Saturday, January 30, 2010

good roast chicken and stock

COMFORT FOOD means "chicken" to so many of us, doesn't it? So many really great cooks, when asked about a favorite meal, will say "roast chicken and a good loaf of fresh bread with it".... Here's the simplest way to get Chicken Stock and a great bird at the same time, according to my friend, Ellen. Do you have any good roast chicken recipes or any nice memories that involve chicken dinners with family, etc? Please share them in COMMENTS!
Ellen's Bird (no basting, watching, just timing)

Oven-450 degrees

1 BIG fryer 5 lb. ++
Season inside with salt & pepper
Stuff with cut up onion
Rub outside with butter or olive oil
Season outside & tie legs together

Place on a large rack on the RIM of a non-reactive baking pan

In pan put 2 C. water & some white wine along with garlic cloves, peppercorns, celery, onion skin (if nice & dry), Bay leaf, etc. (Z: you could probably include carrots or whatever else you like to have flavoring your broth, too)

Put in oven uncovered for 30 min.

Turn temp. down to 350' & roast for another 2 hours, or until leg moves freely.

You will have perfect Roast Chicken + a great stock after you strain it. About 3 C. +-

You can do 2 at once if you have a large pan & rack. Just increase the liquids.

If you use a Sunday Best Roaster (6-7 lbs.) increase the time as needed.

So, you have a perfect roast chicken and a beautiful chicken stock all at one time! ENJOY

And thanks, Ellen, for your wonderful recipe...


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Armenian Pizza, or "Lahmajoon" mmmmm

For Mr and Mrs Cube.....but you'll all LOVE it, I promise!


2 garlic cloves
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 small green pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 pound ground lamb (or ground beef, but...)
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste
1 - 14 1/2 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper
Flour Tortillas

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Pulse the garlic in a food processor to mince it. Add the onion and pulse to chop, then add the green pepper and pulse to chop. Add the lamb, tomato paste, tomatoes, parsley, cumin, cayenne, and salt and pepper; process until everything is well chopped. The consistency should be wet and pasty. Spread a thin layer of the meat mxiture onto flour tortillas all the way to the edge. Bake directly on the oven rack for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the meat is cooked through. If the tortilla begings to inflate in the oven, pop it with a fork from the top.
To serve, cut into the size you want, like a pizza, and you can sprinkle some lemon or a little Tabasco or add absolutely's good just as it is! (I really don't remember how much this makes but I'm thinking a dozen tortillas to a pack, so that's probably what it made....)
This can be cut in thinner slices as an appetizer with cocktails or for lunch or dinner in larger wedges....Enjoy! Z

Sunday, January 24, 2010

short ribs from Deborah

Braised Short Ribs

- 4 to 5 lbs beef short ribs
- Salt and pepper
- Flour
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1 large diced onion
- 2 1/2 cups diced carrots
- 2 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 6 cloves minced garlic
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 1 T. pomegranate concentrate (optional - any fruit jam would probably have similar effect)
- 2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1 lb cooked egg noodles, for serving (serves 4-6)

• Season ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge the ribs in flour and shake off excess.
• Heat 2 Tbs oil in large dutch oven or braiser over high heat.
• Add short ribs and brown as evenly as possible. Do this in batches if necessary.
• Remove ribs and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-high and add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until tender.
• Add tomato paste, beef broth, red wine and pomegranate and cook, stirring, until it is incorporated.
• Bring to a simmer, then add the ribs and rosemary. Return to simmer.
• Cover and cook over low heat for 3 – 31/2 hours until the meat easily falls off the bone. Remove ribs and rosemary sprigs.
• Stir until sauce thickens.
• Serve ribs over egg noodles and top with sauce. Garnish with scallions.

My friend Deborah ('on the bayside'), who comments at GeeeeeZ, brought the above dish over to my house Saturday's so good I thought I ought to share it! Try it, you'll love it, I promise!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


UPDATE: Well, look at THIS...Yahoo had a thing on the goodness/healthiness of SOUP tonight (I had the SCOOP, though:-)!! Here's my original post!:

A friend sent me a soup recipe that sounds terrific and I wanted to share it with you IF you share one of your favorites! You don't have to include the recipe, though we'd love that if it's not too very, very long and complicated, but tell us if you have a favorite soup. It sure feels like SOUP WEATHER around here, even in California! What sounds really good about this soup below is that most of the ingredients are probably things you have at home, or you could substitute chicken broth, you make the soup and add ANYTHING, like leftover vegetables or meats or starches to it, and you've got a great meal, wouldn't you think? Here's a recipe from Ellen:

Marylin's Andalusian Soup (6-8 servings)

Basic soup

2 TBS butter

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS flour

4 cups thinly sliced onions (3 large)

1 can (1 lb) tomato puree or sauce

4 cans (56 oz) beef broth

1 clove garlic minced

1 TBS ea of red wine vinegar, worchestershire sauce, sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ea of pepper, oregano. tarragon. tabasco sauce

1/2 tsp cumin

In a basic 4-5 quart pan melt butter, add olive oil and onions. Slowly cook onions stirring occasionally until they are limp and slightly golden. Blend in flour and gradually stir in the broth and tomato sauce. Add rest of ingredients, stir well and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.

Serve with a selection of condiments

meats.. chicken, meat balls, sausage, shrimp or ham.

vegetables......corn, garbanzo, pinto or kidney beans, diced tomatoes, sauteed mushroom slices, cooked diced carrots (these can be put in soup before serving)

diced avocado, green onion, shredded jack and cheddar cheese, sliced olives, (serve in bowls ). Or whatever sounds good to you.

ENJOY! Now share yours, please!?

Monday, January 18, 2010


What's THE most difficult thing to GIVE UP for that diet? DO TELL!
Mine would probably be savory (mac and cheese, for example) yours something sweet?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You haven't LIVED until you've had white truffles.........

...........on pasta, with truffle oil. Or on anything ELSE, for that matter! :-)

Mr. Z and I were living in Munich and he was in Rome on business. He called me and told me he was eating a pasta with white truffles that was too delicious to be believed. I filed this in my food file in my brain and thought "I must do that sometime" ...oh, "...and soon." The trouble is, white truffles are only available in October and some of November.

Fast forward about a year and he called from the office and said "I have to go to Rome again, you want to come with me this time?" I said I didn't really want to... I took German classes in Munich and really didn't want to miss any. I loved my foreign language classes when I lived in Paris and Munich. I was lucky enough to have gone to Rome about 3 times by then in a fairly short period of time, anyway, so I thought I wouldn't go this trip. Mr. Z was quiet. Then he said...
"It's November. The white truffles are in season. Remember?" "Okay, I'll come...get me a ticket!" And we went. I'm no fool :-)

We flew to Rome and went, probably that night, to a restaurant called, I believe, Andreas. He ordered the pasta and white truffles for me and something else for himself....the truffle dish was about $50 a serving and this was 14 years ago. Truffles are EXPENSIVE (click on EXPENSIVE for details!!)The plate came and smelled like heaven must smell. There were a few light, beige shavings of truffle on the pasta and then the waiter began slicing more and they floated like feathers to a rest on the small pile of fettucini which glistened lightly with the white truffle oil it had been tossed with....(some restaurants literally charge by the 'shave' but I'm not sure they did that night in Rome). It's earthy and lovely and I just can't explain that wonderful, heady aroma, which became even lovelier and headier after I'd TASTED it.

I looked at my husband, my mouth full of the lovely flavor, and said "One can't SWALLOW this incredibly fabulous flavor, one should BRONZE IT!" Honestly, they bronze baby shoes and you SWALLOW THIS? Well, my mouth was full so I had to swallow, what the heck else could I do? But, all kidding was a moment of sheer and utter food BLISS. BY THE WAY: Can you imagine Macaroni and Cheese with white truffles? Click HERE!

This marvelous delicacy is delicious on fried eggs and other dishes, but that pasta plate that night will go down as probably THE BEST flavor I have ever had in my life. I hope you can try it some time. And, TRUST ME, black truffles need NOT APPLY!
(Faith, thanks for the 'it exists' link...great stuff!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


.........and the warden says "Tomorrow is your execution. Give us a complete list of what you'd like to eat today."
One of mine, of course, is DEFINITELY MAC and CHEESE! And mashed potatoes. And white truffles on pasta. Oh, and spaghetti and meatballs. And..........well, let me hear yours, please! z

Sunday, January 10, 2010

You got a FOOD HORROR STORY of YOUR making?

There's some new show on the FOOD CHANNEL about WORST COOKS........Have you ever made something REALLY AWFUL and want to share it here?

I have to admit I made two meals (in 22 years of cooking for Mr. Z, that's not too bad, eh?) which we always laughed about. One was making lamb curry thinking I had plain yogurt and finding out I only had a couple of small lime yogurts and deciding to use it. Lime green colored lamb curry with that lime flavor is something I'd leave out of your recipe files were I you! Another was some fish that just wouldn't cook no matter what I did to it...and we had guests from Maryland in that night!

You have one or two WORST COOK moments? See that picture up there? The caption on Google Image was "Attempt at pancakes". I'd say that would rate 'worst cook', wouldn't you? !!

Friday, January 8, 2010

My birthday's tomorrow.......

.........What kind of cake would you bake for me? :-)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Your Grandmother

Did she have a dish that you think of every time you think of her? Is there a dish Grandma was known for that makes you hungry for it now, that makes you smile with nostalgia just thinking of her cooking and serving it to you?
My Dad's mother made butter icing that nobody's duplicated since....and her cream paklava could make you cry it was so delicious....My dear Sis now makes that almost as good as Grandma did.
My Mother's mother's best dishes were numerous but I have to say her macaroni and cheese knocked my socks off. I'll share the recipe with you soon.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A DELICIOUS soup for the common me!

Gail, a dear and very long-time friend reminded me in an email this morning about how she adores my mother's Greek Egg Lemon Soup. Let me tell you about it and I promise you'll make it!

Every time one of us many children got sick, Mom made her famous hot egg lemon soup. It got so that, as we met our men who became our husbands, she'd make it for them, too, if they felt unwell. Then it got so one who worked way downtown (about an hour in LA traffic) would drive to Mom and Dad's house just so Mom would make him what we all have come to call SICK SOUP. Sad name because it should really be called HEALTHY SOUP! You know what they say about Jewish chicken noodle soup....this is that delicious and healthy but SO much tastier (I promise). Come to think of it this soup also includes lemon as the star surprise ingredient as did my last post on scrambled eggs just below this post. It's an Egypt/Mediterranean thing. Actually, I also have to stop pretending this is Mom's recipe or anything to do with the place she was raised, Cairo, or anything Armenian (my heritage)...I have to give it up and admit this is AGVOLEMONO SOUP, as the Greeks, who probably invented it, call it. They deserve the credit.


Heat chicken broth (maybe the size of the smaller Swanson's boxes for 2 people) in a saucepan and throw in a little broken up vermicelli (maybe one cup?) until the vermicelli's cooked (Angel Hair pasta's fine just make sure you break it into roughly 1" pieces first). Turn off the heat.
In a bowl, break one egg and beat it. When the broth isn't quite as hot as it was, take a little bit of the broth and put it in the bowl with the beaten egg in it WHILE YOU KEEP STIRRING/BEATING...this is the key...add only a little at first or you'll get egg drop soup with curdled pieces of egg! Add a tad more broth, and KEEP STIRRING as you keep adding the broth to the egg....when you've got about a cup of broth in with that egg, then start adding that cooled off eggy broth (cooled while beating it with the egg) back into the saucepan VERY gently AND KEEP BEATING! Go back and forth very carefully and slowly, continuing to stir/beat until you've got all the egg/broth mixture into the saucepan.
Now, you've got the lovely broth with the vermicelli and egg perfectly mixed and you won't have egg drop soup (Actually, the first few times, you will get some curdling but even seasoned cooks of this soup have that happen worries, just do your best to make that mixture as smooth and curdle-less as'll be beautifully smooth and almost look like you'd added cream to it...silky and opaque from the lemon juice and egg.)
Squeeze a fresh lemon and add a bit to that mixture....and some taste. You can have the heat back on very low during this step but make SURE you keep stirring a little so you don't curdle. If it's just right with the amount of little lemon you added, drink and enjoy. If you're a tart taste lover like I am, add more lemon (which I recommend to get this flavor just right)....keep tasting.... Do not leave out the salt, it really does do a lovely thing to this soup.

I hope you enjoy it... It sounds complicated with the curdling threats but it really isn't so bad the second or third time and you just might get it right the first time...just keep stirring and let the broth cool just a bit before starting the mixing process. I hope it becomes a favorite for you. And, I swear, the combo of chicken broth (satisfying, wholesome protein), lemon (citrus, Vit C) and egg (more protein, silky texture and comfort) works wonders on a cold. By the way, you can use rice instead of vermicelli, just don't use too much of either or it'll be too starchy.

Let me know if you make this........good luck! If you, too, have a special and surprising chicken soup ingredient, let us know!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cooking stalemates; Scrambled eggs and lemon.... an acquired taste, I'll admit it. And I love it. We grew up eating it for breakfast....scrambled hot and right out of the pan, with salt and fresh lemon juice sprinkled over it. I think it's an Egypt thing (Mom is Armenian and was raised in Cairo) . Dad was only a bacon and eggs man, but we all ate the lemon on eggs not knowing that you all didn't! I have to admit to finding catsup on scrambled eggs really unappetizing and I know plenty of people like that, so I guess it's what you're raised eating, right?

The thing about the hot scrambled eggs is that they're only good hot, not good cold. No, not at ALL. My mother was a stickler for our eating breakfast. I'm pretty sure that's why, the minute I moved out at about 21 years of age, I didn't eat breakfast again, except in restaurants if I happened to go out with friends, until I was about 30. I remember feeling so much better during the day after I started eating breakfast again at that ripe old age and thinking that Mom had been right all along. (just in case Mom reads this, I'll add "what else is new?" :-)
HERE IS THE STALEMATE: When we were little, Mom participated in carpools with other moms to get us to school. I remember hating to get up early and I figured I'd rather sleep in a bit than eat breakfast, even those nice hot scrambled eggs and lemon. I figured "Well, it's Mrs. Tucker's turn to drive this morning, so if I play it just right time-wise, I'll just HAVE to run out to her car when she honks and skip breakfast and there isn't anything Mom will be able to do about it!" Right?

Wrong. I sat down late at the kitchen table and started in on those eggs which were already cold. AWFUL. I bided my time pushing egg here and there on the plate and waiting for that blessed relief of the honk of the car outside in the driveway. Mom kept glaring and saying "Take another bite" so I had to from time to time. It's ghastly. I finally heard that HONK and started to jump up from the table........ Mom said "Sit down.....I'll drive you to sit there and finish those eggs." I couldn't believe it! She'd give up the easy way out and drive me separately so I'd eat breakfast.......who knew?

Was YOUR mom like that? Just thinking about cold scrambled eggs in lemon still makes me sick but I have to admit I still love them hot. Try a little chopped ham in there, too........mmm


Friday, January 1, 2010

I started out as a child*....loving FOOD, being amazed and awed by anything FOOD

One of my earliest memories is when I was about five or six. I was sick and doctors used to come to the house. (NO, I DID NOT live in a little house on the prairie next door to the Ingalls, you stop that!) That is the one and only time we had a doctor to the house, but I do remember it vividly!

Well, I'd had dinner (in my life, I think I've been too sick to eat maybe once) and felt very poorly and was put to bed. By 7:30 that evening, in walked Dr. Reagan, our pediatrician, black bag in his large cold hands. I lay there waiting for him to make me feel better and smooth the worried look off Mom's and Dad's faces. He lowered the blankets and started poking around my tummy, pushing down and rubbing around .......

"Hmmmm.....MEAT LOAF....." he said. My eyebrows had to have shot up. How'd he KNOW that? "...and mashed potatoes....and peas!" He described the whole dinner from feeling my stomach and that was one amazed six year old laying in that bed let me tell you. Magic, I thought! Dr. Reagan can tell THAT from doing THAT? He's brilliant! Boy, does he KNOW HIS FOOD! (or should I say MINE?!)
Later, Mom told me that he passed the kitchen and asked what we'd had for dinner. Smart doctor, huh? And I've never forgotten that.

Do you have a childhood food story you'd like to share?
*half the title of this post is brazenly stolen from a Bill Cosby album...:-)

IS anything more important than THE FOOD?

Mom and Dad used to go to some pretty swanky events. Among other things they were involved with, California's Governor George Deukmejian was a very old friend of Dad's so they attended evenings where he'd be. There could be a governor, a huge celeb like Sinatra singing, amazing guests Mom would tell me about the next day, and she'd flip her lid when I asked "What did they serve?" "WHAT DID THEY SERVE? Who cares, honey...this was quite an evening of interesting people, excellent performances and good speeches!"

"Gee, Mom. I just wondered." Are you the same way!? :-)

Any special New Year's Eve or Day foods to share?

We'd love to hear them............thanks! You have something traditional to eat with the Parade or the Games?