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Southern Stylings

Jambalaya

February 28, 2017

I’ve had many requests for a good home-cook version of jambalaya, and this is that. Like the dish itself,  a mix of Spanish and French ingredients with African thrown in by way of the Louisiana bayou, the word jambalaya derives from Provencal for “mish-mash”.  But I love that the Atakapa–a native American people who lived in the river valleys of Louisiana along the Gulf of Mexico–had a phrase: “Sham, pal ha! Ya!” which meant “Be full, not skinny! Eat Up!” that etymologysts say Spaniards changed to “jambalaia.”  The dish includes a Cajun or Creole version of the Spanish sofrito (tomatoes, garlic, oil and onions) at its base, along with spices, seafood, sausage, sometimes poultry and always rice. What’s atypical about it is we’ve cooked the rice separately to preserve the fluffiness of the grains, and, to allow diners to choose how much of the beautiful stew to top it with. Continue Reading…

Soup Kitchen

New England Clam Chowder (James Cagney’s)

February 16, 2017

As long as there have been celebrities, there have been fans obsessed with them. The minutiae of their lives…where they live, where they sleep, who they sleep with…and of course? What they eat. The gustatory habits of film stars, rock stars, dancers, singers….all have been subject matter for newspaper columns, magazine features and loads and loads of books. In 1958, James Cagney went on the record with his recipe for chowder. It’s pretty darn good! Continue Reading…

Pie Revival

Curried Lamb & Potato Pie

February 4, 2017

Sure, sugar pies are good, but a sturdy savory pie in midwinter is heaven. In response to a reader request, I put this curried lamb and potato pie together using minced lamb, fresh green beans, lots of garlic, curry & cumin, topping each slice with a little bulgarian yogurt and minced preserved lemon. Continue Reading…

Pasta & Veg

Pasta Shells with Roasted Vegetables (Maggiano’s Original Recipe)

January 29, 2017

It’s a thing: Thriving restaurant concepts refresh and update menus often, sometimes eliminating dishes from menus that might have been somebody’s favorite. That’s what happened to reader Carolyn D. She and her family loved a Maggiano’s dish called “Shells with Roasted Vegetables,”–a flavorful blend of roasted vegetables, basil pesto and Parmigiano Reggiano broth made with parmigiano rinds– that was replaced on the menu by a different version of the dish, years ago. Continue Reading…

Meal in a Kettle

Meaty Baked Beans (North Carolina Cassoulet)

January 17, 2017

Born and raised in London and cooking by the time he was 14, chef Tom Condron of The Liberty  in Charlotte, N.C., has worked under eight Michelin-starred chefs. That gives these “meaty baked beans” a pedigree–they’re really a North Carolina cassoulet. Put the kettle on early in the morning on a rainy day to start the ham stock and by suppertime, you’ll have this rich, meaty stew ready. Continue Reading…

Bread Box

Date Nut Bread Baked in a Can

December 29, 2016

Because the result is so moist, baking and/or steaming bread in cans is an old-fashioned tradition people still ask about. Initially, two readers–Sandra S. and Mary S.– requested this recipe they remembered seeing in the ChicagoTribune 47 years ago, and more requests have showed up since. We’ve adapted the recipe to include instructions from an earlier, 1953 recipe that suggests covering the tops of the cans with a greased baking sheet. Continue Reading…

Cookie Kitchen

Gingerbread Cookies

December 23, 2016

My boys love gingerbread–the dark rich flavor of the cookie, and, the poses they can bend and flex the classic-cookie-guys arms and legs before baking. Lately, I’ve been baking gingerbread forests for the gingerbread boys to wander in, too. Continue Reading…

Soup Kitchen

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

December 18, 2016

Enhanced with curry, dried mushrooms and bacon, this beef-barley soup from long-gone Helen’s Olde Lantern in Blue Island, IL, was requested by reader John S. He remembered it having a lot more bacon : ) You can always add more. Continue Reading…

Love From the Lunchroom

Potato Turbate

December 14, 2016

Since I ran the recipe for this Pinellas County, FL school cafeteria lunchroom favorite, I’ve heard from more than a dozen readers who fondly remember the dish. Susant T., who attended Starkey Elementary in Pinellas County, FL, in the early 1960s, asked for it first, so Susan: know that you have a lot of grateful cohorts who appreciate your request. Cafeteria-hot-dish-wise, potato turbate is basically a stripped-down version of shepherds pie Continue Reading…

Meaty Mainstays

Kirk Douglas’ Favorite Meatloaf

December 9, 2016

Loved chatting with Monica Eng about finding vintage recipes for her podcast with Louisa Chu–listen to the segment here (the vintage recipe chat starts at the 18 minute mark.) “Chewing the Fat.” Here’s one of the featured stories (links to more of the featured recipe stories are included in the last paragraph below):

Before there was Michael Douglas (Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct and a zillion more movies,) there was Kirk Douglas, a 1940s matinee idol with the deep cleft in his chin some of my boys have, but dislike. (They call it a “butt chin”…) If it weren’t for Ant Man, in which Michael had a nice role, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which Noah considers “epic” for it’s crude special effects (first sci-fi shot in Cinemascope), my kids would be unfamiliar with either of these actors. But back in the seventies, Kirk was still, very much, a familiar film legend. Which is where this meatloaf comes in… Continue Reading…