Friday, January 28, 2011

Jason's Mushroom-Cheese

When I was in New Hampshire a few weeks ago, my brother Jason and I talked about a mushroom dish that he started making during his vegetarian days in Alaska (early 1970s).  He no longer had the recipe. I came home and unsuccessfully tried to locate the recipe I had copied from his, then yesterday when I was looking for another recipe I found:


Mushrooms in
Butter and
Minced garlic

til soft and brown.

Make white sauce:

4 T butter
3 T flour
1 c milk
1 # sharp cheddar
Dash of nutmeg
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Dollop of Kirsch


Brown rice (1 c rice  - 2 c water)

45 minutes or until done.

Combine mushrooms, cheese and rice.  Serve."

NOTE: No quantity is given for the mushrooms and as I recall Jason used relatively small mushrooms and left them whole - more is probably better, at least a pound given the quantity of cheese.  Also in making the white sauce, melt the butter and the flour and mix well until butter and flour are combined in a smooth paste.  Gradually add the milk and then the GRATED cheddar cheese and remaining ingredients.

Reviewed 8/30/2017

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Veal Stew/Paprikash

Good dinner for a cold night.  Ed and I were on our way home from spending Sunday in Brooklyn with Christopher who made us awesome homemade pasta for dinner. We stopped  for a few groceries, and I asked Ed to get something for dinner.  He appeared with veal stew meat that was on special.  "You used to make something with veal", he said.  I had, but not for a very long time. We came home and I dug out my (pre-blog) recipe and revised it to reflect our changing tastes and available ingredients. I only wish I had taken the extra pasta Chris offered us; it would have been awesome with this.

Serves ~4 (We ate half and saved half for another night.)

Trim off any extra fat and cut  into smaller cubes if necessary so no cubes are larger than 3/4 to 1 inch on a side, some will likely be smaller:

1 # veal stew

Dredge* veal in:

2T flour
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat sautee pan.* Saute:

2 T olive oil (heat first, this will also help minimize sticking)
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

until the garlic is browned, then add the stew beef and saute until it is browned on both sides.  Add:

1/2 c sweet onion, chopped finely
1/2 c celery, chopped finely
1/2 pound baby bella/crimini mushrooms, sliced (optional - not in my original recipe: "Hungarian Veal")

and sautee until the onion is wilted.  Add:

1/4 c dry white wine
1 t paprika (I used Hungarian Szeged)
1/4 t celery salt
1 T fresh parsley, finely chopped

Mix well then add:

2/3 c chicken stock.

Cover and simmer 45 minutes to one hour. Stir occasionally, adding more liquid if necessary. Scrape any browned flour residue off the bottom of the pan and incorporate into the sauce.

I had intended to add:

8 oz yogurt mixed with
1 T cornstarch

about 10 minutes before serving but there appeared to be enough sauce of the right consistency that I chose not to.  Next time I am going to going to use only 1/3 c of chicken stock to start, adding more if necessary, then uncover the pan and add the yogurt mix about 10 minutes before serving.

* January 2013: See Browning for discussion on whether to flour meat before browning, not at all, or as Julia Child does after initial browning.  This post also notes heating pan to 400 to 450 degrees before adding oil will minimize contents sticking to the pan.

Reviewed 5/7/17

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pumpkin Sage Lasagna

An experiment I decided would be good to serve to some vegetarian friends we invited for dinner on Saturday night. I served Mushroom Caviar with ficelle first, a green salad with the lasagna and Mexican Meringues with clementines for dessert. I used no-cook lasagna so increased the liquids accordingly. Next time, if I can find  the proper size, I am going to try using fresh pasta.

Serves 3-4


(1) Defrost:

1 package frozen chopped spinach (if using no cook lasagna, defrost only until spinach can be easily spread and do not squeeze out any water)

OR use

10 oz fresh spinach, stems and large viens removed, sauteed in 1 t olive oil until barely wilted

(2) Sautee until the onion is wilted:

1/2 large sweet onion, thinly sliced then cut in 1 inch lengths
2 t olive oil

then add:

1 t sugar
1/3 c pecans, coarsely chopped
1/3 c dried cranberries

and cook until the onion is browned/caramelized.

(4) Meanwhile combine:

1 1/2 c pureed pumpkin
1 T dark maple syrup
Water if needed to make the mixture the consistency of  tomato sauce

(5) In addition assemble:

~15 leaves of fresh sage, coarsely chopped
10 ounces fresh ricotta cheese (I use part-skim)

5 sheets of pasta (~3 1/2 inches by  6 1/2 inches, if no-cook, larger if fresh) - if using no-cook pasta soak pasta briefly in hot but not boiling water


(6) Oil bottom of a 5 inch x  9 inch x 3 inch deep bread pan

(7) Place a piece of pasta in  pan and cover with, in this order:

1/2 c pureed pumpkin mixture
1/3 of the caramelized onion mixture
1/3 of the chopped sage

(8)  Place a piece of pasta on top of the mixture and cover with, in this order:
5 oz of ricotta cheese
Nutmeg - sprinkle evenly on the ricotta
1/2 of the spinach

(9) Repeat step (7)

(10) Repeat step (8)

(11) Repeat step (7)

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 50 minutes; uncover and cook for 5-10 more minutes or until top is lightly browned.  Let sit 15 minutes before slicing to serve.

Reviewed 5/30/2017

Potato Cakes

I remember Moogie making potato cakes from the potatoes left over from Thanksgiving. I doubt Moogie's mashed potatoes contained as much cream and butter as the potatoes Jason made for Christmas this year. At any rate the potato cakes from the left over Christmas potatoes were even better than those I remembered.  Soft and very smooth on the inside, crispy on the outside.  The ultimate "comfort food".

These will only be as good as the left over potatoes you start with. Form potatoes into cakes and fry in butter or a mix of butter and olive oil until the cakes are heated through and browned on both sides.

Reviewed 8/24/2017

Friday, January 7, 2011

Best Christmas Present of All

The best Christmas present of all is having family together and this year we were delighted to have Chris, Alex and Dan and Moogie (in order of arrival) here for a great Christmas visit. Alex and Dan, who had received a pasta maker as a gift last Christmas, gave Christopher one this year. Then Alex and  Dan (grounded in Lincoln for an extra 24 hours because of a snow storm) and Christopher decided to shop and make dinner the night after Christmas.  A real treat for me!

They made fresh pasta and cooked a wonderful pork ragu from a recipe Alex and Dan had used before (omitting the pancetta, mushroom demi glaze and using considerably less pork).

It was absolutely delicious!  Christopher declared the pasta a bit "rustic", and I understand that since returning to Brooklyn, he has been perfecting the pasta recipe and  technique and will hopefully post the results on this blog soon :-)

This was a gift that kept on giving. Ed and I enjoyed the rest of the Pork Ragu, albeit with store bought fresh pasta for New Year's (photo lower left).

Reviewed 9/20/2017

Fish Cakes

Fish cakes were one of my Dad, Ja's, "favorite foods".  My brother Jason often indulged Dad by making them for him.  I am quite fond of them too, but had not had them in a very long time.  It was a special treat when Jason made them for us for breakfast this fall. The following recipe is basically the one Jason uses.  I have added a few steps based on my experience making crab cakes.


1 pound boneless salt cod

in water for 1 - 3 days changing water at least 3 times a day.  The saltier the cod the longer it will need to go though the soak - rinse cycle.  Drain cod and place in a pot and cover with 2 inches of water.  Bring water to a simmer and let cod sit until it flakes,  Do not boil or cod will become tough. Drain, flake and mix with:

2 cups (1 pound) cooked and mashed Russet potatoes
1/2 cup onion, grated
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Form  into 10 - 12 cakes (about 3 inches in diameter) dip both sides in 

Corn meal

and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or overnight) or place in freezer for 10 minutes.

Heat in a skillet, covering the bottom surface at least 1/8 inch deep:

Olive oil or a mixture of olive oil and butter.

Place a few cakes at a time in the hot oil mixture and fry until lightly browned all over, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Placing too may cakes in the pan at one time will release too much moisture and compromise the form of the cakes (see photo at left - fewer cakes would have been better).

Pat with paper towels to remove excess oil and serve with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce and/or a mayo-mustard sauce.

Reviewed 5/22/2017