Staples

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….

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Tortellini, with Prosciutto and Peas

Dick Stout

Tort

Photo – Fay Stout

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

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

(Dick Stout)

chicken

Photo – Fay Stout

INGREDIENTS

  • 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
  • Toothpicks
  • Two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

SAUCE

  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of flour
  • 1/2 Cup white wine
  • 1 Cup chicken broth

DIRECTIONS

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)

Bob Buttafuso

 

Ingredients

  • 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
    cinnamon applesauce)
  • 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

Directions
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.

Enjoy!

Lemon Spaghetti

(Dick Stout)

Lemonspaghetti

Photo – Fay Stout

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

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

(Bob Buttafuso)

cbp

Photo – Bob Buttafuso

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, silk, eggs, (or egg substitute), spices, salt, coconut extract abd rum (if using)
  4. Stir in 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
  5. Gently stir in bread cubes until evenly coated
  6. Spoon mixture into prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes
  7. Place pan on cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes/
  8. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup flaked coconut and bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until center springs back
  9. Serve warm

 

Tea and Coffee– The Great Revivers

(John Howland)

 

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: –

    1. 2 tablespoon of olive oil
    1. 2 finely chopped shallots
    1. Two fingers of whiskey (or rum, or brandy, depending on your tipple)
    1. 2 tablespoon spoons of butter
    1. 100 ml of near-boiling water
    1. 1 Oxo beef stock cube
    1. One or two tablespoons of tinned evaporated milk
    1. Several twists of Ground Black Peppercorns
    1. Optional: 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
    1. 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

Fay Stout

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

Directions

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.

Bon Appétit!

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