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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ribs In The Oven with Maury Calvert's Barbecue Sauce

I live in an apartment and can't barbecue right now because there is no place for a barbecue grill.

I LOVE pork ribs (who doesn't?) and (as we'd say back home) "got to hankering some ribs" for New Years Day.

In years past, we would roast a whole pig in the back yard on New Years Day.  Here is the link to both the story I sold the L.A. Times in 2000, and the YouTube video of our January 1st,  2000 Pig Roast Party.  

But this year, 2016, a more modest version of roast pork and Black Eyed Peas was in order.

So, I made ribs in the oven.


The first thing to do is make up some Maury Calvert's Barbecue Sauce.  

MAURY CALVERT’S BARBECUE SAUCE
(from Tampa Treasures cookbook)
This is the finest Mustard based barbecue sauce I’ve ever tasted, and is excellent for pork, chicken and fish.
1 pound butter (NOT margarine)
1 (10 ounce) bottle Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Tabasco
1 cup prepared mustard
1 pint vinegar
3 lemons, include juice and grated rind 
(I use the grater on my food processor to grate the entire lemon, then switch to the "steel knife" blade and continue to pulverize all of it till it's sort of a lemon mush.)
salt, black pepper to taste, cayenne or red pepper to taste.
Melt butter; add remaining ingredients; cook until blended thoroughly.
 USE THIS SAUCE WHILE COOKING/BARBECUING.  It has no sugar, so it won’t burn like “sweet” red sauces.  You can also use it after, but it’s power is while you are cooking the meat.  Keep the meat wet with this, cook it slow, and it comes out incredibly moist and flavorful.
(This Sauce is great if you are roasting pork or ham. You can slow roast the meat by covering it in this sauce, wrapping it tightly in foil and roasting it at 275 for about double the usual time. Serve with rolls for mini sandwiches. Have extra sauce as a side to the meat on the table.)
This much requested recipe was a closely guarded secret of Eleanor Crowder until she stepped down as President of the Junior Service League of Miami.  As a parting gift to the League, she allowed it’s magazine, “Tropical Topics”, to publish her father’s treasured Tennessee barbecue recipe. 

I always make a double recipe so I can bottle some up for later.  Like most Southerners, I save jars that other sauces have come it to re-use.  Because this sauce is loaded with vinegar, it keeps very well, but once you open it, put it in the refrigerator.  Also, the butter will sometimes separate, just shake it vigorously to mix it again.


Once you've made the sauce, the rest is simple.

Preheat your oven to 300 F

Coat the ribs with the sauce.

Slow roast in the oven for about 2 hours.   You can continue basting the ribs while they are roasting, or not, your choice.  When they are very tender, remove and put another coat of sauce on the ribs.

Or, if you DO have a barbecue,  remove them and "finish" them on a hot grille for a few minutes.





Monday, December 14, 2015

Ed Garren’s 21st Century Fruitcake

Ed Garren’s 21st Century Fruitcake

Fruitcake gets a very bad rap, mostly because of poorly made commercial fruitcakes (Claxton’s is the WORST !!) that have permeated the market.  If you’ve never had home made fruit cake, you don’t know what you’re missing.  Give this recipe a try for a very enjoyable holiday treat !!



Our mother Edna Garren made rather well loved fruitcakes every season.  She had gotten her recipe from our neighbor Dempsey (Lee) Webb.  When my mother moved from California to North Carolina, her recipe got lost, much to everyone’s disappointment.   After years of not having fruitcake, I found Lucille Harvey’s fruitcake recipe from the Tampa Tribune.  I looked it over, and decided it was close enough.  When I went to the store, they didn’t have the traditional red and green candied cherries & pineapple that my mother and Mrs. Harvey used, so I decided to try something different.  Hence my “21st Century” Fruitcake, using dried fruits, “candied” at home with Captain Morgan Spiced Run and sugar.  I think you will like this variation.  It does not have the bright colors typically associated with fruitcake, but the flavor is exquisite.
Makes 5 pounds of fruitcake which equals 3 loaf pans.

4 Cups of shelled Pecans (chopped or sliced into small pieces)

4 Cups (or one bag) of dried Cherries

4 Cups (or one bag) of dried “Tropical Fruits” blend, Pineapple, Mango, Guava, mix

Half a box of “Golden Raisins” (approximately one cup)

1 Cup of Rum, Bourbon, Cognac or other liquor NOT Vodka or Gin)

2/3 Cup Sugar

1 3/4 Cups All Purpose flour

1/2 pound butter

1 Cup sugar

5 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder 

1/8 teaspoon (pinch) of salt

2 Tablespoons each, Vanilla Extract and Lemon Extract (Orange Extract may be substituted)

Chop dried “tropical fruits” into small pieces.  Put all of the dried fruits into a medium sized mixing bowl.  Pour in 1 Cup of Rum or other distilled alcohol.  I use “Captain Morgan Spiced Rum” but this is your preference.  Stir to coat fruits, then add 2/3 Cup Sugar and mix.  Cover the mixture, leave out for about 3 days (if possible) in room temperature, stirring every 4 to 6 hours to evenly distribute the liquor into the fruit.  When most of the liquor has absorbed, add 1/2 Cup of flour and stir to coat the fruit.

On baking day, preheat oven to 250 F.

In a separate bowl cream the 1 Cup Sugar and 1/2 pound of Butter.  Then add eggs and beat until throughly blended.  

In a very small bowl, or large measuring cup, use the remaining flour (1 1/4 cup) and add the Baking Powder and Salt and mix thoroughly.

Pour the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix thoroughly.  Fold this into the fruit that has been coated with flour and mix completely.

Take 8 1/2” X 4 1/2” Loaf pans and line with baking parchment paper.  Spoon the mixture into the pans so they are about half full.  




Place in 250 F oven for approximately 2 hours.  Additional instructions are below for different sized pans.
Once cooled, some folks wrap the cakes in cloth, soaking the cloth in their liquor of choice (my mother used Cognac, others bourbon, others rum).   Place the cloth wrapped cakes in tins, or other airtight containers and set aside in a cool place (do NOT refrigerate) for a week or longer, up to a month.  Open the tins and re-wet the cloths about once a week.

If you make these during early December (Advent to many) they should be perfect for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and the festive 12 Days after.  If your holidays are earlier, then plan accordingly, start in November, right after Halloween.

Or just slice and enjoy the fruit cake after it has throughly cooled.

Regards,  Edward George Garren

Bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours in tube pan or 2 hours in 8 1/2- by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans at 250 degrees. 
Check cakes 1 hour before done and again in 30 minutes. When done, remove from oven; cool in pans on cake rack. 
Note: In 4 1/2-by-2 1/2-by-11/2-inch (baby) loaf pans, bake cake about 1 hour. 
For 1-pound cakes in 2-pound coffee cans, bake about 2 hours. In 5-ounce custard cups, bake about 1 hour. 
And in ungreased foil bonbon cups, bake about 30 minutes. 


Friday, November 20, 2015

HOLIDAY (and other) RECIPES !!

It’s that time of year again.  I offer some of the best recipes I’ve accumulated over the years.  If you’re looking for something new or different, give one of these a try.
The stuffing recipe and the sweet potato pie recipe have received multiple accolades from persons as diverse as Korean to African American, all of whom agree that they are outstanding.
  If you are roasting a turkey this year, do it in a paper bag (yes,it really works, no the bag does not catch on fire or even smolder).  Turn the bag flat side down, make sure to use full sized bag.
 You can roast the turkey this way stuffed or not stuffed, it works every time. Get two “virgin” bags from the grocery store. Coat the bird (stuffed or unstuffed) with butter, margarine, oil, etc. then sprinkle it with paprika (lightly, this gives it a magnificent color), then put it in a bag (grocery store brown paper), flat side down, in a pan at least three inches deep. Then cut the bottom 8″of the other bag to make a “cap” for the open end. Put this into a preheated oven, 350 f, and roast for however many minutes per pound (instructions usually on the turkey). THAT’S IT!!!
 No basting, no turning, no worrying, just pull it out (about 30minutes before time to serve) let it cool some in the bag, then cut off the bag and enjoy a marvelously roasted turkey with moist breast meat and a beautiful color. I have cooked about 45 turkeys this way and they have all come out perfect. I learned this from Kay Jackson of Miami Beach who managed restaurants for years.
 I also discovered that “brining” the turkey for about 12 hours before really makes for a great turkey.  There are many recipes, do a “Google” search on “Turkey Brining” to find a recipe that you like
 I have tried to organize this page, so most of the desserts are at the end.
That said, enjoy!!!


Monday, November 2, 2015

Korean Bul-Go-Gi (Barbecue Beef)

Like most "exotic" cooking, this is actually very simple.  It's just a different use of flavors that Americans already use, just a bit differently.

Key tips:

*     The Sesame Oil is VERY important because of it's distinct flavor.

*     Finely chopped garlic can be substituted for the garlic powder.

*     Finely chopped onions can be substituted for the dried onions.

*     White sugar will work if it's all you have.  


Korean Bul-Go-Gi ("Bur-Go-Gi") Braised Barbecue Beef


This is a simplified version of Grace Ahn's recipe


Flank or "Flap" steak, cut into very thin slices.


Coat the steak in sesame oil, add garlic powder, dried onions and a small amount of brown sugar or honey.  


Coat the meat evenly with the above ingredients, then add Teryaki Sauce until almost covered.  Let marinate in refrigerator for at least four to six hours, stirring occasionally.


Grill meat on open grille, or sear in heavy skillet over high heat.  Serve immediately with rice and vegetables.


** Information about rice:

There are as many varieties of rice as there are cultures who eat it.  Most Europeans (and therefore most North Americans) are accustomed to "long grain" rice, which cooks up "separate and fluffy."

The down side of it is that long grain rice is not very flavorful or substantive.   It also doesn't stick together very well, making it difficult to eat.

Asians (including Koreans) prefer medium or short grain rice, which is more flavorful and "clumps" together easily.   The most popular variety is "CalRose" which is grown in California and exported heavily to Asian countries.  It is also labeled "medium" or "short" grain rice and is available in most places in the U.S.  

My Nephew Michael Garren

offered this story, and video about Korean Purple Rice (Japgokbap), which is excellent as a side to BulGogi:



Every Wednesday, I had a standing lunch appointment (with myself) in a place of solitude and beauty.  A place I liked to call, "Mecca," or more-precisely, my favorite Korean Restaurant "du jour."  Aesthetics were calming, service was seamless, and never a judgment by the lunch staff.  My attentive waiter provided me with several ice buckets without having to request them.  Yes, the plural form of bucket.  Soju, Hite, and a bottle of sparkling water guarded my meal as watchtowers centered within the Demilitarized-Zone.  That very place closed due to the takeover of new leadership, which led me to a new place recommended by my ever-so-attentive and caring [Korean] waiter.

Fast-forward to a week later, I ventured to a more simple and "at-home" dining experience.  The place recommended to me by aforemetioned Korea-Town "local" was a restaurant specializing in all things "chigae," or soup.  The most-attentive "ahjumma" (older-lady, almost like a grandmother) working there, introduced me to purple rice. Until some months ago, I would have never requested purple rice.  I have always preferred steamed, white rice.  Yet, it was "ahjumma" that would automatically serve me this choice of rice without asking.  She was one of the "few" who could tell I was at least partial-Korean, only addressing me in Korean, and therefore, assuming I would prefer purple rice.  To be frank, I only ate the serving of purple rice that day to be polite and gracious to my sweet-as-sweet-could-be elder.  Thanks to her, I have enjoyed purple rice ever since!

Multi-grain purple rice, or Japgokbap, is a healthy alternative to steamed white rice. Depending on how much black rice one uses, the final color will vary; usually in various hues of purple.  Black rice has a glutinous coating which alters the color of the white rice during the cooking process.  Moreover, the rice becomes "sticky" and easy to "clump" due to its' gelatinous coating.  This is relatively easy to source whether it is a store-bought pre-packaged mixture or from scratch.  The store-bought packages may contain any number of grains.  Cooking time is fast as most pre-packaged rice is pre-cooked.  I find the Korean Markets have the best selection.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-eEMhASEw4&feature=youtu.be


You can cut this recipe to suit your needs.  Like all Asian rice, it is one part rice, one part water.  This just adds one part of Black Wild Rice, which turns purple when cooked with white rice.  Rinse the rices thoroughly before cooking (as is demonstrated in the video).


Below are some photos from the many Korean barbecue meals I have thoroughly enjoyed.

 Los Angeles (old "Mana" before remodel)

 Pine Hill Korean Buffet in Buena Park CA
U2 Korean Barbecue Los Angeles CA

 Moo Dae Po (Hansik) Fullerton and Los Angeles CA

(name unremembered) Buena Park CA

Moo Dae Po (Hansik) Fullerton and Los Angeles CA

Davide enjoys his first Korean barbecue in London, just off Piccadilly Circus

Sarah & Krista enjoy their first Korean Barbecue at U2 Los Angeles CA

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Chicken Tikka Masala (East Indian, sort of)

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

After watching “The Hundred Foot Journey” I have become even more enamored with East Indian cuisine.   My favorite dish is Chicken Tikka Masala.  I have now made it a few times, so I thought I would share this recipe and some thoughts for the uninitiated westerner.  Here is some back story from Wikipedia:  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_tikka_masala .  One excerpt offers how it originated (in Scotland no less) and a simple way of conceptualizing it:  

On a typical dark, wet Glasgow night a bus driver coming off shift came in and ordered a chicken curry. He sent it back to the waiter saying it's dry. At the time Dad had an ulcer and was enjoying a plate of tomato soup. So he said why not put some tomato soup into the curry with some spices. They sent it back to the table and the bus driver absolutely loved it. He and his friends came back again and again and we put it on the menu.[9]

While a bit simplified, this will give you a “big picture” understanding of what you’re aiming for.  There is NO single recipe or way to make this dish, so whatever you do, as long as it tastes good, should be wonderful.

The other ingredient that may be mystifying is “Garam Masala.”  “Masala” appears to be the word used for any mix of spices for a specific flavor outcome.  “Garam” loosely translates “Hot” so Garam Masala is “hot spice mix.”  I live near an Indian market (next to a local Indian restaurant) and the box I bought there lists the following as ingredients: Cumin, Black Pepper, Coriander, Cardamon seeds, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Bay Leaf, Caraway, Mace, Yellow Chili.  If you can’t find it already mixed and labeled, you can probably make your own.  Start with equal parts of the above spices and see where that takes you.  Or you can order it online. 

This is a one dish recipe.   I usually make a double recipe because it's SO good the next day.  

Basically, you will make a marinade for the chicken.  I prefer thighs, and they are so cheap.  I just pulled the skin off and left them whole.  At the end I pulled them out and the meat fell off the bone, but you may want to leave them whole, bone and all, your taste.  Just take the skin off.  

You can use skinless/boneless thigh meat as well, or skinless/boneless white meat if you prefer, just cut up boneless/skinless breasts (cubes) before you start.  Just remember that "dark" meat takes longer to cook than white meat.  Meat with bones also takes longer.  It's really your choice, it will taste great regardless.  

There is also a Tofu/Vegetable option below.

The Marinade

In a 2 quart bowl, put in;

3 Tablespoons plain yogurt (regular or Greek)

1/4 cup of lemon juice (fresh or bottled)

1/2 teaspoon of Tumeric powder.

1/4 teaspoon of ground Black pepper

1/4 teaspoon of Garam masala

1/8 teaspoon Salt

1/8 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper   OR  1/2 teaspoon of California Chili pepper  OR some other measure of whatever chili powder you have available.  I prefer the California Chili pepper because it has a slow burn that creeps up on the tongue, not an instant flash burn, but that’s my taste.

Mix this till blended, then add the chicken and stir until evenly coated, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, longer is better.

The “Masala” sauce.

In a large sauce’ pan (with a good lid), heat:

1 Tablespoon of Butter  AND  1 Tablespoon of cooking oil  (the oil increases the burn point of the butter)

Once it’s hot:

Add diced Onion.  Any large onion will do, I get the pre-diced onion at the store and use it, it beats tear filled chopping.

Teaspoon of Salt

One Cinnamon STICK (or a teaspoon of ground cinnamon if you don’t have a stick)

Teaspoon of Garam Masala

2 to 3 cloves of crushed Garlic  (one heaping Tablespoon of the pre-crushed from a jar)

Cook until the onion is translucent and lightly browned and the spices are fragrant.  Then add:

one teaspoon of Garam Masala

One 14.5 oz can of stewed, diced or pureed tomatoes.  I use stewed Roma’s and cut them up with scissors in the can for a “chunky” sauce.  If you really want to try a can of Tomato Soup (and some water to cut it slightly).

Half a can of Tomato Paste (though if you put the whole can in, it would probably be fine)

Cook the sauce for a few minutes, then ADD THE CHICKEN (including all of the marinade, this helps the sauce become more creamy).

Cook the mixture for about five minutes to cook the outside of the chicken (with the most intense flavor).

Use your tomato can, fill it 2/3 with water and add:

teaspoon of Garam Masala

Tablespoon of Brown sugar (you could probably use molasses if you don’t have any brown sugar handy)

POUR this into the mixture.  Add additional water if necessary to cover the chicken.

Let this SIMMER until the chicken is cooked completely.  Cubes of chicken will take less than 40 minutes.  My whole thighs took well over an hour (they were very big Foster Farms fresh thighs).  

When the chicken is tender (the meat of the thighs was falling off the bone) REMOVE THE CINNAMON STICK, and ADD 1/4 cup of Heavy Cream.  

Let this simmer a few minutes more, taste and adjust seasoning (if necessary).  I pulled the meat off the bones (see photo) but you can leave the meat whole if you like).


This is wonderful over rice, or with Naan (Indian Tandoori bread) or other starches.  Basmati Rice is preferred, but not required.  It is also VERY good over pasta, even spaghetti.  






VEGETABLE/TOFU MASALA


Follow the above process, but cut up FIRM Tofu instead of chicken.  Marinate it the same as the chicken.  Take any desired vegetable blend (I used frozen "Asian" blend for it's variety, but any frozen or fresh vegetables, cut into pieces, will do) and add the vegetables to the "Masala" mixture, BEFORE adding the Tofu.  Let the vegetables cook with the tomato sauce until they are about half cooked, then add the tofu/marinade mix.  Continue to cook, following the instructions for chicken, about another 20>30 minutes (depending on how cooked you want the vegetables).  

We have enjoyed these Masala sauces over pasta at well as rice.  Think of it as "jazzy" Marinara Sauce.  The flavor is exceptional !!!

Friends In The Kitchen~Amici nella cucina~부엌에 있는 친구~Amigos en la cocina~

Most people like to eat.  Many people love to eat.

The scents and flavors of well prepared food are a delightful mix of smell, taste, memories, adventure, passion and satisfaction.

This blog is an attempt to share recipes among friends.  Any of us can browse the internet and find multitudes of recipes for a myriad of culinary delights.

If you're like me, you start with a recipe and then make it my own, with notable touches based on experience, flavors from other culinary adventures, and that thing that bugs all who love food, "I wonder what it would taste like if I did this?"

Recipes here should be personal, passionate, something that offers a taste from your own palate.  Long held family recipes are often the best, and PLEASE, include the story behind the recipe, and a photo of yourself, the person who gave you the recipe, or both.

"Variations can be included, and if you try a recipe, and "play" with it to produce your own delicious version of it, then add that story in the comments section.

Mostly, ENJOY !!!!

Edward George Garren