Wednesday, February 26, 2014


a friend of mine recently decided all the news on Kale left her, well a bit cold.
While she believed all of the info out there on it being very healthy, she just could not eat it prepared in a simple manner.
I found some baby kale and prepared it like a Recipe Bobby flay has on the food network website and she said that was great, but complete full grown kale she had an issue with.
She had bought several packages and her compliant specifically was it was bitter, though and she felt she was eating grass.
In come my knowledge of chemistry; bitter is usually the result of a high pH (basic) or iron.
So i took one of her bags and worked it with apple cider vinegar.
Then back to food knowledge.
In the south, there are a number of very healthy, leafy vegetables which are eaten as a staple, but require extra flavor and a long cooking time.
So the kale and apple cider vinegar were reduced to a low heat and cooked for an hour.  I had to add more vinegar because the first half cup was neutralized by what ever was in the kale.  I also added some salt and extra water with 3 teaspoons olive oil and 2 cloves of minced garlic.
After an hour, i drained the liquid (but did not rinse) and let her try it.
Kale is back on her menu - the way i prepared it!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Greek nut cake

The cake
·       8 eggs, separated
·       1 cup sugar
·       1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
·       1/4 teaspoon allspice or nutmeg
·       1 teaspoon fresh orange peel, finely diced
·       1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter
·       2 teaspoons baking powder
·       1/8 teaspoon salt
·       1 teaspoon Hazelnut syrup
·       1 cup cake flour
*       i use regular flour with great results
·       2 cups ground hazelnuts (or Walnuts)
Honey/Orange/wine syrup or powdered syrup.
·       1/2 cup sugar
          i use raw sugar
·       1 whole orange, cut in quarters
·       1/4 cup honey
·       1/2 cup sherry
·       1/2 cup water
make a flavored syrup with water, orange and sugar at a medium high heat
when the mixture boils add sherry and honey and lower heat to a simmer
reduce by 1/4, strain out the orange and then set aside.

Use a whisk attachment on a mixer first
beat egg whites with cream of tarter on high and set aside
beat egg yokes until thick and then add spices, sugar and salt and continue to mix
separately, mix baking powder with the flour
Change the paddle from the whisk to a beat bar and reduce the speed of the mixer
slowly add the flour mixture to the egg yoke mixture
When mixed remove from the mixer and fold in the egg whites
Fold in the nuts
Pour into a 9 x 12 greased cake pan
Cook at 350 F for 40 minutes
Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before adding any topping
When using the syrup, warm the syrup and pour 1 cup over the cake
If using the powdered sugar, cover a plate with powdered sugar and turn the baking dish onto the plate and allow the cake to fall onto the plate.
Serve cool 

Friday, February 7, 2014

a twist on Potato Leek Soup

There are certain spices, that are not part of my regular cooking, that i adore, but must be careful with how i use.
Tarragon is a big one with its strong licorice type flavor and i love it.
So, this year i grew it and had a good crop, but fresh tarragon is strong and can only be used sparingly.
I dried most of it.
I love tarragon with crab, but i was not going to do crab.  There was a great sale on Yukon gold potatoes and i just (before this weeks snow storms, the last of my leeks.
Since a potato leek soup fit my mood (with the cold weather and all) this is where i went!
With cream soups, i like sherry, not wine and i used chicken stock
Potato leek soup
with tarragon

·       6 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced
          * you can use any kind, but these are the best
·       2 cups leeks, diced
          *After cutting, soak in warm water for 20 minutes, rinsing well with cold water several times to get the grit off
·       1/2 teaspoon smoked salt (you notice i love smoke?)
·       1/4 teaspoon tarragon
·       1/8 teaspoon crush red pepper
·       1/2 cup sherry
·       1 cup half and half
·       1 stick butter
·       2 cups chicken broth
          * to make it vegetarian use a vegetable stock, white wine or water
Optional - 1/2 cup sour cream
                - additional Kosher salt to taste

just brown the potatoes in butter and tarragon
remove the potatoes, leaving any butter behind
sauté the leeks with tarragon, crushed pepper and smoked salt till the leeks are just soft
add the potatoes back and add 2 cups broth
Simmer for an hour and then add all the additional ingredients
Simmer for an additional half hour and serve!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super bowl Sunday spread

No i do not like football, yes i love to provide food.
So my spread included my chili, black beans, Jalapeno poppers and chicken wings.
Lets focus on the unusual - the wings, why because they were bake not fried!

I took hints from Bobby Flay (cooking chicken at 300 F) and Alton Brown (who fries his chicken twice a higher temperature the second time).

Chicken wings were rubbed with a dry rub over night.
Spicy Chicken Wings

Dry rub ratio:
·       1 ginger
·       1/2 cumin
·       1/4 dry chipolte peppers
·       1 raw sugar
·       1/4 cayenne pepper
·       1/4 salt
·       1/4 smoked salt
  • 1 paprika (smoked, hot or regular)

Wings are coated and left over night

bring to room temp and bake at 300 F for 1 hour, remove and let cool

1 cup plain or panko bread crumbs mixed with paprika or crushed red pepper
create an egg wash (scrambled eggs)
dip each wing in the wash and then coat in bread crumbs

place on a greased cooking rack and baked at 400 F for 45 minutes
Cool and serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping sauces:
Honey barbecue: equal potions of warm Honey and your favorite BBQ sauce
Butter Blue cheese:  mix equal portions of warm butter and blue cheese