Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pizza Gana alla Momma

Pizza Gana alla Momma
(Mom's Meat Pie)
Makes 1 pizza 13x9x2 inches
This is a family Christmas tradition, it is rich and relatively expensive to make but well worth the cost.  Its rich, subtle flavour is addictive to those that taste it, so much so that one friend of ours travels 400 miles each Christmas to trade her special fudge for it.  The recipe multiplies nicely; merely keep the proportions the same.  Pizza Gana is also known as Pizza Rustica or Pizza Carne in some regions.



1/2 pound Prosciutto ham, sliced very thin
1/2 pound Cappacola ham, sliced very thin
1/2 pound Genoa Salami, sliced very thin
1/2 pound good Pepperoni, sliced very thin
1-pound Mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
3 pounds Ricotta cheese
6 eggs
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

pie crust (or use your own recipe or a commercial pie crust):

3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/6 cups shortening
9 to 12 tablespoons cold water


Filling  preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 400º.  Into a large bowl, tear individual slices of each cold cut (except pepperoni) into pieces about the width and length of one's thumb (about 1"x 2" pieces).  Add the slices of pepperoni without tearing.  Toss the mixture to evenly distribute the different meats.

2.  Add the grated Mozzarella, Ricotta, eggs, and nutmeg and mix thoroughly with your hands until all ingredients have been evenly distributed.  Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste, insure you mix thoroughly after adding the salt and pepper.

Pizza crust preparation:

3.  Sift flour and salt together; cut in shortening with a fork until the pieces are the size of small peas.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over part of the mixture and toss with fork, push the moistened flour mixture to side of bowl.  Repeat until all the flour mixture has been moistened.  Divide mixture and form into two balls.

4.   On a lightly floured surface, flatten one of the balls of dough.  Roll the dough out, starting from the center, to a rough rectangle large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a lightly greased, rectangular, glass baking dish (approximately 13x9x2 inches in size) and about 1/8 inch thick. 

5.  Place dough sheet into baking dish and form to cover the bottom and sides.  Add the filling mixture and distribute evenly.   On a lightly floured surface, roll out the second ball of dough to roughly the same size as the first and about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut into strips of dough 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide.  Lay strips on filled pie at about 1 inch intervals across the width of the pie, fold back alternate strips and begin forming a lattice by interweaving strips placed at 1 inch intervals down the length of the pie (beginning 1 inch from the upper edge) with the strips along the width.   After the lattice has been formed, trim excess dough around the edges of the dish by running a sharp knife along the outer rim of the dish.  Seal edges.

6.  Place the pie in the middle of the preheated oven and bake until the latticed top of the pie is golden brown, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.  Allow the pie to cool and set completely before cutting and serving (the pizza is customarily made the day before it is to be served and allowed to cool over night.  It is normally cut into 3-inch cubes for serving).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili 
serves 4
Cincinnati-style chili is an enduring American classic that I first tasted in the Cincinnati  airport while on  a business trip.  Whether prepared two-way (chili over spaghetti), three-way (with cheese), four-way (with onions), or five-way (with a finishing flourish of kidney beans) it's an interesting twist on both chili and spaghetti.


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons granular garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 dried bay leaf
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper,  to taste
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water*

4 cups finely grated cheddar cheese (optional)
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped (optional)
1  15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed  under hot water and drained (optional)

3/4 pound dried spaghetti


1. In a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium-high heat bring oil to the ripple stage.  Add garlic and half of the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5–6 minutes. 

2.  Add beef and cook, stirring, until  it  begins to brown.  Add the chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cumin, oregano, nutmeg, celery seed, bay leaf, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 6–8 minutes. Tilt skillet and spoon out and discard any accumulated fat. 

3.  Add tomato sauce, cocoa powder, and water; bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, until somewhat thick*, about 25 minutes.

4.  For a two-way, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until al  dente, 6-8 minutes; drain.

5.   Meanwhile, for a four way, heat beans in a small pot and cook over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until hot throughout. 

6.  Divide spaghetti between 4 large bowls.  For a two-way, top each bowl of spaghetti with 1/4 of the chili;  for a three-way, top with cheese; for a four-way top each bowl  with some of the remaining onions; and for a five-way top with beans. Serve hot, with oyster crackers on the side.

*additional water can be added if chili is too "tight"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gulyasleves (Hungarian Goulash)

(Hungarian Goulash)
makes 6 servings

Just as there are  as many recipes for "Italian Gravy", tomato sauce to you non-Italians, so are there as many recipes for Goulash as there are Austro-Hungarian families.  This is a recipe I derived from combining the "best" of several "genuine" family Goulash recipes.  The secret to this or any other Goulash (or any stew recipe for that matter) is to cook the stew slow and low for a very long time  until the beef is "fall apart" tender.


2 pound  beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon. salt
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 tablespoons lard or shortening
3 tablespoons imported sweet paprika (use real Hungarian paprika for the best flavour)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 quart of  beef broth
4 peeled and diced potatoes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

dumpling batter:

1 egg
6 tablespoon  flour
1/8 teaspoon of Kosher or sea salt 


1.  In a large, heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat sauté the chopped onions in the shortening until they browned.  Add the cubed beef sprinkling it  with 1/2  teaspoon of salt and continue cooking the beef until it  browns and is nicely caramelized.  Sprinkle the caramelized beef with the paprika and flour, stir.

2.  Stir in the 2 cans of tomatoes and their juices, the tomato paste,  the bay leaves, the black  pepper, and the red wine vinegar.  Reduce the heat to produce a slow simmer. Let beef simmer, uncovered  for 1 hour.

3.  Add the beef broth, the diced potatoes and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and simmer until potatoes are done and meat is tender. Prepare egg dumpling batter as follows:

4.  Mix together the  flour,  the  egg (unbeaten), and salt.  Let the batter stand for 1/2 hour

5.  Drop the batter, by the teaspoonful, into Goulash. After the  dumplings rise to surface, cover the pot and simmer 5 minutes until the dumplings are fully cooked.  Serve hot accompanied by sour cream to add in dollops to the goulash.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thai Peanut Chicken Breasts

Thai Peanut Chicken Breasts 
serves 4

This spicy Thai chicken dish can be made with either boneless, skinless chicken breasts (my personal favourite) or with bone in, skin on chicken pieces.  You may want to consider increasing the sauce ingredients to insure plenty of sauce to serve as an accompaniment and if you like your Thai food really spicy, add the cayenne pepper.


4   skinless, boneless chicken breasts
8-ounces  of  cream  of coconut mixed with 8-ounces water
1/4  cup  creamy peanut butter
1/3  cup  chicken broth
2  tablespoons  soy sauce
2  tablespoons  rice vinegar
1  tablespoon  packed brown sugar
1  tablespoon  toasted sesame oil
1 or 2  teaspoons of Sambal Oelek (fresh  chili paste), depending  on  personal preference
1  teaspoon  fresh ginger, micro-planed
1  clove  garlic, micro-planed
1/8  to 1/4 teaspoon  cayenne pepper, optional if you like it really spicy
1/2  cup  all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  ground black pepper
2  tablespoons  vegetable oil
2  tablespoons  snipped fresh cilantro
2  cups  hot cooked rice
2 tablespoons of corn starch slurry (1 tablespoon corn starch thoroughly mixed with 1 tablespoon of COLD water)


1.  Preheat your oven to 300° F.

2.  Combine flour, salt, and black pepper in a 1 gallon re-sealable plastic bag, add the chicken breasts, one at a time, to flour mixture, shaking to coat and remove to a plate.

3.  In a large skillet, cook chicken, half at a time, in hot oil until brown, turning occasionally. Transfer chicken to an ungreased 3-quart rectangular baking dish.

4.  Whisk together the thinned coconut cream and peanut butter  in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until smooth, add the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, chili  paste, ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.  To complete the sauce, raise the temperature under the sauce pan to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce the heat to low simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  Pour peanut butter sauce over the breasts, cover loosely with foil and bake the breasts for 1 hour, basting occasionally with the sauce during the hour.  Uncover and continue baking, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes more or until the chicken is very tender.

6. Transfer chicken to a serving platter for a family style service or to individual service plates over a bed of rice for individual service.

7.  Prepare the sauce for service by transferring it to a medium sauce pan and bring  to a boil over high heat; when the gravy comes to a boil add the slurry while constantly stirring until the gravy forms  a thickened sauce.  Transfer the sauce to a gravy boat, spoon some of the sauce over the chicken breasts and sprinkle each breast with some of the cilantro. Serve accompanied by the  remaining sauce, hot cooked, white rice and additional chopped cilantro.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hot Brown Sandwich

Hot Brown Sandwich
Serves 4
The hot brown sandwich was created at the Brown Hotel of Louisville, Kentucky in 1926, basically it’s an open-faced turkey and bacon sandwich covered in Mornay sauce which is broiled until the sauce begins to brown.   Alternatives to the classic includes using a combination of both shaved ham and shaved turkey, substituting sliced tomato for the pimentos, and using cheddar (sometimes called a Devonshire) or American cheese for the sauce.


6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, room temperature and beaten
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup prepared whipped cream
8 slices toasted white bread, crust trimmed off
1 pound cooked turkey breast, thinly sliced
8 slices of shaved brown sugar bake ham
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
8 bacon slices, fried crisp


1.  Create a roux by melting  butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and gradually adding  the flour, stirring constantly, until smooth and free from lumps.

2.  Using the roux as a base create a white sauce base by gradually stirring  in milk until  the mixture comes to a gentle boil; remove the saucepan from the heat and add  the Parmesan cheese  stirring constantly until the cheese is melted and well blended.

3.  In a small bowl, beat the egg.  Temper the egg by gradually adding 1 cup of  the hot white sauce/parmesan mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, to the egg, stirring constantly.  Continue  the Mornay sauce by  gradually adding  the egg mixture to remaining sauce, stirring constantly until well blended; add salt and pepper to taste. Finally fold in the whipped cream to complete the sauce .

4.  Construct the Brown Sandwiches by placing two slices of toasted bread  next to each other on  metal or ovenproof  dishes to be used for service and placing  2 slices of  ham and a liberal amount of turkey on each of the toasted slices then continue by pouring a generous amount of the Mornay sauce over the turkey and finally sprinkling additional Parmesan cheese over that. 

5.  Complete the sandwiches by placing the entire dish(es) under the  broiler  of your oven until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, sprinkle with diced pimientos, cross two pieces of cooked  bacon over the top, and serve immediately. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Saltimboca Alla Romana

Saltimboca Alla Romana
 (Veal cutlets with sage, Roman style)
Makes 4 servings
In the Italian language Saltimboca literally means  to "jump in  the mouth", this is the classic Roman version consisting of prosciutto ham  and fresh sage  leaves sandwiched between two very thinly sliced and pounded veal scaloppini sauteed in butter  and served  in a rich Marsala sauce.


1 1/3 pounds veal scaloppini (thinly sliced veal)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto ham
8 fresh sage leaves
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups of chicken stock reduced to 1 cup
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup dry Marsala or white wine
juice of ½ lemon
Flour for dredging


1.  Pound the veal scaloppini slightly between sheets of plastic  wrap or in a 1 gallon resealable plastic  bag to a uniform thickness of 1/8-inch, season with salt and pepper.  

2.  Layout half of the veal scallopinis on a clean,  flat work surface and layer each of the scallopini with 1 thin slice of prosciutto, folding the prosciutto to fit on the scallopini, then place 1 or 2 whole sage leaves on top of the prosciutto and  finish by placing another scallopini on top of the sage leaf(s), use toothpicks, if necessary,  as skewers to hold the veal packages together.

3.  Set up a dredging station by placing about 1 cup of flour on  a  flat dish and, one by one, dredge each veal package in the flour and shake off excess placing the dredged packages on another plate. 

4.  Heat a large, heavy skill over medium high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté the veal packages (a couple at a time) 2 to 3 minutes on one side and 1 to 2 minutes on the second side.   As each group of sautéed veal is completed, transfer to a warm platter or individual serving dishes (you may keep the cooked scallopini warm in a warm oven until all serving have been cooked) and repeat the sauté until all the veal stacks have been cooked.

5.  When the last of the veal has been sautéed and is being kept warm, reduce the heat to medium low.  Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and continue cooking the stock until reduced by half.  Add the wine, the lemon juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl until combined to form a sauce.  Bring sauce to a boil and cook until slightly thickened (if the sauce fails to thicken, compound a corn starch slurry consisting of 2 tablespoons of COLD water and 2 tablespoons of corn starch and add it to the sauce while stirring to thicken it).

6.  Remove the platter (or the individual serving plates) from the oven and pour the sauce over the scallopini and serve immediately sided by Spaghetti con Burro e Formaggio.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Vitello alla Parmigiano.

Vitello alla Parmigiano
(Veal Parmesan)
serves 4
Veal cutlet parmesan is an Italian restaurant staple, my version spices it up a little by adding the heat of red pepper flakes to traditional marinara sauce.  Notice this version is not layered as most homemade versions but is made restaurant style (single scallopini topped with sauce, parmesan, and Provolone rather than mozzarella).


8  2-ounce veal cutlets, scaloppini-ed (pounded to  1⁄8" thickness)
1⁄2 cup flour
4 eggs, beaten
1 1⁄2 cups Italian dried bread crumbs
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups spicy marinara sauce (yours or commercial marinara sauce simmered for 20 minutes with 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon each dry basil and dry oregano, and 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
8 slices provolone cheese (about 6 ounce)
3⁄4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley for garnish
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper,  to taste


1.  Pre-heat the broiler of an  oven to broil placing the oven rack 10" from the heating element. 

2.  Season the pounded veal cutlets lightly with salt and pepper.

3.  Build a breading station by placing flour, beaten eggs, and bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes and working with one scaloppini at a time, dredge it in the flour, the eggs, and the bread crumbs and transfer the  breaded scallopini to a dish.

4.  In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Fry the breaded scallopini,  2 at a time,  turning once with tongs, until golden brown, about 3 minutes; wiping out the frying  pan and adding fresh oil  between.  Either transfer scallopini to large baking platter or to individual, oven proof plates. 

5.  Once all the scaloppini have been fried and plated, top each scallopini with 1⁄3 cup of the marinara sauce, sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of Parmesan, and one or more  slices of cheese.  

6.  Place the plated and topped scallopini under the broiler until  the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 5 minutes.  Dress each plate with some of the parsley and serve immediately.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Marine Corps Style Corned Beef Hash

Marine Corps Style Corned Beef Hash
serves 4
As a young Marine I started almost every morning with one of the two Marine  Corps breakfast standbys corned beef hash or S.O.S. and eggs, and grits.  I came across this recipe a few years back and it reproduces the taste of good old Corps hash pretty well.  I've found  the best way to produce the look and taste of a Marine  breakfast is to divide the hash into serving sizes, vacuum seal the servings and freeze the portions.  When ready to eat the hash, thaw it out and fry it in 2 tablespoons of bacon  grease until the meat is slightly crispy, the potatoes are browned a little, and the whole thing is swimming in reddish tinged grease . . . hoo-rah now that's breakfast!  


2 cups shredded, cooked corned beef
2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes (small cubes)
2 cups ketchup or so (Just so everything is nice and goopy.)
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or so to taste
1 chopped onion
2 tablespoons of butter
1 small clove garlic, micro-planed
Salt and pepper to taste


1.  Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot, fill the pot with water and add 1/4 cup salt.  Boil the potatoes over high heat until they are just tender, drain and set aside. 

2.  Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat sauté the chopped onions and chopped garlic until they are translucent; DO NOT allow the garlic to brown.

3.  Pre-heat the oven to 325° F.

4.  In a large casserole dish combine the shredded corned beef, the cubed potatoes, the catsup, Tabasco, chopped onions and garlic; mix until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and adjust seasoning.  

5.  Place hash mixture in oven  and bake for  30-45 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Serve accompanied by fried eggs and toast for breakfast or with fried cabbage or coleslaw for dinner.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Pork Scallopini Rolls

Roasted Red Pepper and Pork Scallopini Rolls
serves 2


6 - 1/4" thick thin sliced boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 to 1/2  cup grated Asiago Cheese
12 large fresh basil leaves
6 large pieces of roasted red peppers (see recipe)
Course Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

6 toothpicks


1.  Trim fat from the edges of each chop.  One at a time place each chop flat into a heavy,  1 gallon re-sealable plastic bag and pound with a food mallet into  a 1/8-inch thick scallopini.

2.  One at a time, lay each scallopini (longest side away from you) on a clean flat work surface, lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper and layer with, first, one of the roasted pepper slices (placed lengthwise away from you) then 2 basil  leaves and finally sprinkle with a generous amount of Asiago cheese over the roasted pepper.  Pat the Asiago cheese gently to flatten  it out.

3.  Beginning at the end closest to you carefully roll the layered scallopini, jelly roll style, away from you securing the seam formed with a toothpick.  Continue until all the scallopini, basil leaves, roasted peppers, and Asiago cheese are used up.

4.  In a sauté pan over medium heat heat the oil and butter to the point at which the butter foam subsides.  Add the scallopini rolls (without crowding) and sauté until the rolls are nicely browned.  Serve immediately garnished with chopped Italian parsley and accompanied by sliced potatoes or creamy risotta. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Spaghetti with garlic and Oil)

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
(Spaghetti with garlic and Oil)
serves 4
The sauce, Aglio E Olio, for this dish becomes the “mother sauce” (the basis) for the Puttanesca sauce, it is also the first sauce my mother taught me.  It is deceptively simple; garlic and extra-virgin olive oil with just enough red pepper to wake up your taste buds.  If you try the options you'll find that the Alice (Ah-leach,  Italian for anchovy) completely dissolves during cooking leaving behind a nutty, salty (not fishy) taste and the inclusion of a beaten egg imbues the dish with a richness (many people leave the raw egg out for fear of salmonella but I've eaten Aglio E Olio this way all my life without any negative consequences) .  


1 pound Spaghetti, cooked al dente

1/2-cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 flat anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
6-10 cloves garlic
1/2-teaspoon red pepper flake, or to taste (optional)
1/4 cup  flat leaved Italian parsley, chopped
3 large sweet Italian Basil leaves, chiffonade
1 egg, well beaten
Grated cheese (Parmesan or Romano)


1.  About an hour before starting the Aglio e Olio sauce place the olive oil in a small  bowl, micro-plane 2 or 3 of the garlic cloves, and place the red pepper  flakes into it.  Set the bowl  aside on your counter and allow the oil to infuse with the flavour of the garlic and the heat of the red pepper flakes.

2.   After the oil has had time to infuse and in a small saucepan heat the infused oil, the micro-planed garlic,  the red pepper flakes,  and butter together over very low heat.

3.  Finely chop the remaining garlic.

4.  Add the infused oil and butter mixture to a large sauté pan (large enough to hold the volume of cooked spaghetti) over medium heat, add the chopped garlic and sauté it until it is soft and translucent (DO NOT allow the garlic to brown!)
5.  Meanwhile, bring a large volume of salted water to a rapid boil over high heat.

6.  Lower the heat under the sauté pan to medium-low, add the Alice (anchovies) and cook until the fish is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

7.  When the water comes to a rapid boil, toss in the spaghetti and cook until the spaghetti is cooked al dente.  

8.  Drain the spaghetti and toss the cooked pasta with the sauce in the sauté pan.   Sprinkle the Aglio e Olio with the parsley and toss to distribute the chopped parsley into the cooked pasta.

9.  Optional  step:  If you're going to add the beaten egg;  while it's still hot pour the spaghetti and sauce into a large spaghetti bowl (large enough to hold all  the past and sauce) and while pouring the beaten egg over the pasta with one hand toss the pasta, using  a pair of tongs in the other, to distribute the egg throughout it; the hot pasta and sauce should cook the egg.

10.  Serve immediately topped by grated cheese and the chiffonade basil accompanied by crusty Italian or French bread and extra grated cheese and red pepper  flakes.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Makes 12 Chimichungas
2 pounds chuck beef roast
2 yellow onions
2 red bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
3 large tomatoes
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
12 large flour tortilla shells
1.  Salt and pepper beef, place in a large   crock pot set to high, cover with water and cook until beef is tender and easily shreds, 4 to 6 hours.  Remove beef from cooking liquid and allow cooling enough to be handled comfortably.

2.  While beef is cooling slice peppers into thin strips removing seeds, peel and slice onions into thin rings, and seed and slice tomatoes into strips.

3.  When beef is cooled enough to handle, shred beef by pulling apart along the grain of the beef.  The finer the shred the better.

 4.  Heat 2 tbs. of oil in a large skillet or frying and add the peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic and sauté until they are soft and onions become translucent (not browned) adding salt and pepper to taste.

5.  When vegetables are sautéed mix beef into them.  Lower heat, cover and allow the beef to sauté with the vegetables for 10 to 15 minutes until beef has had an opportunity to absorb the flavours of the vegetables.

6.  Remove mixture for heat and allow cooling enough to handle.  When the mixture has cooled begin constructing the Chimichungas by laying a single tortilla in front of you, place approximately 1/12 th of the mixture in a line across the middle of the tortilla starting and ending about 2 inches from the edges.  Fold the edges of the tortilla in on to the mixture, fold the top of the tortilla over and roll the whole over again forming a roughly rectangular package (similar in look to a borrito).  Continue in this manner until all the filling and tortillas have been used up.

7.  Heat about ½ inch of oil in a frying pan.  Add the Chimichungas, one or two at a time (fold side down), to the heated oil and fry them until golden brown on top and bottom.  Drain on paper towels.

8.  Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and olives provided for toppings.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tiropites (Greek cheese filled triangles)

(Greek cheese filled triangles)
Tiropites are classic Greek appetizers that are loved by kids and adults alike.
 makes about 75 pieces.

1 pound feta cheese
12 ounces of very well drain Greek yogart
1/2 cup Parmesan 
3 eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley or dill
2 sticks of butter half margarine can be used
1 pound filo pastry*

1.  Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Crumble feta cheese into small pieces in a bowl, add the yogurt and Parmesan  and blend well. Add eggs and beat thoroughly. Mix in parsley or dill.

Prepare cheese triangles as follows:

3. Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn't dry out and become brittle*. Using a sharp knife, cut the filo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the waxed paper and damp towel. Remove 1 strip of 3 individual strips (one sandwich on the other) and using a pastry brush to brush the group of filo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of cheese filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.

4.  Place triangles on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Brush tops with melted butter.  Bake triangles for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool about five minutes before serving.  Tiropites can be prepared ahead of time and frozen, unbaked.   When ready to use, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake without prior thawing for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve warm.  

* One of the difficulties of working with filo is that it tends to dry out very quickly once exposed to air. Once you have unrolled the filo, work with one set of sheets (3 or 4 individuals sheets sandwiched one on top of the other) or a portion of sheets at a time. Keep the remainder covered with plastic wrap or waxed paper over which you've placed a damp cloth. (wax paper is easier to handle.) This will prevent the sheets from drying out. Use a feather or other pastry brush to spread an ample amount of butter on the sheet you're working with, beginning at the edges and working inward. Use broad strokes and work fast to prevent the sheets from drying out. The object is not to saturate the sheet, but lightly dab it all over

Friday, September 3, 2010

Diner Salisbury Steak


Diner Salisbury Steak
makes 4 servings
As a transplanted "east-coaster" diners and their food hold a special place in my heart . . . the diner was one of the places where I could taste "American" food and, to an Italian American boy, Salisbury Steak was an exotic meal.  This is my homage to this diner specialty.
                                                                                                            prep time:             15 minutes
                                                                                                            steak cook time:    10 minutes
                                                                                                            gravy cook time:   8 minutes
                                                                                                            total time:            33 minutes


1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 - 12 ounce can of beef gravy
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons prepared,  grated horseradish
1/2 pound white mushrooms, cleaned, stems intact and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

4 servings of homemade or commercial mashed potatoes (prepared according to manufacturer's instructions)
4 servings corn niblets


prepare the ground beef:

1.  In a medium bowl mix together the ground beef, scallions, bread crumbs, egg, dehydrated onions, garlic powder, and mustard and shape into four 1/2-inch-thick oval patties.

2.  Preheat oven to 120° F.
fry the steak:

1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the patties for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until no pink remains.  Remove from to a paper towel lined platter to drain and place platter with the Salisbury steaks in oven to keep warm.  Discard the oil in the pan and wipe clean.

2.  Return the skillet to the heat and add the gravy, the tomato paste, water, horseradish, and mushrooms and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally.

3.  Return the warm steaks to the skillet, lower the heat to low and simmer for another 2 or 3 minutes.


To serve, place 1 steak, serving of corn, and 1 serving of mashed potatoes on each of 4 plates and place 1/4 of the mushroom gravy over each steak.  Serve immediately.

Foodie Blog