About Mastering and Enjoying Home Cooking. Drink, Cook, and Live Well!

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Carne Asada Marinade*


* spicy

1 cup orange juice

1/3 cup lemon juice

⅓ cup lime juice

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped fine

½ cup soy sauce

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ancho powder

1 tablespoon Aji Amarillo 

2 tsp cumin

2 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoon finely chopped canned chipotle pepper 

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ cup olive 

Marinate skirt steak 24 hour before cooking, the grill slices of steak until just done

Steve’s Steak Sauce

The destination of this sauce is your larder. No longer it ages, the better it gets. I save other sauce bottle for my own.

1 chopped onion

2 tbl olive oil

1 small can tomato paste

Start with 1 cup water, more to adjust thickness

2/3 cup orange juice

1 tbl kitchen Bouquet browning sauce

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar or enough to correct sweetness

1 tbl minced ginger

1/8 cup lime juice( juice from two limes)

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp ground coriander seeds

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 1/2 cup raisins

1/3 cup honey

2 cloves crushed garlic

7 tbl tamarind paste

1 tbl ground orange rind

White, black and red pepper to taste

Pinch of thyme

Salt to taste

Sauté 1 chopped onion in two tbl of olive oil. Cook until onion is translucent. Add ginger and garlic, cook 1 minute then other ingredients and water. Cook to well blended, about 1/2 hour. Using a post blender, blend to a fine consistency. Correct the pepper and salt. Add more lime juice or vinegar as needed. Bottle in sterilize jars. The sauce will develop as it ages.

De Felici Artichokes Roman Style (Carciofi alla Romano)

Italy is the world formost grower and consumer of Italian artichokes. This recipe was described to me in detail by my waiter at Da Felice Trattoria in Rome’s Tedesco district. The restaurant has mixed reviewsdue the gruff nature of the owner, signore Felice, who has the tendency to bounce those he does not like but if you look like a “foodie”, your welcomed. The menu is not written down, the waiter will tell you about the days offerings. For many Italians, this place is a favourite and tend to fill up early for lunch. As I recall, it’s cash only.

This recipe is for globe artichokes.

12 young artichokes with stems attached
1 cup olive oil
3 crushed cloves of garlic
Pinch red pepper
1 cup table white wine
1/3 cup wine vinegar
1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a tin foil to cover the pan. In a small pan, add the olive oil and water. Heat the pan to a boil, add the crush red pepper, turn down the heat to medium, let cook for a minute or so. Turn off, add the garlic. Cover, and let stand for 90 minutes covered. This allows the garlic to infuse the oil. Add vinegar to taste.

Wash the artichokes. Using a sharp knife trim the outer leaves show the inner lite greener leaves show. Cut the top off, leaving 3/4 inch of the choke above the hearts. Using a peller, peel down the stem leaving the stem free of the outer tuff parts. Rub each artichoke with lemon juice as you prepare the chokes as you go so as the keep the colour. Place each choke, wash in water, then inverted, stem up, face down in cooking pan with our water/oil mixture. With all the chokes done, cover them with a large sheet of tin foil. Place in over for 90 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife.
Remove from oven. Carefully crack the foil, careful to avoid being burned by escaping steam. Allow these to cool, the either leave on counter or refrigerate to use the next day.

To serve, add chokes stem up to a small frying pan, add some liquid from the pan we oven cooked the artichokes in. Heat the frying pan to hot, put in preheated oven at 350F for 10-15 minutes until hot.

This restuarant is on Via Mastro Giorgio 29, Roma.

Lori’s Italian Stuffed Tomatoes

 My sisters recipe. “Pomodori Repieni al Forno” is a favourite of mine. Served hot or cold they are unique and flavourful. Cold, outdoors is my favourite way to eat these, topped with a tablespoon of my best olive oil and a sprig of basil.

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
6 tbl of extra virgin olive oil
8 large vine ripen tomatoes
1 tsp black pepper, and a little salt
6 large cloves  garlic, minced
1 large bunch finely chopped parsley

Cut the “lid” off the tomatoes and retain. Being careful the preserve the integrity of the walls of the tomatoes, hollow them out with a thin spoon. Use a tip of a sharp knife to cut at x at the centre of each tomato to make the task easier. Reserve the pulp to combine it with the garlic, salt and pepper, rice and parsley. Squeeze the pulp through your hands to break it up to smaller pieces. I use a bowl for this task. Now, fill each tomato, then add the lids. You will not be able to use up the rice mixture-no worries.
Arrange tomatoes in a Pyrex dish. Pour the olive oil over each tomatoes til all of the oil is evenly divided amougst them.

Cook at 325F for four hours. Periodically baste the liquid runoff back over the tomatoes as the cook. One or two may split while cooking, some make plenty.

Not all the rice will cook. This is normal. Try it first this way. Otherwise, the last hour, add 1 tsp water in each tomato and cover them with tin foil over the dish forming the best seal you can, the cook further.

Only through long cooking, can these tomatoes develop such a sweet and intense tomato flavour.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Zucchini Pie


My mother was a gourmet chef and a world traveler so it was extreamly hard for me to prepare something she never had for me. This was my effort to treat her to something that was possibly new.

Select 2 or 3 small fresh zucchini the same diameter.
1 cup fresh, finely shredded Romano and Asiago cheese
1 slice day old sour dough
2 tbl butter
1 tbl olive oil
1 clove finely minced garlic
White pepper
Parchment paper
Chopped chives

Preheat oven to 350F with a pizza stone or floor tile.

Cut a ten inch square of parchment paper. On one side, draw a 9 inch circle to serve as a outline. Turn the paper over. Tape it to a cookie sheet with masking tape.

Fine spread the cheeses. Brush the day old bread with garlic butter and olive oil. Make garlic croutons. When cool completely, turn bread into bread crumbs, About 1/3 cup.
Slice the zucchini the thickness of a dime using a Madeline so the slices are uniform. Cover the 9 inch circle on the parchment so that all slice just touch each other but none overlap. Sprinkle with a sparse layer of cheese, sprinkle with bread crumbs. Apply white pepper. Remove the masking tape. Now, carefully place the cookie sheet over the stone. Cook 12-15 minutes until crisp.

When pie is crisp, allow it to cool until the cheese firms. Garnish with chives.

Note: 1. The bread crumbs provide the oil to cook this pie.

Judy Cestra’s spinach dip in a bread bowl


Judy was our Neighbor and when she hosted a party, no one stray from her spinach dip.

One round of sourdough bread, hollowed to form a bowl.
1 Baguette of sourdough bread, cut into dippable bites
1 pkg. spinach, uncooked, chopped and drained
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained, chopped finely.
1 cup best foods mayonnaise 
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salad supreme seasoning
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dill
1 tsp lemon juice

Place spinach in a towel, wring dry. Mix all ingredients except bread, cover, a merge flavours overnight.
Serve in prepared bowl with dipping bread around on the platter.

Terra Brava’s sautéed Portobello Mushroom


This recipe came from St Helena’s Terra Bravo before it closed. It is now a former shadow of itself.

1 clove crushed chopped garlic
3 tbl olive oil
2 squeezes of fresh Meyer lemons
2 tbl cream sherry
4 lg portobello mushrooms caps, stems removed
Salt and pepper
Optionally, red pepper
2 tbl tarragon vinegar
1 ear baby white corn
1 tbl chopped shallots
3 tbl butter
1 bunch sugar
Pinch of nutmeg

A few leaves of Basil, chopped
A few nasturtium flowers

Rub mushroom caps in olive oil, salt and pepper, red pepper, and sauté on both sides until tender. Deglaze with sherry. Set caps aside. Add butter to pan, sauté the shallots and wilt the spinach with vinegar and squeeze of lemon. Use a lid to keep the initial steam in. Remove the spinach and chop. Add fresh corn, a pinch of nutmeg, add back the spinach. When corn is warn, assemble the plates, put a bit of spinach and corn on each plate, top with caps. Sprinkle a few corn kernels on each cap. A squeeze of lemon, a splash of sherry top the caps plus a little melted butter. 

Garnish with basil and flowers.

CIA Grilled Vegetables


Inspired from a show I watched on the culinary institute of America, St. Helena, Ca. It is very popular with my crowd. 

2 yellow squash, cut into 1/4 inch strips

2 zucchinis, cut into 1/4 inch strips 

Green beans

Portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/4 slices

Two small Japanese eggplants

Baby carrots, with greens cut to 1/2 inch

2 Vidalia onions, cut into 1/2 pieces, toothpicked to hold together

1 red pepper, cut into fourths; seeds, ribs, and stem removed

1 yellow pepper, cut into fourths; seeds, ribs, and stem removed

3 large potatoes, parboiled and halved

1 bunch asparagus stalks, peeled, woody section removed

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Pepper, as needed


Juice from 1 1/2 lemons, plus zest from 2 lemons

Chopped Italian parsley (Giada De Laurentiis uses basil with more flavour)

4 tbl Parmesan 

Cut eggplants, squash, zucchini into 1/4 “ slices. Soak skewers and toothpicks thoroughly so the don’t burn away as you cook. (Recommend 3 hours) Skewer or toothpick onions, potato every 1/4 inch starting 1/8 of an inch from the outside edge.  Make horizontal cut between skewers or toothpicks. If using skewer, sharpen them first so the spear easily. Use steel skewers for the peppers like shiskabobs.

Marinate all the vegetables in a mixture of Marin, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/4 cup olive oil. 

Marinate for at least 40 minutes.

Grill on high heat until done on both sides. Put peppers on first, 10 minutes later, do the other vegetables. When done, move to a platter. Carrots cook first due to their sugars, let them be a little al dente.

Stay on top of it, everything cook fast, that the toughest thing about this recipe.

Salt and pepper, Parmesan and little parsley, and a squeeze of lemon finish them off to serve.


1. Mose Coleman, a Georgia farmer in the spring of 1931, planted onion that were surprizingly mild and sweet. Due to his fortitude, in spite of the depression, both the popularity and sales of the Vidalia onion grew into the official state vegetable of Georgia.

Mountain of Salzburg aka Salzburg Nockerl


This dessert is the most famous and legendary dessert from Austria. Two things that strikes me about this dessert is it’s is delightful in the eating while very elegant in its presentation. It’s from the early tv series “ great chefs of New York” and had I known I was going to write a book I certainly would have remembered his name. It’s said this dessert is as sweet as love and as tender as a kiss.

1 Tbs per dish of heavy cream
1 level teaspoon per dish seedless raspberry preserves
1 tbl per dish of sweet butter
6 large eggs whites only
Small Pinch of salt
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar
1/4 cup sifted AP flour
3 large beaten egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Powdered sugar for dusting
A sprig of mint per dish
For elegance, a paper doilies

Place oven rack in the middle rung, preheat to 425F.

Place a patty of butter, 1 tablespoon cream, 1 tablespoon of preserves in each dish.

Allow eggs to warm to room temp. Beat egg yolks and vanilla til pale yellow. Wash mixture with hot water and dry thoroughly. Beat the egg white with a pinch of salt at high speed to soft peaks, add sugar and beat on medium.

Remove whites from mixer, shift in flour. Fold gently with a spatula with egg yolk until eggs are just mixed. Cut a clean Manila folder to a four by six reactangle. Scope three equal wedges of meringue in each dish. Bake each dish 1 inch apart until golden brown 10-12 minutes. Garnish each disk with a dusting of powder sugar (the snow), and a sprig of mint.

I recommend oven safe oval gratin dishes.

Kate’s True Mincemeat Pie


Mincemeat is truely food of the gods. Nothing reminds be better of Christmas the either Plum Pudding or mincemeat. In the north-eastern United States mince meat are traditionally served during Thanksgiving holiday, serve with a piece of cheddar, ice-cream, Devonshire cream, French clotted cream, or hard sauce (see recipe for English Plum Pudding). Commercial mincemeat has neither the fullness nor the mouthfeel or the complexity of this real mincemeat. I was not quite old enough to poke my head over the table to smell the mince meat, nor could I wait the days til I could taste it, that’s how wonderful it smelt.

2 quarts sliced peeled apples
1  lb. Lean ground round
1/2 lb. Fine chopped beef suet ( fat from around kidneys)
1 cup white sugar
1/4 lb. Brown sugar
1 pint apple cider
1 lb. Raisins
3/4 lb currants
1/8 th lb candied orange peel, chopped
1/8 th lb candied lemon peel, chopped
1/2 lb. Diced citron
Juice and chopped jest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp on nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp on cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 cup walnut pieces

Place ingredients in a large bowl, stir well. Cook ingredients in a large kettle or pot over low heat for two hours, stirring occasionally.
Add 1/2 to 1 cup of Napoleon Brandy to taste. Mature mixture covered in the refrigerator for two to four weeks before using.

Kate’s English Plum Pudding*

This is an exquisite dessert brought to the table flaming. It is serve, still flaming if a managable small number of people. This is the original Christmas pudding traceable to 15th century May Day celebration originally constructed from raisins. Plum refers to prune which the Briths used to refer mean any dried fruit. There are no plums, and not really a pudding but more akin to mincedmeat. When served, it’s served with an equal amount of hard sauce.

1/2 lb of beef suet, chopped fine. Ask butcher to procure a month a head of time.
4 egg beatened separately.
2 tsp vanilla
1 pint whipping cream
1 cup flour
1/4 lb of fine white bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups currants
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbs powdered sugar
1 oz. Each of citron and candied lemon
1 tsp fresh nutmeg
1 glass each of good sherry and brandy(napoleon)
4 oz. Chopped almonds*
Softened butter for buttering both the mold a small cloth or kitchen towel.

Butter well a decorative pudding mold with a tight fitting lid. Combine all ingredients and mix, folding in the egg white last. Butter both sides of a clean cotton cloth to put over the mold top, and snug on the lid. Steam the pudding for not less than five hours. When steaming ensure the water level is substantially below the lid by an inch.

Turn out very hot over a silver platter and pour over 1 cup of hot brandy, and ignite. Serve flaming at the table with an equal amount of Hard Sauce. Make sure nothing is above this dessert that may be damaged by the flames as the flames may be tall.

The pudding may be simply left it its pot for days and reheated for 45 minutes before de-molding. When heating the brandy, you can use the microwave for no more than a minute while heating.

Brandied Hard Sauce

2 sticks of sweet butter to two cups powdered sugar
1tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
Napoleon Brandy
Whipping cream

Cream butter and sugar together til very smooth. Add brandy to taste. When strong enough, add all the whipping cream it will hold without curdling. As you add cream, you will notice to begin to curdle but whipping more, in with smooth again. Go slow a bit at a time. Now transfer to the mold sized the same as the pudding. Refrigerate for at least four hours.

De-mold in very hot water for five seconds. Invert on a silvered serving plate.

*Bitter almond Facts
This recipe originally used equal quantities of bitter and sweet almonds. My mother would substitute apricot pits for bitter almonds but these too can contribute hydrogen cyanide,  a poison. So I recommend using all almonds.

* Desserts and vegetables did not appear in my colored cookbook so are found on my blog.

Kate’s Baked Pears*

 This is a very rich dessert, but very easy to prepare. The key is to cook the dish until the sugar browns. Serve a few slices per person topped with a bit of sauce.

Preheat to 400F.

4 Firm Bosc pears, pealed, and quartered. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and dot with butter. Bake at 400F for 40 minutes until soft. Baste the butter back over the top, once as they cook. When soft, add hot cream, cook another 10 minutes.

If using sweet butter, add a bit of salt.

* Desserts and vegetables did not appear in my colored cookbook so are found on my blog.

Apricot upside down Cake*

Circa 1952. Although simple, this is a knock out.

1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup thightly packed brown sugar

1 can apricot halves in hvy syrup, reserve liquid

I cup sugar

3 eggs seperated

Large can all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

Beat egg whites to stiff peaks.In a 11 by 7 cake pan, pour melted butter. Cover bottom of pan  evenly with brown sugar, lined with apricot halves. In beaten yellow eggs, add 1/2 the apricot liquid, 1 cup sugar, and baking powder. If mixture is still too thick, add more liquid or cream sherry. Now, fold in the whites. Don’t over work the mixture. Don’t over fill the pan. Bake 45-55 minutes or until a deep golden brown.

Serve slightly warm, inverted with whipped cream of French clotted cream.

* Desserts and vegetables did not appear in my colored cookbook so are found on my blog.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Steve’s Vegan Chili


1/2 crumbled cauliflower
1 eggplant, peeled, chopped, cooked in olive oil until slightly browned
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk of celery, chopped
The whites of two leeks, sliced, then chopped, and cooked until very limp
2 pablano chiles, roasted then chopped
1 chipotle pepper
1 New Mexico Chile
1 Serrano Chile
2 large portabello mushrooms, chopped
30 oz canned tomato, preferable San Marzano’s
2 tbls tomato paste concentrate
1 can pinto beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 tbls cumin
1 tbls paprika or smoked paprika
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 tbls brown sugar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with finely chopped scallions and cilantro, top bowls with avocado and sour cream.

Cook the cauliflower separately, then reserve. Cook the eggplant, then reserve. Cook the leeks, the reserve.
Combine the carrots, celery, onions, the pablano, Chillies and peppers, and sauté until coloured. Now combine all other ingredients including spices, excepting salt and pepper, and simmer to a rich stew of flavours. Season with salt and pepper.

Cindy GBriel’s Chuck Wagon Beans


1/2 lb bacon, cooked then chopped
1 1/4 lb hamburger
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 cup beef broth or bouillon cube
3 cloves munched garlic, or garlic powder to taste
2/3 cups of catsup
1 1/2 tbls. mustard
2 tbls. Brown sugar
Salt and pepper
2 cans pork & beans in tomato sauce
1 can chuck wagon beans

After cooking crumbled hamburger, bacon, and onions, combine remaining ingredients, cook in a large casserole dish with the lid by baking 3-4 hours or more in a 275 degree oven. Serve with bread or rolls. Adjust to taste or number of people to be served.