Friday, December 18, 2020

Fusilli with Shrimp and Feta Cheese

 Our favorite pasta recipe book is sadly out of print; "Sicilian~American Pasta; 99 Recipes You Can't Refuse: by John Penza and Tony Corsi, 1994. We have made nearly every recipe, here is a great one! We have also made it using goat cheese for a change and it is also delish.

28 oz can of peeled plum tomatoes

12 oz feta cheese

1 tsp chopped fresh oregano

12 kalamata olives, pitted and slide (I buy slivered and used 1/3 c)

Juice of 1 large lemon

1 lb fusilli

2/3 c olive oil

4 minced garlic cloves

1 lb large shrimp, peeled deveined and cut into thirds


Strain the tomatoes, cut them into quarters and put the juice in a large pan. Crumble the feta cheese into the juice, smashing down any thick lumps with a fork or potato masher. Hear slowly, but don’t let it boil, stirring to homogenize the feta. When this is done, add the oregano, olives, half the lemon juice, and tomatoes. Keep warm over low heat.


Bring the pasta water to a boil and add the fusilli. After it has been cooking about five minutes, start the sauce below.


In another pan, heat the olive oil over high heat and lightly brown the garlic. Add the shrimp and stir until done, about two minutes.  Add the other half of the lemon juice, then add the tomato-olive mixture. Stir well and turn off of the heat so as not to overcook the shrimp.


Undercook the pasta, drain and toss with the sauce. Cover and let the pasta sit 5 minutes to absorb the excess liquid. Serve with crusty bread!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Sicilian Caponata


I found this recipe in an old 1982 paperback cookbook from the Editors of Consumer Guide called Italian Cooking Class Cookbook. I think I have made just about every recipe in the book and each one is an authentic and delicious classic. This is my favorite must-make summer dish that I love to freeze for a surprise appetizer when we need something deliciously savory.

1 ½ lb eggplant

1 tbs salt

2 large red bell peppers, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 large stalk celery, cut into ¼ inch diagonal slices

¼ cup olive oil

¼ tsp dried red pepper flakes

1 14 ½ oz can petite diced tomatoes

1 large garlic clove, crushed

2 tbs red wine vinegar

1 tbs sugar

1/3 cup slivered kalamata olives

1 tbs drained capers

Rinse then peel the eggplant and cut into ¾ inch cubes. Place in a colander and sprinkle with the salt, toss, and let it stand in the sink for an hour to let the liquid come out. Rinse the eggplant well and squeeze out all moisture in a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Reserve.

Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Sauté red bell pepper, onion, celery, and red pepper flakes for 5 min. Add reserved eggplant and cook over medium heat for another 5 min or until the eggplant starts to take on color. Remove from heat.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and sugar to the skillet. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 3 min. Remove from heat.

Add the olives and capers to the skillet, and cook over medium-low heat stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has thickened, about 10 min. Serve hot as a vegetable side dish, or cool to room temp and serve on an antipasto tray with baguette slices or crostini.

Monday, March 30, 2020

FZ Best Banana Bread

FZ Best Banana Bread

2 c. flour (unbleached or Cup4Cup)
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 stick butter (room temperature)
2 sliced and smashed bananas
½ c. buttermilk (or your favorite milk)
¾ c. chopped nuts of your choice (if you like chocolate chips you can add ½ c. nuts, ½ c. chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl mix the eggs, butter, bananas, milk and vanilla until they are fluffy. 

Incorporate the dry ingredients, and then stir in the nuts.
Pour the batter into a well-greased loaf pan, bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 min-check for doneness with a toothpick at around 50 min. 

Bake in additional 5 min increments if necessary and keep checking until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

If you would like to bake muffin tops, bake for 15-25 min.

If you use small loaf pans or muffins, check for doneness at 25 min.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Onion Soup

Onion Soup

Marian Morash, author of the 1982 Victory Garden Cookbook, has created the best onion soup I’ve ever eaten. I've modified this recipe to include more onions and less broth so you get onions in every bite.

5 lb bag of large sweet onions
4 tbs butter
1 tbs oil
1 tsp sugar
3 tbs flour
1 qt beef stock
1 cup dry vermouth or white wine
Freshly ground pepper
¼ cup cognac or brandy (optional, but not for me)
Grated Swiss Cheese
Croutons made from toasted French bread

Finely slice the onions. Melt the butter and oil in a large heavy saucepan. Stir in the onions until coated with butter, cover the pan, and slowly cook for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Uncover, stir in the sugar and 1 tsp salt, and cook about 30 minutes  longer until the onions turn a rich brown color. Regulate the heat and stir frequently so that the onions brown, not burn. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the broth and wine. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer partially covered, for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the cognac or brandy. Top with Croutons and sprinkle lavishly with the grated Swiss Cheese. Brown/melt  the cheese under the broiler.

Gratineed Onion Soup
Butter individual oven proof tureens. Place a toasted slice of French bread in the tureen. Cover with grated Swiss Cheese. Pour in the soup, top with another slice of French bread and sprinkle with grated Swiss cheese combines with some grated Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with 1 tbs of olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Sausage Sampler Kabobs

3     slices bacon
1/3 c. chopped onion
¼ c. chopped green pepper
1 tbs. flour
2 tsp. sugar
Dash pepper
½ c. beer
¼ c. water
2 tbs. vinegar
8 small new potatoes
2       fresh bratwurst links
       3 fresh Italian sausage links
3      fresh or smoked kielbasa links

For sauce, partially cook the bacon in a skillet. Drain bacon, reserve drippings in skillet. Crumble 
bacon and set aside. Add onion and green pepper to skillet and cook until onion is tender but 
not brown. Stir in flour, sugar, and pepper. Add beer, water and vinegar. Cook and stir til 
thickened and bubbly. Reserve.

Peel a strip from the middle of each potato. In a saucepan, precook the potatoes, covered, in enough boiling water to cover, for 5 min. Drain and set aside.                                                            

Cut each sausage link crosswise into 4 pieces. On 4 skewers alternately thread potatoes and sausage pieces. Place on a grill and cook 20-25 min or until sausage is done and potatoes are tender, turning once and brushing with sauce halfway through grilling time. Add bacon to the remaining sauce, heat through and pass with kebabs. You can use any combination of sausage of your choice. We always double the sauce so we have enough!

Kansas Fried Steaks with Milk Gravy

3     eggs
3       tbs. milk
4     cube steaks 
Salt and pepper
2      tbs oil
      2 tbs butter
In a shallow dish beat eggs with milk. Dip steaks in mixture and coat with flour seasoned with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the steaks in oil and butter, turning once after two min and then cooking another 2 minutes. Remove to serving platter.

Milk Gravy
For two steaks:
Discard all but 1 tbs of fat from the skillet. Sprinkle with 1 tbs. flour, stir over medium high heat until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of milk until thickened and smooth. Taste for seasoning and serve over the steaks. For four steaks, double the gravy recipe.

Dan Dan Noodles

Peter Chang's great recipe!

·         8 ounces Shanghai-style noodles (cu mian) or udon
·         2 tablespoons vegetable oil
·         12 ounces ground pork
·         Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
·         2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger
·         3/4 cup chicken stock
·         2 tablespoons (or less) chili oil
·         2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
·         2 tablespoons soy sauce
·         4 teaspoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
·         1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
·         Pinch of sugar
·         2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
·         2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water until just tender but still firm to the bite. Drain; transfer to a large bowl of ice water and let stand until cold. Drain well and divide between 2 bowls.
Heat vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add pork, season with salt and pepper, and stir, breaking up pork with a spoon, until halfway cooked, about 2 minutes. Add ginger; cook until pork is cooked through and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken stock and next 6 ingredients; simmer until sauce thickens, about 7 minutes. Pour pork mixture over noodles; garnish with peanuts and scallions.