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226 posts categorized "12) My Eastern European & Italian Heritages"

08/27/2022

~ What are Bread-&-Butter or Sweet-'n-Sour Pickles ~

Bread-and-butter pickles also known as sweet-and-sour pickles are on the sweet end of the pickle spectrum, but not quite as sweet as sweet pickles, and, decidedly different than the sharp bite of dill pickles. They're typically crinkle-cut sliced, which makes them ideal for topping hamburgers and a variety of sandwiches. I often serve them as a side-dish, and, occasionally, dice them to add to salads or mince them to add to relishes. Interestingly enough, my family never made homemade bread and butter pickles. There was no need. We lived in Eastern Pennsylvania, the land of the Pennsylvania Deutsch (the German-speaking...... View full recipe for "~ What are Bread-&-Butter or Sweet-'n-Sour Pickles ~"

08/06/2022

~ History of Classic Italian-American Clams Casino ~

Clams casino is considered a classic Italian-American dish. Interestingly, clams casino is also considered a clams "on the halfshell" dish, and, the name has little to do with the gaming industry per se, although every casino restaurant or restaurant in the vicinity of a casino seems to have their variation of the dish on their menu. Let's me put it this way, I've never been to a casino restaurant that didn't have it on the menu. Clams casino, which means "big mess" in Italian, is a basic concoction of clams, bacon, butter, and breadcrumbs that work spectacularly together. Onion, garlic...... View full recipe for "~ History of Classic Italian-American Clams Casino ~"

07/27/2022

~ Raise Your Hands in Praise for all Pepperoni Pizza ~

Pepperoni. It's easy to assume it's 100% Italian, but it's as American as apple pie. Food writer and historian John Mariani writes, "like jazz and baseball, pepperoni is purely an Italian-American creation, like chicken parmesan." While it's exact origin is unknown, long story short, it's our spicy version of their salami (salame), and, no surprise to anyone, thinly-sliced or finely-diced, pepperoni is the most popular pizza topping in every pizzeria across the United States. That said, it's wonderful eaten in and on all sorts of other things too. It's made from cured pork and beef (in a ratio of approximately...... View full recipe for "~ Raise Your Hands in Praise for all Pepperoni Pizza ~"

07/18/2022

~ Rethink Plain Rice -- Make a Flavorful Pilaf Instead ~

When I was growing up, in a saucepan, my mom would lightly-toast a cup or two of white rice in a few pats of melted butter. In went some diced onion, carrot. celery, salt and pepper. When the veggies began to soften, steaming hot chicken or vegetable stock went in, the lid went on the pot, then, the mixture gently simmered until the rice was cooked. After 20-25 minutes, and a quick "fluff", voila: our rice side-dish was served. Technically, our rice pilaf was served. That's my experience with pilaf, also referred to as pilau in many culinary circles. Pilaf...... View full recipe for "~ Rethink Plain Rice -- Make a Flavorful Pilaf Instead ~"

06/11/2022

~Defining Neapolitan, New York & Sicilian-Style Pizza~

I never met a pizza I didn't like, and, pizza is one of my favorite subjects. That said, a great pizza starts with a great crust, but, finding a pizza dough recipe to suit your requirements is not as easy as the ingredients list indicates: flour, water, salt, yeast, and sometimes sugar and/or olive oil. Cooks who take pizza making seriously have more than one pizza dough recipe in their repertoire because certain pizzas require a certain type of crust -- there's no getting around it. Beyond that, within each type, everyone who takes pizza making seriously, professionally or at...... View full recipe for "~Defining Neapolitan, New York & Sicilian-Style Pizza~"

04/29/2022

~ The History of the Italian-Style Spiedie Sandwich ~

The word Spiedie comes from the Italian word spiede, meaning skewered food that gets cooked on a spit. As for their origin of this very unique marinated-then-grilled sandwich, three people seemed to have played a part in their creation and popularization. An Italian immigrant, Camillo Lacovelli claims to have invented the original spiedie in Endwell, NY. Via his brother, Agostino "Augie" Lacovelli, who put spiedies on his Augie's Restaurant (located in Endicott, NY) menu in 1939, they gained local popularity. Augie's son Guido Lacovelli, continued the family-owned business into the 1990's, operating as many as 26 restaurants at the peak...... View full recipe for "~ The History of the Italian-Style Spiedie Sandwich ~"

04/17/2022

~ The History & Four Recipes for Chicken & Waffles ~

Chicken and waffles might be well-known and popular throughout our American South and the Midwest, but, it does NOT have its roots in either venue. It indisputably has its roots in the early Pennsylvania Deutsch communities that settled along the Schuylkill River. Growing up in Pennsylvania Deutsch county, tender pulled-chicken served atop steamy-and-light hot-off-the-waffle-iron waffles all drizzled with gravy, it was a childhood favorite of mine. Read on: When you say PA Dutch, we correctly say PA Deutsch: I am here to make it clear that Pennsylvania Dutch cookery does not belong solely to PA and it is not Dutch...... View full recipe for "~ The History & Four Recipes for Chicken & Waffles ~"

04/05/2022

~The Story Behind City Chicken -- aka Mock Chicken~

What looks like a chicken leg and tastes like chicken but isn't made from chicken? City chicken. So, if it's not made from chicken, what is city chicken made from? Coarse-ground pork and/or veal. Still confused? You're not alone -- nowadays, many folks, even those who love to cook, have no idea what this intriguing, vintage, working-class main-dish is, or, the important part it played in our American culinary history. Behind almost every recipe, there is a good story: Dating back as early as the early 1900s, by the 1930s and '40s and into the '50s everyone knew what city...... View full recipe for "~The Story Behind City Chicken -- aka Mock Chicken~"

03/09/2022

~Pretty-in-Pink Pickled-&-Piped Deviled-Pickled Eggs~

Pickled eggs can be made several ways, but the ones I love and the ones my family always made were the Pennsylvania Deutsch version, which are sometimes referred to as pickled-beet eggs or red-beat eggs. My mom and grandmother served them but once a year as a side-dish on our Easter feast table, but, in local Pennsylvania Deutsch communities, pickled eggs were and still are a very popular tavern food -- they can be found marinating in large jars on bar tops next to beer taps all over Pennsylvania. It takes about five days for hard-cooked eggs to pickle, so,...... View full recipe for "~Pretty-in-Pink Pickled-&-Piped Deviled-Pickled Eggs~"

02/14/2022

~ GF Deconstructed Slow-Cooker Stuffed-Cabbage ~

Feel free to assume I'm not a fan of trendy deconstructed dishes. I am, however, the first to admit there are exceptions to every rule, and, my mom's recipe for deconstructed stuffed cabbage rolls is one such exception. Why? Because the end justifies the means in a big, beautiful way: Every forkful of the finished "deconstructed" version is uncompromisingly just as delicious as the classic original, and, the time saved by not cooking many of the components first, then assembling them in the typical manner is marked. All I can say is: Where had this "deconstructed" method been all my...... View full recipe for "~ GF Deconstructed Slow-Cooker Stuffed-Cabbage ~"

02/11/2022

~Pasta - Choose, Portion, Cook, Sauce, Toss & Serve~

The world is full of pasta-bilities. Our modern marketplaces have supplied all of our demands with hundreds of shapes, sizes, and colors of dried and fresh pasta. I suppose it is because pasta is relatively quick to cook that many Americans impulsively try to create their own versions of well-known pasta dishes having little or no knowledge of the tried and true, time-honored principles and classic recipe techniques these recipes require. What's worse, many American restaurants do the same. Trust me when I say, I'm happy to overlook a slightly over-cooked or over-sauced pasta dish served by a friend who...... View full recipe for "~Pasta - Choose, Portion, Cook, Sauce, Toss & Serve~"

02/08/2022

~Eat Some, Freeze Some -- A Big Batch of Meatballs~

Everybody loves meatballs, and, the night the family is eating spaghetti and meatballs for dinner is the most popular day in the weekly meal rotation. For Italian-American families, that dinner is typically reserved for Sunday. Tender, juicy, flavor-packed meatballs get slow-simmered in a pot of "gravy" (meaning red sauce), and, every Italian-American family claims to have the best, handed-down-for-generations, recipe for "polpette" (meaning "meatballs"). Enough said. Meatballs are a universal food, and, almost every culture has their own name for them and way to serve them using spices and sauces common to their cuisine. They come in all sizes too:...... View full recipe for "~Eat Some, Freeze Some -- A Big Batch of Meatballs~"

01/18/2022

~About Aged Asiago Cheese & Fresh Asiago Cheese~

Open the deli-drawer of my refrigerator and there's a good chance you'll find a wedge or two of Asiago cheese in it -- it's one of my favorite Italian cow's milk cheese. If you've never tried Asiago, you should, but, it's important to know there are two types, and, the one you choose will determine how you will use it. Simply stated, one is hard, dry and gratable, the other is soft, sliceable and meltable. Both start out the same, but, change textures during the aging process. Aged Asiago is pale-to-amber yellow, compact and very firm with a nutty aroma...... View full recipe for "~About Aged Asiago Cheese & Fresh Asiago Cheese~"

01/12/2022

~ Thick-&-Zesty Kid-Friendly Ground-Beef Lasagna ~

All us cooks agree that every recipe does not have to be a rocket science recipe -- it simply has to taste, without compromise, great. If the end justifies the means, there's no shame in a shortcut or three. I'm not sure how many lasagna recipes one cook is supposed to have, but, I'm guessing most households have more than one. Here in my kitchen, I make four different types of lasagna, each with its own unique sauce: Bolognese, seafood, vegetable lasagna (all of which are excellent but time-consuming), and, this easy-to-make kid-friendly, crowd-pleasing ground-beef lasagna. It's so popular amongst...... View full recipe for "~ Thick-&-Zesty Kid-Friendly Ground-Beef Lasagna ~"

12/27/2021

~ Thick-and-Zesty Gluten-Free Ground-Beef Lasagna ~

I'm not sure how many lasagna recipes one cook is supposed to have, but, I'm guessing most households have more than one. Here in my kitchen, I make four different types of lasagna, each with its own unique sauce: Bolognese, seafood, vegetable, and, kid-friendly ground beef. Today, because a few of you have asked for a gluten-free lasagna recipe recently, I'm posting my easy-to-make version, which is a spin-off of my crowd-pleasing kid-friendly ground beef lasagna. Notes before starting: It goes without saying you'll need gluten-free lasagna noodles -- your favorite brand, your choice, that's fine, mine are brown rice...... View full recipe for "~ Thick-and-Zesty Gluten-Free Ground-Beef Lasagna ~"

10/06/2021

~ The History of Salad Olivier: Russian Potato Salad ~

Traditionally, this salat, the Russian word for salad, was reserved for large gatherings: religious or national holidays, special community events and/or family celebrations, and, it was served all year long. With or without meat or poultry added to it, it was served as an hors d'oeuvre atop toast points, by itself as a light lunch or snack, or, as a starter-course or side-dish to a hearty meal. For the most part, I associate it with Spring (because my grandmother always made it for or after the Easter holiday), so, I like to serve this pretty-to-look-at salad as a side-dish on...... View full recipe for "~ The History of Salad Olivier: Russian Potato Salad ~"

03/12/2021

~A Slice of Hometown Pie -- My Hometown Pizza Pie~

When I was three, my parents built a home in the suburbs of Tamaqua, PA -- Hometown, PA. Hometown, was/is a community of mostly one-story ranch and bi-level homes that is best described as where the post-WWII generation built their dream homes in the latter 1950's, 60's and 70's -- homes with one or two car garages or an occasional car port, well-maintained lawns with backyard patios, swing sets and badminton nets, barbecue grills, etc. -- a great neighborhood to raise kids. Amongst other things, Hometown had its own fire company, elementary school, a couple of gas stations, a diner,...... View full recipe for "~A Slice of Hometown Pie -- My Hometown Pizza Pie~"

03/09/2021

~ Put the Beer in the Pizza Dough Thin-Crust Pizza ~

If you're a fan of, or prefer, a thin-and-crispy light-and-airy crust as the foil for your pizza or pizza creations, this is the recipe you've been searching for. Thanks to a pizza-pro friend who schooled me on the virtues of beer in his pizza dough (by emptying almost an entire bottle of beer into his flour mixture in place of water), all it took was one taste when his pizza was done for me to try it in my own home kitchen. It changed one of my pizza dough recipes forever -- my thin crust recipe. One ingredient, one substitution,...... View full recipe for "~ Put the Beer in the Pizza Dough Thin-Crust Pizza ~"

02/26/2021

~ Beer in the Pizza Dough & a Semolina Pizza Crust ~

Experimenting with pizza dough is not something I do often. Why? Because one has to be willing to run the risk of sacrificing a pizza in the event it doesn't work. Let's put it another way, one has to be of the mindset to experiment with a new dough or a variation on an existing one, and (chuckle if you want to but it's really not a laughing matter if you're wed to eating pizza), for a few short hours, one must throw caution to the wind and live dangerously. I did this today, and, I gotta say, I came...... View full recipe for "~ Beer in the Pizza Dough & a Semolina Pizza Crust ~"

02/23/2021

~ Homestyle Beef Tips, Gravy & Amish Egg Noodles ~

Beef tips and gravy. It's one of those humble-yet-hearty, frugally-inexpensive, weeknight meals our moms and grandmoms served to a hungry family after purchasing a pound or three of cheap-at-twice-the-price odds-and-end chunks of beef cubes (aka "stew beef") at the butcher shop. No one had to be called to the table twice when this dinner was goin' on the table. Some families preferred their meal ladled atop white rice, others liked it ladled atop mashed potatoes, and, still others served it ladled atop buttered egg noodles. My family fell into the egg noodle category. My recipe came via my mother and...... View full recipe for "~ Homestyle Beef Tips, Gravy & Amish Egg Noodles ~"

01/21/2021

~Shrimp & Lobster Ravioli with Tomato-Cream Sauce~

Every once in a while, my ability to cook is overshadowed by my desire to cook something remarkably easy, yet good enough to serve to guests -- no special skills, tools or knowledge required. Today is such a day. This simple, straightforward and scrumptious recipe, taken from the pages of absolutely nowhere, goes from stovetop to table in less time than it takes to cook spaghetti, and, when beautifully plated, will bamboozle everyone into thinking I cooked all day. "I dream of stirring cream into marinara sauce." ~ Melanie The only thing more rewarding than having a freezer shelf full...... View full recipe for "~Shrimp & Lobster Ravioli with Tomato-Cream Sauce~"

01/18/2021

~So Easy -- Mushroom Ravioli Alfredo alla Primavera~

I'm not a vegetarian, but, as a card-carrying carnivore, I can tell you, if I were, this easy-to-make creamy-dreamy pasta dish would be at the top of my weeknight menu rotation. Why? Because when I indulge in this decadent dish, I don't miss the meat for a second. In Italian, fettuccine means "little ribbons", which is why stranded pasta is always used. In Italian, primavera means "Spring" and culinarily, primavera just means that fresh vegetables (raw or blanched) are added to the dish during or at the end of its preparation. Long story short, fettuccini Alfredo that has vegetables added...... View full recipe for "~So Easy -- Mushroom Ravioli Alfredo alla Primavera~"

11/20/2020

~Pan-Fried Shredded Hash-Brown Potato Pan-Cakes~

I accidentally put a bag of shredded hash brown potatoes in the refrigerator instead of the freezer yesterday. What can I say, I was in a hurry. Mistakes happen. I am so glad I decided to open the bag before discarding the to-the-touch soggy mess this morning, because there was a nice surprise inside for me: glistening-white, ready-to-use, slightly-wet, shredded potatoes -- without all the time-consuming mess of doing it from scratch. I may will never shred fresh potatoes again. It didn't take but a few minutes to deduce that my supposed shredded hash brown potato tragedy, could easily, in...... View full recipe for "~Pan-Fried Shredded Hash-Brown Potato Pan-Cakes~"

11/18/2020

~ My Shredded Hash-Brown Potato-Pancake Waffles ~

I accidentally put a bag of shredded hash brown potatoes in the refrigerator instead of the freezer yesterday. What can I say, I was in a hurry. Mistakes happen. I am so glad I decided to open the bag before discarding the to-the-touch soggy mess this morning, because there was a nice surprise inside for me: glistening-white, ready-to-use, slightly-wet, shredded potatoes -- without all the time-consuming mess of doing it from scratch. I may will never shred fresh potatoes again. My breakfast menu changed immediately. Joe's sunny side up eggs with two sausage patties, stayed the same, but, his toasted...... View full recipe for "~ My Shredded Hash-Brown Potato-Pancake Waffles ~"

09/15/2020

~What's the Buzz -- Thick & Hearty Bronze-Cut Pasta~

Dried pasta, I'm guessing, is in 99.9 percent of all pantries. Even if I didn't adore pasta as much as I do, not to mention have around 100 favorite ways to prepare around 100 of my favorite pasta shapes, several boxes of pasta would still be required to be in my pantry at all times. Why? Because the majority of everyone I know loves pasta, and as the family cook, it's my responsibility to please as many people at one time as possible -- and pasta, as a side-dish or a main-course, is a simple, straightforward, sure-simmered way to do...... View full recipe for "~What's the Buzz -- Thick & Hearty Bronze-Cut Pasta~"

08/17/2020

~ Alfredo alla Primavera Parmesan-Chicken Quarters ~

In Italian, fettuccine means "little ribbons", which is why stranded pasta is always used in its preparation. In Italian, primavera implies "Spring", and culinarily, primavera simply means that fresh vegetables (raw or blanched) have been added to the dish during, or at the end, of its preparation. Long story short, fettuccini Alfredo that has vegetables added to it is simply referred to as Alfredo alla primavera. Alfredo and Alfredo primavera can be served as either a pasta course during a meal, a side-dish with a meal, or, (in a larger portion) as a main-course, and, in Italian-American restaurants, because we...... View full recipe for "~ Alfredo alla Primavera Parmesan-Chicken Quarters ~"

08/15/2020

~ Nice & Easy Spaghetti Alfredo alla Primavera-Style ~

It was November, 1981 or 1982 -- one or two days before Thanksgiving. It would turn out to be one of the worst-ever total snowfall years in the history of State College, and this storm snuck up on everyone. The snow piled high that afternoon, leaving over two feet on the ground. Trees came down and power lines snapped. Lights went out all over town. Our house at the time had a soapstone wood-burning stove in our family room. I hated that stove and the mess involved with it, but, it did help with the heating bill, so, Joe kept...... View full recipe for "~ Nice & Easy Spaghetti Alfredo alla Primavera-Style ~ "

07/31/2020

~ All-in-the-Pantry One-Pot Creamy Spaghetti Alfredo ~

Any time of year, at the end of a bad day or a great day, served as a side-dish or a main-course, a creamy-dreamy bowl of luxurious Alfredo-sauced pasta can be just what the doctor ordered. A few pantry ingredients, cheese and cream, plus, one-pot on the stovetop. Fifteen minutes later, you stick a fork in it and all is right with the world. There is no trick to Alfredo. About the only thing one can do wrong is to purchase a jar of bottled glop, which, never mind, let's not go there. A bit of history about the iconic...... View full recipe for "~ All-in-the-Pantry One-Pot Creamy Spaghetti Alfredo ~"

07/29/2020

~ When You Say PA Dutch, Why We Say PA Deutsch ~

Let me make it clear that Pennsylvania Dutch cookery does not belong solely to PA and it is not Dutch either. The term "Dutch" was the early English settlers slang for the German word "Deutsch". So: When most people incorrectly say "Pennsylvania Dutch", they should be saying "Pennsylvania Deutsch", crediting the Germanic or German-speaking immigrants from Germany and Switzerland for this cuisine. The majority of these people were either Amish, Mennonite or Brethren, all of which were considered "Anabaptist". They were fleeing the mountains of Switzerland and southern Germany to avoid religious persecution and established several communites in the Lehigh...... View full recipe for "~ When You Say PA Dutch, Why We Say PA Deutsch ~"

07/03/2020

~The Story Behind Macaroni & Yankee Doodle Dandy~

Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his hat, and, called it macaroni. Fun song to sing? If you've ever wondered why Yankee Doodle would name his feather macaroni, this post will explain. Sans the folks who think Kraft Foods invented macaroni, food historians agree that here in the United States, it had its humble beginning in the kitchen of Thomas Jefferson, who returned from a trip to Paris with a macaroni maker/press which he bought while in Italy. Thank-you Mr. Jefferson for introducing macaroni to America. A bit about macaroni: Macaroni is a...... View full recipe for "~The Story Behind Macaroni & Yankee Doodle Dandy~"

06/28/2020

~ Italian-Style Fried Pasta Pancake -- Pasta a Frittata ~

Fried spaghetti at midnight. It's kind-of a joke in our house, but, when it comes to late-night snacking in ten minutes or less, reheating a slice of cold pizza in a skillet or frying a portion of leftover spaghetti are at the top of my short list. It goes without saying, frying spaghetti in less than ten minutes does require having cooked, lightly-seasoned, spaghetti in the refrigerator. For reasons unknown to me, this dish works better with day-old pasta (any type can technically be used), and, while the pasta can be lightly-sauced, I prefer it made with unsauced spaghetti. Pasta...... View full recipe for "~ Italian-Style Fried Pasta Pancake -- Pasta a Frittata ~"

06/25/2020

~ Slightly-Spicy Garlic & Italian-Herbs Buttered Pasta ~

The perfect foil means, the perfect background. Paint anything edible into this photo and it will be great meal. Tick, tock. In the case of this 15-minute to make side-dish, truer words were never spoken. When you have no time to make a run to the grocery store but still have a hungry family to please, this is the perfect side to serve -- everyone loves pasta. It goes great with a broiled chicken breast, a grilled pork chop, a pan-seared steak, a handful of steamed shrimp, etc. Add a steamed green vegetable or garden salad and dinner is on...... View full recipe for "~ Slightly-Spicy Garlic & Italian-Herbs Buttered Pasta ~"

05/28/2020

~ About Creste di Gallo or Crest of the Rooster Pasta ~

Coming up on eleven years of food blogging and I've never taken-on pontificating about a pasta shape. Until now, there was no reason. After all, there are over 400 shapes of pasta in this food world. Some are fresh, some are dried, all took shape for a reason, and all have a purpose, with some being better suited to certain dishes or sauces than others, and, everyone has their favorite. There's never been reason for me to interfere in any of the good-spirited Italian-, Italian-American banter about the best pasta for whatever the purpose -- long strands or fork-friendly count...... View full recipe for "~ About Creste di Gallo or Crest of the Rooster Pasta ~"

05/17/2020

~ Slightly-Spicy Garlic-Butter and Herb Penne Pasta ~

In terms of the easiest-to-make, nicely-spiced, full-of-flavor pasta dish that serves as a foil for almost any Italian-American entrée that contains or is gonna get sauced with red gravy, this is it -- chicken, veal or eggplant Parmesan and chicken cacciatore are off-the-top-of-my-head examples. While you might be temped to toss some Parmesan cheese into this at the end, I don't recommend it. Trust me, not everything tastes better with cheese riddled through it. Save the cheese to top the dish in its entirety (even when serving it as a side-dish or eating by itself). Penne for your thoughts? Penne...... View full recipe for "~ Slightly-Spicy Garlic-Butter and Herb Penne Pasta ~"

05/15/2020

~ Crockpot Hunter's-Style Chicken-Thigh Cacciatore ~

In the style of the hunter, aka the catcher. Traditional cacciatore was a thick, rustic stew prepared primarily when the hunter bought home "white meat" to feed his family -- partridges, pheasants or rabbits. In Italian, the word "cacciatore" means "hunter", and, the term "alla cacciatore" means "in the style of the hunter". The Italian-American term infers a chicken stew prepared with mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, herbs and red wine. It's pretty easy to imagine how the dish transitioned from game birds and rabbits in Italy to chicken here in America. Traditional cacciatore is prepared on the stovetop....... View full recipe for "~ Crockpot Hunter's-Style Chicken-Thigh Cacciatore ~"

04/07/2020

~Cheesy Ham, Green Bean & Hash Brown Casserole~

After our Easter feast, before we even washed the dishes, mom would put together a casserole from three of the leftovers. It wasn't rocket science, but, it was made from high-quality scratch-made ingredients. About three cups of cubed baked ham and two cups of buttery green (string) beans got stirred into the remaining cheesy scalloped potatoes. The following night, upon reheat, no one had to be called twice to the dinner table -- we four loved this meal. This is not that recipe. This is similar dish, made from pantry and freezer staples, for those times when you don't have...... View full recipe for "~Cheesy Ham, Green Bean & Hash Brown Casserole~"

01/28/2020

~A Basic Italian Semolina Bread in the Bread Machine~

The option to get my sandwich served to me on semolina bread. I wish it would happen oftener. Because it happens so rarely, when it does happen, it's cause for rejoicing. When I happen to come across an entire loaf in a bakery, it's cause for much rejoicing. Soft and chewy with an open crumb, same-day-made golden-yellow semolina bread is great dipped in olive oil or marinara sauce, or, used as a foil for a soft, buttery cheese. The next day, it's great lightly-toasted and slathered with a copious amount of sweet cream butter, or, used as a base for...... View full recipe for "~A Basic Italian Semolina Bread in the Bread Machine~"

01/07/2020

~No Soup for You Home-Style Chicken-Noodle Bowls~

It gets made in a pot of stock but it's not a soup. It's not a stew either. This heartwarming, down-home comfort-food dish is the great-grandmother of all noodle bowls. Some refer to it as Southern, my experience with it is as an Eastern European, and, I know from first-hand experience the Pennsylvania Deutsch make it too. I suspect they make it in Midwest as well. It's bite-sized pieces of tender chicken cooked in well-seasoned chicken stock with aromatic carrots, celery, onion and potatoes. Egg noodles go directly into the pot to cook and absorb almost all the flavorful broth....... View full recipe for "~No Soup for You Home-Style Chicken-Noodle Bowls~"

10/05/2019

~ Hungarian Gulyás: Beef, Vegetable & Paprika Soup ~

American-style goulash is made with ground beef and macaroni. It's tasty, it's filling, it's easy to prepare, and, has the added bonus of being kid-friendly. It's a stewy take on Hungarian goulash, but, aside from containing meat (originally ground beef, but nowadays chicken or turkey are sometimes substituted), a few vegetables (typically green bell pepper, onion and tomato sauce) and pasta (usually elbow-type macaroni or corkscrews), it all-too-often tastes resemblant of Italian-American spaghetti with meat sauce -- the flavor profile is hardly Hungarian. A not-so-short but informative bit about Hungarian Gulyás: Hungarian gulyás (pronounced goulēus and meaning herdsmen) is the...... View full recipe for "~ Hungarian Gulyás: Beef, Vegetable & Paprika Soup ~"

09/25/2019

~ My Pennsylvania Deutsch-Style Beef Noodle Soup ~

Soups and stews. We can't seem to get enough of them this time of year -- I know I can't. The difference between the two is easy to describe. If you started by simmering meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables in a pot of seasoned water-, wine-, juice- or milk- based liquid, you've made soup. If it is thickened at the end of the process, a soup can be stew-like. If you started by cooking/sautéing meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables in a small amount of seasoned oil, butter or fat, then added just enough of flour and liquid or thickened liquid...... View full recipe for "~ My Pennsylvania Deutsch-Style Beef Noodle Soup ~"

09/23/2019

~ A Simpler Straightforward No-Nonsense Beef Stock ~

The case for making homemade beef stock is easy to make. Store-bought beef stock, with the exception of one or two brands, all too often has a medicinal smell and taste. That said, store-bought stock does have a place in my pantry and plays a part in recipes that don't rely on it as one of the main components. For those "special" recipes, homemade beef stock is always on-hand in my freezer to insure I'm never in danger of compromising my end result. This time-saving recipe is my all-purpose recipe. In 5 minutes it's simmering on the stovetop and results...... View full recipe for "~ A Simpler Straightforward No-Nonsense Beef Stock ~"

09/20/2019

~ Old-Fashioned Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes ~

My mom, like all cold-climated Eastern Europeans, made great beef barley- and beef noodle- and beef vegetable- soup. Mom made great beef stew and Euro-style Hungarian goulash too (not to be confused with the American-style ground beef and macaroni type goulash). As a card-carrying carnivore, I enjoy these hearty beefy concoctions as much, if not more than, any kind of chicken soup. That said, when it comes to beef vs. chicken soups and stews in general, one must start by recognizing that a strong-flavored meat like beef requires bold-flavored herbs and seasonings, as opposed to soups or stews made with...... View full recipe for "~ Old-Fashioned Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes ~"

09/18/2019

~ Mrs. T's Pierogy, Kielbasa & Sauerkraut Casserole ~

One doesn't need Eastern European roots to enjoy pierogi, but, if you are of Eastern European heritage, you grew up knowing they're much more than a potato-and-cheese stuffed, half-moon shaped dumpling. Pierogi can be stuffed with all sorts of savory or sweet fillings to serve as a snack, side-dish, main-dish or dessert. They can be boiled, baked, sautéed, deep-fried or grilled -- some recipes can be transitioned to the microwave or slow-cooker. They can be made ahead and frozen too. About the only thing you can't do with pierogi is put them in a sandwich. Pierogi (singular and plural, meaning:...... View full recipe for "~ Mrs. T's Pierogy, Kielbasa & Sauerkraut Casserole ~"

08/15/2019

~ Not Your Mama's Chicken-Parm Garlic-Bread Subs ~

Interestingly, I am not one who believes chicken parmesan, or "chicken parm" as it is affectionately referred to, should be slapped between two slices of bread and eaten like a sandwich. I simply prefer it on a plate with pasta and a side of garlic bread -- I feel the same way about meatballs. AND, along the same lines and in the same manner that meatballs got taken away from spaghetti and transitioned to the incredible, edible Italian-American meatball sub, many folks, a few of them in my own family, do not subscribe to my opinion on this point. Pollo...... View full recipe for "~ Not Your Mama's Chicken-Parm Garlic-Bread Subs ~"

08/07/2019

~Lighten Up w/a Refreshing Tuna-Mac Garden Salad~

Occasionally, on a day off or a Saturday, my dad would fix his version of tuna salad for us. On mom's medium-sized meat platter, he'd make a bed of soft garden lettuce leaves, then add a layer of tomato slices followed by a sliced cucumber. He'd scatter a lightly-drained can of chilled tuna-packed-in-oil over the veggies, followed by a few dollops of cottage cheese. His creation ended with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Mom would make some rye toast, put a pitcher of iced tea on the table and lunch was served. It wasn't fancy, but our family...... View full recipe for "~Lighten Up w/a Refreshing Tuna-Mac Garden Salad~"

08/05/2019

~Tuna Salad w/Cottage Cheese, Tomato & Cucumber~

I picked a cucumber this morning. I walked to the the other side of the vegetable garden and picked a couple of tomatoes too. Checking out the vegetable garden in the early hours of the day, as soon as it's light enough to see, is part of my routine. My dad used to do the same thing. He'd come in the house, rinse off whatever he'd picked, put all the "stuff" in the dish drainer, then go out to mow the grass. Dad thrived on his routines, and, sans the lawn mower, so do I. While carrying my cucumber and...... View full recipe for "~Tuna Salad w/Cottage Cheese, Tomato & Cucumber~"

04/30/2019

~ Savory Brioche French Toast w/Fried Ham & Eggs ~

Once a year, the day after Eastern European Orthodox Easter to be specific, my mother made one of my favorite breakfasts: savory French toast. To make it, she soaked thick slices of the round loaf of leftover paska (a brioche-type bread enriched with milk, eggs, butter, sugar and salt) in a tangy, whole-grain mustard-laced milk and egg mixture. She served it with lightly-fried slices of baked ham (also leftover from Easter), soft-yolked, sunny-side-up eggs, and a fresh chive garnish (which grew in dad's garden). Mom made this but once a year because that was when she had the very-specific ingredients...... View full recipe for "~ Savory Brioche French Toast w/Fried Ham & Eggs ~"

04/27/2019

~ Five Ways to Enjoy Slovak-Style Stuffed Cabbage ~

When it comes to making cabbage rolls, like meatloaf or meatballs, most cuisines have a traditional recipe for them, and, all make use of on-hand ingredients. For instance: If they live in an area suited for raising sheep, lamb is in their cabbage rolls. If they live in a climate where vegetables grow year round, you'll find veggies like bell peppers and chunky tomatoes in them. I will, however, go out on a limb and state: when I say "cabbage roll", you should say "Eastern European", because that is the cuisine they're hands-down most commonly associated with. Known as holubki...... View full recipe for "~ Five Ways to Enjoy Slovak-Style Stuffed Cabbage ~"

04/24/2019

~Slovak Vegetarian Cabbage & Tomato Lover's Soup~

I come from a long line of cabbage lovers. Known as kapusta in Eastern European inner circles, a week rarely passes that cabbage doesn't make it's way onto the dinner table in some form. Like my mother, the vegetable bin of my refrigerator is rarely without a head of green cabbage in it. Braised cabbage and carrots and butter-braised cabbage with egg noodles were two of our family's favorite side-dishes. Mom's stuffed cabbage rolls (made on the stovetop or in the crockpot) and my grandmother's stuffed cabbage soup with mini-meatballs (or with ground beef and rice) were two of our...... View full recipe for "~Slovak Vegetarian Cabbage & Tomato Lover's Soup~"

04/22/2019

~ Slovak Unstuffed-Cabbage Stew with Beef & Rice ~

While I was growing up and thru to today, my mother's stuffed cabbage rolls (made on the stovetop or in the crockpot) and my grandmother's stuffed cabbage soup with mini-meatballs were two of our family's favorite main-dish meals. The latter is the easier of the two ways to bring this traditional Eastern European comfort food to the table, but, I am here to tell you, there is a third, even easier method: Stir sautéed and nicely-seasoned ground beef and cooked rice to the easy-to-make cabbage soup base. From start to finish, it's on the table in 45 minutes. That said,...... View full recipe for "~ Slovak Unstuffed-Cabbage Stew with Beef & Rice ~"