The Literate Chef

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Panis Angelicus

In Baking, Recipes on December 24, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Irish Brown Bread

Irish Brown Bread

(Active preparation time about 20 minutes, total time approximately 1 & 1/2 hours, plus time to cool – Makes 2 loaves)

I do not pretend to be much of a baker. Baking is chemistry, and I flunked it in high school. But if a chemistry-challenged person such as I can bake this “heavenly bread” then anyone should be able to master the science. Or is it art? To paraphrase an ancient Chinese (?) proverb, “give a man a loaf of bread and you feed him for a day, but teach him to bake bread and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The recipe for this Irish Brown Bread is adapted from The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking by Brother Rick Curry, S.J. I was not taught by the Jesuits. Rather, my grammar school, high school and college education was under the tutelage of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, also known as the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or in Latin, Fratres Scholarum Christianarum (F.S.C.). The Christian Brothers were also well-known wine-makers, but I don’t make wine, I only drink it.


4 cups of whole wheat flour
3 cups of unbleached whole-purpose flour
3 tsps. of baking soda
1/4 lb. unsalted butter, melted
3 cups of buttermilk


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, position the rack about 1/3 from the top of the oven.
  2. With a pastry brush, butter two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, with the melted butter.
  3. Combine the two flours, then add the baking soda and mix well.*
  4. Add the butter and buttermilk and mix well again, to make the batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly and, keeping your hands moist with water, form each half into a tight ball, this reduces the possibility of air holes in the baked bread.
  6. Place the batter in the loaf pans and push down to compact each loaf, then place the loaf pans in the oven.
  7. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Test for doneness by placing a knife in the thickest part of each loaf. If the knife is dry to the touch, the bread is done.
  8. Remove bread from loaf pans (if stuck, use a knife to loosen from the pan), transfer bread to a wire rack to cool.

* Before having an electric mixer, I would do this by hand. I highly recommend using an electric mixer.


Big Mike’s Linguine with Cauliflower Sauce

In General Articles on December 22, 2013 at 3:01 PM

This is a great and inexpensive winter meal. Who wouldn’t enjoy their veggies with macaroni?

The Literate Chef


1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
12 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, separated
1 pound of Linguine
Kosher salt or sea salt
Freshly ground Locatelli Romano cheese
Dorothea’s Homemade Hot Pepper Sauce


1.    Fill a six quart pot with water, bring to a boil.
2.    Add the cauliflower and cook until fork-tender.
3.    In the meantime, pre-heat a large cast iron frying pan on high, then add the olive oil.
4.    When the oil is shimmering, reduce the heat; add the garlic and sauté lightly, do not let it brown.
5.    Remover the cauliflower from the boiling water, remove 4 cups of the water for developing the sauce and reserve the rest for cooking the linguine.
6.    Add the cauliflower to the oil and garlic, and mash it in the pan continuing to break it down until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes.

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Thick as Fog Pea Soup

In Recipes, Soups on December 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

One has often heard the cliché “The Fog was as Thick as Pea Soup.” Last week, having cooked up a big batch of Pea Soup to warm our innards during this dreary, cold and damp (but not foggy) New England winter, which started just after Thanksgiving, and, according to the calendar, about 3 weeks before the first day of winter, I decided to research the genesis of this old bromide. Growing up with Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens as my entertaining companions, as well as Frank Sinatra, I was drawn to Google references about Foggy London Town and discovered this gem:

Further on, I came across this old nursery rhyme that I hadn’t thought about in ages:

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

This pea porridge will not sit in the pot for nine days in our home, but it will help to warm our viscera for a few weeks, and if half of it is frozen, it might last another month, but it’s so good that I highly doubt it.

Thick as Fog Pea Soup

(30 minutes active preparation time, 20 minutes active cooking and 50 minutes unattended cooking)


2 lbs. green split peas, rinsed well
1 large onion diced, about 2 cups
10 cloves garlic chopped, about 1/4 cup
4 celery stalks diced, about 1 cup
3 carrots diced, about 1 cup
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 packets of Goya Sabor a Jamón (ham flavored concentrate) *
4 Quarts of water


  1. In an 8 qt. pot, add garlic and onions and sweat over medium- low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add celery and carrots, and sweat for 5 minutes more, stirring periodically.
  3. Mix in the Goya Sabor a Jamón and stir well for 1 minute more.
  4. Remove the pot from heat, add the peas and water, cover and bring to a rapid boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 50 minutes.
  6. Stir periodically, to prevent peas from sticking to the bottom.
  7. Transfer to a food processor in batches, pulse process until fairly smooth, then add to a clean pot. Continue until all of the soup has been processed.

Just before serving, add some cut-up hot dogs, about 2 per person (cut 3/4 inch thick) and heat thoroughly. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil to each bowl.

*This is a quick and easy recipe and the Goya Sabor a Jamón adds a nice smoked pork flavor to the soup. However, the ingredients listed in order of highest concentration are salt & MSG. So if you have an aversion to them, then take the time and expense to substitute them with Smoked Ham Hocks (2), a Ham Bone, or a Prosciutto End. That is how we usually make our pea soup, but in this case the Goya Sabor a Jamón worked just as well, and we didn’t have to go out to the market on a cold and dreary  day.

Pea Soup as thick as fog, enjoyed by the fire place, that says winter on Cape Cod!


Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf

In General Articles on December 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Meatloaf! It’s what’s for dinner tonight!
When its cold and damp on foggy Olde Cape Cod, one’s thoughts return to comfort food, and “Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf” is guaranteed to make you feel warm and cozy.

The Literate Chef

(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 calledBaby Bella) mushrooms.
2 tbsps. unsalted butter
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ cup dry red wine
¼ cup flour (Wondra, preferably, because it…

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Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

In Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian Meals on December 5, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

Preparation Time 40 Minutes, Serve 4

A few weeks ago, while taking stock of the items in our larder, I discovered, hidden away on a back shelf, 3 cans of Goya Garbanzos, which were due to reach their expiration date in a few months. Whether or not an expiration date imprinted on a can should be believed is irrelevant; as in this case, the serendipitous discovery of this legume pretty much determined that they would be consumed long before then.

As I wrote several years ago, Grandma Loved Ceci Beans, or Chick Peas, or Garbanzos, as they are also known, depending upon your ethnicity. I never appreciated them until on a visit to Tuscany some years back I devoured a sublime Ceci Bean Soup in a little restaurant in the hill town of Vagliagli, where we had rented a villa with two other couples. This soup has been on my mind ever since. Now was the time to act.


1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onion, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 cans Garbanzos, rinsed and drained
1/2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 quart of low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. Hot Hungarian Paprika (note)
2 cups of chopped Kale (add 4 cups of Kale, leaves only, to food processor in batches and chop)
1 small can tomato paste (6 oz.)


1. In a three-quart pot, heat olive oil, add garlic and onion and lightly sauté until translucent.
2. Add Garbanzos and mix well.
3. Add salt.
4. Add chicken broth and bring to boil.
5. Boil on medium high for 15 minutes.
6. Remove 3 cups of the beans, purée in food processor and add back to pot.
7. Add paprika and tomato paste
8. Add Kale and cook on med-low for 15 minutes

Note: If you are unable to locate Hot Hungarian Paprika, you can get close to it by using Regular Paprika and Cayenne Pepper in a 3:1 ratio.

Serve with grated Parmigiano – Reggiano and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.


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