Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category

Esther’s Artichoke Spread

2 –  8 oz. cans of artichokes (use bottoms, whole, or quartered) – drain liquid

1/2 to 3/4 cup best quality mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip).  Although some cooks make this dish entirely with mayonnaise, I use a mixture of plain low-fat yogurt, sour cream, creme fraiche, quark, or even whipped cream cheese along

Green artichoke vegetable.

Botanical illustration of an artichoke.

with a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise, adjusting liquid so the mixture retains sufficient moisture.

Fresh lemon juice  — from 1 large lemon

2 or 3 (or more) large cloves of garlic, crushed or minced fine

3/4 cup freshly grated aged Parmesan cheese or  use a mix of grated Romano and Parmesan

dash of rice vinegar or dry white wine

pepper to taste

4 oz. sliced almonds

Chop drained artichokes roughly, mix in mayo, lemon juice and grated cheese.  Mix in garlic and other seasoning.  Taste and adjust with dash of vinegar, white wine or more lemon juice or cheese.

Don’t let the mayonnaise taste dominate.  The mixture should be sticky but not dripping wet. Put mixture in a baking dish, top generously with sliced or slivered almonds.  Walnuts or pine nuts can be used in a pinch.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

This recipe can be increased for a crowd.  For 4 cans of artichokes, use about 1 cup of mayo and 1-1/4 cup grated parmesan.  Let taste guide increases in seasoning.

This is a terrific dish to bring as an appetizer for a pot luck event. Always a pleaser.

The original recipe came to me from Esther Safran Foer when we both worked at a K Street public relations firm.

Look Out!  These recipes are for White Food.

Lafcadio Hearn House in New Orleans.

Lafcadio Hearn House in New Orleans.

Made of potato, coconut, cream, egg whites, milk, sugar and almonds, these concoctions suggest the type of bland, colorless food that the No White Food  blog plans to avoid.

But these delicacies are something special —  collected and transcribed by the writer-adventurer Lafcadio Hearn who lived in New Orleans from about 1877 to 1890 and wrote for several newspapers.

The recipes are transcribed just as he wrote them, with unusual spelling and style.  You won’t find precise measurements or involved processes here.

My particular favorite is the recipe for Syllabub, a beverage used as a restorative after illness or fatigue.  Apparently Hearn’s landlady would cosset him with a nourishing syllabub when he was under the weather.

Historic plaque for Lafcadio Hearn house in New Orleans.

Historic plaque for Lafcadio Hearn house in New Orleans.

Potato Puffs

Very nice potato puffs may be made by mashing seven or eight potatoes smoothly, and mixing in with them two well beaten eggs, two tablesspoonfuls of melted butter, also well-beaten, and a cup of milk.  Pour it into a pan and bake in a hot stove.

Potato Croquets

Take 6 boiled potatoes – cold mashed potatoes will do – add three tbsp of grated ham, a little pepper, salt and chopped parsley, also, the yolks of three eggs; form into balls, dip in egg and roll in bread crubs; fry in hot lard; garnish with parsley.

 Custard Coconut Pudding

Grate one cocoanut…take a quart of milk, four eggs, and a cup of sugar.  Beat sugar and eggs light, then stir in the milk, and last the cocoanut and such flavoring as you may prefer.  Pour this into a deep pan lined with paste; put fancy strips of paste across it and bake lightly.  (Note, “paste” in this context is pie pastry.)

Blanched Almonds

Pour boiling water on them and let remain in it a few minutes.  Remove the skins, throw the almonds into cold water, drain them from the water, but do not wipe them. Let dry and store or use in other recipes.

Coconut Candy

Four cups of water, 2 -1/2 c. fine white sugar, four spoonfuls of vinegar, and a piece of butter as large as an egg; boil till thick, or about 3/4 hour.  Just before removing stir in one cup of desiccated coconut, and lay in small, flat cakes on buttered plates, to cool and harden.

Inventing New Orleans, by Lafcadio Hearn. Book Cover.

Inventing New Orleans, by Lafcadio Hearn. Book Cover.


Take the juice of a large lemon, and the yellow rind pared thin; one glass of brandy, two glasses of white wine, and a quarter of a pound of powdered sugar.  Put these ingredients into a pan and let them remain one night; the next day add a pint of thick cream, and the whites of two eggs beaten together; beat them all together to a fine froth, and serve in jelly glasses.

Source:  La Cuisine Creole, Lafcadio Hearn’s Creole Cook Book. Pelican Pulishing Co,  Gretna, Louisiana. 1990

Beans, tomatoes and celery soup in a spoon and bowl.

Fasolatha Soup.




Fasolatha  is a  hearty Greek Soup  originally conveyed to me by Michigan Schlief and adapted by science writer Sean Markey in November, 2012.

First:  Chop holy trinity of flavor – celery, carrot, onion – 3 of each in small dice.

Second:  Place the chopped vegetables in a wok or soup pot, with 2- 3 tbsp olive oil.  Heat and saute. Season with salt and pepper.

Third:  Add a quart bag of  frozen tomatoes from last summer’s garden or a home-canned jar of whole tomatoes, or, if you must, a can of commercially canned tomatoes.  Add 2 cups stock.  Cook.  Add 2 small cans of cannellini  — white kidney beans which have been rinsed first.

Fourth:  Top with chopped parsley.  Season and serve.

This is a soup that will nourish, heal and enliven the troops.

Can of kejap manis, Indonesian soy sauce.

Can of kejap manis, Indonesian soy sauce, an ingredient in Saus Kacang.

Saus Kacang, recipe #1

7 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tsp finely chopped garlic

2 large dried red chilis (hot, not mild)

2 tbsps finely chopped onion

1 tsp trassi (dried shrimp paste)

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp kejap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce)

350 ready made peanut paste (or use chunky peanut butter)

1.5 tbsps palm sugar or brown sugar

Heat the oil in a wok and brown the onions and garlic.Remove from oil and place on paper towel. Fry the chilis on a low heat for just under a minute in oil. Remove from oil and place on paper towel. Once they are cool cut them open and remove the seeds. Chop the remaining chili flesh fine. Add  the trassi to the remaining oil in the pan, crush with a wooden spoon and stir into the oil so that it dissolves as much as it can. Add lemon juice and ketjap manis. Remove the heat from heat and mix in peanut sauce. Let this mixture cool.

Mix garlic, onion, chilli pieces, and sugar through the cooled mixture. Store in a glass jar.  When you want to use this base in a sauce use 1 part of paste to three parts of lightly salted water or coconut milk. Stir and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Ready to eat with gado gado, satay (chicken threaded on a kebab stick)  or other dishes.

Saus Kacang, recipe #2    

(a quick version)

6 tbsp peanut butter

1 cup water

3/4 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsps palm sugar or brown sugar

2 tbsp sweetened Indonesian soy sauce

juice from 1 lemon or lime

1/2 tsp trassi (dried shrimp paste)

cocnut milk or water

Mix peanut butter and water in a pan over medium heat  until the mixture nearly boils. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. If sauce is too thick, add more water or coconut milk. Taste and add more soy sauce, if needed. 

Saus Kacang recipe #3

* Recipe for Saus Kacang from Saveur Magazine

Pel’meni Recipes 

Though it was born in the far frozen reaches of the tiga, Pel’meni warms hearts and tummies all over Russia and the

picture of a woman holding a steaming plate of Russian dumplings.

Russian poster promoting Pel’meni

countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union.  It’s Russia’s answer to fast food; real workers chow down at pelmennaya (pel’meni parlors). Pel’meni is food for the masses, but not mass-produced.  No canned pel’meni by Chef Boyar.  Students of Russian history may remember the boyars were the landed gentry class during Moscow’s formative years.

In permafrost regions, pel’meni were made in quantity, frozen and stored outdoors in sacks slung high away from dogs or other scavangers, then cooked as needed.  We can imitate those resourceful Siberian cooks by freezing the pel’meni on a tray and putting them in resealable freezer bags or containers to be cooked later.  Pel’meni can also be prepared and served immediately, but purists insist that pel’meni should be frozen before cooking.

In the old days — and probably in remote areas of Siberia today — cooks just took a frozen haunch and shaved or scraped off the meat needed for a batch of pel’meni.  The traditional horsemeat filling might be difficult to find, or to stomach now.  Modern Russians use ground beef, lamb and pork or mushrooms for the pel’meni filling.

Recipe #1:

Larissa Davidyuk’s Pel’meni

Larissa was my hostess in Moscow.  A scientist, she was unemployed when I visited her in the mid-1990’s.

Make an egg pasta dough.

3 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 cup cold water

Using a mixer with bread hooks or food processer, blend four and salt, add egg, then add water gradually until dough forms a ball.  Transfer to a floured surface and knead about 2 minutes until smooth.  Cover and let stand for 1/2 hour.

[This Pel’meni dough recipe is adapted from  Please to the Table by Anya von Bremzen & John Welchman, Workman Publishing, N.Y. 1990.]

Meat filling: Mix of 1/3 pound each ground lamb, beef and pork.  Mix with salt, pepper, 2 tbsp. finely chopped garlic and the 1/2 cup minced whites of scallions.

Roll out the dough appx. 1/8″ thick. Cut circles with a glass. Place small spoonful of filling on the dough. Fold over and pinch closed.  Bring ends together.

Boil water.  Cook the pel’meni in boiling water until they rise in the water, then 5-7 minutes more.  Serve with butter or sour cream. Serves 4.

Once in Siberia, I was eager to pursue the quest for pel’meni.  You might even say I was hungry for an authentic local food experience.  The merest taste of those fish heads and bear paws was all I could manage.

In Khabarovsk, a port on the Amur River bordering China, the hunt for ultimate pel’meni took me to Natalya Mamadzhanova, a spirited blond businesswoman turned restauranteur. Last June, she opened V/Gostiakh u Natali, (“As Natalie’s Guest”), a homey little restaurant specializing in Russian food.

Recipe #2:

Natalie’s Pel’meni in Taiga Manner

Make a soft dough.  (see recipe above)

Make the filling:

To 1 pound of ground pork, add 1 large finely chopped onion and 6 chopped cloves of garlic.

Roll out dough to about 1/8″. Make the pel’meni by putting filling on a small circle of dough.  Fold dough over and seal.  Twist ends of half-circle around to form a ring.

Prepare the sauce:  Make a clear soup from meat bones. Put chopped onion, carrot, pepper, tomato and boiled paparnick (collard greens) in a soup kettle.  Cover vegetables with the hot bouillon.  Add sour cream, black pepper and Korean sauce (soy sauce).  Cook, covered, over warm heat, not boiling.

Meanwhile, cook the pel’meni in boiling salted water, about 8 minutes.  Put in a small serving dish and cover with the vegetable sauce.  Add garlic and warm dish on stove. Serves 4-6.

In the cavarnous, heavily curtained dining rooms of what was once The Khabarovsk Intourist Hotel,  Pel’meni is served in a small ceramic pot which has been covered with a crust and baked. The broth is meaty and the pel’meni are bite sized

Recipe #3:

Intourist’s Pel’meni

Intourist provided tourist services, guides, information, reservations and minders for visitors during the Soviet era. Many large city hotels came under the wing of Intourist which was not known for its creativity, flexibility or attention to customer service.  However, their chefs did know how to make Pel-meni.

Meat mixture:  1 lb ground beef, salt, 1 1/2 cups minced onion, fresh ground black pepper.

On a piece of dough the size of a half-dollar piece, place a small amount of meat mixture.  Fold the dough over and press the edges together. Pull the ends around to  make a halo effect around the top.  Cook in boiling water, 5 minutes. Place pel’meni in small serving crock.  Add meat broth. Cover dish with a round of dough and press dough into sides of serving crock.  Bake in oven. Serves 4.

Recipe #4:

Sveta Gridin lives in Petropovlosk-Kamchatsky, a port on Kamchatka. She was a college student when I met her nearly 20 years ago. Though she is typically Russian in her devotion to family and spouse, her demanding class schedule means pel’meni making is tied to special occasions. I sampled Sveta’s pel’meni at a farewell party she gave for an American graduate student.  Her pel’meni are larger, more like meat dumplings and the cooking broth and vegetables form part of the meal.

Here is Sveta Gridin’s recipe for Pel’meni:

Filling: grind together 1 to 1-1/2 lb meat, 4-5 small onions, and salt and pepper.Dough: Mix 3 cups flour, 1 cup milk, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 eggs. Knead and refrigerate.  Roll into log 3/4″ thick and cut into 1/2″ slices.  Press or roll into circles 1 1/2″ diameter, 1/4″ thick.

Make the Pel’meni: Place small tsp of meat in center of each rolled dough circle.  Pinch closed.  Place on a floured cooking sheet.  Boil water with chopped carrot, cabbage, salt and bay leaf.  Remove vegetables with slotted spoon. Drop pel’meni into the boiling vegetable water and cook for 10 min.  Serve with butter.  The broth becomes the soup course and the vegetables are served on the side.

A version of these recipes appeared in the Culinary Historians of Washington newsletter.

Cucina Rustica

Abundance of fresh tomatoes.

Abundance of fresh tomatoes.

When I miss Italy — and anyone who’s lived there or eaten at the family table during a visit —  will miss Italy, then this is the kind of food  I create.  Simple, fast and marvelously flavored.  Don’t compromise on the ingredients.  That means : no industrial tomatoes that lack flavor, fresh mozzarella that comes in its liquid, not a plastic shroud, and fresh fish.

Excerpts from Cucina Rustica, by Viana La Place & Evan Kleiman , Wm Morrow & Co.,1990.

Bruschetta al Pomodoro e Rucola

Grilled Country Bread with Tomatoes and Arugula, Serves 4 to 6

All over Italy, grilled country bread topped with a mixture of chopped tomatoes and arugula is the most commonly served type of bruschetta. However, we strongly associate this antipasto with Rome during summer, when Bruschetta al Pomodoro e Rucola can make a meal, served with a firm, fresh piece of mozzarella di bufala.

3 large red, ripe tomatoes, blossom ends removed, diced

2 small bunches arugula, stems removed, coarsely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 thick slices good-quality country bread

2 garlic cloves, peeled

Extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl gently mix together the tomatoes and arugula. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Grill or lightly toast bread. Rub with garlic cloves. Spoon tomato-arugula mixture over each slice of bread. Generously drizzle olive oil over the Bruschetta.

Pasta con Tonno alla Siciliana

Pasta with Fresh Tuna and Mint, Serves 4 to 6

A variation on a Sicilian dish in which a chunk of fresh tuna is stuffed with mint and garlic and braised in tomato sauce. In our recipe the tuna is diced and quickly sautéed, then added to the sauce to finish cooking. Paper-thin slices of garlic and chopped fresh mint are added at the last moment and cooked very briefly so that their flavors stay strong and bright.

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 large onion, peeled and cut into medium dice

2-1/2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped

1 pound fresh tuna, cut into 1/2-inch-thick-steaks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pound imported conchiglie rigate

Place 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and the onion in a large sauté pan. Cook over low heat until the onion is tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, partly covered, until juices thicken and a sauce forms, about 15 minutes.

Cut the tuna into 1/2-inch dice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a separate medium-sized skillet. Turn up heat to medium, add tuna, and toss until tuna is cooked on the surface but still pink at the center.

When the sauce has thickened, add the tuna, mint, and garlic, and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until tuna is just cooked.

Cook the conchiglie rigate in abundant salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta well. Place in a serving bowl. Add the sauce and toss gently. Serve immediately.

Crystallized Grapefruit

Clean grapefruit skins that have been cut in half and fruit removed for use in another dish.  Cut the peel in narrow  1/4 inch strips, the length of the halved fruit skin.  Cover with salted water (1 pint of water to each tablespoon of salt).  let boil 20 minutes.  Drain off this water and cover rinds with fresh water (no need to measure) and boil 20 minutes.  Do this again with fresh water.  Drain off the third water and for every whole grapefruit use 1 cup granulated sugar.  Let simmer until all the sugar is absorbed and the skins are clear.  Roll in dry sugar and put in sun or heated oven (which has been turned off) to dry.

Adapted from Charleston Receipts, an antique cookery book.

Photo from





Chop massive amount of vegetables in fine to small dice. Use sweet potatoes, celery, red, green and chili peppers, red potatoes, julienne of carrots, turnips or yellow beets, mushrooms, greens, etc. Start with onions, garlic and seasoning in a large wok or saute pan. Saute in a small amount of olive oil on high heat. Reduce heat as other vegetables are added. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally to avoid burning for about an hour until the vegetables are soft but not mushy and excess liquid has evaporated. Open packet of large size rice flour egg-roll or won-ton wrappers. Working on the diagonal, place an amount of vegetable filling to create a roll approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches diameter and about 3 inches long. Following package directions, wrap and fold over the ends of the wrapper around the vegetables, If the filling is too large, start over with a smaller amount. Place completed rolls seam side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch space around the rolls. When baking sheets are filled, brush with olive oil and place baking sheets in pre-heated oven 325 to 350 ° F. Cook  for about 1/2 hour or more. Rolls should be crisp on the outside, soft inside.

Rolls may be frozen or kept in refrigerator for a few days. Serve with sauce of choice – green chili sauce, soy, oyster sauce, etc.

This recipe was given to me by the Ethiopian parking lot manager during the 1990s when I complained that I couldn’t find a portable breakfast food that wasn’t sweet and starch based. He told me how to make these rolls in a few sentences and I’ve made them ever since varying the ingredients by season, adding dried fruit or seeds for accent flavor.


Lentils in Sauce is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian cookbook

1 cup dried lentils

1 med. onion, finely chopped or grated

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp ground cumin

freshly ground black pepper

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp olive oil

Pick over the lentils and wash in several changes of cold water.

Put the lentils, onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, black pepper to taste, and 3 cups of water in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil without allowing it to boil over. Turn the heat down to low and cover partially.  Cook gently for 30 min.  Add the salt and stir well.  Cook, particlly covered, another 30-40 min, or until the lentils are tender.  Stir in the oil.  Serve hot or at room temperature, depending on the season.

6 servings

Iliana de la Vega’s Salsa Verde

From Oaxaca, Mexico, as interpreted by Judith S. Markey, during a July 2005 class with Chef de la Vega.

10 tomatillos, boiled whole for 3 minutes.  Take the husks off first. Drain after boiling.

(tomatillos are little green tomatoes with husks and sticky skin)

1 jalapeno pepper whole (throw into the boiling water with the tomatillos)

2 avacados, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 tsp sea salt

Handfull of cilantro (chop off and discard the main stems)

Throw all into a blender.  Blend until mixture is smooth.  Season with more salt or more cilantro, to taste.  Keeps 2 weeks fresh in fridge.  Or freeze in small containers.

Iliana de la Vega is now sharing her culinary skills and knowledge at the Culinary Institute of America.

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