Kinda Traditional Cole Slaw

1 medium head green cabbage, shredded

2-3 large carrots, shredded or shredded

1 large onion, grated

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sour cream

¼ cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey or agave

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

  1. Combine the cabbage, carrots, and onion in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, honey salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the sugar mixture over the cabbage mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Chill for at least 30 minutes (or overnight, which is better), and season to taste with more vinegar, salt and pepper.

Makes 10-12 servings

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

¼ cup olive oil

1/3 cup red wine

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons lemon juice

5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 shakes Tabasco Sauce

2 pounds flank steak

Combine all of the ingredients, except the steak.  Then add the steak, and marinate for two-eight hours in a non-reactive pan.

To cook: Grill, broil, or pan-fry (in a cast iron skillet, if possible) over a medium-high to high heat for 4-5 minutes per side.

Serves 4-5

NOTE: Flank steak is best served between rare and medium.  If it’s well done, it’ll probably be very tough and chewy.

Classic Bread and Butter Pickles

1 ½ pounds pickling cucumbers, cut into ¼ inch slices

1 ½  tablespoons pickling or kosher salt

1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

1 cup white vinegar

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons mustard seed

½  teaspoon celery seed

1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric

  1. Combine cucumbers and salt in a large shallow bowl; cover and refrigerate for 1 ½ hours.
  2. Rinse the salt off the cucumbers, and drain the excess water in a strainer or colander. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well.
  3. Place the cucumbers and onions in a nonreactive bowl.
  4. Combine the sugars, vinegars, mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, pour the hot mixture over the cucumber slices and onion, and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight and store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 4 weeks

Potato Salad (without mayo!!!)

3 pounds red bliss potatoes, unpeeled, cut into bite size pieces

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/3 cup , plus 2-3 tablespoons, red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon or brown deli mustard

1/2 cup olive oil

3 scallions, finely sliced

1/2 medium red onion, peeled and minced

3 tablespoons capers, drained (optional)

salt

black pepper

  1. Place potatoes in a pot of cold water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer until potatoes are almost cooked through.  Drain and place into a large bowl.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. In a bowl, combine the garlic, 2/3 cup vinegar, mustard, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Then, VERY slowly, drizzle in the oil, until the vinaigrette is combined. Set aside.
  3. Add vinaigrette, scallions, red onion, capers, and salt and pepper to the warm (but not hot) potatoes.
  4. Chill for at least two hours.
  5. Before serving, adjust flavor with remaining vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Makes approximately 10 servings.

Potato salad notes for success:

  • If you cannot find red bliss potatoes, use larger red potatoes, or russet potatoes.  Avoid Yukon gold potatoes, as they can turn mushy in the salad
  • After the potatoes have been cooked and drained, spread them out in a sheet pan (or two) with sides, to help them cool a bit faster and more evenly. This will also help keep them from breaking apart of they’re cooled in a big pile in a bowl. Once they have cooled a bit, but are still warm to the touch, add the vinaigrette, red onions, scallions, and capers.
    • If you want to cool the potato salad faster, return it to the sheet pans after the vinaigrette and other ingredients have been added. Cool to room temperature (approximately 15 minutes). Then place in a bowl and refrigerate.

“Roasted” Whole Lemon Chicken in a Slow Cooker

IMG_3005

1 4-5 pound chicken

3-4 carrots, peeled and cut in 4 pieces, length-wise

2-3 celery stalks, cut in 4 pieces, length-wise

approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

paprika

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 lemon, cut in half

  1. Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken.  Rinse the chicken, and dry it with paper towel to remove any excess water.
  2. Spread the carrot and celery pieces in the slow cooker.
  3. Spread olive oil over the chicken, and sprinkle throughout with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  4. Place the cut onion into the cavity of the chicken, and place the chicken into the slow cooker.
  5. Squeeze the lemon over the chicken, and place the squeezed lemon halves into the slow cooker.
  6. Cover the slow cooker, and cook the chicken on low, for approximately 6 hours.

NOTES:

  • The timing of the cooking will vary based on your slow cooker and the size of the chicken.  It may be a bit more, or less, than 6 hours.
  • If you’d like crispy skin on the chicken after it’s cooked, put the chicken in an oven-proof pan, and place it under your oven’s broiler for 5 minutes.  Do not put it on the highest rack-level in the oven, or it might burn the chicken. Place the pan in the lower half of the oven.

 

Yield: 4-6 servings

 

Corned Beef (and cabbage!)

corned beef photo

3-5 lbs raw corned beef

2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

2 onions, peeled and cut into chunks

4 celery stalks, cut into chunks

6 cloves

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 small pieces, crystallized ginger

1/4 teaspoon juniper berries

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon whole peppercorns

 The vegetables:

2 pounds potatoes

1 small cabbage

2 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks

  1. Pat the meat dry to remove any remaining bits from the brine.
  2. Place the 1st ten ingredients in a stockpot.  Cover with water, cover the pot, and bring to a boil.  Gently simmer until the beef is done, 1 1/2 – 2+ hours.  Removed the meat, and strain/skim out ALL of the remaining veg and bits.  Discard the veg and bits.
  3. Add the cabbage and carrots to the stockpot liquid used for cooking the beef, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes, and simmer until all of the veg is cooked (don’t overcook the potatoes).  This might be another 8-10 minutes.
  4. Serve the whole thing together…

 

Makes 8-10+ servings

Mac & Cheese

If this recipe seems a bit daunting to prepare, think of it as five simple steps: boiling the pasta, grating the cheese, melting the butter and flour, adding the hot milk, and throwing everything in together. The result is a great, classic comfort food.

1 pound macaroni/elbows (or your favorite pasta)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk, heated, but not boiling

8 oz cheddar cheese, grated

1 pound muenster cheese, grated

1/4 cup (approximately) parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (a pinch)

paprika

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Set aside a 9”x13” pan.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the macaroni, following the directions on the box.  Set aside
  2. In a saucepan, over a medium heat, melt the butter, then add the flour, and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.  It may turn brown.  That’s oaky.  Slowly whisk in the warmed milk and stir, more than occasionally, for up to ten minutes,  or at least until it’s thickened. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl, add the milk mixture to the grated cheese, and stir until the cheese is melted.  Add to the cooked macaroni, and combine.
  4. Pour the macaroni mixture into the pan.  Sprinkle on the parmesan, and then the paprika.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until browned on top.

Makes 8-10 servings (or one MASSIVE serving…)

NOTE: For a gluten-free option, use rice flour instead of regular flour.  And substitute gluten-free noodles for the pasta.  If you’re not a big fan of gluten-free pasta, don’t worry.  The great flavor and texture of the cheese will hide any shortcomings you might find in the gluten-free pasta.

If you want to see a video of me making this on Mass Appeal, on NBC channel 22 in Springfield, check it out here with my other tv cooking appearances.

 

Turkey Gravy and More!

 

This three-part recipe will help you from the moment your turkey comes put of the oven until you’re ready to carve it. It has the gravy, the turkey stock, and removing the drippings from the pan.  One-stop gravy making!

The Gravy

¼ cup flour or cornstarch

1/2 cup water

4 cups turkey or chicken stock

pan drippings from roasted turkey, strained

deglazed drippings and stock from pan (see below)

salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour (or cornstarch) and water.  Whisk to remove any lumps, and set aside.  This is called a slurry.
  2. Place the pan drippings, deglazed bits, and 2 cups of the stock in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
  3. Taste the sauce. Add more stock, if you’d like more gravy. But don’t let the gravy become too mild in taste.
  4. As an optional step, you can strain the gravy now if you like it smooth.
  5. With the gravy at a slow simmer, add ½ of the slurry, and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until it thickens.  If you’d like it thicker, add more slurry.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Other (optional) ingredients to add to your gravy:

  • 1/3 cup bourbon or white wine
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces, whisked into the gravy
  • Add the cooked giblets to the gravy after it’s strained

How to make Turkey Stock from Giblets

  1. Take the giblets (neck, liver heart, and gizzards) from the turkey’s cavity, and cover them with 4-5 cups of water.
  2. Add an onion, chopped stalk of celery, and a chopped carrot.  Simmer uncovered for one hour.  If the water level goes down by more than ¼, add cold water and bring back to a simmer.
  3. After an hour, strain the stock.  You can chop up the meats from the stock and add them to your finished gravy

Removing the turkey and deglazing  

  1. Remove the turkey from the pan. Rest it on a warm platter as you make the gravy.
  2. Pour the liquid from the pan into a large bowl or heat-proof pitcher.  Remove the pan drippings that are not stuck in the pan and place these in a separate, 2 quart saucepan.  Set all of these aside.
  3. Once the liquid from the pan has cooled a bit, remove the fat from the top of the liquid, either with a spoon, or a fat-separator. Discard the fat.
  4. Once you have removed the drippings and liquid from the turkey roasting pan, there may be some bits of turkey that are stuck in the pan.  To remove them, place the pan on a burner (or two, if the pan is large enough) on a medium-high heat.  Have a wooden spoon or scraper handy.
  5. Once the pan is quite hot, and almost smoking, add ½ cup (or more, if needed) of the stock or other liquid to the pan.  You want only a small amount of liquid to just moisten the stuck bits in the pan.
  6. With the wooden spoon, scrape up the bits, and put these into a 2 quart saucepan, with the other loose bits that you removed from the roasting pan.

Potato Gratin

Interpreted from Jacques Pepin & Julia Child

(yes I know: no cream, butter, cheese, or breadcrumbs…)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 onion, sliced

4-5 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/4” slices (peeling is optional)

2 cups (approx) chicken stock (ys, you can use vegetable stock)

salt and pepper

2 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 375°.

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet * over a medium heat.  Add the olive oil, and then the onions. Sauté for 15-20 minutes, or until they start to brown and soften.  You can sauté the onions for longer, even caramelizing them.  This will make everything even more flavorful.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients.  Add enough stock to barely cover the potatoes.  Bring to a simmer.
  3. When the mixture has reached a simmer, remove the skillet from the stovetop, and place in the oven, uncovered.
  4. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the stock s absorbed, and a crust begins to form on the potatoes. If some stock remains in the pan, that’s okay.  Either remove it before serving, or serve it with the liquid.  Both work well.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

* If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, or an oven proof skillet, heat the potatoes on the stovetop in a skillet.  Then, CAREFULLY transfer the hot mixture to an oven proof dish, like a pie plate, to bake in the oven.