Saturday, February 13, 2016

Recipes by Polly Bergen: Basic Western Green Salad; Gourmet Green Buffet Salad; Nottingham Salad

Polly Bergen's Basic Western Green Salad

One head iceberg lettuce
1/4 cup minced scallions (including tops)
2 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup whole pitted ripe olives
2 tbsps. vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. capers
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Core, rinse lettuce thoroughly; chill. To serve, tear enough lettuce into bite-size pieces to amount to about four cups. Put scallions and olives into large salad bowl; arrange slices of cucumber around the edge of salad bowl, overlapping slices. Prepare dressing by mixing remaining ingredients in small jar with lid. Shake well to blend. Pour over lettuce; toss lightly to coat. Serves 6.

Polly Bergen's Gourmet Green Buffet Salad

One head iceberg lettuce
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 tomatoes, cut in wedges
Small jar artichoke hearts, drained (reserve liquid)
2 tbsps. wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. chopped green chili pepper
2 tsps. capers
1/4 tsp. sweet basil
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper.

1. Core, rinse lettuce; drain thoroughly. Chill lettuce to make crisp. Prepare dressing by combining vinegar, olive oil, chili, capers, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. plus marinade from canned artichokes (about 1/3 cup). Mix dressing well.

2. To serve, slice lettuce into rafts, then cut each raft lengthwise into strips (equivalent of about 4 cups and place in serving bowl with artichoke hearts, chopped celery and tomato wedge. Pour dressing over salad. Toss gently to coat. Serves 4-6.

Polly Bergen's Nottingham Salad

For the green herb dressing:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsps. wine vinegar
1/8 tsp. fines herbes
3/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp. chopped green scallion

1. Combine all ingredients in small jar. Cover tightly and shake until well blended. Makes about 1/3 cup dressing.

For the greens:
One small head western iceberg lettuce
2 ripe tomatoes, cut in quarters
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced crosswise
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms

1. Core, rinse lettuce; drain on absorbent paper. Refrigerate in plastic lettuce crisper (or disposable plastic bag). When ready to serve, cut lettuce head in quarters, top to bottom, about 3/4 inch thick and place on individual salad plates.

2. Arrange two tomato quarters and three egg slices on each lettuce "raft," top with sliced mushrooms. Spoon dressing over salad (or use low calorie Italian dressing mixed with chopped green onion); serve at once. Serves 4.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Recipes by Jack Benny: Chop Suey, American-Style; Steak Tartar

Jack Benny's Chop Suey, American-Style

1 bunch Chinese cabbage
1 10-oz. can bean sprouts
6 spring onions
3 large celery stalks
1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen or 1/2 pkg. frozen Chinese pea pods)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken (or turkey, veal, beef or ham), cut in thin slices
1 teaspoon salt
Few gratings freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Pinch of sugar
1/2 cup clear chicken stock (beef broth or water)
Cooked rice (or Chinese noodles)

1. Prepare vegetables as follows: Chop Chinese cabbage coarsely; drain bean sprouts well; rinse well under running water and dry. Chop onions coarsely; cut celery in 1/4-inch slices diagonally.

2. Saute onion and celery in vegetable oil in Chinese wok (or heavy skillet) about 2 minutes. Add chicken, salt and pepper. Stir-fry over medium heat, adding vegetables one at a time, set aside.

3. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce with cornstarch, sugar and two tablespoons chicken stock and blend well. Slowly pour thickened soy sauce mixture over vegetables in wok (or skillet). Slowly add remaining chicken stock (beef broth or water). Bring to a quick boil. Cook a few minutes, stirring constantly. Serve at once over cooked rice or Chinese noodles. Serves 4.

Thoughts: Never overcook chop suey. Actual preparation should take no longer than 5-7 minutes. If desired, start with paper-thin sliced raw meat, cooking quickly in vegetable oil until it begins to turn color. Then proceed as directed above, sauteing vegetables. For a change of pace, vary the vegetables substituting Chinese vegetables, water chestnuts (cut in thin slices) or Chinese mushrooms. Jack's choice is an excellent offering for weight-watchers as well as penny-pinching cooks!

Jack Benny's Steak Tartar

1 lb. top grade beef filet
1/2 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 or 2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons capers
Garnishings: Capers, chopped onion, minced fresh parsley

1. Trim off any sinewy material or excess fat. Put meat through meat grinder three times (or have butcher grind meat just before serving).

2. Mix in onion, salt and pepper; shape meat into round or oval 1-inch thick patty. Score the top crosswise with knife. Make indentation in center of meat. Break eggs carefully, discarding whites. Place yolks in indentation in center of meat. Garnish with capers, chopped onion and parsley. At the table, the trimmings are removed and yolks mixed into the meat with additional seasonings added to taste. Serve with butter-fried
toast rounds and sliced tomatoes. Serves 2.

For more highly seasoned tartar:

Add Worcestershire sauce, bottled Escoffier or A-1 sauce. Vary the trimmings, using caviar, lemon wedges and grated hard-cooked egg yolk or thin sliced salmon and sliced lemon or filets of anchovy, pickles and pickled beet slices.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Recipes by Tony Bennett: Favorite Pasta; Italian Chicken

Tony Bennett's Favorite Pasta

For the gnocchi:

1 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 beaten egg
6 quarts boiling water

Mix together ricotta cheese, flour, egg and salt. Turn out onto lightly floured board; knead well. Roll into long finger-thin rolls. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Drop 25 pieces at a time into boiling salted water. When pieces rise to the surface and simmer for 2 minutes, remove with slotted spoon. Place in serving dish. Repeat until all gnocchi are cooked. Makes 80 gnocchi.

For the meatballs:

1 pound lean ground beef
1/3 pound lean ground pork
1 1/2 cups Italian-flavored bread crumbs (see recipe below)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Place beef, pork, flavored bread crumbs, egg, seasonings and water in mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly, shape into 12 balls.

Heat vegetable oil in frying pan; fry meatballs quickly, shaking to brown on all sides. Remove meatballs to platter. Reserve pan drippings.

Italian-Flavored Bread Crumbs

2 cups coarse Italian bread crumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Mix above ingredients together in mixing bowl.

For the tomato sauce:

3 1/2 dozen ripe Italian plum tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup minced onion
1 can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
Pinch of baking soda

Scald tomatoes in boiling water to peel. Chop finely (or reduce in electric blender). Add to large saucepan. Simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Brown minced onion in meat drippings. Add tomato paste and water, salt, pepper and basil, simmer gently 20 minutes.

Add onion mixture to tomatoes in saucepan, add meatballs, continue cooking 20 minutes. Makes 1 quart sauce.

Combine gnocchi, meatballs and tomato sauce in serving platter. Serves 4.

Tony Bennett's Italian Chicken

1 1/2 cups flavored bread crumbs, finely diced
3 1/2 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup ripe Italian plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Rub chicken pieces with olive and vegetable oil; place chicken pieces skin side up on oiled cookie sheet. Spread crumbs over the top. Top with tomatoes flavored with oregano. Roast in moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 1 1/2 hours, or until crust is golden brown. Serves 4.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Recipes by Joan Bennett: Artichokes with Lemon Butter Sauce; Chicken Kiev

Joan Bennett's Artichokes with Lemon Butter Sauce

For the butter sauce:

1 1/2 sticks sweet butter
2 1/2 tbsps. fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
Dash of Tabasco

1. Clarify butter by cutting butter into small pieces. Heat slowly in small saucepan until butter foams. Skim off foam and remove saucepan from heat. Strain yellow liquid into small crock; reserve milky residue for cooking.

2. Reheat clarified butter with remaining ingredients; mix well. Serve warm with artichokes. Makes enough sauce for 4 to 6 large artichokes.

For the artichokes:

1. Wash 4 artichokes. Cut stems at base and remove small bottom leaves. If desired, strip tips of leaves and cut off about 1-inch from top of artichokes. Stand artichokes upright in deep saucepan large enough to hold artichokes snugly. Add 1/4 tsp. salt for each artichoke and enough boiling water so artichokes stand in 2 to 3 inches of water.

2. Cover, boil gently 35-45 minutes (or until base can be pierced easily with a fork). Add more boiling water if necessary. Turn artichokes upside down to drain. Serve with hot or cold lemon-butter sauce on dinner plates as first course or as a separate vegetable course. Artichokes are finger foods so to eat pluck off one leaf at a time and dip base into sauce. Scoop off the meat with your teeth. When outer leaves have been removed, discard small underdeveloped leaves. Remove and discard purple-greenish-colored choke, then consume the bottom, cutting with a fork. Dip into sauce before eating.

Thoughts: This most prized of vegetables can be eaten with a myriad of sauces--from Hollandaise to a fresh-herbed vinaigrette (made with parsley, tarragon, etc.). The artichokes in the fall have a frosting of bronze on their outer leaves (also known as "winter-kissed").

Joan Bennett's Chicken Kiev

3 whole chicken breasts, carefully boned to remove all gristle
1 stick well-chilled sweet butter
1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch of white pepper (or freshly ground pepper)
2 tbsps. minced fresh chives (or pinch of chopped fresh tarragon)
Flour to dredge
3/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1 egg diluted with a little water
Vegetable oil for deep fat frying

1. Cut chicken breasts in halves. Place each between pieces of wax paper. Pound until flat and very thin with mallet (or back of a butcher knife). Remove paper.

2. Form butter into six finger-shaped pieces; chill further in ice water if necessary. Wipe dry and place on each flattened breast of chicken. Sprinkle with salt, white (or black) pepper and chives (or tarragon). Roll up, folding in at ends so the butter is completely enclosed. Skewer firmly with toothpicks.

3. Dredge each roll lightly in flour, then dip in diluted egg, then in bread crumbs. Refrigerate one hour so crumbs will stick.

4. Fill deep fat fryer (or kettle) with enough oil to completely cover rolls. Heat until oil registers 360 degrees F. on cooking thermometer (or until a one-inch cube of bread browns in one minute). Gradually add chicken
rolls, browning on all sides. Drain well on paper toweling. Serve at once. Serves 6.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Recipes by Ralph Bellamy: Pork Vegetable Stew; Super Chili

Ralph Bellamy's Pork Vegetable Stew

2 1/2 lbs. pork chops
3 stalks of celery with leaves, chopped
4 small onions, chopped
4 potatoes, peeled, cut in large pieces
6 medium-sized carrots, peeled, cut in large pleces
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 sprigs parsley
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1 large pinch dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsps. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
About 2 1/2 cups dry red wine (or cranberry juice)
1 lb. cleaned spinach (or 10-oz. pkg. frozen leaf spinach)

1. Trim off as much fat as possible from pork chops. Broil on both sides. Cool. Drain off excess fat from broiler pan and reserve pan drippings to flavor stew.

2. Put celery, onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic, parsley, sage, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper in large saucepan. Add about 2 cups wine (or cranberry juice). Bring to boil; cover and simmer 45 minutes.

3. Dice pork and add to saucepan with bones and pan drippings from broiler. Add more wine (or cranberry juice) as needed. Cover and simmer 45 minutes longer. Uncover and add spinach. Cook until barely tender and most of liquid is absorbed. Correct seasonings. Serve with tossed, well-chilled green salad, your favorite libation (wine, cold beer, etc.). Serves 4-6.

Thoughts: Other vegetables to use in the stew include: tomatoes, corn, broccoll, zucchini, squash, green peas. Brussels sprouts, watercress and water chestnuts.

Ralph Bellamy's Super Chili

2 lbs. coarse-ground beef (or diced beef, chopped size of sugar cubes)
1 tsp. fat
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup black olives, chopped
One 8-oz. can tomato sauce
2 cans water
1 pkg. Wick Fowler's 2-Alarm Chili
One 4-oz. can pimentos, chopped
Two 12-oz. cans Mexican-style corn
One 1-lb. can kidney beans (washed in strainer)
One 1-lb. can pinto beans

1. Cook beef in fat in large skillet (or saucepan) until meat begins to turn brown. Add onion, garlic, pepper and olives. Cook slowly until vegetables are limp.

2. Add tomato sauce and water; then follow chili instructions on package except adding the packet of masa flour (in chili mix package). Add pimento, corn, kidney and pinto beans to vegetable-meat mixture and mix well.

3. Cover, simmer slowly for about 1 1/4 hours (or until meat is tender). Stir often and skim off grease that floats on the surface.

4. Mix masa flour with enough warm water to form a thick paste. Stir into mixture to "tighten" and flavor chili. Let simmer uncovered 15 minutes longer. Taste to correct seasonings. Serve at once with crackers, beer and cold raw apple.

Thoughts: Every chili lover or chili maker has his own recipe and there are a million versions. But as long as you get chili powder, some cumin and masa flour (corn flour available at Spanish and-or Mexican food specialty shops or through mail order houses), you have a good chili depending on your tastes.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Harry Belafonte's Fish Chowder

Harry Belafonte's Fish Chowder

One 4-lb. whole sea bass, cleaned
6 cups water
1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
1/2 lb. salt pork, diced
4 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 clove pressed garlic
1 tsp. ground thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. celery salt
3 cups potatoes, diced
3 onions, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups whole green beans
Boiling salted water
One (28-oz.) can tomatoes, strained
6-8 drops Tabasco (more if desired)
6 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
2-3 tbsps. fresh parsley, minced

Remove head, skin and bones from fish; cut fish in large pieces. Place fish skin and bones in a deep kettle. Add water and celery leaves; simmer 15 minutes and strain. Reserve fish broth. Fry salt pork in a 4-quart kettle until brown; remove cracklings. Add fish broth, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and celery salt; simmer to reduce in volume abut one-third. In separate pot place potatoes, onion, celery and green beans with just enough boiling salted water to cover vegetables. Cook over high heat until vegetables are barely tender. Strain and reserve vegetables.

Place vegetables in stock pot with reduced fish stock. Add tomatoes, Tabasco, mushrooms, fish pieces and fish head. Simmer until fish is done (approximately 10-12 minutes). Taste to correct seasonings. Serve in deep bowls over rice or alone. Garnish with fresh minced parsley. Pass crackers if rice is not used. A crisp green salad makes a nice accompaniment to the chowder. Serves 8.

Thoughts: If desired, butter or margarine may be substituted for salt pork (add at end when all ingredients have been combined). Harry's chowder is delicately flavored, made in the traditional manner of the Caribbeans by not adding flour or milk to chowder.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ned Beatty's Onion Dill Bread

Ned Beatty's Onion Dill Bread

2 cups warm water
2 pkgs. active dry yeast
3 tbsps. instant minced onion
1 1/2 cups (about) gluten flour (available in health food stores)
1 tbsp. dill weed
2 tsps. salt
1 tbsp. dill seed
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
4 cups stone-ground whole wheat flour
Sesame seeds

Mix 1 cup warm water with yeast; let stand for about 4 minutes. Add minced onion to remaining water; set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl of an electric mixer combine gluten flour, dill weed, salt and dill seed.

Add water and yeast mixture, water and onion mixture, oil and honey. Beat at high speed for 3 minutes. With a wooden spoon, stir in enough whole wheat flour to make a stiff batter (about 3 1/2 cups).

Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead in remaining 1/2 cup whole wheat flour; knead until texture is stringy, smooth and very elastic.

Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down dough; cut in two. Roll each part into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle.

Roll up jelly roll fashion, Place seam side down in greased 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans. Brush tops with milk. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated 375 degrees F. oven about 40 minutes, or until bread sounds hollow when tapped with fingers.

Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Delicious with unsalted butter or huge slabs of aged cheddar cheese. Makes two 9-inch loaves.

Thoughts: Ned Beatty's bread is delightfully aromatic and delicious. If desired, all-purpose flour can be substituted for gluten flour; in this case, use about 1/2 cup more.