Saturday, January 7, 2017

Recipes by Darren McGavin: Moules et Citron; Moules Marniere; Oeufs au Beurre Noir

Darren McGavin's Moules et Citron

4 dozen steamed mussels
1 stick sweet butter
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1 lemon cut in thin slices
Wine vinegar

Remove raw mussels from shells with sharp knife, rinse well (or steam lightly according to directions in next recipe). Discard shells. Heat butter over medium heat being careful not to burn it. Add mussels, pressed garlic and lemon slices. Sprinkle lightly with vinegar. Heat quickly. Serve at once with good chilled wine (Meursault or Pinot Chardoney). Serves 4.

Darren McGavin's Moules Marniere

4 dozen fresh mussels
3 shallots (or small white onion), minced
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 sprigs of parsley, chopped
1 small bay leaf, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
A few gratings of freshly ground pepper

Select large mussels that are closed. Before steaming, the mussels must be carefully cleaned. Scrub each shell with small wire brush removing all traces of mud, seaweed and barnacles. Discard any mussels with cracked, broken or opened shells. Remove "beard" (tuft of hair attached to shell) with small knife; rinse well under running water.

Bathe mussels by placing in deep vessels (or pail) covered with cold water several hours. Change water at least once. Discard any that float. Drain, rinse well under running water, place in colander.

Saute shallots (or onion) lightly in butter. Add wine, bouquet garni (parsley, bay leaf and thyme), salt and pepper. Simmer gently several minutes. Place mussels in simmering stock; cover tightly; steam 3 minutes (or until shells open). Remove shells, reserve broth. Remove top shell from mussel. Keep in warm place.

Strain broth, reduce by cooking over medium heat to half its original volume. Pour sauce into small deep bowl, place in center of platter. Arrange mussels around bowl. Garnish with cut parsley. Spear mussels with small forks and "dunk" in sauce. Consume as appetizer with very dry martini. Serves 4.

Thoughts: Thorough cleaning is essential but requires muscle. To speed up the task, soak mussels in solution of dry mustard and cold water (1 tablespoon mustard to 1 quart water) to help loosen the encrustation. Clean shells in advance, let bathe in cold water, refrigerate until time to use (use within 24 hours from time of purchase).

For flavor changes, vary herb used in the broth by using fresh dill weed, chervil or steam the mussels in a saffron-scented lemon broth.

Darren McGavin's Oeufs au Beurre Noir

4 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
1 teaspoon tarragon (or wine) vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat butter in flat pan until brown, but do not let it burn. Break eggs in pan and fry until whites are solidified. Remove eggs to heated dish. Add vinegar to the butter, stir a moment and pour over the eggs quickly. Serve at once with fried toast. Serves 2.

Thoughts: Prepare poached eggs in black butter as follows: Poach eggs in vinegar-flavored water solution. Place eggs in bed of cooked petit pois. Prepare sauce by cooking butter until "black." Add a few tablespoons each dry white wine (or tarragon vinegar) and capers. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Recipes by Alec McCowen: Summer Pudding; Sunday Meal-in-One

Alec McCowen's Summer Pudding

8 slices white bread, crusts trimmed
2 pints cleaned fresh red raspberries
Vanilla sugar to taste (about 1/3 cup)
1 cup heavy cream (or sour cream)

1. Place four slices of bread in bottom at a glass basin. Top with crushed raspberries sweetened with vanilla sugar. Top with four remaining bread slices. Cover with a plate and weight it on top. Refrigerate several hours (or until bread is very moist.)

2. Whip cream until stiff. Sweeten as desired to spoon over the top. Serves 6-8.

Thoughts: Vanilla sugar can be made by placing a vanilla pod (available at grocery stores) in a closed sugar canister.

Alec McCowen's Sunday Meal-in-One

Knob of suet (size of walnut)
Sirloin or rib roast beef, weighing about 5 lbs.
8 small potatoes
8 small tender parsnips
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place suet in roasting pan (the pan should be large enough to comfortably hold roast and vegetables); place roasting pan in oven until suet begins to sizzle. Place roast in heated roasting pan; return to oven. Brown meat on all sides (about 20 minutes). Reduce temperature to 325 degrees F.

2. Peel potatoes and parsnips; rinse off, dry well with paper toweling. Arrange potatoes and parsnips around the roast in roasting pan. Season roast liberally with salt and pepper. Continue cooking uncovered about 1 1/2 hours (or until meat tests rare by running a skewer into the roast and juice is a pinkish-red color). Baste roast once with pan juices. Turn vegetables several times to brown on all sides.

3. Remove meat to heated platter while keeping vegetables hot in oven. Pour off excess fat in the roasting pan, use natural juices to make the gravy. Stir in any small scraps of meat, dilute slightly with water, add salt and pepper to taste. Heat to boiling, reduce slightly. Strain and serve in a sauce boat with roast. Roast may also be served with horseradish sauce. Serves 6-8.

Horseradish Sauce

1/3 cup prepared horseradish, drained
1 tbsp. wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. mustard powder
Dash of cayenne
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsps. cream

1. Combine all the ingredients except cream; mix well. Gradually stir in cream. Serve cold with roast beef.

Thoughts: Alec McCowen's Sunday dinner is cooked in the truly English fashion with minimal seasoning. For more exact timing of the roast, allow 15-18 mins. per lb. for beef rare. 20-24 mins. for medium and 25-30 mins. for well done. Vegetables cooked in this fashion will come out crisp and browned on the outside. For vegetable accompaniments Alec suggests broad beans (cooked quickly like fresh peas, flavored with fresh summer savory or parsley butter sauce) and cauliflower (cooked, drained and annointed with Hollandaise sauce or lightly dusted with sieved hard-cooked egg, snipped fresh parsley, butter-browned bread crumbs, salt and pepper).

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Marilyn McCoo's Tennis Chicken

Marilyn McCoo's Tennis Chicken

2 broiler-fryer chickens, cut into serving-size pieces
3 tbsps. soft butter or margarine
2 medium onions, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
2 large green peppers, cut into large dice
Salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 tsp. ground poultry seasoning or sage
1 chicken bouillon cube
About 1 cup boiling water
Handful fresh chopped parsley

Arrange chicken parts in large, ovenproof casserole. Put small amount of butter or margarine on each chicken piece. Scatter onion, celery and green pepper between layers of chicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle poultry seasoning or sage evenly over chicken and vegetables. Dissolve chicken in boiling water; pour over chicken.

Cover and bake in preheated 350 degrees F. oven about 1 hour. Remove lid to brown chicken and reduce liquid, baking about 20 minutes longer or until chicken is fork-tender.

To serve, arrange chicken and vegetables on plate. Spoon sauce over top. Garnish with parsley. Delicious with hot cooked noodles or rice. Complete meal with crisp green salad and your favorite white or rose wine. Serves 6-8.

Thoughts: Miss McCoo's recipe is foolproof. If desired, use red and green peppers or cut red onion to add color variation. It looks terrific on the plate.

Chopped garden-ripe tomatoes cut into casserole and cooked as directed make a nice taste variation, too.

Make it Oriental with water chestnuts, bean sprouts and bamboo shoots or Spanish with hot pepper (or Tabasco) and garden-fresh or frozen peas.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Peter Max's Rice with Chinese Vegetables

Peter Max's Rice with Chinese Vegetables

1 cup hand polished (or long-grain) rice, washed in cold water
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter

1. Add rice to salted water in deep saucepan. When water begins to boil, add butter. Stir once. Cook 15 minutes (or until rice is tender). Remove from heat. Drain in colander. Serve at once. Makes two 1 1/2 cup servings.

Thoughts: Natural brown rice may be used. Rinse rice very well (three times) in cold water. Use 1 cup rice plus two and one-half times as much water. Add rice to salted water. Bring to boil. Cover, simmer very slowly 40-45 minutes (or until water is absorbed). Let stand 5-10 minutes to allow rice to "steam." Makes two generous servings.

*** I follow Martha Stewart's rice-cooking chart. Read Rice 101 article by clicking here. Download rice-cooking chart by clicking here. ***

To prepare the vegetables:

1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
2-3 tbsps. corn (or vegetable) oil
1/2 small onion, peeled and chopped (or 2 scallions, cut in 1/2-inch pieces)
1/2-inch piece ginger root, minced (or 1/8 tsp. ground ginger)
6 white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 stalks celery, cut in thin slices diagonally
4 water chestnuts (canned), thinly sliced
1 cup bamboo shoots, chopped in large pieces (or Chinese celery cabbage or bean sprouts)
1/2 green pepper, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
12 Chinese snow pea pods, sliced in 2-inch pieces (or 1 cup frozen petits pois)
1 vegetable cube dissolved in 3 tbsps. hot water
1 1/2 tsps. cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsps. water
Good pinch of sugar
2-3 tbsps. soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute almonds in heated corn (or vegetable) oil in large skillet (or wok). Lift out. Add onion (or scallions), ginger root (or ground ginger); stir-fry 1 1/2 minutes.

2. Add remaining vegetables (except green pepper and pea pods). Stir-fry one minute. Add green pepper, pea pods (or petits pois), vegetable-flavored hot water, cornstarch mixture, sugar, soy sauce., salt and pepper to taste.

3. Cook over low heat about 4-5 minutes (or until sauce is smooth and shiny). Stir occasionally. Serve at once on hot cooked white (or natural
brown) rice. Garnish with almonds. Serves 2-3.

Thoughts: Peter's "chop suey" vegetarian delight is a boon to dieters, especially those on the rice-diet. Vegetarians can strengthen the protein intake with the addition of two bean curds. Cut each curd into six pieces before adding when liquid is added towards end of preparation. (Substitute for mushrooms for a "meaty" flavor).

Change vegetables by substituting cabbage, lettuce, watercress, asparagus, spinach, or for convenience, canned mixed Chinese vegetables (contains bean  sprouts, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, pimento and water chestnuts). For sweet-and-sour nuances, sweeten with strained honey, fresh sweet fruits (orange,
pineapple or kumquat) or "sour" with fruit-flavored vinegar or a twist of lemon. Garnish with condiments tableside (hot Chinese mustard, soy sauce and-or duck sauce). Non-vegetarians may add tiny bits of raw shrimp, lobster, beef, pork or chicken to the skillet during initial stage of preparation.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Walter Matthau's Asian Chicken Casserole

Walter Matthau's Asian Chicken Casserole

2 broiler-fryer chicken breasts (boned and skinned)
3/4 tsp. soy sauce
1 small onion (or scallions), chopped
2 slices fresh ginger root (or 1/4 tsp. dried)
1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsps. safflower oil
1/2 green pepper, cut in julienne
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
Handful toasted almond slivers
5 water chestnuts, sliced
One 5-oz. can bamboo shoots, sliced
About 4 cups chicken gravy (or chicken stock blended with 1 tbsp. cornstarch)
About 1 cup Product 19 (or cornflakes)
Twist of lemon or lime

1. Use cooked leftover chicken or broil or poach chicken until barely tender in chicken stock. Flavor with a twist of lemon or lime. Cut into bite-size pieces; sprinkle with soy sauce. Let stand 1 hour.

2. Saute onion (or scallions), ginger root (minced) and mushrooms in oil until limp. Barely cook celery until crisp. Drain. Combine chicken, onion mixture, pepper, celery, almonds, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and chicken gravy (or thickened stock) in well-greased casserole; mix well. Taste to correct seasonings; add more soy sauce to taste.

3. Bake uncovered in preheated 350 degrees F. oven until bubbly. Top with cereal. Bake 5 minutes longer. Serve alone or with brown rice and alfalfa sprout salad. Serves 4.

Thoughts: Dieters can skip gravy and flavor with chicken stock spiked with sherry (optional). Omit pepper, add snow peas (or partially-cooked fresh peas) during last 5 minutes baking time. Use cereal as garnish.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Recipes by Johnny Mathis: Apricot Fantasy; Mustard Greens; Wild Duck

Johnny Mathis' Apricot Fantasy

1 can (no. 303)(A no. 303 can = 16-17 ounces) apricot halves, drained
1 envelope (2 tbsps.) unflavored gelatin
1 can (12 ozs.) apricot nectar
1 pkg. (3 5/8 ozs.) vanilla pudding (not instant)
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts for garnish

Set aside six to eight apricot halves. Mash remaining apricot halves or put through blender; reserve. Soften gelatin in 1/4 cup apricot nectar. Add enough water to remaining nectar to make 1 3/4 cups liquid.

Prepare vanilla pudding according to package instructions, substituting nectar-water mixture for milk.

Stir hot pudding into softened gelatin, making certain gelatin is completely dissolved.

Add mashed apricot and lemon extract. Cool slightly. Whip cream until stiff, gently fold into pudding mix. Turn into a 1-quart souffle dish.

Cover and chill well. Just before serving, garnish with strawberries and-or chopped pecans or walnuts. Serves 4-6.

Thoughts: A delicious dessert you can make off the emergency shelf! For a slight tang, add finely grated lemon rind to apricot pulp.

Syrup from apricots can be used, but it's very sweet. To use, dilute slightly with a few drops of lemon juice and water.

Johnny Mathis' Mustard Greens

2 lbs. fresh mustard greens
2 qts. water
1/4 lb. salt pork
Salt to taste
2 tsps. shortening

Wash greens carefully with cold water three times to remove all the grit and sand. Drain well in colander. Put water in a 4-quart stock pot.

Add salt pork, bring to a brisk boil and then add greens. (Never put greens in cold water to start.) Salt to taste.

Add shortening, boll until tender (about one hour). If frozen greens are used, cook according to package instructions. Delicious with cornbread. Serves 4.

Johnny Mathis' Wild Duck

2 or 3 wild ducks, cleaned
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 sweet green pepper, sliced
2 or 3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 cups water

Rinse duck and pat dry. Rub inside and out with salt and pepper. Place breast-side up on rack in roasting pan. Add onion, pepper, celery and water to pan.

Cover and bake in preheated 325 degrees F. oven for about 45 minutes (or until ducks are tender). Baste occasionally with pan juices.

Serve on bed of hot, cooked wild rice. Serves 2-3.

Thoughts: If desired, duck can be filled with chopped apple or onion, celery and carrot mixed with poultry seasoning to reduce the "wild" flavor.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Recipes by Lee Marvin: Eggs Ranchero; Lentil Bean Soup; Malibu Ham Bake; Mob Soup; Refried Beans

Lee Marvin's Eggs Ranchero

2 tablespoons instant minced onion
1/4 teaspoon instant minced garlic
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon oil
1 can (8 ozs.) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon marjoram leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tortillas and oil
4 poached or fried eggs
Refried beans (recipe below)

1. Mix minced onion and garlic in water; let stand 10 minutes to rehydrate.

2. In a medium skillet heat oil. Add rehydrated vegetables and saute 2 minutes.

3. Add tomato sauce, parsley flakes, chili powder, marjoram leaves and salt. Cook uncovered 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Meanwhile, fry tortillas in hot oil for 2 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

5. Place one egg on each tortilla. Spoon sauce over egg and serve garnished with refried beans or pork sausage, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Lee Marvin's Lentil Bean Soup 

2 cups beans (lima, split peas or lentils)
3 quarts water (or beef stock)
1 1/2 lb. butt end of ham (or 3-oz. piece salt pork, bacon, or turkey carcass)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 large stalks celery with leaves, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of cayenne (or Tabasco)
2 to 3 tbsps. butter (depending upon what kind of meat used for seasoning)

1. Soak beans overnight in water; drain. Put in large saucepan with water and all the ingredients except butter. Simmer uncovered about 3 1/2 hours. Add more liquid (water or stock) if needed. Strain through colander; chill and remove congealed fat. Discard fat.

2. Reheat, taste to correct seasonings. Add butter for flavor. Makes about 3 quarts.

Thoughts: At the beach, fish scraps (heads, tails) can be used. Use pinch of thyme, slice in a tomato or two, and use clam juice in lieu of water. If desired, lentil soup can be thickened by blending 2 tbsps. flour with a little soup (cooled to room temperature) before adding to the saucepan. Lee's delicious soup makes a hearty accompaniment to gargantuan rye bread sandwiches made with huge slabs of his Malibu ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles and horseradish-mustard and beer.

Lee Marvin's Malibu Ham Bake

One smoked ham

1. Bake ham according to directions given by packer on wrapper or tag. Wipe ham with clean cloth; place ham fat-side up on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer in thickest part of the ham being careful not to strike bone.

2. Bake ham uncovered in preheated 325 degrees F. oven until meat thermometer registers 150 degrees F. (or allow 15 mins. per lb. for hams 12 lbs. and over; 18 mins. per lb. for hams under 12 lbs. and 22 mins. per lb. for half hams) Allow last 15 mins. roasting time if glaze is applied.

3. To glaze: Apply glaze on ham during last 15 mins. in 400 degrees F. oven (or until thermometer registers 160 degrees F.). Pour off excess drippings; remove skin. Score ham by cutting diagonal gashes into fat with sharp knife 1/4-inch deep forming diamond shapes. Stud fat with whole cloves.

4. Glazes can he prepared from any of the following: 1 cup light brown sugar (or strained honey or corn syrup), 1 tbsp. dry mustard moistened with apple juice (or cider vinegar or juice from pickled peaches or pears); 3/4 cup crushed pineapple mixed with 1 cup light brown sugar; 1 cup melted cranberry (or red currant) jelly mixed with 1 tbsp. lemon juice or 1 cup light brown sugar mixed with juice and rind of 1 orange.

Thoughts: If desired, garnish ham with fruit (pineapple rings, orange rind or pickled kumquats cut into shapes and inserted into the "diamond" shapes.

Lee Marvin's Mob Soup

4 lbs. fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 1/2 quarts water
1 small turnip (about 4 cups), peeled and diced
1 cup onion flakes
1/4 cup celery flakes
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons instant minced garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 lb. eggplant, peeled and diced
4 cups diced cabbage
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
2 cups corn off the cob
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
4 small (3/4-lb. each) zucchini, peeled and sliced
2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup parsley flakes

1. In a large pot combine tomatoes with water; bring to boiling. Add turnip, onion and celery flakes, bay leaves, salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the basil leaves, minced garlic, sugar and black pepper. Cover, cook 1 hour.

2. Add remaining vegetables and cook 45 to 60 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender.

3. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons basil leaves and parsley flakes.

4. Serve with long loaves of French or Italian bread broken into hunks. Makes 12 servings.

Lee Marvin's Refried Beans

1/4 cup instant minced onion
1 teaspoon instant minced garlic
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons bacon fat or lard
1 can (1 lb. 4 ozs.) red kidney beans, well drained and mashed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1. Mix minced onion and garlic in water; let stand 10 minutes to rehydrate.

2. In a medium skillet heat bacon fat. Add rehydrated vegetables and saute 5 minutes. Stir in beans; cook until dry.

3. Add tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, salt; mix well. Add cheese and cook only until hot and cheese begins to melt. Makes 4 servings.