharing that instead.

German Chocolate Cake

1 pkg (4 oz.) German Sweet Chocolate
1/2 C. boiling water
1 C. butter
2 C. sugar
4 egg yolks, unbeaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C. sifted flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. buttermilk
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Directions: Melt chocolate in water until melted; cool. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time to sugar mixture, beating after each. Add vanilla and cooled chocolate; mix until blended. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk, beat after each addition until batter is smooth. Fold in egg whites. Place a circle of waxed paper into the bottom of 3 8" or 9" layer pans (so just the bottom is covered). Pour batter into pans and bake at 350ºF for 35-40 min. Cool before turning out of pans. Finish cake with coconut-pecan filling.

Coconut-Pecan FillingIngredients:
1 stick butter
1 C. evaporated milk
1 C. sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 C. coconut
1 C. chopped pecans

Directions: Combine first 5 ingredients, and cook over medium heat until thickened (about 12 minutes). Remove from heat and add the coconut and pecans. Cool, and beat. Use to fill the layers of German chocolate cake.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Available at Amazon.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

National Spanish Paella Day - Mar. 27th; Chef Giada De Laurentiis

Chef Giada De Laurentiis
Giada De Laurentiis became a professional chef after studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, working in several LA restaurants, including Spago, but she got her start in her family’s Italian kitchen and grandfather’s restaurant. Her Everyday Italian cooking show has won an Emmy, and she has authored a number of cookbooks, and has recently written “Recipe for Adventure” stories for children.

* * *

March 27th is Spanish Paella Day. Paella is a one-pot dish, as many cultures have. It seems to have originated in the Valencia region of Spain, but different regions have their variations. Jambalaya is almost certainly a descendant of paella, from the Spanish settlers in the Caribbean, and then into New Orleans with a Creole influence.

My husband's uncle offered this recipe for his version of Jambalaya: 

1/4 C. olive oil
1 lb medium shrimp
Creole seasoning (follows)
1 chicken
1 1/2 lbs andouille sausage
2 C. chopped onion
1 C. chopped celery
1 C. chopped bell pepper
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped thyme leaves
1 C. chopped tomatoes
6 C. water
2 C. rice
salt and pepper
1 C. chopped green onions
1/2 C. chopped parsley

Directions: Peel and de-vein shrimp. Cut the sausage into 1/2” cubes, and the chicken into 8 pieces. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. Season shrimp with Creole seasoning and sauté until almost cooked through, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove shrimp and set aside. Season chicken pieces with Creole seasoning. Add remaining oil to Dutch oven and when hot, add chicken pieces and sauté until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add sausage and cook until browned. Add onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, bay leaves, cayenne and thyme and cook until vegetables are wilted, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and water and return chicken to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add rice to pot, stir well and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and cook for 15 minutes. Add shrimp, green onions and parsley to Dutch oven, mixing carefully, and continue to cook, covered, for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Creole Seasoning
2 1/2 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried thyme

Directions: Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yields 2/3 C.

Available at Amazon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

National Spinach Day - Mar. 26th; Chef Elizabeth Faulkner

Chef Elizabeth Faulkner
Elizabeth Faulkner started her cooking career in 1990. In 1997, she opened Citizen Cake in San Francisco (closed in 2011, when she moved to New York). She’s worked around the world, and in 2012, won the World Pizza Championship in Naples, Italy. She has won several awards and been inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2012. She’s also written 2 cookbooks, Elizabeth Faulkner’s Demolition Desserts and Cooking Off the Clock.

* * *

March 26th is Spinach Day. My favorite way to eat spinach is in spanakopita, Greek spinach pie with feta cheese and phyllo (which reminds me -- a friend has a recipe for that I need to get...), but my sister-in-law shared this with me when I was compiling our cookbook:

Enchilada Casserole

2 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 pkg. taco seasoning
1 C. water
1/2 C. bottled taco sauce
8-10 corn tortillas
2 pkg. frozen chopped spinach
3+ C. shredded Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese
1 C. sour cream (can use low-fat)
1 small can sliced black olives

Directions: Brown beef and onion in a frying pan. Drain. Add taco seasoning and water. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until water has evaporated off. Coat 1/2 of the tortillas with taco sauce on both sides and line the bottom of a 9x13” pan with them, overlapping the edges. Thaw spinach and drain well. Add one package to the meat mixture (which should not be watery) and pour over the tortillas. Spread 1/2 of the cheese over the meat mixture. Cover the remaining tortillas with taco sauce and layer over the cheese. Spread on the sour cream, then the last package of spinach, and olives. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 375ºF for 50-60 minutes. Cook covered for the first 25 minutes and uncovered until the top begins to brown. Serves 8-10.
Comments: You can use spicy taco seasoning and sauce, if you like.

Available at Amazon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

International Waffle Day - Mar. 25th; Chef Alex Guarnaschelli

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli
Alex Guarnaschelli is an Iron Chef on Iron Chef America and cookbook author (Old-School Comfort Food). She got her start with food watching her mother, a cookbook editor, testing recipes. She’s worked in New York, LA, and in France, and is the executive chef at Butter in NYC.

* * *

March 25th is International Waffle Day. This is a Swedish tradition, though it has spread out into the rest of the world. My daughter has come up with a waffle breakfast sandwich that would probably appeal to lots of kids.

Waffle Pancake Sandwiches
1 Eggo mini waffle "slice" (4 mini waffles)
4 Eggo mini pancakes (or 4 homemade silver dollar pancakes)
4 tsp. peanut butter with mini chocolate chips*

Lightly toast the waffles and pull apart. Thaw mini pancakes in the microwave (about 25 seconds). Put a dollop of the peanut butter mixture on the waffles and top with a mini pancake.

* We keep a container of peanut butter and mini chocolate chips mixed together; she eats this on several things, so it just makes sense to have some on hand. Mini chips work best, but regular chips can be used, too.

Available at Amazon.

Monday, March 24, 2014

National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day - Mar. 24th; Chef Cat Cora

Chef Cat Cora
Cat Cora is an Iron Chef on Iron Chef America, has written several cookbooks, and had a business plan to open her own restaurant when she was only 15. Her southern roots are influenced by Greek heritage, and that’s reflected in her cookbook, Cat Cora’s Kitchen. She is the president and founder of Chefs for Humanity, a not-for-profit that raises funds and resources for hunger-related causes, and UNICEF named her a nutritional spokesperson to help raise awareness for global humanitarian crises.

* * *

March 24th is Chocolate Covered Raisins Day. I like to experiment with recipes, trying different things with old favorites. Have you ever considered using chocolate covered raisins in your oatmeal cookies, instead of plain raisins? Try it! (So good!)

Available at Amazon.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

National Chip & Dip Day - Mar. 23rd; Chef Suzanne Goin

Chef Suzanne Goin
Suzanne Goin is a chef and restaurateur in Los Angeles: The AOC, Lucques, Tavern, The Hungry Cat and The Larder. She’s an award-winning chef and cookbook author (Sunday Suppers at Lucques, The AOC Cookbook), and helped popularize the small-plate wine bar restaurant model. She can trace her cooking heritage to Chez Panisse where she worked with Waters, and also worked in restaurants in France before returning to LA to begin her empire.

* * *

March 23rd is Chip & Dip Day. There's the ubiquitous onion dip (made with sour cream and an envelope of onion soup mix), there's the omnipresent salsa, and then there's Roof Rot... This is the family nickname for a simple salsa my husband's aunt makes. Her sons also have been known to call it "Dog Drool."

“Roof Rot” Dip
1 can chopped green chiles
1 small can chopped black olives
1 bunch green onion, chopped (tops, too)
2 small tomatoes, diced
3 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. vinegar
pinch oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Mix the ingredients and chill overnight. Let warm to room temperature to serve.

If you encounter odd names for recipes (as this one has), consider asking what the origin of the name is, and including that in your cookbook. 

Available at Amazon.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

National Celery Month; Chef Gabrielle Hamilton

Chef Gabrielle Hamilton
Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef-owner of Prune in NYC, and wrote the memoir, Blood, Bones, and Butter (which Anthony Bourdain said was “simply the best memoir by a chef ever”). In 2011, she received the James Beard Foundation’s award for Best Chef in New York City. Her French mother taught her to cook and love food.

* * *

March is National Celery Month. "Ants on a Log" is perhaps one of the first ways we try to sneak vegetables into our children: smear them with peanut butter and put raisins on top, and they'll eat it, right? (Wrong. My daughter is completely unfooled by the addition of raisins and peanut butter and will not touch celery.) Personally, my favorite part of the celery is the leaves. I would rather use those than parsley in most dishes. And one of the best Thanksgiving smells is the celery and onion, cooking in a little butter, for the stuffing...

Available at Amazon.

Friday, March 21, 2014

National French Bread Day - Mar. 21st; Chef Clare Smyth

Chef Clare Smyth

Clare Smyth got her start waitressing, was soon inspired to become a chef. She has worked around the world, and Gordon Ramsay offered her a job in 2002, where she worked her way up to senior sous chef. She left to get still more experience, but came back in 2008, where she was promoted to Head Chef. She is the first female British chef to hold a 3-star Michelin rating. She was honored in 2013 by Queen Elizabeth II with being made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services in the hospitality industry.

* * *

March 21st is French Bread Day. The baguette can be so versatile, from simply eating it with a bit of brie to little crostini appetizers to skinny pizzas, French bread is wonderful to have around. One of my favorite ways to doctor a loaf is to make garlic cheese bread.

Garlic Cheese Bread
1 loaf French bread
butter or margarine
garlic powder
1 lb mozzarella cheese
parsley, if desired

Directions: Preheat broiler to 450ºF. Split the loaf in half and cut into 3-4” squares. Spread butter on the halves of the French bread. Sprinkle garlic powder over that. (Alternatively, you can mix finely minced fresh garlic with softened butter, and spread that on the bread.) Cover with cheese. Sprinkle a little parsley on the cheese if desired. Broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Remove from broiler and let cool a little before serving.

NOTE: Cover the pan with foil before putting the bread on it. The cheese tends to melt and make a mess; doing this will speed up clean up.

Available at Amazon.