Monday, July 26, 2010

"Everyone Eats Well In Belgium Cookbook" - Belgian Waterzooi of Scallops (Scallop Stew) and French Poached Chicken with Vegetables

Date I made these recipes: July 25, 2010

Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook by Ruth Van Waerebeek
Published by: Workman Publishing
ISBN: 1-56305-411-6
Recipe: Aunt Lucette’s Waterzooi of Scallops (Scallop Stew) – p. 96 -97

Clementine in the Kitchen by Samuel Chamberlain
Published by: David R. Godine, Publisher
© 1943; revised edition © 1988
Recipe: Poached Chicken with Vegetables – p. 187

So today endeth the annual Tour de France, the bicycle race that starts in Belgium and ends in Paris, and my husband is most bereft. Unlike me, the man loves to bike, often putting in 25 miles or more per day. And while he never pretends to be Lance Armstrong (or Alberto Contador or Andy Schleck or Alessandro Petacchi…or even Mark Cavendish, also known as the Manx Missile) he does enjoy watching these up and comers slug it out to win the yellow jersey (indicating the leader) for the final time.

After today’s contest was over and Contador won it all by a very controversial 39 seconds over Andy Schleck (you had to be there), Andy looked at the TV screen and said what many of us said after the Olympics were over: “Now what do I do?” Because, trust me, these races are addictive.

Every day for two weeks he’d come home from work and tune in on the tour. And every weekend, my man, who starts work at 6 a.m., would bypass sleeping in late in order to get up at dawn-o-clock to watch the race. Short of being there, you couldn’t ask for a more devoted fan.

So to cheer the guy up, I cooked him some Belgian food and some French food in honor of the race.

Although we’ve been to Europe, we’ve never been to Belgium and that is something we need to address in short order. Belgium is known for their mussels, their endive and their beer (and no doubt you can find a recipe incorporating all three). Oh, and chocolate - lots and lots of chocolate. But I went with this stew called “waterzooi” because there were three recipes for it in my cookbook and it seemed very traditional. If this were the tour, this dish would be wearing the yellow jersey, it was that fantastic.

And the French dish was good although it proved to be Andy Schleck (who took 2nd place) rather than winner Alberto Contador—tasty but 39 seconds behind. The cookbook, though, is an interesting read as it tells the story of the Chamberlain family who lived in pre-WWII France and employed their darling Clementine to cook for them. The first part of the book is the story, the second part, the recipes.

As to the recipes, it didn’t dawn on me until I started shopping for the ingredients that these were basically the same dish with only slight variations. The waterzooi had cream in the sauce, the poached chicken had butter. Both used the same vegetables and both used protein but in the end, the scallops (cooked to perfection if I do say so myself) won the day.

So for all you tour fans, make these dishes and you’ll feel better about it having come to an end. And then get on that bike while the getting is good and pretend you are Alberto Contador and bike away your troubles. And dream of Belgium and France and next year’s tour.

Aunt Lucette’s Waterzooi of Scallops – serves 4 (we halved the recipe)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 large leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed well and cut into matchstick-size strips
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick-size strips
3 ribs celery, cut into matchstick-size strips
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme or large pinch dried thyme
½ cup water
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 ½ pounds scallops (4-6 large sea scallops or 6-8 bay scallops)

A couple of notes: we had leftover champagne and used that instead of wine and it was yummy. I’d also recommend halving your leek matchsticks because they were a little hard to eat (the carrots and celery were fine).

Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat until it foams. Add the shallots, garlic, leeks, carrots and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until softened slightly but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon of the parsley, the bay leaves, thyme, water and wine. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. (Note: I was worried that what little liquid there was would evaporate but this was not the case.). Stir in the cream and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (You can prepare the dish in advance up to this point).

Just before serving, reheat the broth and vegetables to a simmer and add the scallops. Poach at a simmer, uncovered, until the scallops turn opaque, 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of the scallops. (I’d say I went about 2.5 minutes before removing the pot from the stove and transferring the dish to a bowl to prevent overcooking). Do not overcook or let the liquid come to a boil as it will overcook the scallops. Serve immediately in soup dishes, sprinkling each with the remaining parsley.

Poached Chicken with Vegetables – serves 3 or 4
2 quarts of chicken stock
1 3-pound chicken (Note: the recipe called for a whole chicken but we used a 3-pound already-cut up chicken)
2 carrots
2 turnips
2 celery stalks
4 leeks
2 slices bacon or 1 cube lean bacon
Pinch of thyme
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of parsley
2 tablespoons of creamed unsalted butter (for sauce)

Heat 2 quarts of chicken stock with 2 carrots, cut into pieces, 2 small white turnips, quartered, 2 stalks of celery, cut into pieces, 4 leeks with most of their green tops cut off, a cube of lean bacon 1 inch square (or two slices), a pinch of thyme, 1 bay leaf, and 2 sprigs of parsley. Simmer this court-bouillon for 10 minutes, then added a trussed 3-pound chicken.

Simmer the chicken, covered, for 20 minutes after the stock comes back to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the chicken stand and continue to poach in the hot stock for 20 minutes. Remove it to a hot platter, carve it, pour a little of the stock over it so it will not dry out, and keep it warm. The vegetables should be tender by this time, but if they are not, continue cooking them while you make the sauce.

In a small saucepan, over a brisk fire, reduce 1 ¼ cups of stock to ¾ cup. Taste it for seasoning and whip in 2 tablespoons of creamed unsalted butter in the last minute, off the fire. Serve the chicken surrounded by the vegetables and pass the sauce separately.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"To Your Kitchen, from the Castle Rangers Booster Club" - Barbecued Pork Chops

Date I made this recipe: July 19, 2010

To Your Kitchen, from the Castle Rangers Booster Club compiled by the Castle Rangers Drum & Bugle Corps Booster Club and Friends (Munising, Michigan)
Published by: Circulation Service
© 1974
Recipe: Barbecued Pork Chops submitted by Mrs. Ed Matson – p. 20

People, I’ve often said that I have a cookbook for just about everything and this week is no exception. After attending, of all things, a Drum Corps International competition with a friend, I came home, pulled the Castle Rangers (Drum & Bugle Corps) Booster Club cookbook, To Your Kitchen off my shelf and away we went!

The Castle Rangers was the name of a drum and bugle corps from my hometown, Munising, Michigan. The Castle Rangers were organized in 1973 to take the place of the Silver Echoes that performed from 1962 to 1971. The Castle Rangers lasted until 1977 and sadly, that was the end of the line for the drum and bugle corps.

I tell you what, folks I wanted to be a Silver Echo in the worst way, particularly a member of the color guard. Flag bearer, rifle twirler, it didn’t matter to me just as long as I got to wear those satiny uniforms, plumed hats and best of all, the white majorette boots. (It was, and remains, all about those boots!) But alas, I was too young. One of my former next-door neighbors, though, was the corps commander, sharply issuing orders to her crew – “Mark Time March!” “Forward March!” and I would snap to attention as though she were talking to me. (And don’t get me started on those snappy salutes they gave at the start of each parade as they still bring chills.)

By the time the Castle Rangers came along, I was no longer interested. (Much of it, I hate to say, was due to their outfits. Miner's Castle, the inspiration for the groups' name, is part of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and that prompted the (park) ranger outfit. But people, the colors they selected, green and orange, were a definite turn off. And I didn't quite fancy looking like a forest ranger at the time so there it is.) Be that as it may, I still hung out with some friends in the Rangers and managed to learn how to twirl a rifle or two.

So fast forward to the DCI competition held this past Saturday at the new University of Minnesota stadium that was built near my house. Ai yi yi, people, talk about a change to the corps!

First let’s start with the fact that today’s drum corps don’t march and given the number of guitars, marimbas (xylophones), and even tympanis (kettle drums) that were used, you can see how that would be a problem. I’ve never seen so many percussion accoutrements in my life!

Style wise, today’s “march” consists of this interesting heel and toe combination that always triggers me to “sing” “Heel, toe, heel, toe, slide, slide, slide, slide…” like I learned during dance class during PE (physical education) in high school. I’d rather see some military-styled marching because that’s what I’m used to but I fear those days are long gone.

Third, call me a dinosaur (It’s okay—I do!) but what on earth are these groups playing? Most songs, a term I use loosely, were unrecognizable. And okay, so the Silver Echoes played the song “Tammy” from the movie, "Tammy and the Bachelor” (popular in the 60’s) but what’s your point? At Saturday’s performance, the Madison Scouts earned big brownie points by playing a medley that included "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" (from the musical "On Your Toes," music and lyrics by Rogers and Hart, 1963) as well as Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Blue." Now that’s music!

But what wasn’t music…or at least music I’m not used to hearing from a drum & bugle corps was a religious medley played by one of the groups we heard on the field. The first piece they played sounded a lot like "Beauty and the Beast"…until the flag corps came out in choir robes carrying crosses. Excuse the pun but what.the.hell???! The group ended with a piece that took me about a half an hour to name ("Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow") and the piece de resistance was the group unfurling a large banner with hands clasped in prayer in the middle. Oy vez!! We didn’t know what on earth to make of that performance—heavenly? Divine? (And while I’m at it, drum and bugle corps started to lead troops into battle and while I’m sure the troops called upon divine intervention to keep them safe, I’m not sure that today’s troops could get their battle groove thing on with that music as a warm up!).

And finally…I would be remiss if I did not talk about the modern day concept of a color guard. I realize time has marched on (hahaha) without me but since when does a color guard consist of dancing and prancing flag bearers and riffle twirlers? And can we TALK about the outfits? Let’s be clear—lyrca is nobody’s friend and lyrca plus major polyester is just against the laws of fashion. And the COLORS! Holy Moly—hardly anybody’s outfits matched those of the drum and bugle players. Where are Clinton and Stacey from TLC’s What Not to Wear when you need them? (And no, Clinton and Stacey, we are not talking about a little pop of color to accentuate an outfit. We are talking about a paint spattering of what was left over at the Home Depot paint department that day!)

All that being said, it was most unfortunate for all that the Twin Cities experienced major storms and only 14 out of 23 corps competed so we were unable to take in the full drum corps experience. Kudos, though, to the ones who performed, especially an itty bitty drum corps from St. Peter Minnesota. It was nice to see some local groups mixed in with the big guns from either coast.

So back to the cookbook--there’s nothing like a community cookbook, is there? I love the fact that I know just about everyone in this cookbook, a cookbook by the way that I took from my mother’s collection. After much discussion and lobbying, we settled on the Barbecued Pork Chop recipe. It was ridiculously easy to make and (and this I love), I had all ingredients on hand so all I had to buy was the pork chops. The only advice I have is to watch the chops as pork tends to get dried out very quickly. The sauce was a winner and is something I can see putting on many a cut of meat.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to viewing and listening to vintage sounds from the Silver Echoes on YouTube…already in progress. (Their rendition of “Look for the Silver Lining” is giving me goosebumps!)

Barbecued Pork Chops – makes 4 to 6 chops or pork steaks
For the sauce:
½ c. catsup
½ c. chili sauce
¼ c. chopped onion
2 tsp. prepared mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. celery seed
1 clove garlic
Dash Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients, mix well.

In a large saucepan cover meat with water. Salt to taste. Simmer covered over medium heat 20 minutes. Drain the chops and place in a covered dish. Pour the sauce over each chop. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Grill over hot coals until browned, about 20 minutes, brushing with sauce if necessary.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Family Circle Great Ground-Beef Recipes," "John Michael Lerma's Garden Country," "Cool Entertaining"

Date I made these recipes: July 5, 2010

Family Circle Great Ground-Beef Recipes by the Family Circle Food Staff
Published by: A New York Times Company Publication
© 1965, 1966, 1971
Recipe: Double onion burgers – p. 24

John Michael Lerma’s Garden County by John Michael Lerma
Published by: Syren Book Company
ISBN: 0-929636-50-3
Recipe: Cherry Tomato Pie – p. 171-172

Cool Entertaining by Irma Rhode
Published by: Atheneum
© 1976
Recipe: (My Grandmother’s) Apple Cake – p. 151

Well, there’s no time like the 4th of July to break out the All-American items—with variations of course!

Burgers were kind of a given but I’m not exactly stocked with burger books (even fewer hot dog books). After a careful shelf by shelf search, I pulled this one out at Memorial Day and kept it on my dining room table so I didn’t forget that I had it. (Because trust me, out of sight, out of mind!)

Next, I felt that something fresh from the garden was in order and so I pulled John Michael Lerma’s Garden County book off the shelf. I was almost set to make a pasta salad using tomatoes and corn but the recipe for the pie (and of course, pie is usually a given on the 4th of July) sounded more interesting.

Finally, I also yanked out Cool Entertaining a few month’s back in anticipation of the summer holidays but sheesh, people, finding a recipe I liked was a challenge and a half. Practically everything in the book required that the meat or vegetables be encased in clear gelatin and while I’m not opposed to it, I wanted something a little less wobbly for the day and so went with apples…but not in a pie.

So back to the pie…John Michael Lerma can often be seen on the Food Network in pie-making competitions. He also wrote another cookbook about pies, one that I have yet to bake from, but will soon. Actually, I mean that my husband will bake a pie fairly soon seeing as how he’s the “pie guy” in our family. I conscripted him into action this afternoon, pleading with him to make the crust so that I could concentrate on the filling. When I make a crust, it’s okay. When he makes one, it’s divine! And so he cracked open a beer and got to work—love that about him!

And before I beat the pie topic to death…I have a love/hate relationship going with Top Chef (not to be confused with Top Chef Masters that I love!) and last week, everybody had to make a pie. And people, to my amazement, this year’s contestants who claim to be chefs copped to never having made a pie at all or maybe making it once.

What the ???!! How can you be a “chef” without ever having made a pie? This is just inconceivable.

Now I know, I know—in chef-land there are those who are pastry chefs and those who are not and usually the twain never meet. But honestly, folks, how many of us non-chefs starting baking and cooking when we were youngsters? My guess is a lot. So if you then go on to cook for people for a living, it seems like a no-brainer that you should know how to make all kinds of food. The fact that some of these contestants didn’t know how just seems odd to me.

And speaking of odd…every year on Top Chef, there’s one contestant who stands out as being the biggest a-hole of the season. (Having an ego is one thing but displaying it for all to see on cable TV is another!) This year, it’s Angelo, who is one of the aforementioned “non pie guys.” The dude never made a pie before—ever. So of course, it stands to reason that the first time out of the chute, he manages to make a respectable pie. Hate.him.

Previous year’s villains have been Mike Isabella (season 6), (make that Ickabella—or, if you are a true Minnesotan, make it Ishabella!) whose misogynist thinking was a total turnoff to me and thousands of viewers and Illan Hall, winner of season 2. Just the image of his smug mug makes me want to change the channel. So of course, who shows up as guest judges at the Judge’s Table on this week’s show? Mike and Illan. Lord help me, Jesus!

CORRECTION: I could have sworn Illan was shown in the previews but when I watched the show last night, he wasn't there. My bad...but I still don't like the guy. And I still can't figure out why, out of all the former contestants, Mike Isabella was there. But to make up for that snafu, the judges did include cutie pie Bryan Voltaggio, last season's runner up. That I can live with!

Well, anyway, as I am wont to do, I digress. So here’s my selection of 4th of July recipes guaranteed to make you feel patriotic.

By the way, the following lyrics from a song that I sang in childhood, kept running through my head as I put the pie together:

Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Can she bake a cherry pie, Charming Billy?
She can bake a cherry pie, quick as a cat can wink her eye
But she's a young thing and cannot leave her mother

Catchy, right?!!

Double Onion Burgers – makes 6 servings
1 large Bermuda (purple) onion, peeled (I used a Vandalia onion and it was glorious)
¼ cup salad oil
1 ½ pounds ground beef
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
¾ cup soft bread crumbs (1 ½ slices) (I used a hamburger bun)
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup catsup
6 slices bacon, halved

Cut Bermuda onion into 6 slices; arrange in a single layer in a shallow baking pan; pour salad oil over top. Bake in a moderate oven (350) for 20 minutes.

While onion cooks, mix ground beef lightly with chopped onion, parsley, bread crumbs, egg, salt, and pepper until well-blended; shape into 6 patties about 1 inch thick.

Place one each on a baked onion slice; spread with catsup; top each with 2 half slices of bacon.

Bake 30 minutes longer, or until bacon is crisp and meat is done as you like it.

Ann’s Note: dang, these burgers were yummy. I was thinking about grilling the stuff but the weather was bad so I went with the oven instead and am glad I did.

Cherry Tomato Pie – serves 6 to 8
Note: plan on allotting at least 1 hour to chill the dough.
For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher or Hawaiian salt
½ cup cold all-vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup cold water
1 large egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
For the filling:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ pounds assorted cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Kosher or Hawaiian salt

Make the dough by first combining all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add shortening and butter (these should be cold as directed). Using a pastry blender cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Drop by drop, add the cold water. Mix in with the fingertips; do not use your hands as the palms will warm the dough. Continue mixing water in until the dough begins to hold together without being sticky but not crumbly.

Divide dough into two pieces and place each in plastic wrap. Fold over plastic wrap and press down to form a disk. This will make rolling out easier after chilling. Finish wrapping in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at last 1 hour.

Lightly spray a 9-inch pie plate with butter or vegetable cooking spray. Roll out dough and place in pie plate. Return to the refrigerator until the filling is ready. Roll out top crust.

Next, make the filling. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a heavy-bottom skillet over medium, heat oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook until translucent. Do not brown the garlic as it will become bitter. (Ann’s Note: And so will you if you end up with ruined garlic!)
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, mustard, and pepper. Blend in the cooked onions and cherry tomatoes. Stir to mix well.

Remove bottom pie crust from refrigerator and layer with half the cheese. Cover with tomato and onion mixture. Spread remaining cheese evenly over the mixture. Brush edges of pie crust with egg wash. Attach top crust, fold edges together, and crimp. Create a decorative edge. Brush top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher or Hawaiian salt.

Bake for 30 minutes. (Ann’s Note: plan on allotting more time for this. After 30 minutes, the crust was still soft and the cheese wasn’t melted. I put it back in the oven for another 30 and that seemed to do the trick. But everyone’s oven is different so check the pie after 15 minutes to make sure you don’t overbake it.)

Let pie cool on a rack for 20 minutes before serving.

My Grandmother's Apple Cake – 8 servings (that would be the author's grandmother, not mine)
NOTE: This dish is supposed to cool overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
2 large apples (I found one was sufficient but buy 2 just in case)
Strawberry jam
½ cup sugar
9 medium egg yolks (NOTE: medium egg yolks are required. If you only have large, you should be fine using them in this recipe. If you only have extra-large, I’d check on the internet for conversions)
9 medium egg whites
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 9-inch springmold

Heat oven to 325. butter the springmold, then place a round of aluminum foil over the bottom and butter again. This is to prevent discoloration of apple slices. Peel and core apples. Cut them into rings and place into mold in one layer. Fill center of apple rings with strawberry jam.

Beat together sugar and egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Add flour and mix. Beat egg whites until stiff, gradually adding cream of tartar. First fold in 1/3 of egg whites into egg yolk mixture, then reverse and fold into egg whites. Pour dough over apples and bake for 45-50 minutes. Cool in the mold overnight. Place on a coffee tin, push rim down and turn cake upside down on a service plate. Take off bottom part, then peel off aluminum foil.