Mostly about food, this blog is just a place for me to throw things that are of interest to me. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by an look around. This represents just some of the stops on the various pathways that this amateur home cook finds himself.

You may find that these foods tend toward protein and away from carbohydrates - this is due to diabetic issues, so I try to only sparingly use carbs, and good ones at that. Of course, sometimes I forget....

Feel free to drop me a line with any suggestions or just to let me know what you think. Thanks!

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I want to thank you for the time that you spend here, and hope that you can find useful things here.


Monday, June 20, 2011

"Indian" Tuna Salad

Why "Indian" tuna salad? See below . . .

Although we had this in the house often when I was a child, the main ingredient has gotten harder to find lately. Seems like you have to be lucky to come across it any more. I am talking about Heinz India Relish - there is nothing you can use that will replace it, it's that critical.

This recipe is very simple, and is multiplied easily. My mother makes hers with diced celery, but as I am NO celery fan, I leave it out and up the amount of onion. Occasionally, if I am feeling nostalgic, I might toss in a couple of pinches of celery seed, though.

One jar of relish takes care of 5 regular cans of tuna. Assembling this in the order described below will help to minimize breaking up the tuna and egg too much. Also, it may seem a bit 'dry' once put together, but you know how it is, the next day it will be a lot more moist. Make it wet now, it'll be GOOP tomorrow!

2 oz. Heinz India Relish (1/5 of a jar)
2 level tablespoon real mayonnaise (never Miracle Whip or low fat)
1 scallion (green onion)
1 7 oz. can of tuna in spring water
1 egg
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Open tuna, and drain well removing all water and oil.

Chop each scallion in thin slices, both green and white parts. Discard root ball and any withered tips.

Hard boil egg and let cool. Peel, then rough chop. If you multiply this recipe to use a whole jar of relish (and 5 times everything else), toss in a 6th boiled egg.

Mix together the India relish, chopped scallion and mayonnaise until well-incorporated. Gently fold in tuna, without breaking up the chunks excessively. Once well incorporated, gently fold in chopped egg. Taste and add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Refrigerate until well-chilled, allowing flavors to combine. Serve on toasted bread, and to add just a bit more tasty decadence, add a layer of potato chips to the sandwich!

Oh by the way, Heinz India Relish works great in making egg salad as well.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quasi Osso Buco

When Veal Shanks are too pricey...

2 oz olive oil
1 cup flour
4 each beef shanks, about 10-12 ounces each
1 lb large whole white button or Cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/2" thick
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 medium or one large diced onion
1 lb carrots, medium diced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 cup red wine
2 quarts beef stock

In a large stock pot or braising pot, add the olive oil. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to flour and mix well. Dredge the shanks in the seasoned flour, coating each side completely. When the oil is hot, sear the shanks for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until very brown on all sides. Remove the shanks and set aside.

Image courtesy of wildgirl-inthekitchen
Add the onions to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Season onions with salt and pepper. Add the carrots and continue to sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook for 1 minute. De-glaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom and sides to loosen the browned particles.

Add half of the stock . Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the shanks and slowly add enough more stock just to cover. Continue to cook, covered, for about 2 hours, or until the meat starts to fall of the bone. Season again with salt and pepper if needed.

Remove all the meat and bone from the pot and set aside. Remove the vegetables from the pot and set aside as well, leaving only the gravy that has been created from the cooking.
Bring the pot to a good simmer and add the reserved mushrooms. Cook until the liquid thickens, either until it nicely coats the back of a spoon or until it is reduced by half in volume.

While this is reducing, place your sliced mushrooms in a single layer in a large flat pan over medium heat. Add no oil or water - just let them sit. after 5-10 minutes, you will notice that they have released a bit of moisture and have shrunk in size by almost half. At this point, turn the mushrooms over and cook on the other side for another few minutes. This works to concentrate the flavor without adding oil or making them soggy, and you might have to do them in batches so that you don't crowd them. Remove from heat and reserve mushrooms.

Once the sauce is ready, add the meat back in to the liquid to reheat. Add in the reserved mushrooms. Serve with or over pasta, with a nice risotto, on gnocchi. Ladle sauce over meat and vegetables after plating. Here I served it with gnocchi.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A moment of silence...


I have searched high and low, and apparently this is the LAST of the home-made sausage from the freezer. The bratwurst is all gone; the Polish sausage is all gone; the breakfast pan sausage is all gone - above is I believe our last package of home made chorizo. Mourn with me as it is slowly devoured here at Casa Gordita over the coming days, and rejoice that the planning for the next sausage day is in the works!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Poblano Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 carrots, peeled and cut in large bite size pieces
12 new potatoes, cut in large bite size pieces
pearl onions
1 qt chicken stock
8 oz. low fat cream cheese
2 poblano peppers,l peeled roasted, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
salt & pepper
parsley for garnish

  1. Boil the chicken breasts in the chicken stock until just cooked - do not overcook. Remove them when done and let cool.
  2. Next place the prepared vegetables in the chicken stock and cook until al dente. Remove them when done and let cool.
  3. Bring the chicken stock to a boil, reduce to simmer and reduce liquid by half. Next add the cream cheese and stir until melted into the chicken stock.
  4. While this is reducing, chop/pull apart the chicken into large bite-sized chunks.
  5. Add minced jalapeno and roasted poblanos to the cream sauce, and taste for salt & pepper, and adjusting as needed.
  6. Once sauce has reduced to desired thickness, add and reheat the chicken. Once well- incorporated, serve over vegetables. Garnish. Four servings.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Don't blame me for perspiration or weight gain!

These things are far too delicious and addictive - when you make them be sure to give most of them away or you'll weigh 500 lbs. These simple little fiery nuggets are based on a recipe I got from my dear friend Nanette - I just tweaked it.

1 box (4 sleeves) 100% wheat saltine crackers (wheat is important)
1 envelope of dry Hidden Vally Ranch Dip / Salad Dressing mix.
1 1/4 cup of light canola oil
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon caraway seed (recommended but optional, but really fills out the taste)
6 tablespoons dried parsley (optional, but makes a nice addition)

Basically, you combine all the ingredients except the crackers and whisk them into a frenzy to combine well. I cheat and use my stick blender (immersion blender) in a mason jar - it's much faster and easier. Next, you pour it over the crackers and make sure they are all evenly coated.

I do this by using a large rubber spatula in a large plastic bowl, turning them over gently for a while until the oil is all absorbed. I have a friend who puts them in a seal-able plastic cake box and shakes them like crazy. Whatever floats your boat, the idea is to just get them all coated so the spices coat the crackers. I use wheat crackers as as barely-noticeable nod to healthiness, but you can use the regular crackers if you like. You may have to let them sit and go back and re-stir them a couple of times to get everything absorbed. Let them sit for a while before you dive in, and they will be less greasy.

I recently took a double batch of these to a church get-together, but I made them with only half the listed amount of red pepper flakes. Most folks still thought it was too hot!

Let me know if you try these and especially if you tweak the recipe to make it better!