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Appetizers & Snacks

Chicken Liver & Bacon Pate

October 11, 2016

After my brother got mononucleosis as a kindergartner (how does that happen to a five-year-old?) Mom launched a relentless iron-rich dinner campaign: pots of lentils, schooners of spinach, endless platters of liver and onions. Every. Single. Week. I can still see the big black cast-iron skillet and enormous lobes of calves liver, cooked to boot-bottom toughness.  Thank god there were days when she made chicken livers and bacon instead–delicious and so much more forgiving to her pan fry. This easy, potted pate puts the best of those flavors together, and has gone a long way in eradicating the less-lovely liver memories. It’s a nice snack with crusty bread or crackers–add onion slivers, and a little chopped egg, capers or parsley. Continue Reading…

Noodle Noshing

Chicago Chili Mac

September 26, 2016

Ask about the origins of this belly-filling, budget-stretching American favorite and you’ll get different answers. Some point to Cincinnati’s habit of eating chili with spaghetti…but those are spaghetti noodles, and the chili is spiced with chocolate & cinnamon. So….not really what we think of as the “classic.” In other parts of the Midwest, chili mac lovers expect to find elbow macaroni in the dish—plus chili made with plenty of cumin, chili powder and green peppers. This version from Chicago’s Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap (the comfortable Levy restaurant & bar that replaced the Blackhawk Lodge) has all of that, plus some nice tweaks. It’s really two recipes—one for a mildly spiced chili that uses tangy green tomatillos instead of tomatoes, and one for a classic creamy macaroni & cheese. The two recipes taste good on their own, but together? Even better. Note: Earlier versions of the chili mac at Jake Melnick’s included crushed Chili-Fritos. For that version, just mix in 1 1/2 cups of crushed Chili-Fritos when you combine the macaroni and chili, before baking. Or, include crushed Fritos as one of your toppers, along with sour cream, green onions, sliced radishes, avocado, and fresh cilantro leaves.

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Savory Pies

Empanadas Picadillo

September 4, 2016

This recipe search started with a request from a reader looking for a meat filling that included raisins, spices and olives. Picadillo! Popular in several Latin countries, this very flavorful, piquant filling can fall anywhere on the sweet/tangy/salty/spicy continuum. This one’s on the spicy side. Some versions include tomatoes and sweet green peppers in the mix; others have minced hard-boiled egg in them. Whatever the exact mix, the filling tastes delicious rolled in a tortilla, or, as we’ve done here, spooned into dough and fried to make a little hand-held pie.

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Savory Pies

Hoosier Mama’s Frito-Chili Pie

September 2, 2016

Born and schooled in Texas, I ate traditional Frito-Chili Pie with the best of them (aka bag-o-corn-chips with chili ladled in.) But by comparison? This Frito-Chili Pie kicks butt! It’s a real pie, for one thing–with an easy, press-it-in-the-tin piecrust that includes corn-chips and cheese. And even though the chili has some beans in it (anathema to Texans) it’s also got a pile of fresh peppers, melted cheddar, sour cream and fresh snipped oregano. I’m including this vintage-made-better recipe as an example of 120-more that pastry-chef and Hoosier Mama Pie Company owner Paula Haney has included in her “Hoosier Mama Book of Pie“.

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Canning Corner

Zucchini Relish

August 2, 2016

Like bread & butter pickles? Then you’ll like the taste of this relish. I’ve received requests for what to do with all that home-grown zucchini beyond sautes and quick breads–this relish recipe will make it possible for you to enjoy zukes year round. It’s credited to Lori Leeann Martin of Oak Harbor, WA., and was included in a Royal Neighbors of America flipbook 40 years ago.

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Featuring Fruit

Creamy Nectarine-y Cheesecake

July 30, 2016

Creamy cool and sunny as the summer nectarines it includes, this light, fruit-flecked cheesecake was requested by reader Marge. Marge remembered making it for her mom’s 70 birthday. Now, she’s looking forward to having her daughter make it for her. The old-fashioned not-too-sweet crust is made with zweiback toast instead of graham crackers. We’ve included a recipe for zweiback, in case you can’t find store-bought.

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State Fair Fun

Summer! Sister Mary’s Corn Relish

July 2, 2016

This is the corn relish recipe that has won self-professed “ribbon slut” Barb Schaller eight blue ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair. (Those, and a mock marriage proposal from Garrison Keillor.) Crunchy, colorful and easy to make (well…mostly easy–cutting all of the corn off the cobs takes a little practice), the relish cooks up in 30 minutes flat. Follow Ball canning instructions to can, or, store finished relish in refrigerator.

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