Sloane Taylor - Sweet as Honey, Hotter Than Hell

What’s Cooking

Cooking

One thing I do, and do well, is cook. Check out Studly’s waistline if you don’t believe me. Yet it has always frustrated me to read a delicious sounding recipe and then have to figure out what to serve with it. Beans or peas? Fried or boiled potatoes? To salad or not. You get the idea. We’re not talking rocket science, but a clue or two from those big-buck chefs, whose books I constantly buy, would sure help.

So today don your aprons and grab those skillets because we’re taking a giant step to ease the burden of the overworked woman.

Every month a new menu will be posted. Please feel free to email me your thoughts, suggestions, or your favorite recipes. We’re all in this cooking thing together and might as well help out each other.

December’s Choice

Whether you enjoy the holidays as a couple or with friends and family this menu is sure to please. Several of the dishes can be made in advance which makes your life easier. Those are noted with asterisks. Also, you have an assortment of appetizers and side dishes to choose from. No need to make everything unless you want to. Select the ones you find the most interesting and let your creativity shine.

I strongly recommend you have all the ingredients grouped together on the counter for each dish before you start cooking, including measuring utensils and cookware. This is a good practice no matter how small or large your menu.

APPETIZERS
• Marinated Black Olives
• Sweet Barbequed Meatballs
• Pear Mini-tarts
• Shrimp
• Dry Champagne

DINNER
• Chateaubriand
• Sautéed Asparagus
• Sautéed Broccoli
• Sautéed Mushrooms
• Boiled Potatoes
• Tomato Salad
• Bordeaux Wine

DESSERT
• Orange Granite
• Gelato
• Riesling Wine

Black Olives in Oil*

1 can medium-size pitted black olives, drained
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
Olive oil
Glass jar with a secure lid

Empty the olives into the jar. Add the garlic. Pour in the olive oil to cover. Refrigerate at least 1 week. The mix will become thick and cloudy. It’s okay, that’s the oil solidifying.

To serve, set the jar on the counter until the oil becomes clear and normal consistency, which will take several hours. Spoon out the quantity of olives you wish to serve into a pretty dish. Be sure to have toothpicks. Put the jar back in the fridge for future use. You can refill with more olives and the mixture can stay good for up to three months.

Sweet Barbequed Meatballs**

1 bag frozen Italian seasoned meatballs
10 oz. grape jelly
1 bottle barbecue sauce
¼ cup dry red wine

Combine all ingredients in a medium-size saucepan. Be sure the meatballs are covered with the jelly and barbecue sauce. Adjust the amounts as necessary. Be sparing if you add more wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until meatballs are heated through.

Keep warm on the stove or in a low-heat oven until you’re ready to serve. To make your life easier during the busy holiday season, prepare this appetizer several days in advance of your party. Be sure to cover and refrigerate. On party day, remove the meatballs from the fridge at least 2 hours prior to serving. Warm either on the stovetop or in the oven.

Pear Mini-Tarts

4 oz. brie with rind removed
1 tbsp. celery, finely chopped
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. chives, snipped fine
Pre-baked mini-tart shells, usually found in the frozen food section
2 pears
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Poppy seed, optional

**Mash brie with a fork in a bowl. Mix in the celery, pepper. Gradually beat in the cream cheese. Fold in chives. Cover and chill in refrigerator until needed.

20 – 30 minutes before serving peel, core, and quarter pears. Cut into slices and then mix with lemon juice. This stops them from turning brown.

Fill shell with cheese mixture. Stand a pear piece on top and then sprinkle lightly with poppy seeds.

Shrimp***

Lettuce leaves
Shrimp sauce
Precooked shrimp, thawed if frozen
A few lemon slices

Arrange a few lettuce leaves on a plate. Pour sauce into a small bowl and then set in the center of the lettuce. Lay the shrimp around the bowl in a nice design. Add the lemon for those who like a taste on their shrimp. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chateaubriand

1 beef tenderloin
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
½ cup red wine
2 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 450° F or 235°C.

Season the meat with pepper.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the meat and brown on all sides, including the two ends.

Set the pan in the oven and roast 10 – 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer it to a cutting board and tent with foil.

Pour all but a thin film of fat from the pan. Add the shallot and sauté over medium-low heat until golden, 2 – 3 minutes.

Pour in the wine. Raise heat to high. Scrape any brown bits around the side and bottom into the wine.

The sauce will become syrupy in about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and then whisk in the butter.

Cut the meat into thick slices and drizzle with the sauce.

Steamed Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup dry vermouth or white wine
Tap water
2 tbsp butter
Metal vegetable steamer

Add chicken stock and dry vermouth to a medium size saucepan. Insert vegetable steamer, then add tap water to just below the bottom holes.

Trim the bottom ends of the asparagus to fit your saucepan. Add spears and cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat, adjusting the heat to a strong simmer. In 4-5 minutes the asparagus should be crisp tender.

Lay asparagus in an ovenproof dish, spread butter over them. Tent with foil and set in the oven to keep warm while you finish preparing the meal.

Sautéed Broccoli

I head broccoli
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
¼ cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles

Trim the flowerettes from the stalk.

Heat a medium-size frying pan on medium-high heat. Add oil. Stir in broccoli and butter when the oil shimmers. Turn and flip broccoli to coat well. You may need a little more oil for this. Sauté until crisp tender.

Sprinkle cheese over the broccoli and serve. Or tent with foil and set in the oven while you finish preparing dinner.

Sautéed Mushrooms

10 baby Bello mushrooms
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
¼ medium onion sliced thin
healthy splash of dry vermouth or white wine

Clean the mushrooms with a dry paper towel. I prefer to slice the mushrooms in half lengthwise. They cook better. This can be done early in the day if that’s more convenient.

Set a frying pan on medium heat. When the pan is quite warm, add olive oil and butter. As the foam subsides add the sliced onion. Sauté for a few minutes, be careful not to brown or burn the onion.

Stir in the mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until well coated with the oil mixture. Add more butter or oil if the mixture seems dry.

Pour vermouth or wine onto the mushrooms then cook a 2 minutes longer. This dish can be served hot or room temp, but not cold.

Boiled Potatoes***

Chicken stock, fresh or store bought
1 bay leaf or 2 tbsp. dried basil
2 small potatoes per person
Butter to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste

Fill a pot a little less than half filled with chicken stock. Add bay leaf or basil. Peel a circle around the potatoes and rinse. Drop them into pot. Cover the potatoes with water and a lid. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat so potatoes continue to cook on a soft boil.

Fork test after 15 – 20 minutes. It should slide in easily when the potatoes are done.

Drain water and remove bay leaf. If you’ve used basil, most will drain away and that’s okay. You want the flavor more than the leaves. Add butter and pepper. Turn with a spatula or spoon to coat well. Return potatoes and pot to burner with the heat turned off.

If you opt to cook the potatoes early in the day be sure to remove the lid so they cool to room temperature. After they do cover with the lid and set aside. Set this saucepan in the oven after the Chateaubriand is done and you’re preparing the sauce. Set the oven at 210°F or 100°C.

Tomato Salad***

1 plum tomato per 2 people sliced ¼ inch thick
¼ tsp. garlic pressed
½ cup olive oil
Fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. scallions sliced thin
1 tbsp. finely cut fresh basil or 1 teas. dried
1 tsp. parsley dried – if you use fresh, chop well

Arrange the tomatoes in slightly overlapping concentric circles on a deep, round plate or platter.

Prepare the dressing by blending the oil, vinegar, basil, garlic and pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the mixture over the tomatoes.

Combine the scallions and parsley, then sprinkle evenly over the top. Cover and set on the counter until ready to serve.

Orange Granite – Flavored Ice**

2 cups water
¾ cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
3 tbsp. lemon juice

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Stir only until the sugar dissolves. Timing from the moment the sugar water begins to boil, cook the mixture for exactly 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, stir the orange and lemon juices into the syrup. Pour mixture into a shallow metal pan.

Freeze the granite for 3 to 4 hours. Every 30 minutes, stir and scrape in the ice particles that form on the sides of the pan. The granite should be a fine, snowy texture. For a coarser texture, which I prefer, freeze the flavored syrup in ice cube trays until solid, then drop cubes into a plastic bag and smash with a heavy wooden spoon or mallet.

Gelato

This is where I head to the grocery store. Gelato is not an easy item to make. I suggest you buy one of the flavor combinations to end your meal on a sweet note.

 

* Make at least one week in advance of serving.
** Can be made one day in advance of serving.
*** Prepare early in the day you plan to serve.

 

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a beautiful New Year!

Sloane

November’s Choice

This is an ideal menu for your family or when you entertain. It’s fast, tasty, and has a lovely presentation.

• Pork Chops & Apples
• Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
• Fresh Green Beans
• Crisp White Wine

Pork Chops & Apples

4 pork chops, preferably on the bone ½ inch thick
1 tsp. dried sage
nonstick spray coating
1 small onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 apple, cored and cut into wedges
1 cup apple juice
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cold water
2 tsp. corn starch

Preheat oven to 210°F.

Trim off the fat from the chops. Rub sage on both sides of the meat.

Coat a cold 12 inch frying pan with nonstick spray. Heat the pan on medium until warm. Add the meat and cook for 7 minutes. Turn, add most of the onion, and cook 7 minutes longer. Remove chops and onion to a plate, tent with foil, and set in oven.

Wipe the pan with a paper towel. Add remaining onion, apple wedges, juice, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 3 – 5 minutes until apples are crisp-tender.

Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Pour into the skillet. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, regulating heat to keep a slow boil.

To serve, arrange chops on dinner plates. Lay a few apple slices on the chops. Drizzle sauce over the meat.

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised with the flat of a knife
1- 2 tbsp. butter for baking dish
5 boiling potato, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch slices
1½ cups Swiss cheese, grated
6 tbps. butter, cut into ¼-inch bits
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Rub the bottom and sides of a medium-sized baking dish with the garlic. Grease the dish lightly with butter.

Dry the potato slices. Spread half of them on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with half the cheese and butter bits. Grind pepper across the top.

Spread the remaining potato slices in the dish followed by the cheese, butter, and pepper. Pour the cream down the side of the dish.

Bake in the upper third of the oven for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are almost tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove any residual liquid with a bulb baster. Bake another 5 – 10 minutes until potatoes are tender, the cream absorbed, and the top is nicely browned.

Fresh Green Beans

1 lb. green beans trimmed, but left whole
Water
3 tbsp. butter
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the beans in a colander and then rinse them under cold water. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a hard boil on high heat.

Drop the beans in by the handful. Boil 10 to 14 minutes or until the beans are just tender but still crisp.

Drain beans in a colander. Add butter to the hot pot and melt. Return beans to the pot. Toss with butter and coat well. Season with pepper and serve.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with laughter and seated around a well laden table!

Sloane

October’s Choice

Here’s a quick dinner that looks and tastes like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen. Add rice along with a salad and your meal is complete.

Chicken Marsala

4 medium chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
¼ tsp. thyme
8 ozs. baby Porto Bella mushrooms, cleaned and halved if large
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. butter
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup Marsala wine
½ cup heavy cream at room temperature
Rice or pasta
Parsley

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle thyme evenly over breasts.

Melt half the oil and butter in a 12-inch skillet set on medium heat. When the foam subsides add mushrooms and garlic. Sauté 3-4 minutes. Spoon vegetables into a bowl and set aside.

Use the same skillet and melt remaining oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Sauté 10-15 minutes or until no pink remains. The time depends on meat thickness. Remove chicken to a plate. Tent with foil to keep warm or place in a 200° oven

Add Marsala and stock to the same skillet. Bring to a boil while scraping in any bits that cling to the bottom and sides of the pan. Boil for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by almost half.

Lower heat to medium. Slowly stir in cream. Heat through but do not allow this to boil.

Return chicken and mushrooms to the pan. Heat through for 2-3 minutes.

Move chicken to the center of a serving dish. Surround with rice or pasta. Spoon mushrooms and broth over the platter. Sprinkle parsley across the top to decorate. Serve immediately.

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane

September’s Choice

Hot weather is not the time to spend hours in the kitchen. This dish becomes a complete meal when you add egg rolls, pot stickers, and a glass or two of sake. This recipe serves two.

Fried Rice

Courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography

Pork Fried Rice

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
⅔ cup cooked pork, chopped fine
3 cups 1 – 3 day old cooked rice
Pinch dried ginger
2tbsp. butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. soy sauce
4 green onions, sliced fine, include 1” of green

Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the pan evenly. Stir in peas, pork, and rice. Sprinkle on the ginger. Heat through for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat while you prepare the egg.

Add butter to a small frying pan set over medium heat. Pour in the egg and swirl to spread it around until almost done, about one minute. Flip with a spatula. Remove from the heat. Break into small pieces and then stir into rice mixture.

Carefully mix in soy sauce and green onion. Heat through for about 3 minutes.

Replace pork with chicken or shrimp for another tasty meal. Just be sure to use cooked alternatives.

Enjoy!

Sloane

August’s Choice

Omelets are delicious for breakfast with croissants, jam, sausage, and perhaps a mimosa on special occasions. Dress those elegant eggs up with French bread, butter, fruit salad, and iced tea for a refreshing lunch. And nothing is better on a hot summer night than an omelet with sautéed broccoli, sliced tomato, and a cool glass of white wine. Give them a try and then tell me which one is your favorite.

Omelet Photo by zole4

Photo by zole4

A Perfect Omelet


1½ tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. onion, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch of ground thyme
Small handful extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Small handful aged Swiss cheese, shredded
Chives or parsley, optional

Preheat oven to 220°F.

Use an 8-inch, non-stick skillet, to melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Shuffle the pan often so the onion doesn’t burn

Turn the heat to almost medium-high. Whisk together eggs, pepper, and thyme, then pour into the hot pan. Gently swirl the pan to prevent the eggs from sticking. As they set, carefully lift the edges to allow raw egg to flow onto the hot pan.

Sprinkle the cheeses evenly across the eggs. Flip one side of the omelet over the other to make a half-moon. Slide onto a plate and set in the oven while you prepare more omelets.

The finished omelet will be a nice yellow color with the cheese melted. Sometimes they will have browned a bit. Don’t worry; this does not affect the delicate taste. Sprinkle with the chives or parsley and serve.

An added treat is a handful of chopped ham strewn across the egg mixture right before you sprinkle on the cheese.

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane

July’s Choice

As a woman of a certain age I’ve finally come to enjoy fish. This was no easy transition, believe me. We’re talking years of cringing or clamping my nose. The years passed and now I find it a wonderful challenge to create easy recipes for the various types of lake and river bounty such as this one. I hope you enjoy this menu.

• Pan-Fried Catfish
• Snazzy Sliced Tomatoes
• Remoulade Sauce
• French Fries
• Dry White Wine or Cold Beer

Catfish

Pan-Fried Catfish

⅓ cup all-purpose flour, might need a little more
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. water
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
¼ cup cornmeal
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
⅛ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. dried sage
½ tsp. dried thyme
4 catfish fillets, cut into serving pieces
2 tbsp. lard, solid shortening, or vegetable oil
1 tbsp. butter

Combine flour and pepper in a zip-top plastic bag or paper bag. Mix well water and eggs in a shallow dish large enough to hold a fillet. Blend breadcrumbs, cornmeal, and remaining dry ingredients in a different shallow dish.

Place one fish in the bag and shake gently to coat. Remove and dip it in egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs mixture. Lay on a plate. Do the same with the other pieces. Do not stack or overlap the fish. Set in the refrigerator for 20 – 30 minutes. This dries the breading a little and helps it adhere better while frying.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter to pan. Swirl pan to melt butter. Be careful not to burn it. Add fillets to pan. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Remoulade

Remoulade Sauce

⅓ cup green onion, sliced
¼ cup celery, chopped fine
1large glove garlic, chopped fine
1 ½ tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. capers, drained, chopped
½ tbsp. horseradish
1 ½ tbsp. whole grain mustard
½ tbsp prepared mustard
1 tbsp. ketchup
½ tbsp. Worchester sauce
1 tsp. Frank’s hot sauce or ¼ tsp. Tabasco sauce
½ tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. paprika
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup mayonnaise

Place all ingredients except mayonnaise in a food processor. Process until semi-smooth. Scrape down the sides. Continue to process until smooth, about 30 seconds to 45 seconds in all.

Add mayonnaise. Blend well.

Pour sauce into a serving dish, cover, and refrigerate until dinner.

Snazzy Sliced Tomatoes

Snazzy Sliced Tomatoes

2 Romaine lettuce leaves per person
1 tomato per two people
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Garlic powder not garlic salt
Chives, fresh snipped fine or dried
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare this dish at least an hour before serving.

Place lettuce on each salad plate. Slice tomatoes ½” thick and arrange atop lettuce.

Drizzle vinegar over the tomatoes, then lightly lace with olive oil. Dust with garlic. Add pepper. Sprinkle plenty of chives across the top.

Set on the counter away from sun or heat to flavor through.

French Fries

I’m a fan of Ore-Ida brand fries. Not only are they easy, they taste great!

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane

June’s Choice

Make Sunday morning special with this delicious and easy make-ahead meal. Serve with mini croissants or French bread, butter and jelly. Hash browns and fruit salad are nice accompaniments. Mimosas are a lovely drink to top off your breakfast/brunch.

Breakfast Soufflé

1 pound ham, bacon, or breakfast sausage
9 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups milk
1 tsp. dry mustard
Diced green, red, and/or yellow pepper to taste
4 – 1 inch slices Vienna or French bread, cubed
½ pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ pound Swiss or Gruyere cheese, or a combination of the two grated
Diced onion to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Dice the ham or bacon. If you use ham, set aside in the bowl you choose for the eggs. Fry bacon to the crispness you prefer. If you use breakfast sausage, fry the meat until no longer pink. Be sure to break up any clumps. Drain the meat in a colander while you continue to prepare the soufflé.

Add all ingredients, but the bread, to the eggs. Stir well.

Stir in bread.

Pour mixture into an ungreased 9×13 inch glass dish. Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center has no egg cling to it.

This dish can be assembled one or two days ahead of time. Allow the soufflé to sit on your counter 1 – 2 hours before you bake it.

Leftovers are excellent from the microwave.

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane

May’s Choice

Now that spring is officially here and the holidays are over, I’m in serious cooking for two mode and loving every second. These three recipes are easily increased for a larger group, but you might want to go easy on the garlic.

• Pork Marsala
• Fettuccine Ala Sloane
• Stuffed Plum Tomatoes
• Crusty Italian or French Bread
• Hearty Red Wine

Pork Marsala

Pork Marsala

2 pork loin chops
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ tsp. sage
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. butter
4 ozs. baby Porto Bella mushrooms, halved if large
2 garlic cloves, pressed
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup Marsala wine
½ cup heavy cream at room temperature
Parsley

Preheat oven to 200°F.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Place each chop between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Use a mallet or the side of a meat tenderizer to gently pound them until they are an even ¼ inch thick.

Combine flour, pepper, and sage in a shallow dish or paper bag. Dredge the chops in flour.

Melt half the oil and butter in a 10- to 12-inch skillet set on medium heat. When the foam subsides add mushrooms and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Spoon vegetables into a bowl and set aside.

Use the same skillet and melt remaining oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add pork. Sauté 10-15 minutes, until no pink remains. The time depends on meat thickness. Remove meat to a plate, tent with foil, and set in the oven.

Add Marsala and stock to the same skillet. Bring to a boil while scraping in any bits that cling to the bottom and sides of the pan. Boil for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by almost half.

Reduce heat to medium. Slowly stir in cream. Heat through but do not bring to a boil.

Return pork and mushrooms to the pan. Heat through for 2-3 minutes.

Lay pork in the center of a serving dish. Spoon mushrooms and broth over the platter. Sprinkle parsley across the top to decorate and serve immediately.

Fettuccine Ala Sloane

2 sticks butter, softened
½ cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, pressed
½ pound fettuccine
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Use a wooden spoon to cream the butter by beating it vigorously against the side of a medium-sized bowl until it is light and fluffy. I sometimes use the whip on my mix master if I’m short on time. Beat in the cream a little at a time. Don’t add more until the other is well blended. Beat in the cheese and finally the garlic. Cover and set aside. If you won’t need it for several hours, refrigerate but then bring to room temperature before you mix with the pasta.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Be sure you cook to al dente and not longer. Drain the noodles well and then toss with the butter mixture well.

Serve at once. Top with the extra Parmesan and enjoy!

Stuffed Plum Tomatoes

Plum tomatoes, 1½ per person
6 fresh mozzarella balls, chopped
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried basil
1 glove garlic, pressed

This is a good dish to prepare several hours before serving so the flavors blend. All the ingredients are to taste, so have fun and experiment.

Prepare the tomatoes by cutting them in half lengthwise and scooping clean. Turn upside down on a paper towel to drain.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Scoop the filling into the tomato halves. Arrange them on a serving dish. Chill until ready to serve.

These recipes serve 2.

May you enjoy all the days of your life around a well laden table!

Sloane

April’s Choice

Baked salmon steaks are a delightful treat and not outrageously expensive. Tease your taste buds with this combination of sweet and spicy. Add your favorite green vegetable, rice, and a cool white wine like Pinot Grigio for a delicious and quick dinner.

Salmon Steaks

3 salmon filets no more than 1 inch thick
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
Splash white wine
2 tbsp. butter
3 green onions, sliced
1 tbsp. pine nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 425°F

Pam aluminum foil and lay it on a cookie sheet oiled side up. Place the fish on the foil.

Combine sugar, mustard, and wine in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.

Spread the blend evenly over the salmon to cover it. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish flakes.

Turn the oven to broil. Move the fish to 4 inches from the heat. Broil for 2 minutes or until golden.

While the salmon is baking prepare the green onion topping.

Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Stir in pine nuts for extra crunch. Add onion. Sauté until the onion is soft and lightly colored. Set aside.

Add a dollop of topping to each salmon steak and serve.

This recipe serves 2

March’s Choice

Beef is a favorite with Studs and most men. Beef on bones is like manna from heaven to them. Must be something carried over from caveman days. Here’s an easy recipe that will satisfy the beefaholic in your life. It goes great with boiled or mashed potatoes and a fresh salad.

beef short ribs

Braised Beef Short Ribs

2-3 pounds beef short ribs cut into 2-inch pieces
Freshly ground pepper to taste¼ tsp. thyme
½ cup flour
2 tbsp. lard or solid shortening
2 medium onions, chopped
½ cup carrot, chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, pressed
¼ tsp. dried thyme
1 cup beef stock
2 small bay leaves
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Pat ribs dry. Grind pepper over the meat. Pour flour into a paper bag. Add 2 – 4 ribs at a time. Shake bag gently to coat the meat. Remove the ribs and set on a large plate. Continue until all the ribs are coated.

Melt the lard or shortening in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Carefully add ribs and brown them on all sides. Don’t crowd the pan. You’re better off to brown the meat in batches. Return ribs to the plate. Lower heat to medium.

Add onions and carrots to the same pot. Sauté until onions are soft and transparent. Add garlic. Cook for 45 – 60 seconds.

Stir in the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Scrape in any brown bits clinging to the bottom and sides of the pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Nestle ribs in the pan and bring to a boil. Cover and then place in the oven. Braise the ribs for 1 ½ hours or until the meat shows no resistance when pierced with a fork.

Arrange ribs on a clean platter and tent with foil to keep them warm.

Strain the braising liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Press down hard on the vegetables to extract the juices. Discard vegetable. Skim off the surface fat.

Bring the pan to a hard boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes to intensify the flavor.

Pour the sauce into a gravy boat and serve alongside the ribs.

Happy Cooking!

February’s Choice

Winter and early spring Saturday nights are the perfect times to relax with a hot meal that’s not only easy, but satisfying. This menu is also the ultimate Super Bowl Halftime meal. Extra freeze and reheat great. Enjoy!

• Sloane’s Super Bowl Chili
• Corn Bread
• Ice Cold Beer

Photo by Mister GC

Sloane’s Super Bowl Chili

6 tsp. olive oil
2 large onions, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 lbs. ground chuck
1 green pepper, chopped fine
4 cups beef stock, not broth
3 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tbsp. ground cumin
3 bay leaves, remove before serving
5 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
2 cans Bush’s chili beans in mild sauce
1 tsp. baking soda*

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the onions or garlic.

Turn the heat to medium-high. Stir in ground chuck and green pepper. Brown the meat, breaking up clumps as you cook, about 10 – 14 minutes.

Transfer the contents to a 3 quart saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the remaining ingredients except beans and baking soda. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium or low. Simmer until the chili reaches your desired thickness. This step may take an hour or more.

10 minutes before serving stir in beans and baking soda. Heat through and serve.

Some people like to top their chili with a dab of sour cream or grated cheddar cheese. Both are super with this recipe.

*Adding a small amount of baking soda to any bean dish helps reduce or eliminate the intestinal problem some of us incur when eating beans.

Serves 8

Corn Bread

1 package Corn Muffin Mix

Follow the easy package directions.

You can also bake this recipe in a pie tin, and then serve in wedges.

Either way, be sure to have butter or margarine to slather on your warm corn bread.

January’s Choice

January is National Soup Month. Because of that, it is my pleasure to present you with two delicious and easy soups you will enjoy making and eating. And they freeze well, too.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

1½ pounds broccoli
4 tbsp. butter
½ cup onions, chopped
¼ cup red pepper, chopped
4 tbsp. flour
6 cups chicken stock
¼ cup dry sherry
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. ground thyme
8 black peppercorns or fresh ground to taste
2 pinches of nutmeg
3 eggs yolks
1 cup heavy cream
Sharp cheddar cheese, grated* optional

Cut off broccoli florets and set aside for another meal. Chop stems and branches.

Melt butter in a 3-4 quart saucepan. Add all the broccoli pieces, onions, and red peppers. Sauté until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Do not let the onions brown or the soup will be bitter.

Sprinkle the flour across the vegetables, and then stir to coat them as evenly as possible.

Add all the remaining ingredients, except the last three. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and lower the heat to a hearty simmer. Cook for 30 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.

Add the nutmeg off heat. Strain the soup from the pulp. To do this, pour the soup into a large bowl. Wipe out the pot with a paper towel. Set a colander over the pot, then carefully pour in the soup mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to extract the liquid. Discard the pulp and return the pot to medium-low heat.

Whisk the egg yolks into the cream. Stir in 5 tablespoons of hot soup at a time until you’ve added about ¾ cup. Reverse the process and slowly whisk the now-warm mixture into the soup. **

Bring soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat. Taste and season with pepper if necessary.

Serve from a tureen or in individual bowls.

This recipe makes 8 bowls.

*My granddaughter likes to sprinkle a fair amount onto her soup. I prefer it heated in the soup as it melts better.

**This may seem like extra work, but if you don’t do it the yolks and cream will curdle.

Minestrone (Vegetable) Soup

½ cup dry white beans, navy or Great Northern
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup zucchini, unpeeled, scrubbed and diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup red potatoes, diced
⅓ cup celery, diced
5 strips bacon, diced
¼ cup onion, chopped
½ cup leeks (or substitute onions), chopped fine
2 cups drained diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock, homemade or canned
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. parsley
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup rice

Garnish
½ tbsp. dried basil
½ tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic, chopped fine
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Soup
Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a heavy 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Add the beans and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Return the pan to the stove, and over low heat simmer the beans uncovered for 1-1½ hours, or until they are barely tender. Drain the beans and set aside.

Melt the butter over moderate heat in a heavy 10-to 12- inch skillet. When the foam subsides, add the peas, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Toss constantly with a wooden spoon to coat the vegetables. Cook 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

Fry the bacon in a heavy 6-to8-quart saucepan over moderate heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels, but retain the grease in the pot. Stir in the onion and leeks. Continue to stir until the vegetables are soft and lightly brown, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, vegetables from the skillet, chicken stock, bay leaf, parsley, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 25 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Add the rice, beans, and bacon. Cook 15 – 20 minutes longer.

Garnish
Combine all ingredients into a small bowl. Stir well.

To Serve
Ladle into individual bowls. Sprinkle with herb/garlic mixture. Pass a bowl of grated cheese.

This recipe makes 8 bowls.