Saturday, December 17, 2016

Keye Luke's Asparagus and Beef

Keye Luke's Asparagus and Beef

1 lb. flank steak
1 lb. asparagus shoots
3 tbsps. peanut (or salad) oil
3 spring onions
1 small yellow onion, peeled, thinly sliced
3 slices shredded ginger (or ground ginger to taste)
1/2 cake of bean curd, diced
2-3 tbsps. soy sauce
Water (or beef broth)
Salt to taste

Cut beef into very thin strips about 1 1/2 inches long. Wash, clean tips of asparagus and discard hard stems. French-cut tips into thin pieces with cleaver (or sharp knife). Heat 1 tbsp. peanut (or salad) oil in wok (or
large skillet) until hot. Quickly brown beef on both sides; lift out, place on warm platter. Lightly brown spring onions and yellow onion in skillet, adding remaining oil. Add garlic and ginger, stir fry over low heat a few minutes longer. Make a paste with bean curd, soy sauce and enough water to make it thin; pour over onions, adding asparagus and beef to wok. Cook until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add salt to taste. Serve at once over rice (or Chinese noodles). Serves 4.

Variations: Change vegetable by using bok choy, Chinese cabbage, spinach, red cabbage, string beans (cut French-style), green pepper, Chinese mushrooms (soak in warm water 30 minutes before chopping), Chinese pea pods, broccoli or bean sprouts. For sweet and sour effect: marinate beef strips in mixture of Chinese rice wine (or pale dry sherry), ground star anise and shredded ginger. Dry off meat before browning in wok. Sweeten sauce with sherry or brown sugar to taste. Substitute thin strips of chicken breast, pork or ham for beef. Adjust seasonings to balance sauce.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Myrna Loy's Tomato Mushrooms

Myrna Loy's Tomato Mushrooms

1 lb. tomatoes
1/2 lb. pork sausages
salt and cayenne

Wash tomatoes well. Cut in halves crosswise, and scoop out a small piece, from the center of each half. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne. Remove skin from sausages. Divide each sausage into two or three, according to the size, and save a little for the "stalks." Spread a portion of the sausage meat over the tomato halves, spreading well to the edge. Press a hole in the center. Dust with flour and dot with butter. Bake in a hot oven until tender. Meanwhile, fold leftover sausage meat in roll on floured board. Cut into short lengths. Flour them and fry in hot fat. When tomatoes are cooked, place one of these stalks in the center of each. Serve on bed of lettuce.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Recipes by Sophia Loren: Fried Neapolitan Pizza; Involtini; Pasta Fagioli; Pasta Sauce; Pizza; Pizza Napoletana; Spaghetti con Pomodoro Crudo; Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

Sophia Loren's Fried Neapolitan Pizza

(as told in Sophia's unique way)
First of all you must learn to make the dough. Take 1 1/4 lbs. flour, 1 1/2 ozs. compressed yeast, and as much warm water as you will need. Arrange the flour on the pastry board in the shape of a small conical hill; you dig a crater in the top, and into it put a little warm water in which you have previously dissolved the yeast, and then knead and slam at it energetically for a good half-hour. I'm not exaggerating. 
You have to bash and punch at that dough over and over again as though it were your worst enemy, squashing it over the board and then hammering at it with clenched fists until it becomes so soft that it almost sticks to your hands. After a good half-hour's toil -- adding more water if necessary -- roll the dough up into a ball and put it in a soup plate dusted with flour; then cut two slits into the surface to allow the yeast to do its job; and cover with a light cloth. 
As the dough rises (it isn't easy to tell how long it takes for the perfect rise; you should regard each lump of dough as a special case; the main thing is that it rises, and that the surface begins to stretch and crack, after which there is no need to leave it any longer), you make the sauce. For this you need a black iron pan if you have one. Put in a tbsp. of oil per person; crush a clove of garlic for each two people. 
When the garlic is browning, pour in the pulp of 2 lbs. of tomatoes, just the pulp, remember, not the liquid, and let cook over a fierce flame for about 15 minutes. The sauce is now ready. Meanwhile, in a row of plates have ready: 10 ozs. of fresh milk cheese, such as mozzarella or fior di latte, cut into small pieces; grated Parmesan; finely chopped garlic, and some small young leaves of basil. 
Now for the grand finale. Bring a good dollop of olive oil to the boil in an iron pan. Then using your hand (never, never a knife, as you will ruin everything), pull a little of the dough off the ball in the soup plate and shape it into a pizza, round and flatm then fry it in the oil, turning it over quickly. It is better to fry a number of pizzas at the same time if the pan is large enough. In any case, as soon as each pizza is fried, it should have a light yellow color. 
Now you spread a spoonful of sauce over it, a little mozzarella, a little Parmesan, basil, and the chopped garlic. Whoever is eating it should fold it double, being careful not to drop the filling, as the heat of the pastry should still be melting and binding the flavors, as well as keeping the taste deliciously alive. Eat it just like that, in your hands, without any further fuss.

Thoughts: Use about 5 cups all-purpose flour, 2-3 envelopes active dry yeast, and 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water. For flavorful additions, add 1 tsp. salt, 2 tsps. oil (will lengthen rising period, oil makes dough easier to handle). Fior di latte cheese is not available in the U.S. It is a fresh mozzarella made in Italy similar in flavor and texture to mozzarella cheese commonly used for "pizza cheese" in this country. Sophia's recipe makes four 12-inch pizzas. Round pancake griddle makes a handy pan for preparing the prized pizza. If possible, use fresh basil (if available), fresh ripe tomatoes, and top grade imported Italian olive oil.

Sophia Loren's Involtini

(as told in Sophia's unique way)
You need, for 6 people, 12 thin slices of lean beef (round or sirloin tip), each about 2 1/2 ozs. at the most. Give them a light pounding and cover each with a slice of bologna mortadella; roll and spear together with wooden toothpicks. Brown in a pan with olive oil in which you have previously and briefly browned a garlic clove. That is all for the moment. When the involtini have turned brown over a fairly fierce flame, toss about 1/2 cup of dry white wine over them; then add lashings of tomatoes, 2 lbs. even, salt and pepper and a few young minced basil leaves. From now on, the cooking should continue over a slow fire for over an hour. Serves 6.
Sophia Loren's Pasta Fagioli

Two 20-ounce cans chick peas
3 quarts water
Ham bone (or 1/2 pound lean bacon, cut in 2 pieces)
4 ounces prosciutto ham, cut in strips
1 clove
1 teaspoon dry hot red pepper
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
One handful each of at least 3 types pasta: curried elbow, noodles, seashells.

1. Put beans, water, ham bone, prosciutto ham, clove, tomatoes, and red pepper in large pot. Cook slowly 2 hours until beans are tender. If water evaporates, add boiling water.

2. When beans are tender, be sure there is at least 1 quart of liquid. Bring to a brisk boil. Add pasta, cook 8-10 minutes or until pasta is chewy.

3. Remove from heat, let cool a few minutes before serving. The flavor improves if cooled slightly before serving. Ladle soup into flat soup bowls. Accompany with slices of crisp Italian bread. Makes 4 generous servings.  

Sophia Loren's Pasta Sauce

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced very small
3 small onions, sliced or chopped
1/2 medium size fresh or dried chile pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, skinned, or 1 large can petite diced tomatoes
6 to 8 large fresh basil leaves, sliced very thin
Salt to taste
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 1/4 pounds bucatini pasta or other large pasta

Heat oil and butter over medium heat and add pancetta and onions. When onions are golden, add chile pepper, tomatoes, basil and a good pinch of salt. Cook for 15 minutes so flavors are nicely combined.

While this simmers, cook the pasta and drain. Toss all together. Add cheese generously.

Sophia Loren's Pizza

1 envelope active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup marinara sauce or peeled, chopped tomatoes, to taste
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded or thinly sliced, or to taste
2 ounces anchovy filets or strips of thinly sliced prosciutto, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, or dried, to taste
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

To prepare dough, dissolve yeast in water. On a clean surface, combine flour and salt. Make a well in center of flour and add the dissolved yeast. Blend together and knead thoroughly. Add oil and continue kneading until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl; cover and let stand in a warm place for one to three hours, until doubled in bulk.

Flatten dough and roll out to form a 10-inch circle about one-quarter-inch thick. Place dough on a flat surface sprinkled lightly with cornmeal. (If you don't have an extra-wide spatula or flat lifter of some sort with which to move the assembled pizza, transfer the dough to a board or the flat side of a tray sprinkled with cornmeal so that the pizza will slide off easily into the skillet.) Spread tomato sauce over top of dough. Add mozzarella, anchovies or other toppings, as desired. Sprinkle with basil, Parmesan and pepper, to taste.

Heat oil in large, heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet. When oil is sizzling, transfer the uncooked pizza to the hot skillet. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until crust is golden and topping is bubbly. If needed, cover pizza for a few minutes toward the end of cooking to speed melting the cheese. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Sophia Loren's Pizza Napoletana

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 envelope yeast dissolved in 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 tsp. olive oil

Tomato sauce (or canned marinara sauce, or peeled, chopped tomatoes)
Mozzarella cheese
Small tin filleted anchovies (or sliced sweet Italian sausage, salami, thin  strips prosciutto ham)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Place flour and salt on board. Add dissolved yeast. Knead thoroughly, add oil, continue kneading until smooth. Place in lightly greased bowl, cover. Set in warm place about 3 hours or until dough doubles in bulk.

2. Flatten, roll out into 10-inch disc about 1/4-inch thick. Spread surface with your choice of garniture. Heat olive oil in large, cast-iron skillet. When oil is sizzling, add pizza, cook over medium flame about 10 minutes or until golden and topping is bubbly. Serve immediately. Makes 4 generous portions.

Thoughts: Neapolitans prepare a closed-style pizza using half the above dough. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Spread lightly with 1/3 cup ricotta cheese, 4 ounces minced prosciutto ham, a light grating of freshly ground pepper and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Cut dough into 2-inch squares, fold in half, sealing edges. Plunge envelopes into sizzling deep fat, brown quickly on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve immediately. Makes 20 small pizzas.

Sophia Loren's Spaghetti con Pomodoro Crudo

1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
2 pounds tomatoes, not quite ripe, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 medium red or Vidalia onions (or less), thinly sliced
1/4 cup pitted Sicilian green olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/4 cup minced Italian parsley
10 to 12 chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cook the pasta until just al dente. While the pasta is cooking, place in a large serving bowl the tomatoes, mozzarella, onions, olives, capers, parsley, oregano, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the oil over and toss gently.

When pasta is ready, pour it into a colander and quickly rinse it under cold water; drain well and add the warm spaghetti to the bowl. Toss to combine, remove the garlic if desired, and serve. Pass the cheese at the table. Serves 6.

Sophia Loren's Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

(as told in Sophia's unique way)
The spaghetti or vermicelli must be cooked al dente. Calculate 1 1/4 lbs. of pasta for 6 people. The sauce should be ready and waiting the moment the spaghetti is cooked. Now for the sauce: First pour your olive oil into a saucepan -- 3 tbsps. (meager) for every 2 people; then crushed garlic, one clove for 2 or 3 people. Garlic never fails to put in an appearance in the Neapolitan cuisine, or in all Mediterranean cooking for that matter. If you find it too strong, reduce the quantity, or do without. 
But it's a shame! Cook over a lively fire. When the oil is boiling and the garlic blanches, add the tomato. For 6 people, with 9 spoons of oil and 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, you would need at least 1 lb. of canned peeled tomatoes or the flesh of freshly peeled and sieved tomatoes. 
Add a few basil leaves (using jarred basil only when fresh leaves are not available); a good pinch of salt (depending on taste, and, incidentally, the saltiness of the salt); and a tsp. of sugar. These days there is a tendency to forget the sugar, but that is a mistake because it compensates for the acidity of the tomatoes. Lower the flame, and leave it cooking gently for another half hour. 
Then it is ready. When the spaghetti is steaming hot and waiting in a big serving dish, pour the sauce over the top with a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan (at least a tbsp. for each person). Stir very well and serve. Serves 6.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Recipes by Jack Lord: Eggplant Parmesan; Spaghetti Sauce; Watercress Soup

Jack Lord's Eggplant Parmesan

Jack likes to use spaghetti sauce (recipe below) combined with eggplant,
to create Eggplant Parmesan.

Peel 2 medium-size eggplants into 1/2-inch slices. Cut green pepper in narrow julienne strips. Slice 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese into thin slices. Arrange eggplant slices on lightly oiled baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; brown in preheated 400 degrees F. oven about 10 minutes. Cook 3 sliced Italian hot (or sweet) sausages in skillet over low heat, piercing with fork to allow fat to drain off. Slice sausages in 1/4-inch rounds. Arrange eggplant slices, grated Parmesan-Romano cheese (mixed), sausage, mozzarella and about 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce in lightly greased shallow baking dish. Repeat layers until casserole is filled. Cover and bake in 300 degrees F. oven until heated through and cheese is stringy and browned (about 25-30 minutes).

Jack Lord's Spaghetti Sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsps. olive (or salad) oil
2 cans (28 ozs. each) plum tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsps. chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 small boiled potato, peeled
1 lb. spaghetti
2 tbsps. salt
4 to 6 qts. boiling water
Freshly grated Parmesan (or Romano) cheese

To prepare spaghetti sauce, saute onion and garlic in olive oil in large skillet until golden. Add undrained tomatoes; break up tomatoes with fork. Stir in parsley, basil, 1 1/2 tsps. salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. About 15 minutes before end of cooking period, add potato. Remove potato at end of cooking period.

About 15 minutes before serving time, add spaghetti and 2 tbsps. salt to rapidly boiling water so that water continues to boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender. Drain in colander. Pour tomato sauce
over spaghetti in deep serving dish; serve with Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.

Thoughts: Jack generally prefers to mix together equal parts of Parmesan and Romano cheese.

Jack Lord's Watercress Soup

1 large bunch of watercress, washed, put in colander
4 1/2 cups water
1 3/4 lbs. peeled baking potatoes, cut in large pieces
1/2 cup milk
Butter to taste (3-4 tbsps.)
Salt and white pepper to taste

Remove leaves from watercress, place in colander. Break off tender part of stems, cut into smaller pieces and put in blender with 1 1/2 cups water. Add water a little at a time while in blender until leaves are dissolved; pour liquid through a sieve. Boil potatoes in remaining water until tender. Put potato water, potato, watercress liquid and watercress leaves in blender; whirl until just blended; then add milk. Heat slightly. Add butter salt, white pepper to taste just before serving. If desired, serve with homemade croutons (cubes of French bread lightly sauteed in small amount of butter until golden). Serves 4.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trini Lopez's Viva Beef

Trini Lopez's Viva Beef

1/2 cup onion flakes
1 1/3 cups water, divided
3 tbsps. vegetable oil, divided
2 lbs. lean stew beef, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup grape juice (or cola or sangria)
1 bay loaf
1-inch stick cinnamon
3 whole cloves
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground cumin seed
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. instant minced garlic
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

Rehydrate onion flakes in 1/3 cup of the water for 10 minutes. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsps. of the oil. Add onion and saute 5 minutes. Remove onion and set aside. To the same skillet add remaining 1 tbsp. oil. Add beef, brown well on all sides. Return onion to skillet. Add remaining 1 cup of water, grape juice (or cola or sangria) and remaining ingredients. Cover and cook 1 1/2 hrs (or until meat is tender), stirring occasionally. Add additional red pepper as desired. Serve with rice or refried beans.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Julie London's Enchiladas

Julie London's Enchiladas

12 large cornmeal tortillas (fresh, frozen or canned)
Cooking oil, depth 1/2-inch in skillet
1 can enchilada sauce
2 cups chopped Bermuda onions
6 ounces grated Monterey (or Cheddar) cheese
2 ounces grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup pitted black olives, cut in quarters

Slip one tortilla at a time into hot fat for 15 seconds; lift out with tongs. Dip tortilla in heated enchilada sauce. Remove to a cookie sheet. Fill generously with cheeses that have been mixed together. Top with grated onion. Roll up. Repeat this procedure until all the tortillas have been filled. Place in a buttered baking dish. Ladle remaining sauce generously over all. Top with remaining cheese, garnish with olives. Bake in 350 degree oven 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and brown. Serves 4.

Thoughts: The enchilada sauce can be made hotter by the addition of Tabasco, chili powder or Louisiana hot sauce.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Recipes by Guy Lombardo: Key Lime Pie; Lobster Lombardo

Guy Lombardo's Key Lime Pie

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
11 tbsps. sugar
3 tbsps. softened butter
4 eggs, separated
1 can condensed milk
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp. grated lime rind (green part only)
dash salt

Mix graham cracker crumbs with 3 tbsps. sugar and butter. Press into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake in 375 degrees F. oven for 8 minutes. Cool.

Beat egg yolks and condensed milk until smooth. Stir in lime juice and rind. Pour into baked crust. Beat egg whites and salt until frothy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until satiny and whites stand in peaks. Pile meringue over filling, sealing edges of the crust. Bake in 425 degrees F. oven 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Chill 3-4 hours in the refrigerator. Serves 6-8.

Guy Lombardo's Lobster Lombardo

8 ounce package green noodles
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup light cream
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
1/16 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup sherry
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
2 cups cooked lobster meat, cut in large pieces
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Butter a 2-quart casserole; cover bottom with cooked green noodles.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in pot over medium heat; gradually stir in cream, heat through, stirring. Cool 5 minutes before gradually stirring in beaten egg yolks, salt, pepper, sherry, Romano cheese; cook over low heat to reduce sauce one-fourth, stirring constantly. Add lobster meat, mix well; pour over green noodles.

Top with bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and dot with 1 tbsp. soft butter. Bake uncovered in preheated 400 degree F. oven 20-25 minutes or until top is brown. Serves 4-6.

Thoughts: Use frozen lobster, raw prawns or cooked crab. Or prepare in individual ramekins, baking 5-7 minutes at 400 degrees F.