Archive for April, 2009

Hamburger Pasty – Cabbage Pockets

April 30, 2009

freshly-baked-pattiesThis is a German/Russian  pasty (bëroks) recipe for cabbage, onions and hamburger baked in a bread pocket.  My good friend and card partner, Arlene, gave me this recipe back in 1974.  We made them for football games, tail-gate picnics, day trips, and card games.  They are loaded with black pepper and really go down well with mustard and a beer.  Our husbands loved them so there was rarely any leftover after a weekend of activities.  They’re also great right out of the oven or cold for lunch boxes and traveling.

Colorado and Nebraska have long histories of Russian and German immigrants who settled and worked the land into farms.  They were hardy people with hardy appetites who lived off the bounty of their farms; harvesting and grinding wheat for flour, raising and butchering animals, canning and preserving from the garden to the fruit orchards.  I have a very old cookbook written by the German/Russian Society in Loveland, Colorado that is chock-a-block full of fabulous vintage recipes.  I’ll do a book review later on – yes, it’s still in print.

Kraut Burgers

  • 2 lb hamburger meat
  • 1 large head of cabbage, shredded
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe for 2 loaves basic white bread, or 2 loaves frozen bread dough

While bread dough is proofing, brown hamburger in a large stock pot or Dutch oven, add onions to sweat for 10 minutes, add cabbage and cook until wilted, add salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until cabbage and onions are done.  Drain in a colander and let cool.  Preheat oven to 350° F.  Roll out bread dough 1/3 inch thick, cut 16 squares (4 or 5 inches each).  Place 1 heaping spoonful (about 1/3 cup) of meat filling in center of dough square.  Bring opposite corners together and seal.  The buns should be oblong in shape.  Place filled buns on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake in center of oven until dark golden brown on top, 20-25 minutes.  Check the bottom crust for doneness, if not done, cover pockets loosely with foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes.  Remove from baking sheet to a rack, brush with melted butter.  When completely cooled, place in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate.  These freeze well also.  Reheat in a 350° F oven for 10 – 15 minutes.

Turn Leftovers into Quiche

April 29, 2009

ist2_163197-quicheWhat do you do with leftover meat and vegetables?  In this day and age its a good bet you’re reheating them for another meal.  Ha!  Try these quick and easy Impossible Quiche combinations and savor your leftovers in more creative ways.

Impossible Quiche is a recipe by Bisquick that’s at least 20 years old.  It makes its own crust so there is no need to make and roll out pie dough.  Its simply a batter that ends up at the bottom of your pie plate and cooks up like a crust.   The original Bisquick recipe was for Quiche Lorraine and then Bisquick came out with the Impossible Taco Pie in the 1990s which really tasted like tacos.   I’ve tried it with leftover turkey, chicken, and steak adding leftover broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and corn.  No leftovers…throw in a can of crab meat or baby shrimp.  Kick up flavors with fresh herbs from your kitchen garden, Tabasco sauce, pesto, Greek seasoning or Cajun seasoning.  The combinations are endless.   Serve your Impossible Quiche with a salad for lunch, add soup and crusty French bread for a supper.

Basic Impossible Quiche Batter

  • 2cups milk
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick
  • 4 eggs
  • dash of black pepper and nutmeg

Whisk in blender until smooth, just 2 or 3 seconds.

Impossible Chicken Quiche

  • 1 cup leftover roasted chicken, cubed or chopped to bite size
  • 1 cup of leftover broccoli and mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin or diced
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese or Gruyere, grated
  • 1 recipe Impossible Quiche Batter
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven 350° F.  Butter a 9 inch deep-dish pie dish.  Layer bottom with chicken and veggies, sprinkle with herbs and cheese.  Add Tabasco sauce to batter.  Place dish on a rack in the middle of the oven, pour the batter over the filling.  The dish will be quite full.  Bake 40 minutes or until top is browned and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Cold Finger Food for Your Next Bash

April 25, 2009

Add a few of these little finger foods to the menu for your next spring get-together.  They’re quick, easy and tasty.  There’s no cooking involved so you can make up platters of these the day before or morning of your party.   That gives you time to cook the hot dishes, have a cocktail and relax for a bit.  Scandinavian Smorgasbord is the inspiration for this menu.  My father was Norwegian so I come by this naturally.  However, my mother was French and German and cooked every ethnic dish imaginable, including Scandinavian dishes.  She was a “foodie” before the word was invented.

  • Prosciutto Wraps – goat cheese spread on a thin slice of prosciutto with arugula and half a fig
  • Melon & Prosciutto – a small slice of honeydew melon or cantaloupe wrapped in a thin slice of prosciutto
  • Smorgesbröd (dainty, open faced sandwiches on buttered slices from a mini-loaf of deli bread) with frilly lettuce, smoked turkey, and basil pesto on sourdough
  • Smorgesbröd of lettuce, roast beef, Havarti, horse radish, and dill pickle on pumpernickel
  • Smorgesbröd of lettuce, smoked salmon, capers and onion on bagel slices with cream cheese
  • Stuffed cherry tomatoes with olive tapenade and goat cheese dollop
  • Mediterranean Black bean salad in endive leaves
  • Platter of crudites with a blue cheese dipping sauce
  • Platter of pickles – Kalamata olives, sweet cornichons, sweet & sour plums, spicy figs, dilled green beans, dilled okra, antipasto, small marinated bocaccini cheese balls, beet pickles, pickled herring and marinated octopus
  • Baskets of crisp breads, crackers, and pita triangles with bowls of avocado yogurt salsa and sun-dried tomato pesto

Strawberry Banana Gateau

April 23, 2009

strawberry-gateauI just entered the Berry Bonanza Recipe contest sponsored by Simple & Delicous.  Berries are jewels of nutrition.  We should eat lots of them, in every color.  You know what they say, “eat the rainbow!”  The recipe I entered is for a gateau – a sponge cake imbibed with strawberry cordial or Chambord  and filled with strawberries, bananas and whipped cream.  This is so simple to make with a sponge cake from the bakery, any fresh berry and fresh or canned fruit, any small quantities of liqueur or brandy on hand, and whipped cream.  If you’re really energetic and have the time, you can make your own sponge cake.  The recipe is included below.

A gateau is simply filled layers of a light cake, usually a sponge cake.  The layers can be filled with anything from chocolate mousse to jams and almond flavored whipped cream.  The cake makes a WOW! presentation and is just delicious.

Ingredients to fill a 3 layered gateau 

  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 6 ripe and firm bananas, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 pint whipping cream, whipped to medium firm peaks
  • 3 Tbsp Strawberry Cordial (or any liqueur or brandy on hand)
  • 2 8-inch round sponge cakes, split in half horizontally

To assemble:

Place one layer of sponge cake on a plate, cut side up, drizzle liqueur over, cover with 1/3 of the whipped cream, top with 1/2 of the berries and bananas.  Repeat layers ending with remaining sponge layer and whipped cream.  Decorate the top with whole fresh strawberries.  You can also pipe whipped cream around the base and top edges for more dramatic presentation.

Basic Sponge Cake

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup flour


Preheat oven to 325°.   Separate the whites and yolks of the eggs, beat the yolks until thick and lemon colored, add the sugar gradually, then add the lemon juice and zest. Fold in the sifted flour, then fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. 
Divide batter between 2 (8-inch) ungreased cake tins. Bake until the cake is puffed, has lost its shine, and springs back when gently pressed.  Remove from tins and cool on cake racks.

Kahlua Pork Chops

April 23, 2009

pork-chopsMy neighbor in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, served this dish at a small dinner party I attended.  The pork chops were moist and tender with a caramelized nutty flavor from the coffee liqueur and just seasoned  enough from the soy sauce.  I’ve added a few more ingredients to give this marinade an Asian tweak.  This also works well with chicken.  You can grill or bake instead of broiling, or use the marinade to baste a roasted chicken,  baked ham, or grilled kebabs.  For an island style meal, serve with boiled green plantains  in coconut milk, fresh mango salad with onion, cashews and bib lettuce dressed with a mandarin orange vinaigrette.  Recipe is for 4 servings of pork chops  3/4 inch thick.

Ingredients for Marinade:

  • 1 cup Kahlua (coffee liqueur
  • 1 cup soy sauce (light or regular)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 inch nub of ginger root, peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 inches of lemon grass stalk, or zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Thai chili or Serrano chili, seeded


Place onion, garlic, ginger root, lemon grass and chili in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add Kahlua and soysauce and whirl for 2 seconds to combine.  Pour marinade into a glass pan large enough to hold pork chops in one layer.  Marinate pork chops for 20 minutes on each side.  Broil chops 6 inches from flame for 5 minutes, turn, baste, and broil for additional 5 minutes.

Crock-Pot Chili Cheese Dip for a Crowd

April 22, 2009

Back in the 70s I was a football widow who became an armchair quarterback.  I cooked a score of eats for our gang to munch on during Sunday football games on TV.  This recipe was one of the favorites.  Its easy and cheap to make.  Probably one of the very few “junk foods” I’ll eat and definitely one of the only dishes I make with processed foods.  Enjoy!  Everyone deserves a day of debauchery.

  • 1 large box of Velvetta cheese, chopped or cubed coarsely
  • 1 medium sized jar of  hot picante salsa
  • 1 small can of diced green chilies

In a sauce pan over medium heat, cook cheese with salsa and green chilies until cheese melts and mixture is smooth.  Transfer to crock-pot with a warm setting.  Provide a ladle, paper plates and lots of tortilla chips so guests can help themselves.

Marinated Flank Steak

April 22, 2009

flank-steakGrilling time is here so dust off the BBQ, stock up with propane or briquettes and get to grilling.  My friends in Gig Harbor, Jodi and Michaela, are probably the only two people I know who can actually bake a cake in their gas grill.  While their kitchen was in the throws of a remodel, the oven was dismantled and the grill got a whole lot more use.   Their chocolate brownies were excellent.  Necessity is the mother of invention, so they say.

This marinade with pineapple also tenderizes the meat and gives flank steak an Asian tweak.  Remember flank steak will be tough if over cooked so be vigilant.  Grill up some peppers and onions, a couple big portabella mushrooms, bake some potatoes and corn on the coals and you’ll have a meal fit for royalty.


  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup rum (cheap is good)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (light or regular)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (or honey)
  • 1 Tbsp grate fresh ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 small serrano or Thai chili, minced
  • 1 1/2 lb flank steak, cut into 4 pieces


Combine all ingredients, except steak, in a gallon sized zip-lock bag, massaging to mix.  Place steak in the bag in one layer making sure marinade is evenly distributed.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours.  Grill 6 inches from coals for 5-7 minutes on each side, turning once.  Slice steak pieces into strips to serve.

My All-Purpose Marinade

April 21, 2009

This recipe is my version of a marinade from Luna Rossa, an Italian Restaurant in Tonga, owned by my good friend and great chef, Marco Veranesi.  Marco made a batch of this everyday to sauté mussels, marinate steaks, toast bread for bruschettas and a host of other chores.  I love this on octopus with capers, lemon, and celery for a first course.  Its also fabulous for sauteing chicken in white wine (Poullet au Vin Blanc), steamers Portugese style, and a host of other dishes.  It will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.

  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce

Place garlic, salt and parsley in a food processor, whirl until pureed.  Slowly add olive oil until all is emulsified. 

To use as a marinade:

  • Pour 1/2 cup of marinade in a zip-lock bag, add meat of choice:  chicken, pork or beef
  • Massage to coat all pieces and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Refrigerate if longer time is needed but bring to room temperature before grilling.
  • Pat dry with paper towel to remove excess marinade before placing over coals.
  • May also pan fry in a skillet without removing excess marinade.  Add 1 Tbsp of butter to assist browning.

Strawberry Cordial Sorbet

April 20, 2009
Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry Sorbet

This is the answer for ice-cream lovers who are watching their fat in-take, want to eat healthier, and find it impossible to give up desserts.  And since sorbets are made without dairy, vegans and those with lactose intolerance can also enjoy these treats.  Substitute water for the cordial if you’re on the wagon.

The more alcohol or sugar in the sorbet, the softer the end product.

Strawberry Cordial Sorbet

·         Pureé 8 cups of fresh strawberries and strain to remove pips ( you’ll need 4 cups of the pureé)

·         Pour pureé into a blender (or food processor) with 1/2 cup water (or 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup strawberry cordial), 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and ¾ cup sugar.  Blend until sugar dissolves.

·         Chill thoroughly and freeze in an ice-cream machine according to manufacture’s instructions.

·         Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

·         Let ripened at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before scooping.

Strawberry Cordial

Strawberry Cordial is easy to make using 2 cups vodka, 3 cups of crushed strawberries, 1 split vanilla bean (or 1 Tbsp vanilla extract), 1 broken cinnamon stick, 1/2 tsp cracked peppercorns, and 1/2 cup sugar. Put everything in a glass jar.  Shake daily for 7 days.  Strain through a sieve and filter through a paper coffee filter into a decanter.  Fill decanter as full as possible to prevent evaporation of flavors.


Lime Sorbet – The Palate Freshener

April 20, 2009

limeLime sorbet in the 1920s was served between courses of elaborate meals.  The idea was to cleanse the pallet between the fish course and meat course.  Today we commonly serve this as a dessert or anytime we want a smooth and creamy iced-treat without the fat and calories of ice-cream.  Lime is especially refreshening and your pallet will definitely sing with the intense lime flavor of this sorbet.

 ·         Remove the zest from 5 large limes (a potato peeler works well for this)

·         Juice the limes (you’ll need 2/3 cup of lime juice)

·         In a blender (or food processor) chop the zest with 1 cup of sugar.  Add 1 cup hot water and whirl 10 seconds.  Add 3 cups of cold water and the juice, whirl another 10 seconds.  (optional:  color with 2 drops of green and 1 drop of yellow food coloring)Strain to remove zest.

·         Chill thoroughly and freeze in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.

·         Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

·         Let ripened at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before scooping.