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441 posts categorized " 02) Soups, Salads, Sandwiches & Snacks"

06/13/2019

~ Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette ~

A salad without lettuce? There's no law against it, and, in the case of this salad, lettuce is just in the way. The combination of tender blanched asparagus, a few halved cherry or grape tomatoes, and, small, creamy, fresh mozzarella balls drizzled with a lemon-balsamic vinaigrette is to-die-for. The only item I do add to it on occasion is: a handful of crunchy croutons. Nothing more, nothing less. No other embellishments need apply. The dressing, loaded with lemon flavor and laced with subtle herbs de Provence, is the star of this salad show, so, don't stray from this flavor profile....... View full recipe for "~ Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette ~"

05/25/2019

~ The Retro & Original Wish-Bone Italian Pasta Salad ~

Wish-Bone Italian dressing. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. To name a few: drizzled on my garden salad or slathered on my turkey sandwich, as a dip for my vegetables, as a marinade for my chicken, and, as the dressing for the original Wish-Bone Italian pasta salad recipe. Growing up, right next to the bright- red Kraft Catalina Dressing and the creamy-white Hellmann's mayonnaise stood the Wish-Bone. All were condiment staples in my mom's 1960's and 70's refrigerator, and today, all remain staples in my own refrigerator -- although I now prefer Wish-Bone's Light-Italian version. Want...... View full recipe for "~ The Retro & Original Wish-Bone Italian Pasta Salad ~"

05/22/2019

~Three Great Tips for Making the Perfect Pasta Salad~

My mom always made pasta salad for Memorial Day. It was classic 1960's, Wish-Bone-Style -- rotini pasta with some cubed salami, pepperoni and American cheese, sliced black olives, diced onion and tomato dressed with store-bought Italian dressing. It wasn't gourmet, it wasn't even particularly exciting to look at, but, because it was prepared correctly, it was remarkably delicious. Our Memorial Day picnic, at our reserved picnic table, at Lakewood Park in Barnesville, PA, would have been incomplete without the pasta salad. Mom's Spring green Tupperware container went in and came out of the cooler several times throughout the day while...... View full recipe for "~Three Great Tips for Making the Perfect Pasta Salad~"

05/17/2019

~ Greek Pasta Salad w/Tapenade, Tuna and Tomato ~

Americans cherish the Summer. The deck chairs come out, the cooler fills with ice, the shorts go on, everyone slides into their flip-flops, and then, spends as much time in the fresh air and sunshine as possible. Some play sports while others garden, some like to swim while others prefer to sun bathe, but, each and every one loves to eat -- and a forkful of food simply tastes better in the great outdoors. Here in the Northeast, the land of four seasons, Summer has finally arrived and I'm kicking it off with a refreshing, main-dish pasta salad that is...... View full recipe for "~ Greek Pasta Salad w/Tapenade, Tuna and Tomato ~"

05/15/2019

~Bacon, Lettuce,Tapenade & Chicken Club Sandwich~

There is nothing quite as satisfying as a BLT or a club sandwich, made with a just-picked perfectly-ripe tomato. Tick, tock. It is going be an impatient two-month wait for my own or any locally-grown tomatoes to be at my fingertips, so, hold-that-beautiful-thought, give pause to the beloved tomato for a moment, and allow me to change the conversation: there is another tart fruit to consider. It's the brine-cured olive, and, in the form of tapenade, a Mediterranean relish-type condiment, there is no reason to compromise your BLT with a not-at-its-peak tomato. Try a BLT or Club w/my tapenade instead...... View full recipe for "~Bacon, Lettuce,Tapenade & Chicken Club Sandwich~"

05/12/2019

~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~

My pantry and/or refrigerator are never without a can or two of inexpensive, mild-flavored ripe, black olives and a big jar of tangy green pimiento-stuffed olives too. Throughout the year, I toss either one or both, whole into garden salads, or, slice and use them to top an occasional pizza. That said, at the end of a long Summer's day, there is nothing like a well-chilled cocktail out on the deck with a salty snack to nibble on. A cracker or two with a slather of soft brie or chèvre topped with a dollop of tapenade is a favorite, but,...... View full recipe for "~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~"

05/09/2019

~Smoked Ham and Asparagus in a Béarnaise Quiche~

Every once in a while (not often, but it does happen) you'll come across a recipe that goes from ordinary to extraordinary by using a store-bought, instead of a scratch-made, dry sauce or seasoning packet. This is one such recipe. While it is next-to-impossible to make a quiche using scratch-made hollandaise or béarnaise sauce (in place of the typical whisked cream and egg mixture used to prepare a quiche), because either will breakdown in a hearts-beat or three, it is possible to add a dry, high-quality, store-bought, hollandaise or or béarnaise sauce-mix to season and enrich the cream and egg...... View full recipe for "~Smoked Ham and Asparagus in a Béarnaise Quiche~"

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 ~"

04/20/2019

~ Slovak-Style Stuffed-Cabbage Soup with Meatballs ~

Known as holubki to me and golabki to many of you, stuffed cabbage rolls are beloved in every Eastern European household. Everyone makes them a bit differently, with the constants being: ground meat (beef, pork and/or lamb), cooked rice, steamed green cabbage leaves and a tomato-based sauce. Because they are labor-intensive, too often they're reserved for holidays or special occasions. That said, those of us in Eastern European inner-circles know there's another form of this knife-and-fork meal that brings this savory comfort food to the weekday table in half the time. Get out the bowls and spoons and meet my...... View full recipe for "~ Slovak-Style Stuffed-Cabbage Soup with Meatballs ~"

04/17/2019

~ An All-Purpose Mexican-Style Soup or Soup Base ~

My kitchen is no different than anyone elses. The cuisine we're in the mood changes from day to day -- Asian, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Jamaican or Texican (to name a few of our favorites). For the past few days, we've been hungry for Tex-Mex, and, like all of our other favorites, having an all-purpose marinade, a seasoning blend or two, along with a sauce for dipping or drizzling, suited specifically to this South-of-the-border flavor profile, makes meal prep easy, not to mention creative and fun. Trust me, any way you cook it, every dish prepared in the home kitchen...... View full recipe for "~ An All-Purpose Mexican-Style Soup or Soup Base ~"

04/15/2019

~ Sopa de Albóndigas (Mexican-Style Meatball Soup) ~

Soup with meatballs swimming in it -- it's common in almost all cultures, and, there is a common reason for it too. In the history of food, and throughout all the documented ages, meat was for the wealthy. In spite of that, savvy cooks minced or ground unwanted scraps or lesser cuts of meat and combined them with inexpensive binders like breadcrumbs or rice, a liquid or egg, plus some common-to-the cuisine seasonings. They are to be commended for developing great-tasting meatball recipes which allowed the poorer classes to partake in a diet richer in protein. Albóndigas = meatballs, in...... View full recipe for "~ Sopa de Albóndigas (Mexican-Style Meatball Soup) ~"

04/10/2019

~ The Classic Italian Endicott-Style Spiedie Sandwich ~

Endicott, NY, is off the beaten path for some, which is why the spiedie sandwich just might be the best sandwich a lot of folks never heard of. The odd part is, growing up with parents who pretty much stuck close to their home in Eastern, PA, as a family we actually made it to New York every now and then, and, everyone in our family, including grandma, loved a spiedie sandwich. It was back in the 1960's, and, I was so young, I didn't even know I was eating an official spiedie. My grandmother, my mom's mother, had a...... View full recipe for "~ The Classic Italian Endicott-Style Spiedie Sandwich ~"

04/08/2019

~ Texican-Style Pork Steak and Bell Pepper Spiedies ~

My grandmother, my mother's mother, had a close friend who lived in Endicott New York (a village just West of Binghamton). For a period of six-eight years, once every Summer, our family of four plus grandma, arranged ourselves in my dad's all-white, 1960 Dodge Dart Seneca and headed North. It was a very long day (we left early in the morning and returned late in the evening), but just before arriving at our destination, we stopped to eat spiedies for lunch (our hostess made us dinner). Our family, including grandma, loved the classic Italian spiedies in Endicott -- Dad and...... View full recipe for "~ Texican-Style Pork Steak and Bell Pepper Spiedies ~"

03/22/2019

~ My Brown-Sugar-Crusted Corned Beef Sandwiches ~

Everyone I know associates corned beef and cabbage with St. Patrick's Day, but, tick-tock, I'd rather show up a day or two later for a corned beef sandwich. Truth told, Joe and I like corned beef sandwiches enough for me to buy corned beef a few times a year. That said, I typically don't serve them Rueben-style (with the 'kraut). We two prefer to eat ours made grilled-cheese-style with a big scoop of Russian- or Thousand Islands-dressed potato salad or cole slaw to the side. Having made Rachel sandwiches for our green-for-a-day holiday, I was thrilled to find corned beef...... View full recipe for "~ My Brown-Sugar-Crusted Corned Beef Sandwiches ~"

03/15/2019

~ The Secret's in the Slaw Rachel-on-Rye Sandwich ~

I crave a Reuben sandwich once or twice a year. The Rachel sandwich, on the other hand, is: standard operating procedure in my kitchen. My refrigerator is rarely without some super-thin sliced deli turkey breast and/or pastrami, and, my favorite Lacey Swiss cheese -- it often has a container of semi-homemade or deli-style coleslaw in it too. That means, with a slice or two of lightly-toasted Jewish-style rye bread, a Racheal sandwich is only a few short minutes away. When I crave a Reuben sandwich, I'm more inclined to make one or all of the components from scratch: bake a...... View full recipe for "~ The Secret's in the Slaw Rachel-on-Rye Sandwich ~"

03/12/2019

~Russian Dressing & How it Differs from 1000 Islands~

It's almost understandable why most home cooks don't know what the difference between Russian and Thousand Islands dressing is, but, it's head-scratchingly odd that many restaurant chefs don't. Truth told, when I order a Rueben or a Rachel sandwich, one dressing or the other, whichever is offered, will do nicely -- they're both favorites of mine. That said, when a menu states Russian dressing, I expect Russian dressing and vice versa. These two condiments, while they can be used interchangeably as a matter of preference, are not interchangeable. While Russian dressing is not Russian, it is a compilation of ingredients...... View full recipe for "~Russian Dressing & How it Differs from 1000 Islands~"

03/09/2019

~ That's a Wrap: Big Beautiful Chili-Cheese Burritos ~

Inform the family you've got chili simmering on the stovetop -- you won't have to call them twice to the dinner table. Tell the family you're making chili-cheese burritos for dinner -- you won't have to call them at all. They'll all be sitting around the table waiting to eat. Tick, tock. Once assembled, if individually wrapped in plastic or in aluminum foil, they're great to take to school or the office. They reheat perfectly in the microwave or in the oven, and for tailgate, I reheat the foil-wrapped packets on hot grill grids. The chili-cheese burrito is how one...... View full recipe for "~ That's a Wrap: Big Beautiful Chili-Cheese Burritos ~"

03/05/2019

~ Na-Cho Mama's Fully-Loaded Sheet-Pan Nachos ~

Undercover nacho tester. I suppose it could get boring, but, because every eatery I've ever been to makes this Tex-Mex pub-grub staple a bit different, I'd be willing to risk running into some occasional repetition and hard-earned heartburn. From nibbling on basic nachos consisting of deep-fried corn tortillas topped with melty cheese sauce, to digging-into nachos-grande, nachos-supreme, fully-loaded nachos or ultimate-nachos piled high with a plethora of enough savory stuff to qualify for full-meal status, yes, I think undercover nacho tester could be my dream job. Research has revealed that nachos made their debut in Northern Mexico in the 1940's...... View full recipe for "~ Na-Cho Mama's Fully-Loaded Sheet-Pan Nachos ~"

02/25/2019

~ Secrets to the Italian-American Sausage Sandwich ~

Whether one is at the ballpark, a carnival, or entering a shopping mall, one can't help but notice the line in front of the vendor selling Italian sausage sandwiches. Hot-off-the-griddle, a succulent link of sweet or hot sausage on a medium-textured Italian roll, heaped with a savory mélange of griddle-sautéed peppers and onions: it's next to impossible to resist. If you've ever eaten one, you've also noticed they taste immensely better than the majority of home-grilled versions. Why is this? Read on, and "don't knock it until you've tried it", so, criticize this post with caution. The best technique for...... View full recipe for "~ Secrets to the Italian-American Sausage Sandwich ~"

02/19/2019

~ Creamy & Chunky Chicken & Mushroom Chowder ~

Whether it be a quick-to-make brothy soup or a long-simmered thick stew, a steamy-hot cup or a whole damned bowl of either is my idea of the ideal take-a-break and sit-down-to-eat meal. Add a handful of cooked noodles or rice and I'm as happy as a clam. Speaking of clams brings chunky chowder to mind, and, every time I make chowder, I ask the same question, "why don't I make this more often?" I love everything about it, right down to the little crackers that get crumbled in. Chowder is a rich soup chocked full of chunky-chopped protein and vegetables....... View full recipe for "~ Creamy & Chunky Chicken & Mushroom Chowder ~"

02/09/2019

~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~

Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. A double-whammy of calories and carbohydrates are going on our dinner table tonight. Why? Because eating spaghetti and meatballs without a great big basket of garlic bread on the table is, gulp, culinarily criminal. We'll have a salad too, because it too goes great with this meal (not because it's healthy or to make me feel less guilty). Everybody knows spaghetti and meatballs require garlic bread, a salad and a bottle of red wine. Garlic bread isn't Italian. Neither is spaghetti & meatballs. While many regard spaghetti & meatballs as quintessential Italian, the...... View full recipe for "~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~"

02/02/2019

~ Mel's Great-Big Cauliflower Pizza Crust Experiment ~

In crust I trust, but, in the case of the two bloatedly-overpriced-at-almost-$9.00 cauliflower pizza crusts I purchased (on a whim just to get a taste-in-my-mouth for what all the buzz is about), I'd rather eat cardboard. In my food world, in order to avoid eating compromising crap, I eat less of the things I love before cutting-back on carbs, or worse, cutting-out gluten completely. "Once you get used to them, they're pretty good", is not a retort to my comments, so stuff it. The only way to justify this type of ingredient-specific-deprivation requires a diagnosis from a doctor. My great...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Great-Big Cauliflower Pizza Crust Experiment ~"

01/31/2019

~ Quick as the Craving for Cream of Cauliflower Soup ~

January is National Soup Month, and, the cauliflower in my grocery stores is gorgeous right now. Do the math: soup + cauliflower = cauliflower soup -- more specifically, a savory, smooth, satisfying soup that can be made in about thirty minutes. I simply stop there, and so should you because it's full-of-flavor and fantastic as is, with a humble parsley garnish floating on top, so, oh-my-sigh, no cheese please, and, believe it or not, not everything tastes better with bits of bacon. How much is in a head of cauliflower? How much should I buy? Mother Nature did not have...... View full recipe for "~ Quick as the Craving for Cream of Cauliflower Soup ~"

01/22/2019

~ Twelve-in-an-Hour Chicken-Vegetable Soup Bowls ~

Fifteen minutes of prep time and forty-five minutes of stovetop simmering later (slightly longer for you slow-handed choppers), we sat down in front of these steaming bowls of chicken-vegetable soup, ate, and got back to business as usual, which included freezing ten soup bowls for future consumption. Had you arrived in time for lunch, I'd have offered you a bowl, and, you'd never guess it didn't simmer, and I didn't slave over it, all day. It's simply THAT good, as long as the recipe is followed as written, and, it yields the same amount, twelve two-cup bowls, every time. This...... View full recipe for "~ Twelve-in-an-Hour Chicken-Vegetable Soup Bowls ~"

01/17/2019

~ Du Pain, du Vin, du Cinq Boursin Cheese Recipes ~

Boursin cheese has been the star of KE the past ten days, and, it has enjoyed a delicious run. While some might question, or find themselves bored with, my little foray into Boursin (a most delicious form of French cheesefeed), there is always a reason behind one of my obsessions. In the case of the plethora of Boursin recipes, there are three reasons. #1. When someone asks, I always answer, and, I did -- with my recipe for Boursin mashed potatoes. #2. In our food world, food is expensive -- if I'm going to recommend purchasing a special or pricey...... View full recipe for "~ Du Pain, du Vin, du Cinq Boursin Cheese Recipes ~"

01/12/2019

~ Herbaceous Caramelized-Onion & Boursin Burgers ~

Eating à la Française, in the the style of the French people, is a remarkable experience. As a person who is 100% willing to throw calories under the bus for outstanding fare, dining in France is literally at the top of my food chain. Speaking of chains, over the past few decades, "le fast food chaînes" have indeed invaded France, but, only to the point of being easier to find without replacing "haute cuisine" (fine dining) or interrupting eating "en famille" (family-style meals). That said, for a culture that loves "pissaladière" (the French answer to pizza) and has long-established ties...... View full recipe for "~ Herbaceous Caramelized-Onion & Boursin Burgers ~"

12/12/2018

~ Wing-Night with Oven-Baked Jamaican-Jerk Wings ~

In our house, chicken wings appear on our table or cocktail table on a regular basis -- like pizza, my kids crave them often, Joe and I do our best to eat them in moderation, and, while each one of us has his or her personal favorite, there is unanimous agreement that once I've agreed to make pizza or wings for supper or snacks, compromise on the type can quickly be achieved -- and many times, the decision simply comes down to how much time I've got to quell their cravings. How we cook 'em & country of origin is...... View full recipe for "~ Wing-Night with Oven-Baked Jamaican-Jerk Wings ~ "

11/30/2018

~ Sausage and Everything Bagel Breakfast Sandwich ~

It's been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I whole-heartedly believe it, but, I also have strong opinions about it. The first: A protein-packed breakfast is better than a sugar-shocked one. I love pancakes, waffles and French toast as much as the next person, and indulging in them occasionally is divine, but, on a daily basis, I don't believe them to be the best way to start the day. The second: In today's busy food world, folks will put down the sweet pop tart in exchange for a savory sandwich if it can be made...... View full recipe for "~ Sausage and Everything Bagel Breakfast Sandwich ~"

11/28/2018

~ Glorious Golden Potato and Onion Sandwich Rolls ~

Get out the deli-roast beef, Swiss cheese and horseradish sauce. An onion roll turns any plain-Jane roast-beef sandwich into an extraordinary roast-beef sandwich. I love potato bread and any type of slightly-sweet and pillowy-soft potato rolls in general. Unless I am specifically looking for a crusty, semi-firm roll, 'tater-type rolls are my all-purpose sandwich rolls of choice -- that includes hamburger and hot dog rolls too. The only thing better than a soft, slightly-sweet potato-sandwich roll is a soft, slightly-sweet potato-sandwich roll laced with small bits of onion and herbs. I tout these for roast-beef sandwiches -- they're great 'burger...... View full recipe for "~ Glorious Golden Potato and Onion Sandwich Rolls ~"

11/17/2018

~ Sweet & Savory Herbed Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls ~

I love potato bread and any type of slightly-sweet and pillowy soft potato rolls in general. Unless I am specifically looking for a crusty, semi-firm roll for a specific reason, rolls of the 'tater-type are my all-purpose sandwich roll of choice -- that includes hamburger and hot dog rolls too. That said, I like the sweet potato even more than I like the red, Russet or gold potato. As long as I can find sweet potatoes in the grocery store, which is about nine months out of the year, I keep them on hand always, as, for me, a humble,...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet & Savory Herbed Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls ~"

11/15/2018

~ Slightly-Spicy and Creamy-Rich Sweet Potato Soup ~

As a gal who eats sweet potatoes all year long, I pay particular homage to them at Thanksgiving. Sometimes I present them as a cup of sweet potato soup as the starter to the meal, sometimes they arrive in the form of a side-dish sweet potato and caramelized apple casserole, other times they're the sweet potato, apple and sausage stuffing/dressing side-kick to my turkey, and, always but always, my traditional Turkey Day feast includes a sweet potato pie. Sweet potato soup is a savory starter. Season it accordingly. When it comes to sweet potato soup, think "savory soup" not "sweet...... View full recipe for "~ Slightly-Spicy and Creamy-Rich Sweet Potato Soup ~"

11/13/2018

~ Stranger Things: Revisit Retro French Bread Pizza ~

Binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix started conjuring up fond food memories from the 1980's. OMG -- the many scenes with the Eggos, not to mention the perfectly-timed Jiffy-Pop explosion, the invitation to the KFC dinner, and, the Reese's pieces conversation in the shrinks office. They all left my mind wondering about what's to eat in Season three. Stouffer's French bread pizza was the first thing that popped into my head -- with frozen yogurt coming in second. I know everything there is to know about French bread pizza, as back in the '80's, even I dove into the frozen food...... View full recipe for "~ Stranger Things: Revisit Retro French Bread Pizza ~"

11/10/2018

~ Side-by-Side: Texican Chili & Mexican Rice Bowls ~

Side by side. Arm in arm. Hand in hand. The combination of steaming-hot Tex-Mex-style chili and Mexican-style rice teamed up in the same bowl is a hearty, satisfying, yummalicious meal. I was, however, taken aback to learn, that, unlike spaghetti and meatballs for example, it's not a duo that most folks pair together right "off the top of their head". When my neighbor dropped by yesterday to borrow some herbs de Provence from my spice rack, she found me eating a chili-rice bowl for lunch. With a look of wonderment, she said, "why didn't I think of that?" She went...... View full recipe for "~ Side-by-Side: Texican Chili & Mexican Rice Bowls ~"

11/05/2018

~Bonjour French Onion & Swiss Smashburger Sliders~

For a straight path to my heart: put onions on it. In my food world, with rare exception, a sandwich sans onion is incomplete -- unfinished. Under the right circumstances, if caramelized onions are an option -- tick tock. I finally met my mouthwateringly onionalicious match -- the double French onion and Swiss Smashburger: Two juicy-drippy sublimely-seasoned smashed 'burger patties, piled high with shaved and sweet caramelized onions, served on an onion roll that has been slathered with (oh yum) a mayonnaise-based French onion spread. Because a double smashed 'burger is too much food for me, I'm downsizing to sliders,...... View full recipe for "~Bonjour French Onion & Swiss Smashburger Sliders~"

11/03/2018

~ For the Love of Hamburgers: The Smashed Burger ~

I have always contended that hamburgers cooked in a skillet or on a flat-topped griddle are the best. I won't turn down a hamburger hot-off-the-grill, but, sorry my friends, it's just not as moist and juicy as a hamburger that seared in its own juices. As a 'burger lover, I'm always looking for and open to a new-to-me 'burger combination. I wasn't, however, expecting to come across an old method for cooking 'burgers touted as a new method for cooking 'burgers. Huh? Read on. If you ate in some of the mom and pop establishments I grew up eating in...... View full recipe for "~ For the Love of Hamburgers: The Smashed Burger ~"

10/31/2018

~ It's in the Name: Smashburger & Smashed Burgers ~

If you ate in some of the mom and pop establishments I grew up eating in (in the small towns of Pennsylvania and New Jersey), I am here to tell you, the concept of smashing 'burgers isn't new -- it has merely been revisited and remarketed. As a kid living in the pre-McDonald's food world, I watched many grill-cooks grab and slap an ill-formed ball of ground beef onto a seething-hot flat-top-griddle, then give it a giant whack with a big, heavy all-purpose spatula to smash it into a patty. A few juices would bubble up around the sides, but,...... View full recipe for "~ It's in the Name: Smashburger & Smashed Burgers ~"

10/25/2018

~ Smoked Salmon & Folded Omelet Bagel Sandwich ~

Very special. That's how I describe this sandwich. That said, for me, every component must be "just so". It's got to be a lightly-toasted New York-style bagel -- preferably an everything bagel, but, an egg bagel is perfectly acceptable too. As for the requisite cream cheese, it's gotta be Philadelphia brand chive and onion spread. I prefer smoked salmon to lox and prefer lox to gravlax, so, let's leave it at "smoked salmon, lox or gravlax, in order of preference". Also, no breakfast sandwich would be complete without an egg or two, and a tender, light chive- and onion-laced creamy-dreamy...... View full recipe for "~ Smoked Salmon & Folded Omelet Bagel Sandwich ~"

10/23/2018

~ Crispy Texas Steak-Chili Tacos w/Avocado Crema ~

If you're like me, an American cook with a fondness for Texican fare, you most likely have a recipe-or-seven for tacos (American-style ground beef tacos, grilled-beef tacos al carbon, shredded-pork carnitas tacos, shredded-pork tacos al pastor, chicken tacos, fish tacos, spicy Mexican ahogada-style grilled shrimp tacos, etc.). Today I'm adding another one, and the inspiration for this one was simply for me find one more sublime way to serve my decadent Texas-style bowl-of-red steak chili. It's also great way to serve or stretch leftover chili -- after the meat has had one-two days in the refrigerator to soak up some...... View full recipe for "~ Crispy Texas Steak-Chili Tacos w/Avocado Crema ~"

10/21/2018

~ Steak My Day: Texas-Style Bowl-of-Red Steak Chili ~

About this time every year, as soon as the frost is on the pumpkin so-to-speak, a pot of chili is simmering on my stovetop. There's nothing to think about. The first frost, the pot comes out. Chilly weather requires chili. This year I'm making my version of what Texans hang their cowboys hats on: steak chili. It's decidedly different from my Wendy's copycat ground beef chili con carne, hatch green chile chili with pork and white beans, white-out white chicken 'n corn chili, slow-cooker sweet potato and ground beef chili, and, Cincinnati-style chili. As the Texans say, I'm in the...... View full recipe for "~ Steak My Day: Texas-Style Bowl-of-Red Steak Chili ~"

10/09/2018

~The Crispy Bits about Bruschetta, Crostini and Panini~

Bread comes in many forms. I am of the opinion that bread IS the staff of life, and, I average one serving of bread per day. Sans the occasional requisite soft-textured grilled-cheese sliced white, the hot-dog roll and the hamburger bun, any humble flatbread or pita pocket, along with the breakfast-y bagel and English muffin, the display here represents a sampling of my personal artisanal favorites. Except for one, the delicate croissant, they are all firm-textured, and, by choosing the correct shape, I can make make one of three crispy Italian-style specialties. Bruschetta (broo-skeh-tah) means "oiled slice" and comes from...... View full recipe for "~The Crispy Bits about Bruschetta, Crostini and Panini~"

10/07/2018

~ Grillmarked: Italian-Style Panini-Croissant-Crostini ~

Panini-croissant-crostini. That's a lot to digest, and if you're of Italian-heritage, simmer down, lighten up, and read on before criticizing my fun-loving play on mouth-watering words. Sandwich-press-grilled panini, full of cured Italian meats and cheese, substituting mini-croissants for the traditional rustic Italian bread (I've affectionately added the word crostini to describe them, because I serve them, crostini-style, as 3-4 bite appetizers), are crowd-pleasing snacks that get gobbled up at a tailgate party faster than beer flows at a fraternity house. While crusty, firm-textured rustic-type breads make marvelous panini, I am here to tell you, if you've never made a panini...... View full recipe for "~ Grillmarked: Italian-Style Panini-Croissant-Crostini ~"

09/30/2018

~ Chick Flicks and Curried Chicken Salad Croissants ~

It's no secret I'm a movie buff. I've watched movies every day since I was ten-ish. My favorites, old or new, are based on true-stories, history or best-selling books. My least favorites are star-warrian and science-fictionous, and, I have no interest in fantasy or animation. I enjoy a good whodunnit crime drama or an occasional action-packed adventure but won't watch horror-infused slashing-for-shock-value movies. Comedies and satires are great, but, romantic, tear-jerking or feel-good chick flicks are better. You know the ones -- those you can't pay the guy in your life to sit and watch with you (but it would...... View full recipe for "~ Chick Flicks and Curried Chicken Salad Croissants ~"

09/05/2018

~Jerk-Style Chicken & Slaw on Coco Bread Sandwich~

Don't worry, be happy -- especially if you've got some leftover Jamaican-style jerk chicken (or pork) on hand. Warm or chilled, removed from the bones and pulled into succulent, bite-sized chucks and pieces, this full-of-Island-style aromatically-flavored poultry (or meat), when piled high on one of their signature freshly-baked and opened, rich-and-flaky coco bread sandwich rolls, is magnifique. A slice of tomato or grilled pineapple and a heap of jerk-slaw takes it over the top. Coco bread is an enriched Jamaican yeast bread that's a cross between a thin sandwich roll and a thick pocket bread. It's said the name comes...... View full recipe for "~Jerk-Style Chicken & Slaw on Coco Bread Sandwich~"

08/24/2018

~Deep-Fried Green Plantain Chips & Island Salsa Dip~

Bananas and plantains. Plantains and bananas. They resemble each other, and they're even related. I peel and eat a banana almost every morning, but, I can't say the same for the plantain. By accident or out of curiosity, if you've ever peeled a plantain and taken a taste, you knew immediately you were not eating a banana. The best way for me to culinarily describe the difference: If bananas are the sweet dessert, plantains are the savory potatoes. In fact, throughout Africa, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and South America, plantains are generically referred to as "cooking bananas", and bananas are...... View full recipe for "~Deep-Fried Green Plantain Chips & Island Salsa Dip~"

08/19/2018

~ Mel's Secret Sauce for Maryland-Style Crab Cakes ~

If you've ever traveled to the areas in and around the Chesapeake Bay (Annapolis and/or Baltimore, Maryland, or, the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area in general), even if you are not a foodie, you can't help but notice that from white-linen restaurants to roadside stands, crab cakes and crab cake sandwiches are everywhere -- more specifically, Maryland blue crab cakes and blue crab sandwiches. There's more. If you ask any of the locals where to find the best crab cake or crab cake sandwich, you'll find they are fiercely loyal to their favorite place (and be prepared to listen, because they are...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Secret Sauce for Maryland-Style Crab Cakes ~"

08/17/2018

~ My Maryland Crabcake, Tomato & Mayo Sandwich ~

When I'm in Maine, you'll find me eating a lobster roll with potato chips. When I'm in Florida, I'll be ordering a blackened mahi-mahi sammie topped with mango salsa. When I'm at home here in Happy Valley, I'm feasting on Pennsylvania sweet corn, Jersey tomatoes and Maryland crab cakes. When I enter my kitchen carrying a few fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes, the first thing I do is grab the Hellmann's, get out the Sunbeam and make a good old-fashioned tomato and mayo sandwich. As much as I adore this down-home Summer indulgence, there is one thing I like more: a tomato-and-mayo sandwich...... View full recipe for "~ My Maryland Crabcake, Tomato & Mayo Sandwich ~"

08/05/2018

~Don't Worry, Be Happy: Jamaican-Style Beef Patties~

One patty. That's all it took. A succulent, superbly-spiced, slightly-saucy shredded-meat mixture encased in a flaky, yellow-orange-tinged pie pastry -- similar to any savory turnover ("hand-pie"). It was simply divine, meaning a simple concept with complex flavor. Fortunately, I found out after-the-fact it was prepared with finely-shredded goat meat -- back in my younger days, more likely than not, had I noticed the goats roasting on the spits to the rear of the building, I wouldn't have tried it. That said, a very nice woman at a Caribbean festival in the area of New York City offered me a Jamaican...... View full recipe for "~Don't Worry, Be Happy: Jamaican-Style Beef Patties~"

07/28/2018

~Thai-Style Grilled Chicken or Pork Tenderloin Sliders~

In Thailand, unlike here in America, sandwiches are not something one finds sold in shops or on the streets -- bread is not a part of the traditional Thai diet. That said, East met West quite a few decades ago, and, we Americans love sandwiches -- if it can be eaten between two slices of bread, we Americans will figure out a way to do it and make it taste great. To that end, A trip to Thailand will reveal that nowadays, a portion of the Thai population has come to appreciate and incorporate some bread (mostly flatbreads), in some...... View full recipe for "~Thai-Style Grilled Chicken or Pork Tenderloin Sliders~"