Stalking me.

14 May

Okay, so I’ve posted asparagus recipes before. Just like I’ve posted endless potato recipes. I crave variety. So I’m always going to embrace a new method of preparing some of my favorite foods! This recipe for asparagus is as easy as they come. Toss those stalks and simply bake in the oven while you’re preparing dinner. And voila! Tasty, fork-tender, gorgeously green asparagus!

I found this recipe in The Jewish Low-Cholesterol Cookbook by Roberta Leviton (1978) – a cookbook I remember reviewing in my Kansas City Star days! You can still find this book on used book sites.

Baked Herbed Asparagus

1 pound fresh asparagus

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons oil

½ teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

Dash garlic powder

Snap off and discard the lower tough portions of the stalks. Pour the oil into an 8-inch square baking dish and tilt the dish to cover the bottom with oil. Place the asparagus spears in the dish and roll them around to coat them with oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Bake covered at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

Egg Foo Yum, er Yung

12 May

I am a huge fan of egg foo yung. I’ve tried dozens of recipes over the years trying to duplicate the thick round patties served in Chinese restaurants. So when I saw yet another version, I knew I had to try it. Sadly, it produces flat as a pancake egg foo yung patties like all the others I’ve prepared – but hey, they are delicious with a molasses-sweetened sauce I’ve never tried before. I save soup chicken just for egg foo yung (and fried rice). Already seasoned and easy to chop up right from the freezer.

I found this recipe in The Complete Book of Oriental Cooking by Myra Waldo (1960), one in a series of ethnic cookbooks I have in my collection.

Egg Foo Yung

4 eggs

1½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

¾ cup chopped onions

1 cup cooked pork or chicken or shrimp, chopped

1 cup bean sprouts

4 tablespoons chopped scallions

2 tablespoons soy sauce

¾ cup oil

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 ½ cups chicken broth

2 teaspoons molasses or dark corn syrup

Lightly beat the eggs, salt and pepper. Stir in onions, meat or fish, scallions and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Heat the oil in a skillet. use a ladle or ¼ cup of the mixture and drop into oil. Fry until browned on both sides. Drain.

Mix the cornstarch to a paste with a little broth. Combine in a saucepan with the broth, molasses and remaining soy sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring steadily until thickened. Pour over egg foo yung.

Finger-lickin’ chicken.

12 May

Chicken Kiev is one of my all-time favorites chicken dishes. What’s not to like about a crispy coating outside with a river of seasoned butter inside? I found an easy recipe version in Cooking the Russian Way (1986) by Gregory & Rita Plotkin, another one of the easy menu ethnic cookbooks from Lerner Publications. Apparently a Russian chef invented Chicken Kiev in the early 1800s. Kiev is the capital of Ukraine but Chicken Kiev did not get its name from there. It got its name when it was marketed for Russian restaurants in Europe and America!

Chicken Kiev

4 boneless chicken breasts (I used 2 pound)

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ cup butter

1 garlic clove, crushed

½ cup chopped fresh parsley (or 3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes)

6 eggs

2 cups  bread crumbs

Vegetable oil

Place each piece of meat between 2 pieces of wax paper and beat with a meat hammer to flatten. Remove paper and sprinkle both sides of meat with salt and pepper. In  a small bowl, mash butter with a fork and stir in garlic and parsley. Divide into 4 equal portions. Place a piece of meat on a flat surface. Place one portion of the butter mixture on the chicken breasts’ wider end. Fold each side over the butter and roll up the breast tightly. Do the same with the other 3 breads. In a  shallow dish, beat eggs well.  Pour bread crumb into another shallow dish. Dip a piece of chicken into eggs, coating thoroughly, then roll in bread crumbs until completely covered. Repeat 4 times with the same piece of meat and set aside. Do the same with the other 3 breasts. In a large frying pan, heat 1 inch oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Carefully place chicken in pan with tongs and fry, turning frequently, unto meat turns golden brown. Remove from pan with tongs and drain on paper towel.

Cook’s note: The bigger the chicken breasts, the longer it will take to cook through. I ended up using my air fryer to finish cooking all four breasts – and next time, would probably use the air fryer for the entire preparation.

Flavorful fritters.

11 May

I’ve included several recipes from cookbooks I inherited from my beloved Great Aunt Nellie. And today’s recipe comes from what I believe is the last of those books. The cookbook is called Tam-Tov – Good Taste in Cooking (1964). and was created by the Women’s League of Temple of Aaron Synagogue in St. Paul, Minnesota. The cover is well-worn, proof that this was a special book for my Aunt Nellie. Tam tov is Yiddish (roughly translated) for “good taste.”

Corn Fritters

Beat 2 eggs, stir in ½ cup milk. Sift together 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt, and add to egg mixture. Add 1 cup drained whole kernel corn.  Drop by spoonful onto hot fat (I used only a couple of tablespoons of canola oil).

Oops….I mistakenly posted pancakes instead of fritters!

Mimosa for mom.

9 May

Happy Mothers’ Day to all you moms out there! Celebrating your status as a mom – or celebrating your mom – maybe both? A mimosa is the perfect way to honor your role as mom – or other moms in your life. I found this very basic recipe in The Silver Palate Cookbook (1979) by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins. Note, you don’t have to buy fancy champagne to make this cocktail. I keep small bottles of California Extra Dry Champagne in my frig – for occasions like Mothers’ Day or other celebratory brunches.  I love this drink – and note, it’s traditionally served in a tall champagne flute.

This cookbook is still available on Amazon and in bookstores.

Mimosa

Champagne

Fresh orange juice

Fresh mint leaves (garnish), optional

Fill each glass two-thirds full with Champagne. Top each off with orange juice and garnish.

Flowers by Todd!

Nothing flat about this pancake.

8 May

I obtained a copy of Grandma Rose’s Book of Sinfully Delicious Snacks, Nibbles, Noshes & Other Delights (1978) by Rose Naftalin when I was reviewing cookbooks for the Kansas City Star years ago. Rose Naftalin was a chef, restaurateur and cookbook author. She founded and ran popular restaurants in Toledo, Ohio, and Portland, Oregon – known for their cinnamon rolls, cheesecakes and other baked goods. Her recipe for pancakes is indeed special – thanks to the addition of sour cream and whipped egg whites. If you haven’t already figured out what to make for Mom (or yourself) tomorrow – I highly recommend these delightful pancakes.

Copies of this book are still available on Amazon and other book sites. Rose Naftalin was 101 when she passed away in 1998.

My Family’s Favorite Pancake

6 eggs, separated

3 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups sour cream

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil*

Preheat griddle (or frying pan). In a bowl, beat the egg yolks until they are thick. Gradually add 1 tablespoon of sugar and the melted butter. Sift the dry ingredients. Add to the yolk mixture, alternately with the sour cream, to which the baking soda has been added. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff. Fold them into the batter.

Important note: Once you have the batter mixed, never beat it again. Brush canola or vegetable oil on griddle or frying pan. To make the pancakes, carefully take a large tablespoon at a time from the bottom of the batter bowl. Place batter on the hot griddle. Cook on one side, then turn over once. Grease the grill for the first batch of pancakes only.

Serve with warmed maple syrup or with fresh fruit.

*Use more if necessary. I cooked these on a stovetop griddle and 1 tablespoon did the trick for the whole batch!

Not your average cookie.

7 May

Despite my aversion to baking, I do love to eat cookies – which means I need to bake ’em once in awhile. I love it when I can find a simple recipe – and yet the results are surprisingly stellar! I found this recipe for out-of-the ordinary oatmeal cookies in Cookery for Entertaining (1979) by Marlene Sorosky. It requires merely five ingredients – more than likely ingredients you readily have on hand! Warning – they are addictive. Good news is they freeze well. They definitely live up to their name – delicate, buttery, lacy cookies with a sweet crunch! I bought this cookbook originally for the food styling tips – e.g. the watermelon “whale” on its cover. It’s still available on used book sites.

Lacy Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups rolled oats, quick or regular

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease baking sheets (I skip this step and use parchment paper); set aside. Place oats, brown sugar and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add butter or margarine to oat mixture. Stir in beaten egg; mix well. Drop batter by half-teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand 1 minute before removing from baking sheet. They will become crisp as they cool. May be frozen.

Makes about 40 cookies.

Weight watching chicken

7 May

I found several WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) cookbooks on my shelves. I remember that one in particular – WeightWatchers All-Time Favorites (2008) – was one of my favorites. The recipes are outstanding. You don’t have to be on a diet to enjoy these flavorful, healthy recipes!

I opted to try a skillet chicken recipe – and discovered the points (for those familiar with WW, you already know “points” are assigned to foods) are actually lower under the current WW plan. This recipe is 2 points per chicken breast on the Blue plan.

Love the fresh lemony flavor offset by the briny capers. Easy to make in just minutes. Good enough to serve company!

Skillet Chicken with Lemon and Capers

4 ¼-pound chicken cutlets (or two 8-ounce boneless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise in half)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unsalted butter

½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

½ lemon, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon drained capers

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Sprinkle the cutlets with ½ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Melt 2 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet* set over medium-high heat. Add the cutlets and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Add the broth, lemon juice and slices, capers and parsley; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, turning the chicken once to coat with the sauce, until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and swirl in the remaining 1 teaspoon butter; add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Transfer the chicken and sauce to a platter.

*Contrary to what you’ve heard, you do not need a non-stick pan to cook chicken without sticking. It will release itself once it’s started to brown. I use either a stainless steel or ceramic skillet.

Egg-ceptional.

5 May

I am the proud owner of an original Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book (1950). It bears no resemblance to the Betty Crocker cookbook I received at a wedding shower nearly a quarter of a century later! This special edition belonged to my beloved Great Aunt Nellie Langer, my grandmother’s baby sister. The pictures are amazingly detailed and step by step directions are included on how to make each recipe. (See page from the book below!)

I’m a big omelet fan and while I’ve made my share of omelets over the years, I’ve never tackled the type of omelet I found in the book. This puffy omelet is a sight to behold and despite it’s brown exterior, was amazing delicately flavored inside! And no, you don’t need a special pan to make it. I made my omelet with two eggs. Feel free to go for more – following the directions below – and of course, using a bigger skillet!

Puffy Omelet

Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored, beat in 1 tablespoon milk or cream per egg, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold into beaten egg whites. Pour into sizzling butter (1/2 tablespoon per egg) in heavy skillet. Turn heat to low. Cook slowly until light brown underneath (about 10 minutes*). Bubbles will still appear through uncooked puffy top and mixture will look moist.

Place skillet in moderate oven – 350 degrees. Bake until light brown on top and until, when touched lightly with finger, no imprint remains (about 10 to 15 minutes**). Make a 1/2-inch deep crease across omelet – half way between handle and opposite side. (Optional: add desired filling here, e.g. shredded cheese, veggies, etc.) Slip spatula under, tip skillet to loosen omelet, and fold in half without breaking. Roll omelet top-side down onto hot platter. Serve at once.

*Reduce cooking time if you don’t want omelet as brown as mine (personally I love that browned exterior!)

**Similarly reduce baking time – using finger imprint test to check for doneness.

Dill-icious veggies.

4 May

With summer fast approaching and the opportunity to once again have friends over for food and fun – I’m back on the look-out for new and different recipes to add to my culinary repertoire. I found this recipe for essentially pickled beans and carrots in Appetizers by Mable Hoffman (1980). “These will add color to your cocktail buffet table or antipasto tray,” the cookbook author writes. That was enough to convince me to try it! Delish! This simple mixture of flavors and tastes is outstanding. A distinctive sweet and sour vibe with crunch and color! I ended up eating a bowl of it for lunch today!

Dilled Beans & Carrots

4 medium carrots (about 3/4 pound)

10 – 16 ounces fresh or frozen green beans (I used fresh)

2 cups white vinegar

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon dried dillweed or 1 tablespoon fresh dill

1 teaspoon pickling spices

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon salt

Peel carrots; cut into sticks. If using fresh beans, break in half. Thaw frozen beans. In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, honey, dill weed, picking spices, garlic, water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Carefully lower carrot sticks and beans into boiling mixture. Cover and simmer 10 minutes over low heat. Set aside to cool 10 minutes. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours. Spoon into a large serving dish.

Cook’s note: I drained the liquid before refrigerating; keep in it the juices if want to continue to add more pickle flavor to the dish.