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American Classics

Corned Beef Hash

March 21, 2020

What to do with the leftover corned beef? Make hash! It takes just three ingredients: corned beef, potatoes, and onions. (Well, six ingredients, if you include the vegetable oil, salt and pepper.) Really simple, really good. Your culinary goal? Achieving a nice mix of textures: slightly chewy + crispy corned beef cubes, crunchy-edged potatoes, and soft, silky onions. Here’s how!

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American Classics

Texas-style Chili Mac

March 18, 2020

The first time my parents drove to the tiny Texas town where I would spend my early childhood, Dad got lost. He found a filling station and asked the attendant where Riesel was — pronouncing the placename “Rye-zel.” The man blinked at dad for a few moments and then, eyes wide with belated recognition, said, “Ohhhh! you mean REEEEE-zel!”  drawing out the eeeeeeeee’s in an impossibly wide-mouthed drawl. And so it was, we moved back to Texas. Mom had grown up in Houston and coached collegiate basketball in Texarkana. Then she made a serendipituous wide swoop North to coach at the University of North Dakota, where she met Dad, a South-side Chicago native, at the beginning of his vicarage in the frozen North. After a few winters there, Mom was very glad to get back to the Lone Star State. My brother and I benefited from the remoteness–and the heat. We ran around nearly naked for two years, in, and out, and all around the old wooden farm-house, with it’s big rooms, tall windows, and banana trees out back, where we used to sit on the porch steps and eat huge slices of Texas watermelon : ) And my mom’s cooking. Continue Reading…

Work With What You've Got

Chicken + Veggie Noodle Soup (Gluten Free)

March 11, 2020

With a pandemic raging, daily life has taken on some sudden changes. For my family, with an nonagenarian dad upstairs to care for, and my husband’s company travel on hold, we are largely sequestered here in home offices, doing what we normally do, with restrictions.  Added to the normal good-hygiene practices of frequent and now even more thorough hand washing, we’re adhering to the six-foot distancing rule when out in public, eliminating large-group interactions, and, like many of you, are doing a lot more cooking at home. The big question: “Is it safe to eat fresh vegetables and produce?” is YES. According to international food safety authorities, coronavirus needs a host—either an animal or human—to grow, so it’s impossible for it to grow in food. Carefully washing fresh vegetables in cool water, removing and discarding any bruises or imperfections, and then cooking them is best the way to go. Here at our home, our focus on nourishing, immune-boosting meals has meant plenty of oatmeal at breakfast, loads of citrus, garlicky stews, cruciferous veg, and of course SOUPS! Continue Reading…

Soup Kitchen

After-the-Party Veggie Soup

March 7, 2020

It happens after every dinner party. The guests head home. I clear away the wine bottles, and whatever fell behind the bar. And then survey the food table leavings. Invariably, there, next to the plate holding one sad, smushed pie remnant, and the half cookie that fell into somebody’s ginger ale, I will find most of a tray of fresh veggies. They are still gallantly cheerful, the brightest color in the after-party glow. It makes me feel they deserve a good send off. Soooo….I came up with this day-after-the-party veggie soup. Simply a saute of vegetables made with the veggie-tray broccoli and cauliflower florets, carrots, and celery trimmed down to tiny, plus onion and broth, it’s really easy to make. Add a little crusty bread and some good cheese and you’ve done the lonely, leftover veggie-tray proud–and yourself a big, nourishing favor. Continue Reading…

Meaty Mainstays

Kirk Douglas’ Favorite Meatloaf

February 5, 2020

Before there was Michael Douglas, there was Kirk Douglas, Michael’s 1940s matinee-idol father.  If it weren’t for Ant Man, in which Michael had a nice role, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which my son Noah considers “epic” for its special effects (first sci-fi shot in Cinemascope), my boys as kids would have been unfamiliar with either of these actors. But back in the ’60s, Kirk was very much top of his game, starring in Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, and alongside John Wayne in three films, making Kirk much sought after by celebrity columnists. Which is where this meatloaf comes in. Continue Reading…

Holidays 2019

Holidaze! Sweets & Treats

December 20, 2019

The sun is shining in through the windows, lighting up the mixing bowls and rolling pins, cookie cutters and pudding tins on my slate kitchen table. It’s the Friday before Christmas. A “jolly good” time to do some Holiday cooking, don’t you think? If anybody want’s to join me now–or, is looking for some delicious recipe inspiration for Holiday meals over the next two weeks,  here’s a round-up of a few favorites.  There are cocktails: Not A White Russian,  snacks: Cheddar CrackersPub CheeseVintage Tea Sandwiches , savories: Wine-Poached Pear and Rosemary Tart, Sherried Crimini & Walnut LoafAncho-Braised Lamb shanks , empanadas picadillo hand pies,  duck and andouille gumbo, shortrib stroganoff, porkchops with sauerkraut + apple stuffing. There are fruited lovelies: Raspberry Foolwine poached pearsmincemeat tarts . Cakes– Monica’s All-Natural Red Velvet Cake, Melting Apple CakeDouble-Chocolate Bread Pudding with Barley Malt Caramel, Ginna’s Hubba Hubba Apple Cake, Apple Almond Cheese Tart, chocolate-covered Amarena cherries, German Chocolate Cake, Dressel’s Chocolate Fudge Whipped Cream Cake , Dreamsicle Cake, vintage no-bake refrigerator cakes, and of course, cookies! Fresh Cranberry BarsGingerbread CookiesJam Tart Bar Cookies, Old-Fashioned Butter CookiesLutz’s Raspberry Nut Bars,  Coffee and Molasses Dream Bars, Grandma Bertha’s Apricot Delights, Marshall Field’s Chinese Chews, Banoffee Tarts.  As you finish your year with loved ones far and near, remember that food is a love note that lasts. Cheers to you for the meals you create with that in mind. Happy, happy, Holidays, from Monica Kass Rogers!

Baked Treats

Fresh Cranberry Bars

December 19, 2019

From the Oleson-family-owned O&H Danish Bakery, just north of Chicago in Racine, WI, these bars are easy-good. Third-generation baker Eric Oleson was happy to share the recipe which he says has been passed down in his family for close to 100 years. The slices put two good things together: the Danish penchant for butter, with Wisconsin’s bounty of fresh cranberries. The bars only appear at O&H during the Holiday season. “It’s kind of a traditional thing,” says Oleson, who likes to serve these very-moist bars chilled with a dollop of whipped cream.

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Pouding Chômeur

Sticky Maple Pudding-Cake

December 5, 2019

Rich, sticky, sweet and gooey, it’s really like an upside-down cake, minus the fruit. Simple vanilla cake batter baked in a pool of maple syrup caramel , Pouding chômeur literally translates  as “pudding of the unemployed.”  First created by factory workers during the Great Depression using a handful of ingredients, it was for decades the sort of home-food fare that Québécois kept to themselves. Like Johnny Marzetti, the Cleveland area noodles-and-sauce hotdish that moms customarily put on tables, but most restaurants eschewed, this sticky maple pudding quietly endured out of the spotlight. Continue Reading…

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2019

They come from far and near, to gather together. Family, friends–and for those who lack either: the community of those with big hearts to share both. Happy Thanksgiving! I’ve gathered here not just the original recipe for Senator Russell’s  Sweet Potatoes, but am also including links for more dishes to grace your giving table. Enjoy!  Jalapeno Creamed Spinach Sunchokes Two Ways , homemade sausage and sage stuffing, Roasted Bone Poultry Gravy , Marvelous Mashed Potatoes Spiced Butternut Squash Pie,  Southern Sweet Potato Pie, Chocolate French Silk Pie and Butterscotch Pecan Meringue Pie.

Senator Russell’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Calling down to Georgia’s State Capitol offices and the Culinary History Society of Georgia, nobody could comment on the gustatorial habits of Richard B. Russell, Jr. (1897 – 1971), the famous politician this  much-requested dish is named for. (In case you need a refresher, RBR was in public office for 50 years as a legislator, governor of Georgia and U.S. Senator, was best known as national defense expert, and was proudest of his work advocating for the small farmer and for soil and water conservation. Russell also authored and secured passage of the National School Lunch Program in 1946.) But tracking down this recipe, one thing is sure: Richard Russell had a sweet tooth.  Continue Reading…

Sweet Things

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie (Pumpkin Mousse, Maple-Pecan Brittle + Sugared Pie Crust Twists)

October 31, 2019

There are people out there who don’t like pumpkin pie. (Cue collective Midwestern gasp!) But there are other  pumpkin possibilities. And since making this lovely dessert for my family one Halloween of years past, my boys have asked for it again and again.  Roasted-pumpkin mousse layered with maple pecan brittle and cinnamon sugar “pie crust” twists, I suspect this will be the classiest pumpkin you’ll put in your mouth this Fall.

 

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