Recipes - The Times Leader Cookbook
I spotted fresh artichokes when shopping in the produce aisle at the grocery store the other day.
“I love that it’s healthy,” reporter Jen Learn-Andes said earlier this week as she tried a whole-wheat hot cross bun from the Times Leader test kitchen. “I think it’s really good. If you wanted it sweeter you could add more icing.”
Fresh, home-made nut bread roll symbolizes everything fabulous about childhood because I got to savor it only twice a year: Easter and Christmas. In spring, nut bread meant dying eggs and hunting baskets and revelling amid jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, molasses or peanut butter chocolate eggs, malted chocolate balls and at least one good-sized chocolate bunny. Getting a few days free from school? A mere bonus in the warming weather.
“It’s got a whole bunch of tastes,” columnist Bill O’Boyle said this week as he tried his first-ever serving of quinoa — in the latest dish from the Times Leader Test Kitchen. “I can taste the lemon. I can taste the asparagus. I can taste the peas.”
Today, gentle readers, I’ll let you in on a little secret:
Years ago WVIA Radio had a running gag during their (many) fund drives about “Pennsylvania Roadkill Scrapple.” I’ll leave the ingredients to your imagination, but as an adult the name of one of my favorite recipes from mom’s cooking compendium invariably invokes the joke.
I’d never heard of them before. I wasn’t sure how to pronounce their name. But every time I paged through my “Best of America Traditional Regional Recipes” the picture of little cheese pastries called fromajardis called out to me.
A few days after New Year’s I thought about making my old cycling friend Gary’s stromboli (wrote about it last May), but waffled between buying processed sliced ham or using some of the ample ham leftover from MT’s Christmas Day feast. Once home, I decided to look up an alternative, typing “leftover ham recipes” into Google.
Shortly after MT & I married I looked to make a New Year’s Eve dinner to impress, and came across Emeril Lagasse’s Shrimp Bisque recipe from 2002 as a starter course. Indeed, it may have been 2002, back when we still had cable TV and I could watch his Food Network show.
For years I’ve started New Year’s Eve dinner with a terrific, if time-consuming shrimp bisque from Emeril Lagasse. I’ll share that next week, after I make it for Thursday night’s first course. OK, full disclosure, I was going to write about it today, but forgot to take a picture of the finished dish when I made some a week or two ago.
These are gobbler glory days. The National Turkey Federation estimates 46 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving and another 22 million at Christmas. At an average weight of 15 pounds, that’s more that 1 billion (with a B) pounds of bird on American tables in the span of about a month.
Many years ago I went to Switzerland with seven friends, and as we worked our way from the eastern part of the country to the west, I remember two things about the food.
Nothing says Christmas more than delicious homemade cookies.
If you are a meat and potatoes kind of person, give some consideration to the humble turnip. I found this recipe years ago after one of the hard-working local growers at the Wilkes-Barre Farmers Market touted his pile of the cruciferous root vegetable, convincing me and MT to buy some. But what, exactly, do you do with a turnip?
This may be a day of dueling soups from a pair of married, ink-stained wretches, but the reason I have and love making this particular recipe isn’t in spite of MT, it’s because of her. After we married and bought a house, I fulfilled a long-time desire to relieve my mom of some holiday meal hosting and started holding the Thanksgiving feast at our humble home. When I saw this 2005 recipe from Emeril Lagasse, it immediately became the annual first course.
“I’m glad to have soup today,” Kevin Carroll said Wednesday afternoon. “Because it’s so cold outside.”
“Brain cookies” may bring back memories of Hannibal Lecter to some, and when Emeril Lagasse made these many years ago on his Food Network show, he actually referred to “Chianti and fava beans.” But don’t let that bury your interest alive. This a recipe that requires a little extra work, but that I’ve found well-received.
After feeding them peas and carrots a few weeks ago and, before that, whole-grain breakfast cookies, I decided the newsroom taste testers deserved a treat that didn’t claim to be health food.
For our 19th anniversary, MT and I decided to go out for dinner. I cooked.
The longer you hike, and the more boulders you climb over, the better the s’mores will taste.
I’m not positive, but I am pretty sure tuna noodle casserole was the first recipe I tried in my first cookbook, a 1989 Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. I liked mom’s casserole my whole life, and when I asked for the secret, she just pointed to her old cookbook, though I think she had a Betty Crocker tome.
“It tastes summery to me,” reporter Patrick Kernan said as he sampled a Times Leader test kichen dish called Peas & Carrots Copenhagen. “It would be good for a potluck at a picnic.”
Like most non-vegan Americans, I really enjoy bacon. As a kid, when mom made BLTs for all of us, I asked her to hold the L and the T. Mmmm, bacon sandwich.
For Bob Moss, the fun starts even before he starts carving.
Do you remember a little playground ditty that started out “on top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese?”
My family didn’t grill when I was a kid, yet those of us who got into cooking also got into grilling. It started with just burgers and hot dogs on the summer holidays (Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day), but expanded steadily over the years. When I volunteered to cook for this Labor Day (for much smaller family gatherings than in the past), I went straight to my oldest brother’s collection of “Uncle Jake’s Favorite Recipes,” grilling sub-category.
I loved mom’s French fries as a kid and into adulthood. She kept it simple, peeling the spuds and using one of those slicers akin to the old Play-Doh press: a chamber for the potato, a vertical blade at one end that could be changed for different size cuts, and an arm you pressed down to push tater through blade. Deep fry them golden brown in oil, drain on a paper towel, and salt. Voila!
Decades ago, in another lifetime, my older brother enlisted in the Army and ended up moving his family to Fort Polk, Louisiana. A friend and I took a week and flew out to Baton Rouge, rented a car and headed to New Orleans for a few days in the French Quarter before connecting with my brother.
Inspiration to try a new recipe springs from many a source. In this case, several.
My love of certain cheeses is no secret in this test kitchen, yet I’ve never had much interest in cooking that ultimate comfort food, mac & cheese — well, except for the lobster mac & cheese recipe I shared in this space in April, cooked at the request of MT’s mom for her birthday. That’s one great dish.
There were lots of lovely fresh sweet peppers at the Wilkes-Barre Farmers Market last week; I spotted them at various tables on Public Square and came away with five plump beauties from Larry O’Malia’s stand — thinking I’d cut them up and serve them raw, as a side dish with sandwiches.
Last summer the three blueberry bushes in my mother’s backyard in Wilkes-Barre held so much fruit it seemed as if I could pick a couple hundred berries in just a few minutes. And by the time I was finished picking them, I’d notice more had ripened.
I tried to make potato-crusted fish once before and it was a disaster, with the grated potatoes sticking much more to the pan than to the fish. I don’t remember if this was the recipe I used, but lesson learned: This seems surer to work in a good non-stick pan.
Since buying the Pasta & Pizza Presto cookbook (Maxine Clarke and Shirley Gill) — on a previously mentioned trip to Vermont — I’ve made Fiorentina (with spinach, though I skipped the egg in the center), Marinara (tomato and garlic, no cheese), and smoked chicken with yellow peppers and sun-dried tomato pizzas, to name a few.
As my mother-in-law, Mary Guydish of West Hazleton, approached her 96th birthday last week, I asked my sister-in-law Deb if I could bake a cake, something sweet to top off the wonderful surf-and-turf dinner Deb had planned.
Odds are if I tallied all the meals I’ve eaten in restaurants (excluding fast food and pizza joints), shrimp scampi would be the entree I ordered most. I tried making a recipe of it years ago and was unsatisfied. When I saw the gang on America’s Test Kitchen take a crack at it by poaching the shrimp rather than sauteing it, I expected it to be a solid winner.