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Arugula Salad

In Recipes, Salads on November 23, 2011 at 4:20 PM


1 bunch of arugula, also known as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, sufficient to coat the arugula leaves – 1 to 2 tablespoons
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 lemon cut into wedges


1.    Rinse the arugula and dry it well, if not pre-washed.
2.    Add the arugula to a salad bowl, pour the olive oil over it and mix well to coat all of the leaves.
3.    Add salt & pepper and mix well again.
4.    Serve the salad with lemon wedges on the side for each

Easy to prepare for a quick salad. See A Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner

A Pre-Thanksgiving Meal

In General Articles on November 23, 2011 at 4:19 PM

With the annual gorge fest known as Thanksgiving coming up, we thought it would be a good idea to eat lightly last night. So off we went to the local fish market to see what was fresh. Fillet of Grey Sole looked good at $15.99 per pound, and with Tuesday being senior discount day, it looked even better at $14.39 per pound. Three fillets weighed in at just less than 1 pound.

Now that we had the main course, what would go well with it? Our daughter, who had arrived for Thanksgiving said ‘how about stuffed artichokes and a simple arugula salad?’ That sounded good to me, as each dish required very little work and even better, she volunteered to prepare the salad.

Stuffed artichokes were a mainstay of Dorothea’s repertoire. She never wrote down any recipes, so this could prove to be a challenge. But, having watched her prepare them a number of times, I thought that I was up to the challenge. I think Dorothea learned how to prepare them from my grandmother, as Big Mike had spoken about how, since they were so inexpensive, his mother used to make them at least once a week when he was a child. At $2.50 each, artichokes are somewhat expensive today, considering how little food you get from each.

Mike also used to say that artichokes were the only food that you wound up with more of, after they had been eaten. A bit of an exaggeration but not too much, as the leaves are not edible, just the underside of them, which is scraped off on your teeth along with the stuffing. And of course the artichoke heart, which is the best part, and which is the reward for peeling off the leaves.

As for the fish, I decided to make Fillet of Sole Francese, rather than breaded and fried, since the artichoke stuffing would contain plenty of breadcrumbs. So now with extra room in our stomachs, we are prepared for the all-day eating feast of Thanksgiving, and wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers.

Stuffed Artichokes

In Recipes, Vegetables on November 23, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Preparation time, 20 minutes; cooking time 45 to 55 minutes.


3 artichokes
1 cup of Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Locatelli Romano cheese
2 tbsps. + 1 tsp. of finely chopped garlic
¼ cup of chopped parsley
½ tsp. black pepper
12 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of 2 lemons


1.    With a sharp knife, cut off the top 1 to 1&1/2 inches of each artichoke.
2.    Remove the outer bottom leaves and snip off all points of the other leaves with kitchen shears.
3.    Remove the stems, cut off the bottom 1/2 inch and peel and slice them lengthwise into quarters or thirds, depending on thickness.
4.    In a mixing bowl, add the breadcrumbs, cheese, 2 tablespoons of garlic, parsley and pepper and mix well.
5.    Pull back the leaves of each artichoke and drizzle 4 tablespoons of olive oil into the leaves of each.
6.    With a teaspoon, add the breadcrumb mixture to each leaf.
7.    Insert sliced stems into center.

Stuffed Artichokes Ready for the Pot

8.    Place stuffed artichokes in a 5 quart pot with a cover and add the chicken stock, white wine, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of garlic.
9.    Cover pot and bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and steam the artichokes covered for 45 to 55 minutes, until leaves are easily removed from the artichoke.

Stuffed Artichokes Ready to Eat

10.    Serve immediately.

Please watch video on How to Eat an Artichoke , but with our recipe there is no dipping required. Also see: A Pre-Thanksgiving Meal.

Fillet of Sole Francese

In Fish, For Moms on the Go, Recipes, Seafood on November 23, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Fillet of Sole Francese

Preparation time, 5 minutes; cooking time, 5 minutes


3 fillets of grey sole or lemon sole
3 eggs
6 tbsps. grated Romano cheese
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup of flour
2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsps. unsalted butter
½ cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. chopped fresh flat (Italian) parsley


1.    In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs together with cheese and add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a rectangular Pyrex® baking dish, or something similar.
2.    Add the flour to a second rectangular Pyrex baking dish, or something similar.
3.    In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high heat and then add the butter.
4.    In the meantime, dredge the fillets in the flour, coating them on both sides and then dip them to the egg-cheese mixture.
5.    When the butter is melted, swirl in with the oil and add the fillets.
6.    Cook the fillets until browned, 1 and ½ minutes.
7.    Turn carefully with a long spatula and cook on the other side foe an additional 1 and ½ minutes.
8.    Remove the fish to a warmed serving platter.
9.    Add the wine and lemon juice to the pan, and stir until slightly thickened. Add extra flour if needed.
10.    Pour the sauce over the fish, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Please see: A Pre-Thanksgiving Meal

Broccoli Rabe Sautéed in Garlic and Oil

In Recipes, Vegetables on November 21, 2011 at 7:12 PM


1 bunch of Broccoli Rabe (also called Broccoli di Rape, Rapini and Broccoli Rabb)
6 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil


1.    Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in 5 quart or larger pot.
2.    Rinse the Broccoli Rabe, discard the thick stems by cutting about 3 inches off the bottom of the bunch.
3.    When the water comes to a full boil, add the Broccoli Rabe and blanch it for 60 seconds.
4.    Strain Broccoli Rabe in a colander, and then plunge it immediately into a bowl filled with ice and cold water to stop the cooking and to retain its dark green color.

Blanched Broccoli Rabe Draining in Colander

5.    When cooled, transfer to a colander and drain until ready to sauté.
6.    In a sauté pan with low curved sides, heat the olive oil on high flame.
7.    When oil is shimmering, add the garlic and quickly sauté; do not let it brown.
8.    When the garlic is translucent* add the broccoli rabe and sauté for 3 minutes, tossing constantly with tongs.


9.    Remove from the pan with tongs and serve immediately.

Eat it! It's Good for You!

*Variation: At this point add ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed chili pepper, depending on taste, to the oil-garlic mixture before adding the broccoli rabe.

Also see: Eat it! It’s Good for You!


In General Articles on November 19, 2011 at 11:47 AM

That was Big Mike’s call for dinner when he made his favorite Lentil Soup. Lentil Soup in those days, many years ago, meant opening a can of Lentil Soup, pouring the contents into a pot, taking several hot dogs, slicing them, adding them to the soup, heating the soup until the hot dog pieces puffed out, and then calling out to the family…’SOUP’S ON!’ I thought it was delicious, which was probably due to the fact that it must have contained three days’ worth of sodium.

Lentil Soup has nothing to do with the period of 40 days preceding Easter.  From what I have read, lentils have been around for about 10 millenia and their name is derived from the plant Lens culinaris, of which lentils are the edible seeds.

With the first days of winter only weeks away, soup is on the mind. So off we went to the supermarket to pick up the ingredients for Lentil Soup. This Lentil Soup takes a little more time than opening a can and heating its contents, but actually not much more time. The recipe came from Uncle Fred, who always had a few containers of it stored away in his freezer and which he generously shared with us upon our arrival at The Cape for the summer. Now I find myself assuming the role of Uncle Fred as I await the arrival of my children this Thanksgiving.


In For Moms on the Go, Recipes, Soups on November 19, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Uncle Fred’s Lentil Soup

Active time, 30 minutes. Soak lentils overnight. Cooking time, 1 hour.  Makes 6 quarts.


2 1 lb. packages of lentils
1 medium onion, chopped fine, about 2 cups
5 cloves garlic chopped fine, about 2 tbsps.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small can (6 oz.) of tomato paste
1 package of Lipton Dried Onion Soup Mix
2 smoked ham hocks
2 9 oz. packages of frozen chopped spinach


1.    Add the lentils to an 8 qt. pot, cover with water to about 4 inches above the lentils and soak overnight.
2.    The next day, drain and rinse the lentils and rinse the pot.
3.    In the rinsed pot, heat the olive oil on medium, add the onions and garlic and lightly sauté until translucent, do not let brown.
4.    Reduce heat to medium-low and add the tomato paste, mix well.
5.    Add the contents of one Lipton soup envelope and stir.
6.    Add the lentils and mix well.
7.    Cover with water to about 2 inches above the lentils, about 3 quarts, and then add the ham hocks.
8.    When the water comes to a boil, add the spinach, reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
9.    When the soup reaches your desired thickness, remove the ham hocks and discard them, (see note). Add more water if too thick to your liking.
10.   Serve the soup with olive oil drizzled into it and warm crusty Italian bread on the side.
11.    Freeze the remainder in 1 or 2 quart containers to enjoy for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking.

Note: As an alternative, if the hocks are particularly meaty, you can remove the meat from the bones, chop it coarsely and add it back to the soup, discarding the skin and bones. You may also wish to use fresh ham hocks, rather than the smoked variety, in which case the meat will be much more tender and definitely worth adding to the soup when thoroughly cooked, however the soup flavor will differ. Try it both ways, each method has its merits.

Please refer to: SOUP’S ON

Also See: Uncle Fred, The Godfather

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

In Recipes, Vegetables on November 10, 2011 at 3:56 PM


4 to 6 Yukon Gold Potatoes, washed and quartered
3 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsps. chopped fresh rosemary


  1. Per-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Fill a 3 qt. sauce pot with water up to 2 inches from top and bring to a boil.
  3. Add quartered potatoes and par-boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat olive oil in a cast iron frying pan over medium heat.
  5. Add rosemary and stir.
  6. Drain the potatoes and quickly add to the frying pan, stir to coat evenly with rosemary-olive oil mixture.
  7. Place frying pan with potatoes in oven and cook for 75 minutes, turning several times to evenly brown the potatoes.
  8. With a slotted spoon remove potatoes to paper toweling and toss quickly to eliminate excess fat. Serve at once.

Please see: Roast Loin of Pork

Roast Loin of Pork

In Meat, Pork, Recipes on November 10, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Roast Loin of Pork


1 Center Cut Loin of Pork, bone –in, about 5 lbs. (6 chops for 4 people)
½ cup flour
4 tsps. fresh chopped sage
4 tsps. fresh chopped thyme
4 large cloves of garlic, each sliced into thirds
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine


1.    Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
2.    Rub pork roast with 1 slice of garlic.
3.    Make 8 to 10 incisions on top side of roast and insert garlic slices into incisions.
4.    In a large plastic bag, place flour, herbs and pepper, shake well to mix.
5.    Add pork roast to bag and shake to coat roast evenly with flour mixture.
6.    Place roast on a rack in a roasting pan and with your hands, spread some of the extra herbed-flour over the top of the roast.
7.    Place pork roast  in the oven and cook for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.
8.    Lower heat to 350 degrees and continue cooking. After 2 hours, pour the wine over the roast and continue cooking for 15 minutes more. Insert a meat thermometer into thickest part of the roast, being careful not to touch a bone. The roast is done when the thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove the roast to a platter, cover it with foil and let sit for up to 15 minutes while you make the gravy.
9.    Pour off the liquid from the roasting pan into a fat separator and when the fat rises to the top, pour the juices back into the roasting pan. Place roasting pan on stove over medium heat, strain 1 tablespoon of flour into pan as you constantly scrape up the pan drippings. When gravy is thick enough to a spoon it is finished.

Serve with Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, prepared red cabbage and prepared apple sauce. A frothy glass of beer, such as a Weissbier, rounds out the meal perfectly.

Please see: Requiem for a Pig

Requiem for a Pig

In General Articles on November 10, 2011 at 3:52 PM

With the dirge of Chopin’s Funeral March playing in the background, the men filed into the big room bearing ‘him’ on a board resting upon their shoulders. They were dressed in traditional Oktoberfest regalia: lederhosen hunting pants, loden green vests and green Bavarian hats with white feathers. He was adorned in the finest funereal style, an apple stuffed into his lipsticked mouth and a laurel wreath crowning his porcine head.

To the cheers and laughter of the ‘mourners’ the deceased was paraded around the room then returned to the kitchen, at which point the band switched to more upbeat music and the dancing began. We could have been someplace in the Bavarian Alps, but it was a Schlachtfest at the Crystal Brook Mountain Brauhaus Resort in the Catskill Mountains of New York State.

Our friends, she born in Germany and he in England, invited us and another couple to join them for this memorable October weekend a number of years ago.  The three couples having been friends for years, and having traveled frequently together to Alaska, The Canal du Midi in France and Tuscany, as well as other less exotic destinations, always enjoyed each other’s company. So this promised to be a laughter-filled weekend, and it certainly was. It was also a pork and beer filled weekend.

The pork-fest began after about a ½ hour of athletic German dancing, which was fueled by steins of frothy German beer. So when the food began to arrive, the appetites were ready. First there was the traditional soup, followed by platters of knockwurst, bratwurst, bauernwurst and weisswurst, accompanied by bowls of sauerkraut and red cabbage.

The neophytes among us, thinking that this was the extent of the meal, foolishly gorged ourselves on this course, only to be surprised by the arrival of platters of roast pork with gravy, roasted potatoes and more sauerkraut and red cabbage.  Despite the fullness of our stomachs, we dutifully managed to devour all, as it would have been an insult to the dearly departed not to have done so.

After dinner, there was a raffle. The guest of honor, having been expertly butchered while we dined on the remains of one of his cousins, was the prize. Ribs, chops, hocks and other assorted parts, neatly tied up in butcher’s paper, were handed out to the winning ticket holders. Unfortunately, none of us were among the winners. But, when it came to the grand prize, the pig’s head, we fervently hoped that we did not hold the winning ticket. Thankfully, we did not!

The rest of that weekend was a haze of more beer and more pork: bacon and sausages with breakfast, ham hocks and sausages for lunch, etc. Suffice it to say that after this pork-fest weekend, we abstained from anything swinish for quite some time.

However, each year, as the chilly nights of autumn become more frequent and the body begins to prepare for the long siege of winter, the atavistic urge for pork returns. So last week my wife prepared her splendid Roast Loin of Pork, with all of the traditional accompaniments: roasted potatoes, red cabbage and apple sauce, which we washed down with thirst-quenching beer. Let old man winter come! We are prepared!

Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf

In Meat, Recipes on November 4, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Dinner is served

(Serves 4 to 6. Preparation time – 30 minutes; cooking time – 75 minutes)


For the Meatloaf:

2 tbsps. minced garlic
1 cup finely diced celery (2 stalks)
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (1 medium sized onion)
2 tbsps. of unsalted butter
½ cup of chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped sage
1 tbsp. chopped thyme
½ cup of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 lb. ground veal
1 lb. ground pork
1/3 cup of sour cream
3 eggs, whisked
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 12 oz. bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce
Freshly ground pepper

For the Gravy:

Two 28 oz. packs (6 cups liquid) of Swanson Beef Cooking Stock (no sodium or less sodium variety).
1 lb. sliced cremini (also called Baby Bella) mushrooms.
2 tbsps. unsalted butter
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ cup dry red wine
¼ cup flour (Wondra, preferably, because it dissolves quickly)

Preparation for the Meatloaf:

1.    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2.    Lightly sauté garlic, celery and onion in butter until softened.
3.    Add the meat to a large mixing bowl.
4.    Add the sautéed vegetables, chopped fresh herbs and breadcrumbs, mix well by hand.
5.    Add the sour cream, eggs, Worcestershire and Chili Sauce and black pepper, mix well by hand.
6.    Grease a 3 lb. loaf pan and transfer the meat loaf mixture to the loaf pan, patting it down to remove any air pockets.
7.    Cook in oven for 75 minutes until internal temperature is 160 degrees.

In the meantime make the gravy:

1.    In a 3 qt. sauce pot bring the 6 cups of beef stock to a boil, and reduce by ½ from to 3 cups.
2.    Melt the butter in a non-stick pan, sauté the mushrooms until golden brown.
3.    Add the dried thyme and wine to the mushrooms and reduce the wine to about ½.
4.    Transfer the mushrooms and wine to the reduced beef stock.
5.    Bring stock to a boil and slowly whisk in the Wondra or flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

When the meatloaf is ready, remove it from the pan and set aside, keeping warm. Pour the pan juices into a fat separator (there may be as much as 12 oz.) and let the fat separate. Add the de-fatted pan juices and any solids to the gravy.

We served this with mashed potatoes and LeSueur Baby Peas, real comfort food for a chilly night.

A great wine to make this meal even more special is a fruity and intense Amarone Della Valpolicella!

Please refer to: Meatloaf for Dinner! Again?

Meatloaf for Dinner! Again?

In General Articles on November 4, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Meatloaf was a staple meal growing up. We were subjected to it at least 2 or 3 times a month in my family. I guess it was cheap and easy to make. However, it was always dry and tasteless. To compensate for that, prior to being baked, it was smothered in ketchup and draped with bacon. This didn’t help or do much to enhance the flavor or even make the meatloaf palatable. As a result, I avoided meatloaf for many years.

My rediscovery began in a diner, when a friend of mine ordered it and I laughed at him while pantomiming sticking my finger down my throat and making false gagging sounds. He just knowingly smiled, as he enjoyed his dinner and I behaved like a jerk. Before he devoured it entirely, along with fluffy mashed potatoes and obviously canned string beans, he offered me a morsel smothered in mushroom gravy. Eureka! This was unlike any meatloaf I had ever tasted previously.

A few years later another friend, a New York City Firefighter, introduced me to his special firehouse meatloaf, which was made with applesauce. Amazingly, it was not dried out and it was delicious. Thus began my hunt for how to make the perfect meatloaf.

The first thing I discovered was that ground beef, the classic ingredient in all of the meatloaf I had growing up, was too dry and its dryness was compounded by the addition of too many breadcrumbs, which are needed to bind it together. So step number one, reduce the quantity of breadcrumbs and supplement the ground beef with other ground meats that retain their moisture upon being baked; ground veal and ground pork together fit the bill.

Next for even more moisture I did use ketchup (later replaced by Chili Sauce), but rather than pouring it over the top, where it basically dried up in the oven, I added it to the mixture. This was supplemented by a bit of sour cream and the overall flavor was enhanced by the addition of Worcestershire Sauce. Finally, I figured that some fresh chopped herbs, particularly sage and thyme would certainly help in the flavor department as well.

The end result is: Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf. For the ultimate comfort food meal, serve it with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable of your choice. Wouldn’t mother be surprised?

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