This page is for tekkies who enjoy good food and drink, and good doesn’t always mean expensive. I know my UK friend John Howland is an epicure, as well as Bob Buttafuso, relic hunter from Virginia. Both have recipes below and will be sharing more in the days ahead. So, if you love to cook, grill, drink or just eat, don’t be shy. Send along your favorite recipes, stories, whatever, and if you have a photo to go along with them, all the better. For those of you who could care less, eat your Big Mac and leave us the hell alone….
Tortellini, with Prosciutto and Peas
Photo – Fay Stout
- 12 ounces cheese tortellini
- 1/4 cup water, reserved from cooking pasta
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 Garlic cloves, minded
- 1/4 lb. proscuitto, sliced into thin slices
- 1 Cup heavy cream
- 1 Pinch Nutmeg,
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese. freshly grated
- 3/4 Cup frozen baby peas, thawed
- Salt and Pepper
1.Cook tortellini according to package directions
2.Melt butter in skillet and cook garlic for 1 minute.
Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer…
5. Add nutmeg and simmer until cream is thickened and reduced by half.
6. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan and peas..
7. Stir in reserved cooking liquid and tortellin and toss to coast.
8.Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve and enjoy…….
Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Photo – Fay Stout
- 4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Large plastic food storage bags or waxed paper
- 1 package, 10 ounces, frozen chopped spinach
- 2 Tablespoons of butter
- 12 Small mushroom caps, crimini or button type
- 2 Cloves of garlic, cracked
- 1 Small shallot, quartered
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Cup part skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons of butter
- 2 Tablespoons of flour
- 1/2 Cup white wine
- 1 Cup chicken broth
Place breasts in the center of a plastic food storage bag or 2 large sheets of waxed paper. Pound out the chicken from the center of the bag outward using a heavy-bottomed skillet or mallet. Be firm but controlled with your strokes.
Defrost spinach in the microwave. Transfer spinach to a kitchen towel. Twist towel around spinach and wring it out until very dry. Transfer to a medium-mixing bowl.
Place a nonstick skillet over moderate heat. When skillet is hot, add butter, mushrooms, garlic and shallot. Season with salt and pepper and saute 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms, garlic and shallot to the food processor. Pulse to grind the mushrooms and transfer to the mixing bowl, adding the processed mushrooms to the spinach. Add ricotta and grated cheese to the bowl and the nutmeg. Stir to combine the stuffing. Return your skillet to the stove over medium high heat
Place a mound of stuffing on each breast and wrap and roll breast over the stuffing. Secure breasts with toothpicks. Add 3 tablespoons oil to the pan. Add breasts to the pan and brown on all sides, cooking chicken 10 to 12 minutes. The meat will cook quickly because it is thin. Remove breasts; add butter to the pan and flour. Cook butter and flour for a minute, whisk in wine and reduce another minute. Whisk in broth and return breasts to the pan. Reduce heat and simmer until ready to serve.
Remove toothpicks. Serve breasts whole or, remove from pan, slice on an angle and fan out on dinner plates. Top stuffed chicken breasts or sliced stuffed breasts with generous spoonfuls of the sauce.
Fay and I tried a Gewurztraminer wine with this and it went very nicely…..
Banana Nut Muffins ((makes 12 muffins)
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (I replace with 2 cups
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar (I use Splenda)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups play low-fat yogurt ) I use banana yogurt)
- 1 1/2 cups finely dice bananas (about 3 bananas) ( I mash around 8
to 10 bananas)
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
- 1 cup flaked coconut.
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, splemda, cinnamon and salt in a large pan, set aide.
Beat bananas, vanilla extract, lemon zest, yogurt, eggs NS milk until smooth.
Stir in coconut, chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
Pore into the large pan and mix well. I use a large wooden spoon.
Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray, or coat lightly with batter. I use Texas size muffin tins.
Spoon the batter evenly among the cups and bake. I bake 10 minutes and then switch the two tins on the top oven shelf with the ones on the lower and bake for another 10 minutes….
Let muffins cool on a wire rack for five minutes before removing from tin.
Photo – Fay Stout
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about three lemons)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until tender, but still firm to the bite, stirring occassionally, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding a 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and parsley….
Coconut Bread Pudding
Photo – Bob Buttafuso
- 3/4 cup brown sugar(or dark brown)
- 3 cups Silk©, original or vanilla Coconutmilk
- 4 eggs
- I tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tbs coconut extract
- 1/4 cup coconut or dark rum(optional)
- 2 cups flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened), divided
- 1 (1 pound) loaf whole grain bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, silk, eggs, (or egg substitute), spices, salt, coconut extract abd rum (if using)
- Stir in 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
- Gently stir in bread cubes until evenly coated
- Spoon mixture into prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes
- Place pan on cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes/
- Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup flaked coconut and bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until center springs back
- Serve warm
Tea and Coffee– The Great Revivers
My regular reader knows that I’ve covered this topic previously here in the ‘Saloon’, but for the benefit of new readers, I’ll run through it again. Me and my detecting pal, Jack, always round off our early morning forays with ginger cookies washed down with a Thermos of steaming tea back at the car park (yes, we know how to live!).
However, there’s a potential problem with tea (and coffee for that matter) made at home prior to the hunt especially if fresh milk is added to the Thermos. The tea or coffee will after a couple of hours in the flask, taste like gnats’ piss. But don’t despair, help is at hand, and it comes in the form of tinned evaporated milk. Using this nectar – instead of fresh milk – keeps the tea or coffee far tastier, for far longer. I’ve had tea and fresh-brewed coffee that’s been in the Thermos for upwards of four hours and it always passes muster.
Here in the UK I use a small tin of ‘Carnation’ brand. What’s left I pour over strawberries. It also makes a great base for another delicacy; ‘whisky ‘n cream sauce’ for steak. If you want to give it a go;
Whiskey & Cream Sauce
You’ll need: –
2 tablespoon of olive oil
2 finely chopped shallots
Two fingers of whiskey (or rum, or brandy, depending on your tipple)
2 tablespoon spoons of butter
100 ml of near-boiling water
1 Oxo beef stock cube
One or two tablespoons of tinned evaporated milk
Several twists of Ground Black Peppercorns
Optional: 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
Handful of chopped mushroom
Here’s how: –
Put half the butter and the olive oil in a heavy skillet or fry-pan, and melt over a medium heat but don’t let the butter burn. Cook the chopped shallots (and chopped mushroom if using). When the onions are soft and translucent, and mushrooms cooked, lower the heat, pour in your selected spirit and ignite to evaporate the alcohol. I tend not to as I prefer a boozy sauce, but that’s my personal preference.
Once the flames have died down, return to a medium heat then add (the chopped garlic, if using) the water, (or 100ml beef stock if using) and crumble the Oxo beef cube into the pan. Add a dash of salt, and the freshly ground black pepper. Allow the mixture to bubble up and let it reduce by two thirds.
Add the remaining butter and lower the heat to ‘low’. Whisk in the evaporated milk according to taste. Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken for a few minutes.
Pour over the steak. Enjoy.
Sweet Tomato Toast
Photo – Fay Stout
This recipe comes from my wife, and it’s one we’ve enjoyed over and over. It’s also inexpensive to prepare.
You can serve it as an appetizer, or on the side with bowl of soup or simple pasta dish. You can decide on the quantities
based on how many you will be serving.
- 1 loaf of crusty Italian bread, cut in thick slices and toasted or grilled
- Cheese (use an easy melting cheese like fontina, mozzarella or provolone)
- Tomatoes, halved (cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes)
- Capers, drained
- Kalamata olives, some chopped and some left whole
- Italian parsley, some chopped and a few sprigs for garnish
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinnegar
- Garlic, one small clove finely minced
- Black pepper, freshly ground
Put tomatoes, capers, olives, chopped parsley and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and add a splash of red wine vinegar.
Toss together and let sit for about 30 minutes.
Place pieces of cheese on top of grilled bread. Put in a hot oven (about 400 degrees) or under the broiler until the cheese melts.
Top with the tomato mixture. Be sure to use the juices that have mixed with the oil in the bottom of the bowl. Drizzle with a little extra
olive oil and top with coarsely ground black pepper.
Garnish with parley sprigs and serve.
Linguine with Mushrooms, Garlic, and Oil
- 1/2 cup olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes (optional)
- 2/3 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound linquine
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and the red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic softens, about 1 minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and the salt and cook until the mushrooms exude liquid, the liquid evaporates, and the mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the lingiine until just done, about 9 minutes. Drain and toss with the mushroom mixture, the parsley, and the pepper.
Spanish Chicken and Potato Roast
- 1 1/2 LBS. LARGE YUKON GOLD POTATOES, cut into 1 1/2 INCH PIECES
- 4 GLOVES GARLIC, smashed and coarsely chopped
- 2 TBS.EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
- KOSHER SALT
- 1 1/2 LBS.SKINLESS, BONELESS CHICKEN THIGHS (5 TO 6)
- 2 TSP. SMOKED PAPRIKA
- FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
- 4 TBS.roughly chopped FRESH PARSLEY
- 2 LEMONS (1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges)
- 2 LARGE OR 3 MEDIUM RED ONIONS, halved and thinly sliced
Position a rack in he upper third of the oven. Place a large cast iron baking dish or a rimmed baking sheet on the rack and preheat to 500 degrees. Put the potatoes, garlic, olive oil, 1 tablespoon water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large microsave-safe baking dish and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, pierce the plastic in a few places with a knife and microwave 8 minutes to partially cook.
Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle with the paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add two tablespoons parsley and the lemon juice, toss to coat. Set aside.
Remove the “hot” baking dish from the oven; carefully add the potatoes and spread in an even layer. Scatter the onions on top. Roast until the potatoes start to brown, about 12 minutes.
Flip the potatoes and lay the chicken pieces on top, adding any accumulated juices from the bowl; return to the oven and roast until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 12 more minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley. Serve with the lemon wedges.
Slow-Cooker Chili You Can Taste
Mary Shafer – Metal Detecting 101
I’m not a big foodie. I love to eat but I don’t love to cook. I enjoy cooking when I’m in the mood but that doesn’t happen as often as I want to eat. So I’m a huge fan of the slow cooker. In fact, if it weren’t for slow cookers, I’d probably be a lot more of a vegetable eater than I already am. But we do have these kitchen wonders, and I’m a devoted user, so this is one of those recipes that you put together in the morning, turn it on and leave it alone till late afternoon or evening.
I freely admit that I’m not one of those people who enjoy really hot chili, the kind that brings tears to your eyes. I don’t even understand people who seem to approach chili as a sort of competition to see who can stand the most pain while they eat it. Personally, I like to actually taste my food, so if you’re looking for a “butch” chili that will help you prove your manhood, this isn’t it. If, however, you want a hearty, satisfying hot dish to enjoy while you watch Sunday afternoon football after coming in from raking leaves, and which won’t leave you teary-eyed and gasping for breath, I think you’ll like this.
1.5 lbs. ground beef (I prefer the 80/20 lean mixture)
1 large can diced tomatoes
2 medium cans deep red kidney beans (or whatever beans you prefer)
3 individual serving cans Campbell’s tomato juice (or 2 cups your preferred brand)
1 small onion or half a medium-size onion
Salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder to taste
Dump diced tomatoes, beans and tomato juice into your slow cooker, set to LOW.
Crumble ground beef and brown in frying pan. I like to add about a teaspoon of sea salt to it while browning. Lightly brown only — it’ll be cooking all day. Strain off grease and add to slow cooker.
Dice your onion and add to slow cooker.
At this point, I add a few shakes of chili powder and a few more of garlic powder. I don’t like black pepper but if you do, now’s the time to add it.
Put the lid on. If you’re around during the day, it’s always good to give it a stir every few hours, just to make sure all the flavors are distributed. If not, make sure you mix it up good before you leave for the day. Every slow cooker is a little different, but this chili is great for a 4-8 hour cook time. Ideally, I put this on to cook around 10 am and we end up eating around 4 pm or so. But I wouldn’t let it cook longer than 8 hours, or it’ll just get mushy. It does warm up well.
If desired, add chopped green or chili peppers of any kind; celery; tabasco or other hot sauce instead of chili powder; and you can substitute fresh garlic for the garlic powder if you prefer. Be aware that powder is more concentrated and powerful than fresh, so you may want to add a few cloves of minced fresh or jarred garlic in place of the few shakes of powdered.
Some people enjoy serving their chili over elbow macaroni. Personally, I like to sprinkle shredded cheddar or Tex-Mex taco mix cheese on top as soon as I dish it out, so that by the time I eat it, the cheese has melted and I can swirl it into the chili. I may occasionally also add a dollop of sour cream on top of the shredded cheese “nest.” And I always, always serve my chili with a good sweet cornbread. You don’t need to be picky about the cornbread, either: Those little box mixes are fine. But if you’re a connoisseur, by all means, go nuts and make your favorite recipe. If you prefer unsweet cornbread, I recommend the recipe in Fanny Flagg’s “Friend Green Tomatoes Cookbook.”