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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mrs. Huber's Cole Slaw

For the first five plus years I knew Connie, I yammered on about the wonderful fried chicken livers at the Huber Family Farm in Starlight, IN.  In 1994, I went there with a friend and was hooked.  Problem is it's a good 2 hour drive from Indy.  Just a bit far for a casual dinner.  Finally, a couple of months ago, I had to take a business trip to Evansville.  Connie got to go along.  So, guess where we stopped for dinner on the way back?  Yup, Huber Family Farm.  A fun aside here, we got the geezer rate at the Casino Aztar hotel, drove 4 hours each way and ate five meals - all for under $200.  Probably qualifies for Rachael Ray's $40 a day deal!  At any rate, we got to the restaurant and there was no question what we were having for dinner.  Splitting the chicken liver dinner and getting the extra sides.  Even better was the fact they had Huber Winery wines (different Huber's) on the menu.  We ran out of our Huber wines several months ago so it was fun to have one.  The waitress brought the fried biscuits and apple butter to the table.  I thought Connie was going to start in on the apple butter with a spoon.  It was that good.  I went up front to get a cookbook and see if that recipe and the chicken liver one was in there.  They were.  Then, they served dinner and one of our sides was Mrs. Huber's slaw.  We've always been a mayonnaise cole slaw family.  This was vinegar and oil.  We were both smitten.  I bought the cookbook.  When we got that gorgeous cabbage from the CSA, I asked Connie if he'd like half of it turned into Mrs. Huber's slaw.  Would he ever. 

Mrs. Huber's Slaw

2 heads cabbage, chopped (I shredded mine in the processor)
1 large green pepper, very finely chopped
1 large onion, very finely chopped
1 T salt
2 c sugar
1 c red wine vinegar
1 c vegetable oil
1 T celery seed

Reserve 2 T of sugar.  Toss the rest with the cabbage.  Toss in the green pepper and onion. 

In a large saucepan, mix together the other ingredients, including the 2T of sugar. Bring it to a boil.

Pour it over the cabbage. 

Best after it's rested overnight in the refrigerator.  I made a quarter of this and it's a good 4 servings of slaw.  Actually, I made half the dressing recipe and it's in the refrigerator hoping for another cabbage on Saturday!  Since I was making the dressing separately, I added all the sugar to the dressing and didn't toss any with the cabbage.  It didn't seem to affect the flavor in any way.

adapted from A Collection of Family Recipes & Traditions by Bonnie Huber and Daughters

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Potato Torte

Our CSA cooler had one of the most glorious cabbages I think I've ever seen.  We usually have a good idea what's in season so it wasn't a surprise to find that and some zucchini and yellow squash.  The surprise was the big basket of mulberries.  Fortunately, Foodbuzz came through and I've got two great recipes to choose from.  But, I digress.  When we head to the farmers market to pick up our cooler, I usually take along a couple of cookbooks so I can hunt for recipes utilizing my produce and make my grocery list.  This week I took along a cookbook I've not yet tried:  Gourmet Ireland by Paul and Jeanne Rankin.  The recipe for a potato torte pratically jumped off the page.  Who can go wrong with potatoes, bacon, cabbage and cheese? Time to try it!  A note about the recipe.  I found the directions a bit lacking.  How many layers?  Not a clue.  I went ahead and covered the bottom of the casserole with potatoes.  Turned out to be a third of them.  So, I divided the cheese into sixth's and the cabbage and bacon into thirds.  Worked perfectly.  This came out of the oven just as our friends Nancy and Jeff showed up to head to the ball game with us.  We gobbled our portions down and wrapped the rest up for them and guess who didn't take a photo of the final product?  Suffice to say it was gorgeous and tasted equally good.  I'd make it again today if Connie didn't want Mrs. Huber's cole slaw from the rest of the cabbage.

Potato Torte

4 1/2 c water
1/2 large head of cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
7 oz bacon cut into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 c thinly sliced potatoes
salt and pepper
7 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated (I used old faithful, Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp)

In a small skillet, start the bacon.  You'll want to remove it from the heat just as it starts to brown. 

At the same time, in a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil.  Once it's boiling, put in the cabbage and cook it for two minutes.  Drain the cabbage.  You'll need to squeeze it to get all the water out. 

When the bacon is done, toss the bacon with the cabbage, reserving the fat. 

Then, toss the potatoes with the bacon fat.  Now, it's time to assemble the torte.  You'll wind up with three layers each of the cabbage and the potatoes and six of the cheese.  In an oven-proof baking dish, put in a layer of potatoes.  You'll just want to cover the bottom of the dish. 

Then sprinkle on one layer of cheese. 

Follow with a layer of cabbage, then a layer of cheese. 

Continue like this until all the ingredients are used up.  Bake at 400 for 45 minutes. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dilly Chicken Salad

Turns out Connie didn't have a bridge lesson tonight.  So, instead of my normal by myself dinner, I wanted to fix a real dinner.  Just very quickly.  A survey of the refrigerator revealed some cooked chicken and lots of dill.  Right, I STILL haven't finished all the dill Maria's been putting in the CSA box.  That's ok though because I really love dill.  It's hotter than blazes so nothing warm sounded in the least appealing.  What did sound good was a chicken salad with dill and veggies.  And, the veggies that sounded the best were artichoke hearts and hearts of palm.  Sounds like a Valentine's Day lunch, eh?  I know, I should be using the last few CSA things from last week.  But, those didn't appeal as much.  Dilly Chicken Salad it was.  Connie might have put a bit more dill in it.  I think that might have overwhelmed the salad and drowned out the delicate flavor of the hearts of palm.  At any rate, this is a make again in our household.

Dilly Chicken Salad

3 c cooked, diced chicken
2 hearts of palm, thinly sliced in coins
1 1 oz can artichoke hearts, cut in 8th's
1  oz can waterchestnuts, diced or sliced (chopped a bit if they're sliced)
1/2 c Hellman's olive oil mayonnaise
2 T dry white wine (you can substitute lemon juice)
7-8 sprigs dill
1/2 c toasted pecans, chopped
1/4 c sliced almonds, toasted

Toss together the chicken, hearts of palm,

artichoke hearts

and waterchestnuts.

The salad will look pretty blah right about now. 

Toast the nuts and chop them.  (My almonds were already toasted so they're not in the photo.)

Finely chop the dill.  Mix it into the salad and see how the color pops!


Stir in the mayonnaise and white wine.  Serve on beds of lettuce.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Unglamorous Greens

Someone with four feet has nibbled off our beet greens.  We have these little stunted stems in our garden.  Sad, because I've really gotten to like beet greens.  I ate them the first time in an effort to 1)be healthy and 2)use up as much of the garden produce as possible.  Fortunately when we did our Saturday run to the farmer's market, I found some great beets at one of the stands - lovely greens attached.  When I said to Connie that I wanted that bunch because they had the best greens, the young man asked if I'd like some more.  Would I ever.  Turns out some folks don't like the greens so the standholder was cutting off the tops and reserving them.  We wound up with a veritable bounty of beet greens.  I thought they'd be good with the smoked pork chops.  Correct.  They were perfect with the pork chops.

As it turns out, beet greens are really easy to make.  They're pretty forgiving too.  You can kind of eyeball the other stuff you put in the skillet and they're ok.   I'm going to guess at most of the measurements here since I eyeballed the whole deal.

Sauteed Beet Greens

2 bunches beet greens
4- 4" wide salami slices, cut into slivers or diced
1 T olive oil
1 T shagbark hickory syrup
1 T soy sauce
1 T minced shallot

Wash the beet greens.  Shake the moisture off but don't dry them thoroughly as the remaining moisture will help cook them.  Put the salami in a large skillet and brown it. 

As it's browning, mix the cooking sauce. 

Add the beet greens to the skillet. 

Pour in about half of the sauce.  Stir until the greens are limp.  Serve with the rest of the sauce on the side. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Casa D'Angelo

When I lived in Fort Wayne, I could have easily eaten at Casa d'Angelo on a daily basis.  Best darned Italian food I'd ever had.  Jimmy d'Angelo knew me by name in those days.  Then, I moved back home to Indianapolis and had to crave their food long distance.  My primary craving - their salad.  It was unlike anything I'd ever had.  A creamy Italian dressing.  Lettuce, red bell peppers, green onions, shredded mozzarella.  YUM!  The problem was that I was never able to recreate that dressing.  Then, many years ago, my sister-in-law Pam gave me a cookbook for Christmas.  I picked it up and leafed through it.  There was a recipe purporting to be Casa d's salad.  But, was it really?  The next day I was off to the grocery to buy the red bell peppers, green onions and shredded mozzarella.  The salad got put together and viola! the exact same salad.  How awesome was that?   Since then, it's become the "family" salad.  It's requested for most family get-togethers.  My stepsons want it when they're here visiting.  And, best of all, picky niece Samantha actually made it for a party she and her beau, CJ, had.  She had someone else put the anchovies in the blender but by golly, she made it.  Hopefully, it'll become a favorite of yours too!!

Casa d'Angelo Salad

1 tin anchovies, plus the oil
1 c red wine vinegar
3/4 t oregano
1 1/2 t ground black pepper
1 T salt (I usually leave this out...)
1 1/4 oz sugar (I know, tough to measure, I usually use about 1 T)
1 1/2 t garlic salt or 1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 c cornstarch
2 c light olive oil
2 heads romaine lettuce
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, diced
3/4 grated Romano
1 c shredded Mozzarella

Dump the anchovies and their oil into a blender.  Add the red wine vinegar, oregano, pepper, sugar, garlic and cornstarch.  Process until it's liquefied.  Keep the blender running.  Take out the plug and slowly pour in the olive oil.  It'll thicken up about the time you run out of oil.

Shred the lettuce and put it in a large bowl. 

Sprinkle the peppers, green onions and cheeses over the top. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Pour enough dressing over to lightly coat the lettuce leaves.  Reserve the rest of the dressing for another salad.

Adapted from Just Peachey, Cooking up a Cure

Friday, June 25, 2010


We used to have a wonderful fish market across the street.  Well, wonderful for Indianapolis.  Fresh is the lobsters that Salty Lou caught today and has on his porch on Cape Cod.  For us, flying the stuff in is as close to fresh as we're going to get.  But, I digress.  Crabmeat.  Canned in the grocery store.  Bleech!  Canned and refrigerated.   Ok.  So, the folks who owned the fish store had a falling out.  It closed and I mourned.  (Along with a LOT of other folks.)  And, I went hunting for crabmeat. My first stop was the folks who supplied the fish store.  I saved my last can and took it to the office and found them on the internet and plaintively begged.  Nope.  Too expensive to ship to Indy.  Ok, plan B.  Trader Joes.  Yup.  They've got the stuff and it's reasonably priced.  Now, they don't have a choice of different types of crabmeat.  This stuff is all claw.  But, it's still pretty darned good for the price. I've made a lot of crabcakes (Harry Carey crabcakes) and several other crabmeat dishes with the stuff.  So, when I saw this recipe, I was intrigued.  Sounded like a fun stovetop type dish.  I was pretty disappointed with the original version.  We found it blah and gummy.  Naturally, I took the leftovers (who has ever heard of leftover crabmeat anything??? - that's how much this needed help!) and kicked them up a notch.  Now, let me say, the blog from which I got the recipe usually has the best stuff around.  We must just have different taste in crab dip...

Stovetop Crab Dip
1 T olive oil
1 c finely minced onion
12 oz crabmeat
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1/2 t worcestershire sauce
1 t lemon juice
1 t Old Bay seasoning
1/2 c Hellman's olive oil mayonnaise
1/3 c cream
1/2 c grated parmesan or romano

Combine the onion and the olive oil in a large saucepan and saute until the onion is translucent.  Add the other ingredients and stir until the mixture is bubbling. 

 Serve with crackers or bread cubes.  I added the Old Bay and cream to the original recipe.  You might also try sour cream instead of the cream. 

Adapted from Annies-eats, originally from White on Rice Couple

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Marinated Pork Chops

Every Saturday when we go to the Broad Ripple Farmers Market, I stop to chat with the folks who have the shagbark hickory syrup stand.  You may have read about their syrup many blogs ago.  It's a really fun story.  Recreate an old recipe.  Become a source for some of the best restaurants in the nation.  And, OMG, is it ever wonderful stuff.  So, on the side, he's got this basket filled with bags of hickory bark.  Connie, as usual, has a ton of questions.  Have you already processed this for syrup?  How long do you soak it?  How many do you use?  How do you smoke meats anyhow?  Our buddy (ok, next weekend I'm going to try and remember to ask his name!) patiently responds.  Yes, it's already been processed for syrup.  Soak it for 30 -60 minutes.  Depends on how much meat you're cooking.  Depends on whether your grill has a smoker box or you need to create your own aluminum foil smoker...  Luckily, our grill has a smoker box.  My bet is that this recipe originally came from the folks who make Kikkoman since it calls for Kikkoman soy sauce.  We get home from a long day at the office Monday and pull these marinated pork chops out of the refrigerator to bring them up to room temp.  Connie soaks the hickory bark then puts it in the smoker box.  Soon, the wonderful aroma of hickory smoke fills the screened porch.  I keep finding excuses to wander out there just to sniff.  He has the heat on the right, the indirect heat in the middle and the smoker on the left.  We put the chops on for about 4 minutes a side.  Take them off to rest for a couple of mintues - rest, it lets the juices redistribute.  And, finally, serve dinner.  Nirvana!

Hickory Smoked Pork Chops

1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c dry white wine
1 T vegetable or olive oil(not EVOO!)
1 t grated lemon peel
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 t dried, crumbled
4 T minced green onions or 1 T TJ's dried shallots
4 center cut pork chops
hickory bark or chips

Combine all the marinade ingredients. 

Put the pork chops in a freezer bag. 

Pour in the marinade and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.  

Soak the chips or bark for at least 30 minutes.  If you've got a smoker, put the bark in the smoker.  Otherwise, use heavy duty aluminum foil and make your own smoker.  Put the bark in the foil and punch several holes in it.  Place it on your charcoal to smoke.  While the bark is soaking, bring the chops up to room temperature.  The amount of time on the grill per side will depend on the thickness of your chops.  Ours were about 1/2" and we did about 4 minutes per side -totally on the indirect heat.  Connie may have to arm wrestle me for the last chop for lunch tomorrow.  It was that good!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Comfort Food at it's Finest!

I've always been amused by the dishes that families consider comfort food.  In some cases, it varies by region.  In others, it's across the USA.  This is a dish that I consider comfort food.  It has as many variations as a model of car has.  My wonderful friend Donna uses bread crumbs on top.  Another friend uses broccoli instead of green beans.  I could probably write 20 different recipes for this stuff.  Here's the story...  My mom's best bud, Lou, gave me a bridal shower way back when I got married the first time in 1976.  (Yes, I got it right the second time!)  Lou's NOT a cook.  Their freezer is full of frozen dinners - what we used to call tv dinners.  But, like most non-cooks, she has a couple of recipes she's mastered.  They're easy and they're wonderful.  This is one of them.  It's comfort food at the finest for me.  The night I had my Millie cat put down, this is all I wanted.  It's become one of Connie's favorite meals.  And, it's become one of my brother John's family's favorite meals.  I mistakenly referred to it as Curried Chicken Casserole when talking to my VERY picky niece Samantha.  Her nose curled up and she said, "WHAT???"   I said, "Chicken Green Bean Casserole."  Oh, she says, "That."  The fact it has curry in it and curry is an acquired taste, oh, well.  We always make enough for leftovers.  I wish I could say we make enough to freeze for another meal but that'd be wishful thinking. 

Chicken Green Bean Casserole (Curried Chicken Casserole to those who are not wimps)
1 chicken, stewed, meat picked off the bones
3 cans DelMonte Blue Lake green beans, drained
1 can low fat cream of chicken soup
1-2 tsp curry powder
3/4 c Hellman's mayonnaise
2-3 T lemon juice
10-20 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (depending on how heart healthy you want to be)

Use an ovenproof casserole.  Mix the soup, curry, mayo and lemon juice. 

Layer the chicken, then the green beans, then the soup mixture. 

Top it all with the grated cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until bubbly.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I've been craving grapefruit of all things...

What a strange thing to crave, grapefruit...  It's not even in my top ten favorite fruits.  But, I've thought about buying one for a couple of weeks now.  Saturday, I tossed one in the shopping cart.  Then, I realized I'd read a recipe in Cat Cora's new cookbook that called for grapefruit and jicama.  So, we tracked down one of the most homely roots around - jicama - and tossed that in the cart.  Sunday was cat food prep day.  I was busy processing three months worth of cat food about the time it was time to fix dinner.  Connie was a sweetheart and pitched in.  He's a great sous chef :-)  We'd both tried jicama before and found it very blah.  Once it was combined with the grapefruit, though, it was perfect in the dish.  This salad was very refreshing.  We served it with bbq chicken (actually bbq sauce with blue cheese melted in) and roasted rosemary potatoes.  We've now tried two of Cat's recipes and have loved both of them.  I think I'm going to be cooking my way through this cookbook!

Grapefruit Jicama Salad with Pistachios and Asian Lime Vinaigrette

1 large grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1 c shredded jicama
1/4 c shredded carrot
2 T cilantro leaves
1 T pistachios, toasted and crushed (we used a mortar and pestle)

one dried jalapeno (or one fresh, very finely minced)
1 garlic clove, very finely minced
1 T dark brown sugar
3 T lime juice (about 2 medium limes)
1 1/2 T Asian fish sauce

Toss all of the salad ingredients in a bowl, reserving 1 T of the cilantro leaves and the pistachios for a garnish.

Mix the dressing ingredients together.

Adapted from Cat Cora's Classics with a Twist

Let the dressing sit for a few minutes to allow the jalapenos to reconstitute.  Toss enough dressing with the salad to lightly coat the grapefruit.  Sprinkle with the pistachios and reserved cilantro leaves.

Monday, June 21, 2010


My first memory of a Grasshopper is from an evening with my father in about 1973.  I was a senior in high school and went down to Orlando to visit him.  He took me to a wonderful restaurant called Maison et Jardin (house and garden in French) but lovingly called the Mason Jar by those frequenting the place.  The waiter made the caesar salad tableside and saw me eyeing the anchovies.  My salad wound up with several extra of the salty little fish.  After dinner we went to a piano bar and he shared a Grasshopper with me.  It was the old-fashioned kind with ice cream and green creme de menthe.  To this day, it's the best Grasshopper I've ever had.  When I saw this recipe, it triggered so many good memories.  Daddy's been gone 34 years now and until tonight I've not had a Grasshopper to rival that one.  So, how did this one come about?  Yesterday was shopping day.  UGH!  We both hate shopping with a passion.  Make a list, get in and out and get it over with.  Broad Ripple Farmers Market, Trader Joe's, Penzeys, Marsh, Sam's.  You name the food emporium, we were there.  I promised myself that I would NOT get another cookbook at Sam's.  Who needs as many as I have?  But, I picked up Cat Cora's Classics with a twist and was hooked.  Didn't see one recipe I wouldn't make.  And, most that I saw I wanted to make NOW.  The cookbook came home with us.  In fact, the cookbook was read aloud on the way home then on the way up to my brother John's for the May MOPS birthday celebration.  I took it inside so everyone else could see it too.  Tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons, Barbados sweet potatoes, lamb stroganoff with creme fraiche and rosemary.  Sign me up.   When I finally signed off the computer tonight, Connie made me a grasshopper.  It looked exactly like the photo in the book.  And, it was heavenly.  WOW, I can't begin to say how good this drink was.  Light, almost refreshing, beautiful.  I'd have it again tomorrow night.  But, Sunday night is cocktail night so I'll have to wait a week.  Then, it'll be time to bust open the bottle of Limencello...


1/2 oz dark chocolate
2 t light corn syrup (for the glass rims)
6 oz clear creme de menthe
6 oz white chocolate liqueur (ie:  Godiva)
6 oz vanilla vodka
4 small mint sprigs

Grate the chocolate and put it in a flat bowl.  Coat the glass rims with the corn syrup then run the rims through the chocolate.  Pour the liqueurs and vodka into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake until well blended and pour into the glasses.  Top with a mint sprig.

Serves 4

from Cat Cora's Classics with a Twist

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

One of the things I like best about cooking is the creativity involved.   Rarely do I make a recipe exactly as it's written.  And, unless you're baking, that's ok.  Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is an example.  I have a recipe for rhubarb cream pie that I've used for years.  Some neighbors in Fort Wayne gave it to me in about 1979.  I had a lovely rhubarb plant in the garden up there but I really didn't know to cook the stuff other than stewing it with some sugar.  Over the years, I've tried a lot of other rhubarb pie recipes.  But, I keep coming back to this one because it's so darned good.  And, I always followed the recipe to a "T."  Finally this year, I decided it might be a good twist if I added strawberries to the mix.  Now that I've tried strawberries in it, I'm thinking blueberries might also be a great addition.  A bit of recipe lingo here...  When a recipe says, 1/4 c cheese, grated, it means to take 1/4 c of cheese and grate it.  The end result is going to be more than 1/4 c.  If the recipe says 1/4 c grated cheese, it means to grate the cheese, then measure it.  The rhubarb in this recipe is a good example.  Dice enough to make two cups.

Rhubarb Cream Pie
pie shell
2 c diced rhubarb
2T flour
1 c sugar
1 egg
3/4 c milk (I typically use 2%)

Toss the rhubarb with the flour and sugar.  Pour into a pie shell.  Beat the egg.  Stir the egg into the milk and pour the mixture over the rhubarb.  Bake at 325 for 45 minutes to one hour or until the custard is set and the crust is nicely browned.  When I added strawberries to this, I reduced the amount of rhubarb by half and replaced that with sliced strawberries.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Grilled Pastrami Sandwich

I read a recipe for a pastrami panini that got the creative juices going.  Trader Joe's sells a package of pastrami that's perfect for two dinner-sized sandwiches.  I make kicked up cole slaw with Jamaican Jerk seasoning, ketchup and mustard in addition to the normal suspects - mayo, sugar and vinegar.  Our cheese drawer is full of several kinds of cheese.  And, we almost always have a jar of sandwich slice dill pickles in the refrigerator.  Perfect for a quick, easy dinner.  We both gave this a five - out of five.  Neither of us would change a thing.  These sandwiches were quick, easy and SO good.  I'd made salads to go with them but the salads pretty much got ignored.  I'm ready to sit down and eat another of these NOW :-)

Grilled Pastrami Sandwich

8 oz pastrami
4 oz gruyere or swiss cheese, grated
1 bag cole slaw mix
1/3 c mayo
1 T cider vinegar
1 T sugar
1 T ketchup
2 t yellow mustard
1 T jamaican jerk seasoning
8 dill pickle sandwich slices
Thousand Island dressing
4 slices rye bread

Lightly toast the rye bread.  Mix the cole slaw mix, mayo, vinegar, ketchup, mustard and jerk seasoning to make the slaw. 

Assemble the sandwiches.  Smear one side of each slice of the toasted bread with Thousand Island Dressing.  Top with each with half of the grated cheese, then half of the pastrami.  Mound on about half a cup of the cole slaw on each sandwich. 

Finally top with the dill pickles. 

Top with another slice of bread.  Grill using a grill pan or griddle until the cheese is melted and the bread is nicely browned.