Apr 282017


Nut loaf

A friend who bought a half dozen bottles of Salt of D Earth as holiday gifts wrote to say, “how the RhODy blend really pulled her nut loaf together.”  I wrote back immediately saying, “NUT LOAF, what do you mean nut loaf? How have I never heard of a nut loaf? You’ve gotta talk me through this one.” Within minutes she texted back saying that she’s never used a recipe to make a nut loaf & she’s been making them for years but she did include a link for a recipe in her text none the less.

I checked the recipe in the link knowing full well I too would be ‘Making it my own”.

I hemmed & hawed about whether or not this nut loaf could really constitute being a true Recipe 4 Survival since a majority of the ingredients are not basic staples and some of them are quite expensive, for instance organic nuts.  I knew I’d love it, I wanted to make something I’ve never tried before and the play on words that a nut loaf is NUTritious made it all worthwhile.

Now that I’ve made it, nut loaf is a perfect recipe for survival. So here’s the rough math: the ingredients used to make a 9″ loaf cost about $18. At least 10 hearty slices can be had from the 9″ loaf which I know would suffice a family of 4 with left overs, so YES, nut loaf is a Recipe 4 Survival.  A slice, pan-seared makes a killer sandwich – especially since I used up my ancho chili infused maple syrup roasted butternut squash like a jam on the toast.  It freezes & reheats really well and it’s so NUTritious! IMG_8885

The ingredient’s & quantities called for seemed like overkill to me and I could tell what they were calling for and the final product would be very forgiving short of picking up mushrooms & cottage cheese I made my first nutloaf with basic staples I have at home.

If you happen to have left over or cooked rice, putting a nut loaf together takes almost no time at all. Let’s say 20-30 mins prep & 50-60 mins baking time.

Here’s what I did to make my nut loaf.

Preheat the oven to 350°

2 – 3 Cs cooked (short grain) brown rice – 1 cup of short grain brown rice yielded .

2 Portabello Mushroom tops & 1 stem – chopped.

2 dents of Garlic – minced or diced

1/2 large Onion – diced

sherry – splash/1/4 cup.

1 C Almonds – toasted & 1 C Walnuts – toasted

3 or 4 eggs – beaten

1 C – cottage or pot/farmer’s cheese

1 C Grated cheese – Cheddar or Smoke Gouda

(Pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews – whatever your fancy. I used nuts that are staple ingredients for me and I believe everyone should too)

I cooked 1 cup of short grain brown rice which I let toast lightly in the pan I sautéd the mushrooms in  then I added two cups of water, let that come to a boil for 5 mins. Turn the heat down, put a top on the pan and let the rice steam for a good 20 mins.

I pulsed to a fine chop 2 Portabello mushroom tops & 1 stem in my small food processor then cooked them off in a heavy bottomed pan with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, 2 good sized dents of garlic roughly chopped  & 1/2 an onion diced.  I added various pinches of dry herbs, primarily thyme & sage which probably equal about a teaspoon each.  When the mushroom liquid evaporated I splashed in some sherry – a staple for me and let that cook off. Turn off the heat & let the mushroom mixture cool in a bowl.

Next I toasted the nuts, 1 C of  almonds & 1 C of walnuts I toasted each separately, a handful at a time in a small saute pan over a medium heat. This takes no time at all, just until you smell the aroma of the nuts by wafting the air over the pan. I tossed those into small food processor and pulsed.

In a large bowl combine the nuts & the cooked rice    IMG_8874

In another bowl beat 4 eggs, & 1 cottage or pot/farmer’s cheese. The recipe called for 5 eggs & 1 Cup of the pot/farmer’s cheese. Believe me, if I hadn’t been able to get the freshest most beautiful farmer’s cheese, I would have left it out. Season with Salt of D Earth or S & P.

Add the egg & cottage cheese and the sautéd mushrooms to the nut & rice mixture and stir to incorporate well.  This is when I added about a 1/4# of grated smoked Gouda & handful of dried cranberries.  I think apple chunks would work nicely in the mix. Maybe in place of a cup of nuts?  There’s sO much one can do to make this dish their own it’s NUTS.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9″ Pyrex loaf dish IMG_8877and decorated the top of the loaf. I used slices of apple. IMG_8881 Sliced mushrooms, a sprig of thyme, would look beautiful. I slid this into the preheated oven and let it cook for 50 minutes, turned the heat off & left the loaf in the oven another good 10 minutes.

Nut loaf is so great on so many levels. It travels well. It’s a great pot luck dish for a party, it’s filling and again, oh so NUTritious. The first time I made the nut loaf  it was so well received I scored big time as it took center field on the grazing table at a Superbowl party amongst a huge pot of vegetarian chili, cheesy nachos, traditional toppings, 2 different bowls of guacamole  & various dipping chips.

You too will score big time with this one. YUM.



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Mar 062017
indian pudding

Indian Pudding is served

Last week after trying, trying being the operative word, to download a batch of pics from my camera’s chip into my computer, my computer wasn’t havin’ it. I’ll spare you the gory details lest I share that it took over a week, 3 calls w/techs before I got onto a ‘Senior apple adviser’ who I had 3 sessions with before my -puter was back & running. His analogy for my computer’s ailment was to that of a computer getting a flat tire. Additionally the don has me completely crazy with the go ahead for the DAPL & now the exclusion of his designated enemies of the people, media organizations from press briefings.

I was so paralyzed by all this I was rendered useless, unable to do a simple edit here to have my clam chowder piece be at the top of my blog page & share that info w/friends, something I do every National Clam Chowder Day, February, 25th

The scant pint of milk that needed to be used in my fridge compelled the cooking antics I got into, with nothing I made relating to each other. eI knew cooking would do me good and tho I did not have it in me to make clam chowder but my cooking what spurred all this cooking on was .

Instead, Saturday afternoon I, meticulously salad sliced a red onion & prepped up a wrinkly piece of ginger into beautiful fine slices and got them into a sweet pickle brine I’ve nursed and coddled for quite some time. I also whipped up a rich tomato sauce because I had the opened can of tomato paste from the papa al pomodoro, half a large onion and a jar of fresh garlic confit & infused oil but

First I thought I was going to make a vodka, creme tomato sauce but that seemed dumb once I remembered it was Nat’l clam chowder day and even tho I wasn’t going to delve into my ailing computer to bring my chowder entry to the top of the blog & make mention of it on facebk – again because I’m so torn about my benign work & the horrific actions of the POS spinster mouth and his henchmen

Right, wow so because I was in an Ocean State of mind, thinking about Nat’l chowder day I got the ingenious idea to make Indian pudding!  I love reading the history of it even though I’d made & read about Indian Pudding before but for some reason I never posted about that.

All the ingredients are basic staples so with out further ado, my version on the fly for a cold weather treat:

Making it my own, I halved the recipe I worked from

1.5 Cups milk

1/4 C corn meal

1/4 C Turbinado sugar, light brown sugar is called for

1/4 C molasses

a pinch of salt

1t  ground cinnamon
1/2 a grated nutmeg
1t – ginger – pealed & finely minced. Ground can certainly be used but I’d use less then the fresh
2 large eggs
2 T unsalted butter, cut into 2 pads

Bring the oven to 275 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 6- or 8-cup soufflé or baking dish with butter.

In a medium-sized sauce pot scald the milk over a medium-low heat. The trick I recently learned is to look for steam vs looking for bubbles along the edge of the pot. I find once I see bubbles, the milk is too hot.

The recipe I worked from calls for cream to be poured into a into a lg mixing bowl to which the cornmeal, sugar, molasses, salt, and the spices, cloves is commonly called for in an Indian pudding. What I did was warm/scald about a cup of milk and the rest is what I mixed the dry ingredients into. Then add this cream/corn meal/spice mixture to the scalded milk.  Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-low heat until the pudding has thickened to the consistency of syrup (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat.

In a bowl, beat eggs with a whisk.  Temper the eggs by adding 1/2 to 1/4 C of the hot cornmeal mixture to the eggs while whisking rapidly.  Vigorously whisk the egg mixture into the remaining cornmeal mixture.  Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring until melted.

Pour the ‘batter’ mixture into the prepared baking dish or ramekins and place dish into a vain-de-marie = water bath. Pour enough water into the shallow baking dish to come at least half way up the side of the of the baking dish.

This is a pretty low temperature and the full ingredient recipe says to bake over 2 hours. Because I halved the recipe I baked it for about and hour checked it, turned the heat off then let it go another 10 – 15 mins A tester inserted close to (but not in) the center should come out clean.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or heavy cream.

The yield is about 6 healthy servings.

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Feb 062017

I came across a picture of Pappa al Pomodoro on instagram about a month ago and it’s been branded in my mind since.

Only a few ingredients were noted in the brief instagram post that went into the dish 1. unsalted Tuscan bread 2. a particular tomato paste da/from Italy, some basil, fantastic green olive oil & oh strips of Parmesan that appeared semi melted one deduces from the heat of the zuppa/soup. This lead me to scroll over no less than 6 different recipes, a google translation for Pappa al Ppmodoro since I just wasn’t having it being called Tuscan bread Soup when not one of these three words, Tuscan, bread or soup is in the title of dish & recipe. Oh Pappa translates as baby food, al – to the, and Pomodor – is tomato of course

Between Ina Garten, Bon Appetite and a few other’s I felt there was just too much going on in their recipes for Pappa al Pomodoro  for what I wanted to do to make this so I went at it – making it MY OWN! It is sO GREAT. EASY & fun to make in no time, plus, 4 basic, staple ingredients. A perfect recipe4survival.

First I went at, half a stale, Balthazar baguette, with a serrated knife cutting on a cutting board, cutting it into irregular cubes – paying no mind to removing the crust.

Then I brought at least 4 cs of water to a boil in my kettle to pour onto a veg bullion cube in a mixing bowl.

I diced up 1/2 a lg onion, a bit of carrot and sliced up a good sized garlic dent. I got these vegis cooking in a heavy bottomed pot with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot & a good pinch of Salt of D Earth over a medium flame. I put a top on the pot to help the vegis sweat. Once they were at the desired tenderness I tossed the stale bread cubes into the pot and tossed to coat everything uniformly.

With the bread nicely coated with the oil & vegis I added 3 cups of the vegetable broth to the pot, covered it, stirred it frequently and turned the heat way down.  At this stage you’ll wanna stay around the pot to stir it occasionally.

Once all the broth is absorbed and the bread has softened I poured a 25 oz bottle of Union Market’s tomato basil ‘sauce’  into the ‘mix’/the pot. I stirred a pinch of dried red chili flakes in, some oregano and a bit more Salt of D Earth and I let this simmer over a low eat for a good 10 minutes.

This is when I also put a 4 minute egg. I ate one bowl plane, straight away with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan, Pappalpomodoro1the second bowl I had with the soft boiled egg. pappalpomodoro2Then I got down to writing this piece.

Killer meal on a cold night with a cold crisp Sauvignon Blanc.


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Dec 272016

Here’s an easy one for ya, QUICHE!


The woman I work with shared a small, Citarella,  prepared quiche, w/me for lunch the other day. She warmed it in the microwave here at work and boy was it good. Having half had me ravenous for more, then I started thinking about the best quiche EVER, that being made by, drum roll please, the illustrious and fantastic Balthazar. Their quiche is like none other, the crust perfect, buttery & slightly salty, flaky & crisp at the same time but it’s the custard that slays me. It ain’t just scrambled eggs with your favorite variety of steamed or sauteed vegetable, cheeses or cured meats.

I have searched out, relentlessly, countless bookstores to find the Balthazar recipe, my home collection of cookbooks which is quite extensive & of course an number of internet searches of primarily French recipes but to no avail. Recently I found a ‘blogger’ claiming to have made a Balthazar’s quiche but it’s the goat cheese & caramelized onion tart recipe she used. WRONG. Does not work.

Here’s the trick: you must scald the milk then temper that into the eggs. The basic rule of thumb is 1/2 C milk to one egg. Now here’s where the fun comes in. I started this most recent test because I had a little bit more than a cup of milk left over from a quart &half a pint of heavy cream – from my last ice cream making episode. So what I had went into a pot for scalding. Scalding milk is a very mindful act. I no longer wait for the bubbles to form along on the edge of the sauce pot, I stir constantly and LOOK for STEAM to rise from the pot of warming milk. The flame or temperature should be at a low to medium. I feel that by the time the bubbles have made their appearance, the milk is just about to break. It’s true. It doesn’t take much time before you’ll see the steam, it’s hot but nothing a cook can’t take when testing with a clean finger. Pull the pot off the heath and whisk well. The eggs must also be well scrambled, but not scrambled the hell out of. Gently pour a stream of the warmed milk into the eggs, whisk & repeatimg_1832. I use 3 eggs & 1.5 Cs of milk for one pie crust. img_1835

When it comes to crust, I don’t do pastry in my East Village apartment so I buy the best quality prepared crusts but most recently I used a puff pastry which I had left over from when I made my tomato tarte tartin.

Having looked at so many French recipes for the quiche custard I ended up filling my quiche w/steamed sliced potato, caramelized onions & anchovies.

Let me put this out therefor ya. Quiche is a fantastic go to for holiday bites. It can accompany so much: Welsh Rarebit, baked brie & cranberries, ham any way, charcuterie plates, & salads galore. Just ask me, I’ll come up with a great menu for holiday bites.

Oh right, I made a vegetable puree soup, (in the background) with carrots, red peppers & celery & grape tomatoes I nicked from a crudite display left over from a holiday party at work.



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