Leek and Potato Soup

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Serves 2

1 leek, keep some of the green leaves for color, slice long ways a couple of times and rinse the dirt from the inner parts of the leek and chop
1 ½ Lbs. Russet potatoes with skin on and coarsely chop
½ yellow onion chopped
3 to 4 cups chicken broth
Salt & White pepper
Dash of Tarragon
1 TBSP Olive oil
2 TBSP butter

Sauté the leeks, potatoes, and onion in olive oil 10 minutes on medium heat.

Add the chicken stock and reduce the liquid 20 minutes.

Ladle the soup into a food mill with a medium milling disk.  Mill the soup removing the stringy parts of the leek and return the milled soup to the soup pot.  Add the butter and with a hand blender blend the butter and the soup.  Return to the heat, add the Tarragon and heat until hot and serve. 

Serve with dinner rolls.

Vichyssoise: Serve this soup cold with a dash of cream. Vichyssoise is an American invention in America in 1917 and named after the French town of Vichy.

As of 9/29/21

Chicken on Salad

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Dressing:

6 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
1 TBSP Worcestershire
1 TBSP French mustard
1 tsp capers
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk.

Chicken:
2 chicken thigh with skin or breast (boneless/skinless)
2 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP white wine

Season chicken with McCormick’s Montreal seasoning. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the chicken 8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Pour the pan drippings into the dressings and whisk one more again.

Remove chicken, cut into pieces, place and cover with dressing.

Can it be that easy?
(Someone says yes.)

As of 9/27/21

Jambalaya

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No historically important cook blog – such as mine – in the entire world – and on some parts of the 837 planets outside our solar system can be without a Jambalaya recipe. There are many myths and legends as to the derivation of the name. As is the case with most things here, there is always a larger than life story about it. There are certain elements that can be assumed.

It started out Spanish near the Mediterranean where it was a rice dish using the ingredients of local seafood, meats and spices (saffron). Jambalaya can be considered the grandchild of what is commonly referred to as Valencian paella or a rice casserole made in a paella or a pan. The French word poêle means a frying pan or a stove. The Latin word patella is a pan as well. I know this because I looked it up on the Internet. I, for one, believe everything I read on the Internet.

So let’s break down Jambalaya and remove all the myths and legends behind the derivation of the name. Knowing what we know, and going with what we know, “Jamba” is a Haitian Creole word which means jamba. It is also a Croation word meaning jamba. Jamba is all over the place. It jambas around. “Laya” is a Spanish word meaning laya. It is also a French word meaning laya. So when we merge these two important multicultural meanings together what we get is, and you guessed it – Jambalaya. I looked it up! Don’t doubt me on this.

There are two flavors of Jambalaya. One is with tomatoes, the other is without tomatoes. I’m making the one without tomatoes. Why? Pretty simple, really. Those people in New Orleans like to dump everything into a pot, add tomatoes, hot peppers, broth, grab a beer and call it a day. People like me who live near New Orleans in the rural regions, drink wine with our pinky-finger extended and cook this dish in stages because it is better that way. We brown the meat and cook the veggies gently. We don’t need hot peppers and tomatoes. Because, that’s the way we roll.

Down here, the one thing we all agree on when making Jambalaya is the rice, everything else is pretty much up for debate.

Simply, what you need to know is Jambalaya is a tasty meal, with or without tomatoes. And, if all we have to worry about is whether or not to use tomatoes in Jambalaya, we’re going to be just fine.

So, let us build a dish around 2 cups of rice. (Rule of thumb is one cup of rice to every pound of meat.)  This dish will serve 2 to 4.  I say 2 b/c we have some hearty eaters around here.  BTW, after I served this dish I had two more servings it was so good.  The third serving, a smaller serving, was pure binge tasting.

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The first decision is the meat. I use 1 pound of pork shoulder picnic roast, 1 stick of andouille sausage, 2 strips applewood smoked bacon and ½ pound of shrimp. I have deer sausage in the freezer and since this is deer season here, there is plenty of it around, but I won’t use it in this recipe today. Andouille is the local sausage of choice originating in France but later perfected as it is today by German immigrants. There was a very large in-migration of Germans into Louisiana in 1722 in case you didn’t know that.

The next decision is the vegetables. In this one I will use onions, green onions (scallions), green bell pepper, orange bell pepper, garlic and celery. To me, orange bell pepper is sweeter than red.

The seasoning profile will be sea salt, ground pepper, paprika, bay leaf, Worcestershire and Tabasco pepper sauce.

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Meat
1 Lb. pork shoulder picnic roast
1 stick Andouille (cut in slices)
½ Lb. shrimp tails
2 strips of apple-wood smoked bacon (chopped)

Veggies
½ green bell pepper (chopped)
½ orange bell pepper (chopped)
1 stalk celery (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
3 green onions (chopped)

Seasoning/Oil/Fluid
Sea Salt and ground pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 bay leaf
1 dash Worcestershire
1 dash Tabasco pepper sauce
1 TBSP olive oil

3 cups chicken stock
1 cup shrimp stock (from the tails)

2 cups long grain rice

Cooking:

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Chop the pork shoulder into small squares. Season with sea salt. Pour the olive oil in a Dutch oven and get the oil hot. Add the pork shoulder one hand full at a time and brown. The idea is to avoid putting too much of any ingredient in the pan and creating extra liquid. If there is too much liquid, the food won’t brown into what is referred to as a “fond” or a foundation. The meat and veggies will sweat. Not until we add the chicken stock will we begin to “deglaze” the fond.

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When the pork is browned add the bacon. Move the meat to one side of the pan and then add one handful of chopped onions and sauté.

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Move the onions to one side and add the rest of the veggies a handful at a time and sauté.

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Add the rice and stir for about 5 minutes so it can pick up the flavors in the pan .

Now add one cup of chicken stock and with a wooden spoon begin to deglaze the pan. I have a black cast iron pot so I try to make sure to scratch the bottom and hope I get most of it.

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Add the rest of the stock and the rest of the ingredients. Stir. Bring to a slight boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover. Cook 45 to 60 minutes. Let rest and serve.  Apply Tabasco on top of serving.

100_5419As of 9/26/21

Lasagna

Well worth the effort.

Tomato Sauce
5 Roma tomatoes (skinned)*
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP olive oil
½ cup dry red wine
1 can of tomato sauce

• (To skin a tomato cut an X on the top and bottom of the tomato, drop in boiling water until the skin starts to come off, rinse in cold water and pull off skin, chop tomatoes)

In a large cast iron skillet sauté tomato paste in oil, add the chopped tomatoes. Cook on low for 2 hours. Periodically mash the tomatoes with a potato masher. After an hour of cooking when the water from the tomatoes has evaporated, mash the pulp again add ½ cup of red wine. Later add the can of tomato sauce and flavored olive oil and warm a little on low then cool.Tomato Sauce from the Vine

One big batch of fresh San Marzano tomatoes

Run the tomatoes through a tomato miller. This mill machine separates the seeds and skin from the meat. This yielded exactly 56 oz. of meat.

In a large pan, add all the these ingredients.

1/3 cup olive oil
Pinch of red pepper flake
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
56 oz. milled tomato meat

In a small food processor chop:
½ onions
4 garlic cloves
1 TBSP fresh oregano
1 TBSP fresh basil
1 TBSP fresh mint

Cook all on a low temp until the water evaporates and the sauce gets thick. Maybe 3 hours or more on low.  Refrigerate overnight.

Pasta
In a food processor, several pulses don’t over work:
2 cups of flour
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
Tad bit of olive oil

Knead the dough. Cut into six quarters, run through a pasta machine on setting 2, then 4, then setting 6. This will yield 6 pasta pieces.  Boil in water 1 minute. Remove and set aside.  You might not need all this pasta but it better to cook more so you are not short.

Eggplant
Slice the eggplant ¼ inch – 6 pieces. In a baking sheet paint olive oil on both sides and cook in a 350ᵒ oven for 10 minutes.

Italian Sausage Meat

½ Lbs. ground beef
½ Lbs. round pork
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. paprika
1 pinch red pepper flakes
½ tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. Italian seasoning (herbs)
1 TBSP olive oil

Mix together in a large bowl. In a large pan add the oil and lightly brown the meat. Set aside.

Ricotta
4 or 5 leaves of fresh basil chopped
1 – 15 oz. container of ricotta
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs

In a large bowl mix all ingredients.

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In a 2 ½ quart Corning Ware casserole dish layer as follows:

1st Layer – sauce, then pasta
2nd Layer – sauce, ricotta cheeses mix, pasta
3rd Layer – sauce, eggplant, pasta
4th Layer – sauce, meat mix, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese

In a 350ᵒ oven bake Lasagna 1 hour, let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

As of 8/28/21

Baked Cod with White Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese

2 cod fillets
½ cup mayo or Kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise)
2 green onions
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup grated White Cheddar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Mix mayo, green onion, Parmesan, cheddar cheese and Worcestershire sauce. 

Oil small 8” square baking dish cook the fish.  Bake oven to 400°.  Baked fish 15/20 min.

I served this with garlic and olive oil couscous.

8/22/21