Regina Biscotti

Regina BiscottiRegina Biscotti

Biscotti and coffee are one of my favorite breakfasts. And Reginas are my favorite biscotti. Their name means Queen’s Cookies. This was my Aunt Vicky’s recipe except for the lemon zest. That was my idea.
Ingredients:
  • 9 oz. all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 4 oz. olive oil
  • 3 eggs (separate yolks & whites)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 oz. milk
  • zest of 1 lemon (optional)
  • 1 cup sesame seedsRegina Biscotti
Regina Biscotti
Start by mixing the flour, sugar, salt, and oil in a bowl. Add the beaten egg yolks, honey, milk, and zest and mix with your hands until dough forms. You can do this part with a food processor. Roll it into a ball, wrap with Saran, and refrigerate for an hour or more.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until they start to darken. Immediately remove them from the hot pan and put aside on a plate.REGINA BISCOTTI

Beat the 3 egg whites and 3 tablespoons of water in a bowl.
Cut the dough ball into 4 sections and roll each section into a 1-inch-wide log. Cut the log into 1 to 1 ½ inch sections. You should get 5 or 6 pieces from each log.Regina Biscotti
Dip each piece in the egg white–water mixture. Roll them in the sesame seeds, covering all sides. Arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
Regina Biscotti
Regina Biscotti

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Shrimp Étouffée

Shrimp Étouffée

Different families have different Étouffée recipes. I got this one from a friend with a Louisiana connection. Ideally, it would have been made with crawfish but they’re not so easy to get on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Shrimp is a good substitute.
Shrimp Étouffée
Ingredients:
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 2 cups Cajun trinity
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. Panola or Tobassco hot sauce or to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Cajun spice mix
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb. shrimp, cleaned and shelled
  • 2 scallions, green part choppedShrimp Étouffée
Heat the butter in a large pan and add the trinity. Cook until it’s softens and then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the flour, mix and cook for a few minutes then add the tomato paste. Stir and cook for a minute.
Shrimp Étouffée
Stir in the stock and 1 cup of water. Cook on medium until reduced by half. Now add the hot sauce, bay leaf, Cajun spice mix, salt, and black pepper. Raise heat and continue cooking until the sauce thickens.

Add the shrimp, reduce heat, and stir and coat with the sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink. Sprinkle the scallions on top and serve with rice.
Shrimp Étouffée

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Sautéed Tomato Sauce

Sautéed Tomato Sauce

When most people think of tomato sauce they think ‘simmering.’ For this recipe you start by sautéing the tomatoes. This gives them a rich hearty flavor and it’s ready to eat in about a half an hour.
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup olive oil divided
  • Salt, black, and red pepper
  • 10 – 12 plum tomatoes
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 lb. short pasta (ziti, penne, rotelle, etc.)
Start a pot of salted water for the pasta.
Sautéed Tomato SauceHeat ¼ cup of the oil in a large frying pan and season it with salt, black and red pepper. Cut the stem end off the tomatoes, cut them in half lengthwise and place then cut side down in the pan. Cook on medium-high heat until they begin to soften and color. Depending on their ripeness and thickness they might take 8 – 12 minutes. 
Sautéed Tomato Sauce
Season the top side and then turn them and cook for another 8 – 12 minutes. Start cooking the pasta in the boiling water.
Sautéed Tomato Sauce
The tomatoes should be soft now so add the minced garlic, basil, and parsley and the remaining ¼ cup of oil.

Sautéed Tomato Sauce

Add some of the pasta water to the sauce, blend and deglaze the pan. A ½ cup might be enough but add more if needed to get a saucy consistency.

Sautéed Tomato Sauce
When the pasta is almost al dente add it to the sauce and mix to finish cooking. Serve with grated Parmigiana.

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Chartreuse

Chartreuse is a liqueur with a history. The New York Times just did an article on it.

               An Elixir from the French Alps, Frozen in Time

Only two monks know the full recipe for Chartreuse, and even in the pandemic they stuck to their Middle Ages motto: “The cross is steady while the world turns.”
By Marion Renault
GRENOBLE, France — When the world went into lockdowns this year, the monks of Chartreuse simply added another tick to their 900-year record of self-imposed isolation . . . 

For the complete article click here.Chartreuse


 

               Chartreuse comes in two strengths. Green – 110 proof and Yellow – 86 proof.

Chartreuse
I like it straight . . .

 

. . . or with some Cognac floated on top.

More of Chartreuses’ history at their website.
Chartreuse

“The Order of Chartreuse was more than 500 years old when, in 1605, at a Chartreuse monastery in Vauvert, a small suburb of Paris, the monks received a gift from Duc Francois Hannibal d’ Estrées, Marshal of King’s Henri IV artillery . . . “

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Pomegranates

pomegranates

Pomegranates

A friend unexpectedly stopped by for dinner. I took him shopping with me to get something to cook when he noticed pomegranates at the grocery store. He mentioned that he’d seen them before but never tried one.

pomegranates

I said, “What? How could you live in New York and never have had a pomegranate? Let’s get a couple and I’ll show you how good they are.”

How to cut and remove the seeds –

pomegranates

pomegranates

Cut the skin around the top and remove it.

pomegranates

Make 5 shallow cuts along the sides and pull apart into sections.

pomegranates

Break up the seeds into a bowl.

pomegranates

Fill the bowl with water so the membrane floats and can be removed.

pomegranates

Ready to eat.

Pomegranate Juice – 

On the street in Vietri sul Mare on the Amalfi Coast.

pomegranates

Put the seeds in a blender with 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and blend for a few minutes.

pomegranates

Strain the mixture, squeezing the seeds in a sieve.

pomegranates

Ready to drink.

Pomegranate Liqueur –

After we’d made my Aunt Lena’s Coffee Sport and it turned out so well, Bridget and I got adventurous and decided to try making pomegranate liqueur. I went to the nearest Korean grocer. In NY, Korean grocer means general merchandise and very fresh and varied fruit and vegetables. I picked out 12 pomegranates and went to the cashier. As I started to unload them from the basket to the counter, a couple got on line behind me.
When they saw what I was buying the woman asked, “What could you possibly do with all of those pomegranates?”
Her husband looked embarrassed and so did she. “I apologize. Those words just fell out of my mouth.”
“There’s no need to apologize. And since you asked, my wife and I make some old Italian cordial recipes and this is for one we one we made up.”
The cashier who knew I shopped there regularly said, “These are very expensive. And you’re buying so many.”
“Maybe but that will turn into a bottle of something that will be worth it.”
The woman who apologized asked, “Why can’t you just use bottled pomegranate juice?”
Maybe I looked a little indignant when I said, “Bottled juice just won’t be a good as fresh. We squeeze the juice, strain, then simmer it until it’s  thickened a bit. Then we mix it with simple syrup and grain alcohol, and it’s done. That’s it, a simple cordial and ready to drink.”
Here’s the recipe for Pomegranate Liqueur as well as Coffee Sport.


The Myth of Persephone

Persephone and the Pomegranate Seeds  pomegranates


Helpful Hint – Don’t wear a white shirt anywhere near a pomegranate.

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Buffalo, Beans and Greens Soup

Buffalo, Beans and Greens Soup

 

A friend recently drove cross-country from Portland to New York. She told me about a diner she stopped at in Wyoming expecting to order a burger deluxe or a BLT. Her waitress suggested their specialty, something they called Buffalo,  Beans and Greens, Soup.  She tried it and liked it enough to get the recipe. If you can’t get buffalo/bison, it would work with ground beef too. You can substitute spinach or mustard greens for the collards.

Buffalo,  Beans, and Greens, Soup
Ingredients:
  • Olive oil for browning
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 diced parsnip
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 12 oz. ground buffalo
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • 1 – 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
Heat some oil, salt and black pepper in a pot, brown the meat and remove it. Add the onion, carrot and parsnip to the pot and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. While that’s cooking, wash the collards, discard the thicker stems and chop the leaves into bite sized pieces.

When the vegetables are done add the tomato paste, garlic, and red pepper. Mix thoroughly and then return the browned meat to the pot.
Buffalo,  Beans, and Greens, Soup

Add the stock and beans and simmer for 25 minutes. If you want a thicker soup, mash some of the beans and vegetables with the back of a spoon. If you want it thinner, add some stock or water
Check for seasoning and add the greens and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes until greens are soft. Buffalo,  Beans, and Greens, Soup
The greens will fill the pot when you first put them in, but they’ll wilt in a few minutes.Buffalo,  Beans, and Greens, SoupJust before serving stir in the chopped parsley. Serve with hot sauce.

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Pompeii Food Stand

The ruins of Pompeii with Vesuvius in the background.

New discoveries are still being made at Pompeii. There was an article in Colossal about a Pompeii food stand that was recently uncovered.POMPEII FOOD STAND

Archaeologists Have Uncovered an Impeccably Preserved Food Stand in Pompeii

by GRACE EBERT

“Mallard to go, anyone? Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient thermopolium—aka the Roman equivalent of a street food vendor—at the Regio V site in Pompeii. The well-preserved stand is decorated with multiple frescoes featuring a nereid (nymphs of Greek mythology) riding a sea horse, tall jars with two-handles that commonly were used for storage, and some of the formerly available fare, like mallards and chickens. A rendering of a muscular dog adorns another side of the stand with the insult, “Nicia cineadecacator,” scribed nearby. Various food-based remnants were found, as well, including duck bones, fava beans, wine, and a paella-style dish of pork, goat, bird, fish, and snail, alongside cooking dishes, flasks, and storage vessels.”

For the full article click here. POMPEII FOOD STAND


POMPEII FOOD STAND

I was in Pompeii last year. This is a picture I took of a wine shop.

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Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken and Chickpeas

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken and Chickpeas

After everything is chopped and cut, just put it in the slow cooker and forget it for a few hours. 
 
Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken and Chickpeas
Ingredients:
  1. 2 – 16 oz. cans of chickpeas drained and rinsed
  2. 1 – 15 oz. can of plumb or cherry tomatoes drained
  3. 1 red bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
  4. 1 medium red onion chopped
  5. ½ cup golden raisins
  6. 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  7. 2 tbsp. water
  8. 1 tsp. ground cumin
  9. ½ tsp. sweet paprika
  10. ½  tsp. cayenne (optional)
  11. 4 or 5 boneless/skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 in. pieces
  12. 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken and Chickpeas

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken and Chickpeas

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken and Chickpeas

Place ingredients 1 to 5 into the slow cooker.  Mix ingredients 6 to 10 in a bowl, pour into slow cooker and mix well.  Place chicken in an even layer on top.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken and Chickpeas

Turn slow cooker on low, cover and cook for 6 hours. Add the peanut butter, mix well and serve with rice or couscous.

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Cajun Meatloaf

Cajun Meatloaf

Meatloaf isn’t one of my favorite things. I generally prefer my ground beef in the form of a medium-rare, charred on the outside, hamburger. But this Cajun meatloaf is different. It has interesting spices (no ketchup), and because there’s so little filler it looks and taste meatier.
Cajun meatloaf
Ingredients:

For the meatloaf-

  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup of tomato puree
  • 3 tsp. of Cajun spice mix
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 cup Cajun Trinity
  • 2 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds of ground beef
For the topping-
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup of tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
If you have a meatloaf pan, great. If not, you’ll have to improvise. Cover a rack with foil and punch holes in it with a skewer. This will prevent the fat from accumulating at the bottom of the pan and making the meatloaf greasy.
Add the breadcrumbs, tomato puree, Cajun seasoning, minced garlic, and Cajun trinity, and Worcestershire to a bowl and mix it. Add the chopped meat and mix it. The best way to do that is with your hands.  Get it thoroughly mixed and form a loaf.Cajun meatloaf
Grease the foil with olive oil spray. Put the meat mixture in the pan or on the rack (whichever you’re using) and form a loaf. Roast for 50 minutes.Cajun meatloaf
To make the topping, mix the Worcestershire, tomato puree, and paste in a small bowl. After 50 minutes remove the meatloaf and coat it with the sauce. Put it back in the oven and roast for another 20 minutes.Cajun meatloaf
When it’s done, let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting it. It’s great for dinner and the leftovers make perfect sandwiches.

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Gingerbread

Gingerbread

My Aunt Lena made the best gingerbread. Whenever she made it, usually after I asked her to, I’d have it for dessert and breakfast. I recently tried some gingerbread recipes and came up with this one that’s a lot like hers.
gingerbreadIngredients:
  1. 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 tsp. ground ginger
  3. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  4. ½ tsp. salt
  5. 1 tsp. baking soda
  6. 2/3 cup coffee
  7. 2/3 cup mild-flavored molasses
  8. 4 tbsp. butter
  9. 2/3 cup brown sugar
  10. 1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease a 9-in square pan with butter. Mix dry ingredients 1 to 5 in a bowl.
Heat but don’t boil the coffee, molasses, butter, and brown sugar in a small pot. Let it cool and then whisk in the egg.
gingerbread

gingerbread
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour it into the buttered pan and bake for about 35 minutes.
gingerbread
Gingerbread is  perfect plain but you can also dress it up with fruit and heavy cream.

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