Sunday, February 28, 2016

Quick and Easy Tuna Salad

This easy tuna salad can be served over lettuce, on toast, in pita bread, etc. The inspiration for this recipe was one I found at All Recipes ( However, I made a number of changes to suite my own tastes. It's a recipe that can be easily modified. It should serve 3. The original recipe serves 2.


2 4-ounce cans of tuna packed in water
2 tsp mayonnaise 
2 tsp sweet pickle relish
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
2 tsp chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp lemon juice


Drain the tuna, then mash in a small bowl with a fork.

Add other ingredients, and stir well to combine.

Chill and serve.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Orange-Glazed Carrots - Another Super-Easy Carrot Recipe

It seems there is no end of very easy and delicious carrot recipes. I found this one on All Recipes ( I made a couple of changes, which I've noted in parens.


- 1 pound carrots (I used half a pound because if was for just two of us & I used baby carrots to avoid peeling and cutting.)
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar (I used 2 tbsp)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- pinch of salt


Place carrots in a shallow saucepan and cover with water. Boil until tender. (This took about 9 minutes.)

Drain and return carrots to pan.

Pour orange juice over carrots and mix well. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Stir in brown sugar, butter, and salt. Heat until butter and sugar melt.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Italian Green Beans in Egg Cream

Green Beans in Egg Cream - Fagiolini alla Crema d'Uova - is a nice & easy side. The recipe below serves 4, but I cut it in half for the two of us. 

(The recipe is from a huge and interesting Italian cook book that has over 2,000 recipes. The original version, Il Cucchiaio d'Argento, is in Italian, but I have the English-language version, The Silver Spoon. It is not just a translation, but an adaption with U.S.measurements. It's available on Amazon.)


- 4 & 1/4 cups of green beans (1 pound would probably be close enough.)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 small, mild onions, chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- salt and pepper to taste


1. Cook the beans in salted, boiling water for 15 minutes. Then drain and chop. (If you like firmer beans, boil them for 10 minutes.)

2. While the beans are cooking, beat the eggs in a bowl, stir in the Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Melt the butter in a pan over low heat. Add the onions, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the beans, mix well, and cook for a few minutes more.

5. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, stirring constantly. Then remove the pan from the heat.

Shrimp de Jonghe - A Chicago Original

In 1892, the Belgian immigrant De Jonghe brothers began over three decades of culinary excellence in Chicago. They started with a restaurant opened for the 1892 World's Columbian Exposition and proceeded to create an iconic restaurant and hotel enterprise. ( One famous dish that they created was Shrimp De Jonghe. It is now served in many Chicago restaurants, as well as elsewhere.

I prepared this delicious dish for dinner with friends. The recipe I used is from Epicurious ( I later discovered that the original version and others have a couple of tablespoons of sherry, so I will add that next time.

The recipe serves 8, but the six of us finished it easily.


- 2 lbs large shrimp
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil(I had to use dried)
- pinch of dried thyme. crumbled
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butterm softened
- 1 & 1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch of mace
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
(2 tablespoons dry sherry)


1. Cook the shrimp in a 4-quart pot of boiling salted water until cooked just through, about 1 & 1/2 minutes. Drain shrimp in a colander; then immediately transfer to large bowl of ice water to stop cooking. (To salt the water for boiling, use 1 tablespoon of salt.)

2. Preheat oven to 350°F.

3. Mash garlic to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash garlic with salt using a large knife. Then stir together with fresh and dried herbs, shallot, onion, 1 & 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) of the butter, sherry, 1 cup of the bread crumbs, nutmeg, mace, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

4. Melt remaining q/w stick butter and stir together with remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to make topping.

5.Arrange shrimp in 1 layer (slightly overlapping if necessary) in a buttered 3-quart flameproof grating dish or other wide, shallow ceramic baking dish. Over with herbed breadcrumb mixture. Then sprinkle with topping.

6. Bake in upper third of oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Then turn on broiler and boil until crumbs are golden brown, about 2 minutes. (Watch broiling very carefully because the crumbs can quickly burn.)

A Menu of Local (Mostly) American Dishes

When we have friends for dinner, I often pick a theme. The most recent, was local dishes from around the U.S. The only exception was the appetizer because I couldn't find something that was easy, and fast, and that I hadn't already made - so I substituted a Levantine appetizer. I was very happy with the results. The menu was:

Appetizer - pita bread coated with olive oil and za'atar spice, and toasted - from the Levant
Salad - curried Waldorf salad - from New York
Main dish - Shrimp de Jonghe - from Chicago
Side dish - Maque Choux - Cajun from Louisiana
Dessert - Blueberry - Strawberry Sonker from Surry County, North Carolina

I was very happy with everything except the dessert. The dessert tasted ok, but was not great. I'll try that again some time to see if I can figure out if I can do better.

Maque Choux - Cajun Corn & Bacon

Maque Choux is a delicious Cajun side dish. It went very well with a shrimp dish I served.

There are a number of Maque Choux recipes on line. This one is a combination of several recipes. I intended it for our group of six, but it could easily have served 10. It was so good that we easily finished it off.


- 8 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled
- 4 cups of sweet corn. I used canned, but many recipes call for fresh corn taken off the cob with the milk from the cob. I'm sure that would have improved the taste.
- 3 tablespoons of butter or two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of bacon fat.
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 chopped bell pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce (or more)
- 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1 finely chopped green onion
- 2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh Italian parsley.


1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and crumble.

2. Reserve two tablespoons of bacon fat in the skillet, and drain the remainder. (I substituted an extra tablespoon of butter for the two tablespoons of bacon fat, because the way I cook bacon in water leaves no fat.)

3. Add butter to skillet and and melt over medium heat.

4. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. 

5. Add bell pepper and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.

6. Add corn and sauté about 2 minutes.

7. Add cream and hot sauce. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

8. Mix in green onion and parsley.

9. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more hot sauce, if desired.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lebanese Chicken (Tawook) - Easy and Delicious

This tasty dish is a variant of Shish Tawook (also Taouk), a grilled chicken dish that is very popular in Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and Israel. Perhaps the most popular version is grilled on skewers. In fact, the name comes from the Turkish words for "skewer" and "chicken."

The version I used is not grilled, but sauteed. It also has the fewest ingredients. If you search the Internet for "chicken tawook." You will find other versions with more ingredients.

It is extremely easy to prepare. It can be served over rice, with vegetables, with yogurt - cucumber sauce, in pita bread, etc. We served it alongside stuffed grape leaves, and with  yogurt sauce and tabbouleh salad.

I found this recipe on the Lemon Bowl, a very interesting healthy food and lifestyle blog. The author is of Middle Eastern descent.  a  I highly recommend checking out the Lemon Bowl.

The recipe below is the original recipe, which serves 4. I tripled it for a family gathering. 


- 20 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut into cubes
- juice and zest of one lemon
- 2 garlic cloves - grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- fresh parsley to serve


1. Place chicken breast cubes in a glass bowl or large resealable plastic bag. (I used a bowl.)

2. Add lemon juice, zest, garlic, salt, and pepper to the chicken and toss until chicken is evenly coated with marinade. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or up to overnight. (I left it to marinate overnight.)

3. Heat pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add chicken to the pan along with all of the marinade. Sauté chicken, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.

4. Serve with fresh minced parsley.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pork Chops Over Rice with Honey, Lime, Cilantro, and Soy

This easy and tasty pork chop recipe is a combination of three recipes:
1. The pork chop cooking method is one I found on YouTube and use very frequently because it is so reliable at producing juicy pork chops. ( In this case, I left out the onion and rosemary from the YouTube version.
2. The sauce is from a shrimp recipe I have tried and love (
3. I added rice and used the sauce on both the pork chops and the rice.

This recipe produces two servings, but can easily be scaled up by adding more rice and sauce.


- 2 tablespoons olive oil

- juice of 1 lime

- 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

- 1 tablespoon soy sauce

- 4 tablespoons honey (I use local Sarasota honey.)

- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

- 1/4 teaspoon salt

- 3 garlic cloves minced

- 2 boneless pork chops


Preheat oven to 350°F

Whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, honey, red pepper flakes, and salt. Whisk in cilantro.

Put olive oil in oven safe skillet, and heat over medium-high heat.

At the same time, separately cook the amount of rice you'd like with this dish.

Put pork chops in skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on one side. For thin chops, do 3 minutes. For thicker chops, do 4 minutes.

Turn chops with tongs, not a fork. Add garlic, and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Put the skillet in the oven and cook for 4 minutes.

Using oven-safe gloves or other protection, remove the skillet from the oven, and place on stove top.

Coat the pork chops with some of the sauce, and cook for another minute.

Let the pork chops rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes.

Plate the rice and pork chops. If desired, you can cut up the pork chops and place over the rice.

Pour the remaining sauce over the rice and pork chops.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Patate al Ramerino - Potatoes with Rosemary - Simple & Delicious Tuscan Side

This delicious and simple side dish from the Livorno area of the Tuscan coast is very easy to prepare and can easily be adjusted to accommodate different numbers of diners. The recipe serves 12, but I adjusted it to serve 4, by changing the number of potatoes. Preparation is fast, but cooking time is 1 hour.

The source of this recipe is Tuscany the Beautiful Cookbook, by Lorenza de' Medici, of the iconic de' Medici family. The book is a beautiful gift book.


- 12 small baking potatoes - 3 inches in length is good for the cooking time in this recipe, Larger potatoes will require longer cooking. Wash, but do not peel.
- 12 rosemary sprigs - the length of the potatoes.
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 350°

Cut each potato lengthwise about three quarters of the way through the center. 

Insert a sprig of rosemary into each incision. 

Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the olive oil into a baking dish in which the potatoes will fit without crowding.

Add the potatoes and roll them in the olive oil to coat all sides.

Bake until the potatoes are tender, about 1 hour.

Serve immediately.