Hash

This is one of the easiest, and one of our family’s favorite ways, to use leftover meat from a roast or the grill.  You can put anything that appeals to you in it.  Just make sure you get the potatoes nice and crusty.

Ingredients:

½ lb. of lean steak, pork, sausage or chicken  (leftovers work well for this)

2 large or 3 small potatoes (preferably waxy, such as Yukon Gold)

1 small or ½ large yellow onion

1 red pepper

olive oil

salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1.  Peel potatoes and cut into very small dice (1/4″ to 1/3″ cubes) and place in a bowl of water to cover the potatoes.
  2. Cut the onion into either long thin strips or medium dice.
  3. Cut as much red pepper as you like into medium dice (roughly the same size as the potatoes).
  4. Heat a frying pan until quite hot.  If you do not have leftover cooked steak, pork, etc. Add 1 to 2 t. of olive oil to the pan.  Salt and pepper the steak, pork, sausage, etc. Fry in the olive oil, turning once until the steak is medium rare or the pork, chicken or sausage are just cooked through. Remove from pan, tent with foil, and let cool on plate or cutting board.
  5. When meat is cool, cut into pieces of similar size to the potatoes.
  6. While the meat is cooling, turn the heat under the pan to medium, add 1 – 2 T. of olive oil, then the onions, and cook just until wilted.
  7. Increase the heat to medium-high and when hot drain potatoes and add to pan (stand back in case the potatoes splatter in the oil).  Stir or shake pan to evenly distribute potatoes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cover partially (use aluminum foil if no lid is available) for the first 5-10 minutes of cooking.
  8. When potatoes are tender, remove top, sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn the heat back to medium high.  Scrape the potatoes as you mix them in the pan so they brown on all sides and add the cut up mean and red pepper.  Heat through and serve.

Makes enough for two.  Any leftovers will keep for three days refrigerated.

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

When I was just out of graduate school, living in a triple-decker in Belmont, Mass., it was always great fun to have a friend come over and to cook dinner together after work.  My dear friend Jane and I made this linguine dish more times than I can count, sharing some wine and many laughs each time.  Once my kitchen and my skills improved, the canned clams were replaced by fresh ones, and the sauce became a bit more complex.  Still, for a simple weeknight meal with a friend, add a salad and you can’t beat this!

Ingredients:

1 can of chopped or minced clams

2-3 cloves of garlic

2 T. olive oil

½ cup white wine (as dry as possible)

½ to 1 lb. linguine

freshly ground black pepper

fresh basil or parsley

Preparation:

  1.  Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
  2.  Finely chop the garlic.
  3.  In a large pot or frying pan (big enough to hold the pasta and the sauce) add the olive oil and warm over medium-low heat.  Add the chopped garlic and sauté just until fragrant but do not let it brown.
  4.  Add the can of clams, including the juice.  Add the white wine and cook until just beginning to bubble.  Set aside.
  5.  Cook the pasta and drain thoroughly.
  6.  Add the pasta to the clam sauce, season with salt (if needed), black pepper.
  7. Top with either torn up basil leaves or chopped.

Serves 2-3 (depending on how much pasta you cook and how hungry you are).

Granola

Quite a few years ago, my husband was looking for a healthy breakfast he could take with him to work.  Yogurt and granola fit the bill except for the amount of fat in most commercial granolas and the fact that he really doesn’t like dried coconut which is ubiquitous in most preparations.  As a result, I decided to experiment with a granola that would be low in fat, high in fiber and did not contain coconut.  The recipe quickly became a favorite of David’s and of both of our daughters.  I now make it in four pound batches just to keep up with their demand.  The recipe below makes two pounds, but can be doubled if you have more than one sheet pan.

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs. of thick or extra thick rolled oats (not steel cut)

½ cup of dark brown sugar

¼ cup of chopped pecans (or more or less to taste)

¼ cup of slivered or sliced almonds (more or less to taste)

½ cup of canola oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)

½ cup of honey

a pinch of salt

Dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, apricots, blueberries, and banana chips) OPTIONAL

PREPARATION:

1.  Preheat oven to 275 deg. F.

2.  In a large bowl, using your hands, mix together the oats, the brown sugar and nuts.

3.  Add the oil, honey and the pinch of salt.  Switching to a large, sturdy wooden or metal spoon, mix until the oil and honey are thoroughly distributed throughout the mixture and there are no large clumps (a few small ones are fine).

4. Place the granola on a sheet pan or other large oven-safe shallow pan with sides.

5. Cook for 30-50 minutes depending on how toasty you like it (Sarah prefers lighter, Kate likes hers quite dark).

6.  Immediately upon removing from the oven, using a spatula or large spoon, transfer the granola to a large bowl or storage container to cool.  If you leave it on the pan, it will stick terribly.  Stir the granola every 10-15 minutes as it cools so that it stays separate.

7.  Once it cools, add dried fruit if you wish.

The Fritz’s Famous Fish Chowder

Two summers ago, we spent a wonderful week with friends on Cape Cod in a house overlooking the sea.  I still smile every time I think of it. We would go off on a separate activities during the day and come together in the evening for cocktails and a communal dinner. One of the highlights of the trip for a hardy few was a very early morning fishing trip that resulted in a boatload (almost literally) of fabulous striper.  One night Patty and Craig Fritz turned some of it into this tasty fish chowder.  The credit for the recipe is all theirs and I am grateful they have let me reproduce it here.

The fresher the fish, the better the chowder.

Ingredients:

8 T. butter

6 T.  flour

1 large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

8 cups of milk

2 lbs. of potatoes (preferably red), peeled and diced

3 lbs. fish (preferably striped bass or similar fish), cut into pieces

2 T. chopped parsley

other herbs to taste (thyme is a good choice)

Preparation:

  1.  Melt butter in a stockpot.
  2.  Add onion, celery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3.  Stir in flour and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring all the while.
  4.  Add milk and potatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender.
  5.  Stir in fish and simmer for 10 minutes or until fish flakes.
  6.  Add parsley and salt, as well as thyme or other seasoning, if using.
  7.  Serve and enjoy.

Serves 8-12, recipe can be halved.

Jamaican-inspired Pork and Rice

An old friend described for me years ago the flavors that he missed most from time spent in Jamaica–the combination of warm  and hot spices.  In his view, no other combination was as comforting.  Growing up, my daughters both grew to agree with him, although one favors the warm spices while the other likes a bit of heat.  This recipe combines both in one of our favorite weeknight meals.

This recipe can easily be doubled or even quadrupled to feed a crowd.

INGREDIENTS:

1-2 boneless or bone-in pork chops, or one half of a small pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes

2 T. olive oil or vegetable oil

1 small onion

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 jalapeno pepper (optional if you object to a little spice)

2-3 cloves of garlic

3 T flour

2 cups white wine, preferably dry (if it is sweet you can skip some of the brown sugar)

1/2 cup tomato sauce

⅛ t. cinnamon

⅛ t. ginger

1 T. brown sugar

sturdy pinch of red pepper flakes

cayenne or hot sauce to taste

PREPARATION:

  1. Place trimmed pieces of pork and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with flour (and salt and pepper) and toss to coat.
  2. Chop onion and red and green peppers into approximately one-inch squares. Finely chop the jalapeno (use gloves if possible) and the garlic.
  3. Heat oil in a large fry or sauté pan that has a lid available over medium heat. When oil is hot, add pork and cook until very brown on all or most sides, turning occasionally. Some of the flour will stick to the pan, don’t worry about it. Remove pork to a dish and set aside.
  4. Add the onions and peppers to the pan and cook until wilted. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two until you can smell it.
  5. Add the wine and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, stirring vigorously.
  6. Add the tomato sauce, cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar and pepper flakes/cayenne/hot sauce. Mix well and return the pork to the pan. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the Jamaican pork to bubble slowly until the pork is very tender when you pierce it with a sharp knife or the tines of a fork (20 minutes to 35 minutes depending on the size of the pieces).
  7. While the pork is cooking you can make the rice–see below.
  8. When the pork is tender, remove the lid and turn up the heat so the sauce boils and becomes thicker. Turn it off when you reach the thickness you like. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

STOVETOP RICE

Ingredients:

¾ cup of long grain rice

1½ cups of water

pinch or two of salt

Preparation:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a pan with a lid.
  2. Place the pan uncovered on a burner set to medium-high until the water begins to boil.
  3. Turn the heat to medium-low or low depending on how hot the burner, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Check at ten minutes, if the rice is not tender and there is still some water, recover and cook for 3-5 minutes more, checking after a minute or two. If the rice is not tender but the water is gone add a few more tablespoons of water.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and leave covered for 2-5 minutes. If you do not want sticky rice, fluff the grains with a fork to separate them.

Makes 2 servings

Sarah’s Chicken and Dumplings

We have a tradition in our family that on a birthday, you can ask for anything you want for dinner.  For Sarah, the answer is almost always the same–Chicken and Dumplings.  These are the old fashioned dumplings that my father used to make, spooned on top of the bubbling chicken and sauce to cook up and absorb flavor.

Note:  The basic dough for the dumplings is taken from Christopher Kimball’s Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook.

INGREDIENTS:
3/4 to 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
1 T. olive oil (or butter if you don’t have olive oil)
2 T. sweet butter
1/2 small onion
4 T. flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen peas (4 ounces or 115 grams)
green beans (optional), as many as you want cut into 1 inch long pieces and tips discarded
1 t . either dried tarragon or dried thyme
1 cup flour
½ t. salt
½ t. baking soda
1 egg (beaten and divided in half)
2 T. melted butter
1/3 cup of milk
1 t. lemon juice
PREPARATION:

1. Heat a fry pan over medium-low heat and add the 1 T of olive oil. Place the chicken in a fry pan and cook over medium-low heat covered (with foil if you lack a cover) turning once until breast is just cooked through (about 8-10 minutes)

2. While chicken is cooking, finely chop the half onion.

3. Remove chicken from pan and set aside covered with foil.

4. Prepare the dry ingredients for the dumplings. In a medium to large bowl combine the 1 cup of flour, the ½ t.  salt, and ½ t. baking powder. In a small bowl or cup beat the egg and divide roughly in half (save the other half to use for something else). Melt the 2 T. of butter in a small pan or microwave. Set aside.

4. In a pan or pot that is at least 4″ deep, melt the 2 T. butter over medium-low heat and add the chopped onion. Cook just until the onion is translucent. Add the 4 T. of flour and mix until the butter and the flour are thoroughly combined.

5. Add the chicken stock and raise the heat to medium-high bringing the mixture to a low boil, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Reduce heat back to medium-low and allow to simmer for 5 minutes to finish cooking the flour.

6. While base is simmering, cut the chicken into bite size pieces.

7. Also, while the sauce is simmering, mix the dumplings: add the 1/2 egg, 2 T. melted butter, ⅓ cup milk and 1 t.  lemon juice to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine with a large spoon.

7. Add the chicken, peas, green beans (if using) and the tarragon or thyme to the pot and mix throughly to combine. Taste for salt and pepper.

8. Using your large spoon, scoop very large egg-sized portion of the dumplings onto the top of the sauce (they may sink a little). Cover and lower heat to gentle simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until dumplings are cooked through but still tender.

9. Serve and enjoy.

Makes approximately 3 servings.

Risotto

My daughter Sarah started making risotto when she was in second grade.  She was asked to write down a recipe that she made at home and since she had only been my assistant to that time, she wanted something that was her own to cook.  Since she loved eating risotto and we had a stool tall enough to let her sit at the stove and stir it, a small chef was born.

Note:  This recipe is adapted from one that was created by the great Judy Rogers and appears in the Zuni Cookbook.

INGREDIENTS:

2 T. sweet/unsalted butter (1 ounce or 28 grams)
1 small onion
2 pieces of American style bacon or a small piece of ham or 1-2 slices of prosciutto
2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1/4 cup white wine (or 60 ml)
4-5 cups of chicken stock (or just over 1 litre)
1/4 -1/2 cup of grated parmigian cheese (preferably parmigiano reggiano)

PREPARATION:

1. Chop onion into fine dice.

1. If using American bacon, cut into small dice and cook in a deep wide pot (Dutch oven or similar) until fat has rendered and bacon is crisp. Remove bacon pieces and  reserve.  Add butter to pot to melt. If not using bacon, begin by melting butter in pot.

2. In either case, add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook just until the onion is wilted and translucent.

3. Add the rice and stir until the grains are coated with the fat in the pan.

4. Add the wine and about 2 cups of the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir as needed until the liquid is absorbed.

5. Add another cup of liquid and follow the same process. After this liquid is absorbed check the risotto for salt (even though the rice is still hard) and add salt now if needed.

6. Continue adding liquid 1/2 cup of the stock at a time until the rice is just tender.

7. Add the parmigian, along with the crisp bacon, the ham or the prosciutto (cut into small pieces, if using), and the pepper and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings so you can have risotto cakes the next day.