Tuesday, October 30, 2012


We made it through Sandy!  No power outages and we are looking to get back to our lives tomorrow.  Two amazing recipes, I made mozzarella pies and Josh made stuffed mushroom caps.

Stuffed mushroom caps
Clean 4 portabello mushroom caps. 
Combine 1 lb crab meat,
1/2 lb shrimp
1/4 cup mayo,
 2 TBS old bay,
1 tsp worstchesire sauce,

1/2 onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 jalepeno finely chopped

Mix with crabmeat mixture and add

2 cups shredded cheese (pepperjack or cheddar is good)

Mound on mushroom caps and broil for 15 minutes.  Serve piping hot.  If you have more stuffing than mushroom caps you can mound the stuffing on english muffins and broil.

I also made mozzarella pies, which were very good, if you don't mind working with phyllo dough.  I defrosted the phyllo dough the night before.  I sauteed the bacon while I cleaned 5 small leeks.  They weren't as dirty as leeks normally are, who knew?  I added the leeks to the bacon and cooked until the bacon was crispy and the leeks tender.  While they were cooking, I cut up the mozzarella and mixed with the bacon and leeks.

Uncooked and messy!

The hard part was making the pies.  I spread a couple of sheets of phyllo with melted butter, then cut into thirds.   I spread one end with the bacon mixture and folded liked a flag.  It tried to fall apart and the filling leaked out.  I pulled it together and baked them.  They were buttery and crisp and delicious.  I would make them again if I had a lot of patience.
Still messy, but cooked!

Monday, October 29, 2012


We are dealing with the realities of Sandy, everyone at home dealing with the Tiger's sweep in the World Series.  I can't believe that they didn't even show up!  Oh well, we'll get 'em next year.  Speaking of disappointment, this is the first recipe I made from Mike's book that I didn't like.  It was...blah.  Like why bother to eat this blah.  Like, oh, I'll pass and have an oreo blah.

First I had to find the speck and saba.  I went to the Italian Store in Arlington, VA and got them, long boring line to contend with.  I sliced the speck and the scallions, mixed them with the ricotta, parm regiano, olive oil, lemon zest and salt.  Baked at 400 for 15 minutes and drizzled with saba.  It wasn't ery good and I didn't take a photo.  Looking forward to the next recipe!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Ha!  I felt doubt.  After rocking with Mike for almost a month I didn't feel good about this recipe.  I like artichokes, but am ambivalent about chickpeas and well...octopus.  I have to look up octopus to verify the spelling.  However, my oldest son did well on his math test and I'm heading to Nanty Glo. PA tomorrow to cook with my mom,, so I felt brave.  Plus, I had gone to the much storied Italian Store in Arlington, VA and procured octopus.  I wanted to like the Italian Store more than I did.  It was crowded and small and I couldn't figure out where anything was.  I did find some saba (in addition to the octopus) which I need for some other recipes.

I should have had more faith.  I actually liked this a lot more than I anticipated.  The kids ate it also, not with mad enthusiasm, but ate it.

First, I braised the octopus in a 325 oven with red wine vinegar, peppercorns and a bay leaf.  I cleaned the artichokes and put them in lemon water.  I sliced the artichokes and added lemon juice, olive oil and salt.  (I think you could use jarred artichokes with no degradation in quality.)  I removed the octopus and grilled it indoors.  That was kind of a mess and smoky and stinky.  No one at chez Anderson was impressed with me, but we have to suffer for great art.  (For the record, I am viewed in my house as charmingly eccentric, not flat out weird.)  I through the stuff for chickpea puree in the food processer, can o' chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, coriander salt and water and pushed the button.  (For some reason, possibly lessons learned from pork belly and beans, I made twice as much chickpea puree as the recipe called for.  Don't.  You'll have plenty with a single recipe. (It kinda tastes like hummus.)  I plated it with chickpea puree, octopus and artichokes.  It was pretty good.  I probably won't make it again and had waay too much chickpea puree, but it wasn't a bad experience.

Josh displaying his plate.

Josh looking all cute.
360 view

Monday, October 22, 2012


Adapted from the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Delicious rustic pie!

An amazing apple pie I made tonight.  Nice mix of sweet, salty and appley!  http://smittenkitchen.com/  To quote from Deb Perelman, "Help, I picked twenty lb of apples and I don't know what to do with them!"   First, make Doris' amazing never fail pie crust:

2 cups flour
1 cup shortning
1 tsp salt

Mix together until the size of small pebbles

Add 1/2 cup water and mix until blended.  Don't overwork.  Roll out 2/3 of the dough and press into a pie pan.  Roll out and reserve the last third for the top crust,  Chill.

Peel and core 7 apples.  Slice thinly.  Mix with, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup flour, 1 tsp cardamon, 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp cinnamon.

Make salty caramel by heating 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy duty saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, constantly stirring.  Add 11/2 tsp salt. Cook for 20 minutes overmedium low heat until dark amber colored.  Remove from heat and add 12 TBL butter and 2 TBL cream.  Mix until blended.

Pre-heat oven to 400.

Remove pie crust from reefer and add apple mixture.  Top with 1/2 of the caramel mixture.  Top with top crust.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400.  Reduce heat to 375 and bake for an additional hour. 

Cool and top with the additional caramel topping.

Really good pie, not too sweet and it will make you happy Good for eating while watching the debate or (hopefully) the Cardinals victory!  Still root for Detroit in the World Series on Wednesday.  I need to cook a bunch of recipes this week since I am planning on going to Nanty Glo, PA this weekend.  Keep thinking your best thought for my Joshua on Friday as he takes his driver's test!

   Lovely pie!

Friday, October 19, 2012


Hard day, my motor transport chief retired.  As good as it is to see the ceremony and old friends, it is a reminder that things will never be the way they are again.  He's a great Marine who has devoted 28 years to serving his country.  I hope he finds employment.  It is a tough economy to be looking for a job.  The ceremony was nice, speeches good, and he felt our love.
Transitioning on, shout out to the Detroit Tigers!  I've been a fan since 1968 and would love to see a repeat of the Tigers and the Cardinals in the World Series.
Made the rock shrimp with spicy cherry tomato marmalade.  Not sure if the goodness was due to frying fresh shrimp, or the delicious batter, but they totally rocked!
I peeled and deveined the shrimp.  Not unpleasant.  Maybe not funs, but not unpleasant.  I used the basic frying batter from page 78, equal parts flour, cornstarch and water, with a little salt and vodka thrown in.  I might have thrown in a little extra vodka.  I crumbled up and tossed in a sheet of nori, which I had picked up on my last trip to....GrandMart!!
Made the spicy cherry marmalade while the fryer was heating.  It was simple, just heating halved cherry tomatos, sugar, lemon juice and a diced pickled cherry pepper until it thickens.
Dredged the shrimp and fried them.  The batter was nice, it got browned and crispy without being heavy.  The marmalade was a good dipping sauce, kind of sweet and sour.  The kids thought it should be a little spicier.I wouuld definitely make this again and would recommens the batter for anything you deep fry.  (Well, I guess I don't know, I've never had a deep fried twinkie or snickers bar.)  Tomorrow I'm going to the Chowhound recommended Italian Store to try to pick up ingredients!  Wish me luck, lots of cooking to do!

  Finished product, you can see the nori!
Same shot from another angle!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Beans cooking in lard (I know, lard!)

Woah, an outstandind dish!  Maybe my favorite in cooking Mike Isabella's cookbook so far!  Good day at Chez Anderson.  Only bad thing at work was that my ordnance officer was at Camp LeJeune (I refuse to pronounce it Le-Jerne!)  Did some math homework with my college sophomore son.  I got some nice pork belly at GrandMart, shoutout to their amazing selection.  Seared it to crisp it.  Added onions, celery, carrots and garlic to sweat.  After addind chicken broth, I tossed it in the oven for two hours.  Meanwhile, I had picked up laard (?, who knew? and country ham? again, who knew? at Giant) and cooked 'til crispy.  I added one can of cannellini beans (added up with two cans of beans, one wasn't nearly enough.)  Removed the pork belly and again crisped it in lard and served it over the beans.  Truly amazing, tasted like the best version of pork and beans you've ever eaten.  Kind of like you would imagine pork and beans would be.  Full confession, we had this dish at Graffiato.  It translated as well at home as it did at Mike's restaurant.  Truly, go ahead and make it, it will make your day!

Pork belly crisping!

Can't get enough pork belly!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Page 296 Nutella Cookie Sandwiches

Adapted from Mike Isabella's Crazy Good Italian

Posted by Doris!

Eating a rich chocolate cookie is about the best thing ever!!  These cookies are right up with the best, I think.

Nutella Sandwich Cookies

1/2 cup of light brown sugar, packed.
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup Nutella (you'll need another cup for the filling) DELICIOUS!!
2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
2  1/2  cups of all-purpose flour (you'll need a little more for rolling the cookies)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4  cup of raw sugar

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchmnt or waxed paper.

In a mixer bowl, mix the brown sugar,white sugar, and Nutella on the second-lowest speed for 1 minute or until they are fully mixed.   Add the butter and mix on lowest speed for 2 minutes or until the dough is whipped and light in color.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.   Slowly add the flour mixture to the Nutella mixture in the mixer bowl and beat on low for 2 minutes.  Stop and scrape the sides of the mixer bowl after 1 minute.  If the dough is crumbly add about a tablespoon of cold water mix a little more!

Dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour (to prevent sticking)  Scooop out about 1/3 of the dough  and cover it with wax paper. 
Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick sheet.

Use a 2 inch circular cookie cutter and punch out the cookies.  Gently lift them onto the waxed paper or parchment lined baking sheets.  Continue rolling and cutting cookies until you have used all the dough.

Place the baking sheets on the middle  and bottom racks of the pre-heated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the sheets to the kitchn counter and sprinkle each cookie with a bit of raw sugar.  Put the cookies back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Take the cookies from the oven and let them rest for a minute or two then put them on a cooling rack.
When they are cool, spread 1/2 the cookies with about 1  1/2  teaspoons of Nutella  and top with another cookie.  These are delicious chocolate sandwich  cookies!!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


The ingredients!
Busy day, another trip to GrandMart for cuttlefish and rock shrimp.  (I don't think I've ever used the word "cuttlefish" in a sentence before.)  The kids worked and we are all excited about the Tiger's game tonight.  I was secretly glad the Cardinals beat the Nats yesterday because my dad was a huge Cardinals fan, from the Stan Musial era on.  (Funny story about visiting Stan Musial's restaurant, we had a loong wait before eating and my dad and I drank waay too much wine, it wasn't pretty, but it was fun!)  Made the roasted cauliflower and it rocked!  First you browned the butter, which kind of made it a win from the get go.  I love browned butter on anything.  Tossed the cauliflower in the browned butter and roasted it in the oven, after seperating it into florettes, of course.  Grated the pecorino, slivered the red onion and chiffonaded the mint.  Tossed it all together with a squirt of lemon juice.  Probably the best cauliflower I've ever had!  The only awkwardness was reheating the leftovers since the red onion and mint tasted a little weird hot.  I would definitely recommend  this dish.

Another picture of the ingredients!
The final product!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Adapted from a recipe in the Wasington Post

Need to drink?  Lots of fall plums around (especially Italian plums)?  Make some slivovitz for the holidays!  Slivovitz is a plum flavored vodka, that ages the plums in vodka, sugar, lemon peel and cinnamon sticks for two months.  Great holiday treat for your boring party.

Get a half gallon container with a wide lid (I bought a lovely dog food treat container).
Fill with enough plums (with two vertical slits per plum to let the juice out)
Add two cups of sugar
Add four cups of vodka (or enough to cover the plums)
Add a couple of cinnamon sticks and a little lemon peel
Stir daily to ensure sugar gets dissolved in the mixture
Set aside for two months
Strain out liquid and put in freezer.  Serve frozen in small glasses (It is vodka, after all!)

Note the lovely slitted plums and the pawprints on the dog treat vessel.  All dogs are doing well her, luxoriating in their  post Saint Francis Day blessing!

Monday, October 8, 2012



I (Doris) decided to try my first recipe in Mike Isabella's Crazy Good Italian and it is delicious!!
I had it for Sunday night supper and my tummy was delighted. He called it
Strozzapreti with Mushrooms and Smoked Mozzarella.  The Strozzapreti is a pasta like penne pasta.  Since I could not find it in the store I just used penne and it tasted great!

I started with the mushrooms since they need the longest cooking time.  You'll need 3/4 pound of a mixed mushroom blend.  I used shitake, oyster, and plain white mushroom with the stems removed.Cook these in 2 tablespoons of canola oil and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a no-stick skillet for 15-20 minutes. Stir every few minutes until tender.

Second cooking was the pasta. Boil water in a large pot.  Add a teaspoon of salt to the water and then add the pasta.  cook for about 10 minutes until it is al dente.  Save 1/2 cup of the cooking  water and drain the pasta.

Toss  the pasta over the mushrooms in the skillet and all the 1/2 cup of cooking water and 2 tablespoons of butter.  When the butter is melted add the cheese.  I used 1 cup of diced smoked mozzarella and 1 cup of shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley.  Toss for a minute or two until the cheese is melted.

Serve the delicious pasta in a family-size bowl and everyone can help themselves and enjoy!!


I liked this recipe, it was interesting, tasty and something I wouldn't ordinarily eat.  It kind of captures the point of this experiment in cooking through Mike Isabella's cookbook, to focus and stretch myself.  And to bond with my beloved mother, Doris!   I had the day off of work (federal holiday) so I had time to make it.  Poached the goat in oil for two hours, piece of cake.  Cooked the polenta with water, milk and salt.  Added the goat cheese (I love goat cheese!) and butter.  Took a while and some stirring, but it came out nicely.  Crisped the goat (kind of a pain to seperate, I actually ended up getting bone in goat, my bad!).  Added the goat to the top of the polenta, topped with mint and saba.  Luckily my local liquor store had saba, I had no idea!  It was an interesting mix of textures, creamy polenta, crispy goat.  I like goat cheese in anything, so it kept the polenta from being bland.  Glad I made it.  I DO have to make a special trip for goat, so I can't make it everyday.

Bonus picture of my amazing kids at ICE! at the Gaylord, National Harbor, MD.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Crazy day!  Celebrated St Francis of Assissi day by taking the dogs to church for their blessing.  They were very enthusiastic (if by enthusiastic you mean rowdy and lusting over the small "snack" dogs).  It was cold and rainy, and the broccolini recipe was in order.

Harry is going
to be a frog for Halloween.

They were thinking of dressing up as really old boxers with beards.

Anyway, on to broccolini.  To be honest, I didn't love it.  I made the roasted pepper relish with Roasted bell peppers, peppadew peppers (who would have guessed that I had them in my cupboard?), pickled red cherry peppers, walnuts, olive oil and vinegar.  Frankly, it was a little exhausting.  I then cooked the broccolini for the suggested one minute.  If I were to make this again I would cook it for like three minutes.  Assembled with ewliah, broccolini and feta.  Kind of blah, not bad but I thought the broccolini was undercooked and nothing "stuck" together, it was hard to get broccolini, relish and feta in the same bite.

Doris finally is getting her act together (yay!) and will be blogging soon.  She had some technical problems (like not knowing how to use a search engine, don't ask), but cooked and will be blogging soon, promise!  I'll be back soon, with crispy goat and poenta and asparagus with mint.

Finished dish
Me eating broccolini.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Another detour!  My amazing son Josh cooked, and I didn't have to.  My one dog went missing for a couple of hours and took away my desire to cook.  She turned up safely, waiting by the back door, so all was well, but comfort food was required.  Josh made some bananas foster pancakes and we were relieved and maybe a little happy.

Lulu came home!!!!

Anyway, pancakes it is!

Follow the bisquick pancake recipe, add two finely chopped bananas.
Make bananas foster
1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 sliced bananas
1/4 cup crushed pistachios
1 teasp nutmeg
1 teasp cinnamon
3/4 cup spiced rum

Heat bananas, sugar, spices and pistachios until sugar caramelizes.  Add rum and light it on fire.  Wait until flames subside.

Meanwhile, cook pancakes per the bisquick recipe.

Top pancakes with the bananas foster.  Get happy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Short detour to discuss an AMAZING and happy making pork roast my beloved youngest son, Josh, made on Tuesday.  He is so cool and accomplished and I am proud of him.  What he did was to:

take a 5 lb butt pork
dry rub it with:
4 parts sugar
2 parts salt
1 part paprika
1 part sage
1 part thyme
1 part onion powder
1 part rosemary
1 part garlic

Refrigerate for two days

Smoke for 1.5 hour per pound.

No sauce is necessary, it will just make you happy.  Josh just went into excrutiating detail over the differences between a butt and a picnic and I have little doubt that they are important.  Umm, not to me.  The pork was amazing and very tender.  Stop watching the debate and eat pork!

Bonus photo of Harry looking all cute.