Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bean Soup

2 c. dried beans
1 1/2 quarts water
1 ham bone or 1 1/2 lbs. ham butt
1 large onion, chopped
1 c chopped celery and leaves
15 oz. can tomato sauce*
1 tsp. salt**
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 cloves garlic

Combine beans and water in a large kettle; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 2 hours. Simmer beans without draining until tender, about 2 hours, adding more water if necessary.

In the meantime simmer ham in water to cover. Skim fat from broth and add beans. Stir in remaining ingredients; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Makes 10 servings.

* The original recipe calls for 4 cups of canned tomatoes, which I'm sure is delicious, but there are people around here who don't like any detectable tomatoes in their food.
**NEVER add any salt to a ham dish until it's almost done. Some hams are very salty and adding more just adds to the problem.

CROCK POT VERSION: Soak the beans in water the day before. Also, boil the ham bone and cut up all meat and vegetables the day before. Dump everything into the crockpot (draining the beans first) in the morning and cook on low all day. Perfect! Even Nick says this is a favorite soup.

INSTANT POT VERSION: Not surprisingly, this also worked in my instant pot.  I started with raw beans and cooked it all for 40 minutes.  The beans weren't done, so I did another 20 and it was great.  If I divided the time like this again, the last 20 minutes would be a good time to add the potatoes.  What I'll probably do though is just remember to soak the beans overnight and just pressure cook for the original 40 minutes with everything.

SOURCE: This recipe is one of my favorites from a 1959 (1972) Farm Journal's Country Cookbook.  My copy no longer has a decent binding and is in several pieces, so I'm glad to store the favorites here.  I'll probably skip the Onion Pie and Jellied Beef Mold though.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Crab Cakes

Adapted from this source
8 ounces lump crab meat
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped red bell pepper
2 eggs
3 T mayonnaise
1 T brown or dijon mustard
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups soft bread crumbs (about 3 slices)
1 T Creole seasoning (see note)
2 T butter


Saute onion, celery, red pepper, and garlic until tender. Whisk egg in bowl; add mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and Creole seasoning. Combine with sauteed vegetables and bread crumbs, mixing well. Add the crab meat and form into loose patties; place on waxed paper-lined plate. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until firm. Heat butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Gently place crab cakes in skillet and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn and cook for 4 to 5 minutes longer, until cooked through. Serve with a remoulade sauce or tartar sauce. Makes approximately 6 large cakes.

Notes: I used two salmon fillets instead of the crab meat. I would imagine that tuna or white fish would also be good.
I approximated the Creole seasoning found here (paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne, oregano, thyme).


Adapted from this recipe.

1/2 stick butter
1 10oz package frozen spinach
1 scant cup crumbled feta
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 (14- by 9-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Thaw spinach by placing in a skillet over low heat, separating as it thaws. Cook for a minute or two more to remove excess water. Remove from heat and cool. Transfer to a bowl and stir in feta, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Melt butter, then cool.

Cover phyllo stack with 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap and then a dampened kitchen towel.

Take 1 phyllo sheet from stack and arrange on a work surface with a short side nearest you (keeping remaining sheets covered) and brush with some butter. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush with more butter. Cut buttered phyllo stack in half lengthwise.

Put a scant tablespoon of filling near 1 corner of a strip on end nearest you, then fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip (like a flag), maintaining triangle shape. Put triangle, seam side down, on a large baking sheet and brush top with butter. Make more triangles in same manner, using all of phyllo.

Bake triangles in middle of oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Note: Pastry triangles can be formed, but not baked, 3 days ahead. Arrange in 1 layer in heavy-dty sealed plastic bags, then freeze. Bake frozen pastries(do not thaw) in same manner as above.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cornbread Dressing


Makes 16 to 18 servings

1 cup butter or margarine, divided
3 cups white cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
7 large eggs, divided
3 cups buttermilk
3 cups soft breadcrumbs
2 medium onions, diced (2 cups)
1 large bunch celery, diced (3 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh sage (or 1 T. dried)
6 (10 1/2-ounce) cans condensed chicken broth, undiluted
1 tablespoon pepper

Place 1/2 cup butter in a 13- x 9-inch pan; heat in oven at 425° for 4 minutes. Combine cornmeal and next 5 ingredients; whisk in 3 eggs and buttermilk. Pour hot butter into batter, stirring until blended. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

Crumble cornbread into a large bowl; stir in breadcrumbs, and set aside.

Melt remaining 1/2 cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onions and celery, and saute until tender. Stir in sage, and saute 1 more minute.

Stir vegetables, remaining 4 eggs, chicken broth, and pepper into cornbread mixture; pour evenly into 1 lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish and 1 lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Notes: I used leftover cornbread to replace the cornbread in the recipe. 1/3 batch fills a 9.5" pie plate.

Bourbon Cranberry Sauce


4 cups cranberries
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine first 3 ingredients in 9x13-inch baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake until cranberries are tender and sugar is dissolved, stirring once, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and stir in bourbon. Refrigerate cranberry sauce until well chilled. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead.) Transfer to bowl and serve.

Yield: 3 cups