“for the adventuresome home chef, Allahyari offers a world of flavors.”
In mortal danger for his beliefs, Hamed Allahyari and his pregnant girlfriend fled their homeland of Iran, first spending two months in Indonesia and then, after grueling hours long by truck over badly paved back roads and then days crammed aboard a boat another five months on Christmas Island before being granted asylum by the Australian government. Once there, life remained extremely difficult for the young couple who were now parents of two young children, and though Allahyari had been a chef and restauranteur in Iran, no one was interested—or so it seemed—in Persian cuisine.
Unable to find work Allahyari began volunteering at the Resource Center, an organization that provides support, legal advice, and other assistance including meals to refugees and people seeking asylum.
“Every day they feed 250 people a free lunch,” Allahyari writes in the introduction to his cookbook Salamati: Hamed’s Persian Kitchen: Recipes and Stories from Iran to the Other Side of the World. “I started cooking there two days a week, making Persian food for people from all over the world: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Miramar, Sierra Leone, all kinds of places, and most of them had never tried Persian food before. But when they tried it, they liked it. They talked to me about it, asked me about it, and it made me happy.”
At the recommendation of others, Allahyari also began teaching cooking classes, demonstrating how to make such dishes as Zeytoon Parvadrah (Olive and Walnuts Chunky Dip), Yogurt and Cucumber soup, Sabzi Pofow Ba Mahi (Fish with Herb Pilaf) Sabzi Pofow Ba Mahi (Fish with Herb Pilaf), and Persian Love Cake. Over the years, Allahyari taught more than 2500 people how to make Persian food. Now, he caters and is chef/owner of SalamiTea, a restaurant located in Sunshine, an ethnically diverse neighborhood in Melbourne. The name is a play on “salamati,” the Persian word meaning both “health” and “cheers.”
Salamati is more than just a cookbook, it’s also a memoir and homage to the country he had to flee. The introduction to the featured recipes in his book might offer a personal connection to the dish, a description of a unique ingredient that helps define it and bring out its best flavors—though he also offers a substitute for such items as Persian dried limes, which might be difficult to locate outside of a major city, and/or puts the food in context with the scenes to Iran.
“This dish is traditionally served in Iranian shisha shops, the cafes where older men gather to smoke water pipes, drink tea and solve the problems of the world,” he writes about Ghahve Khunee Omelette (Street-Food Tomato Omelette). “Shisha shops don’t really serve food but inevitably people get hungry while they’re hanging around, so it’s become traditional for staff to whip up a quick tomato omelette for customers and serve it with bread, raw red onion, herbs and lemon. If you want one, all you ask for is ‘omelette.’ There’s no menu as such.”
Not all the recipes are easy but for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, there are enough simple ones to get started. Full-color photos of each recipe show what the finished product will look like. And for the adventuresome home chef, Allahyari offers a world of flavors.
“If you love to cook, are undaunted with unique ingredients, and want to capture the flavors of another land, accept the challenge and get cooking.”
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, chop suey houses were all the rage. Opening early and closing late, they were a place to get a good, cheap meal no matter what time of day or night. Over the following decades chop suey and chow mein remained the go-to dishes for those ordering Asian food. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that American diners discovered other regions of Chinese cuisine, Hunan and Szechuan being the first two major ones. For those who loved the flavors of Asia, Malaysian, Indian, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese were also added to the selection of what to eat and cook. But Singapore gastronomic endeavors were often overlooked.
To those in the know, Singapore cuisine has always been, as Terry Tan and Christopher Tan write in their introduction of the cookbook Singapore Cooking: Fabulous Recipes from Asia’s Food Capital (Tuttle Publishing), a topic of utmost importance.
“Some wag once said that the quickest way to start a debate in Singapore is to walk up to a random group of people and ask them “So where can I get the best chicken rice?” the two Tans write in the book’s foreword.
The great Anthony Bourdain also weighed in about the foods of this island nation saying, “New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Singapore’s the city that never stops eating. For a gastro-tourist, somebody who travels to eat, any kind of serious eater, Singapore’s probably the best place you can go . . .”
Looking through this glossy paged book with its full-color photos and 100 recipes including those for such dishes as Ayam Tempra–Chicken Braised in Spicy Sweet Soy, Gulai Prawns with Pineapple, Nangka Lemak Young Jackfruit Coconut Curry, and Coconut Pancakes with Banana Sauce, it’s easy to agree that Singapore gastronomy is all “shiok” or in other words “sublime and unspeakably wonderful.”
But though it all sounds delicious, this isn’t necessarily an easily accessible cookbook. Ingredients such as dried prawns, pandanus leaves, and tamarind may mean for many not only a search or special trip to an Asian grocery store but also an added expense and one where they’ll wonder when they might use the product again. Despite this, for anyone who wants to explore a multicultural cuisine that encompasses influences from many of the surrounding countries as well, it is very much worth the effort.
To make it easier for the novice, the authors have organized their book into chapters such as “Marinades, Chutneys, Sambals and Achars” and “Breads, Rice and Noodles” and included a nice glossary of ingredients (with photos!) as well as a brief history of Singaporeans cuisine.
If you love to cook, are undaunted with unique ingredients, and want to capture the flavors of another land, accept the challenge and get cooking.
About the Authors and Photographer
Terry Tan is a distinguished cooking teacher, food consultant, food historian, and writer who has been dishing up Singaporean delights to people around the world for many years. He writes and broadcasts regularly on Asian and Oriental food and cookery from his base in London.
Christopher Tan is an award-winning writer, cooking instructor, and photographer who contributes articles, recipes and pictures to numerous magazines in Asia. Singaporean by birth, he grew up in London and now hangs out anywhere there is good food. You can find his work at www. foodfella.com.
Edmond Ho is a noted food, travel, and lifestyle photographer based in Singapore. In the late 1990s, he introduced a new style of food photography in Singapore using extreme close-ups and blurred backgrounds together with natural lighting. He has done shots for more than 25 cookbooks.
Sunrise paints a graduated array of colors as the deep orange and red fade into yellow. That beautiful view is what gave this historic drink its name. While the drink is as old as the Prohibition era, it became popular in the 1970s when a bar in Sausalito, near San Francisco, reinvented it and traveling musicians from famous rock bands tasted it and helped seal its place in pop culture. The current drink is made of orange juice, grenadine, and tequila—and this cake captures those wonderful flavors and the striking colors.
Non-stick cooking spray
1 (15.25- to 18-ounce) box yellow cake mix
Eggs, oil, and water as directed on the cake mix
1 cup water
1 (3-ounce) box orange gelatin
¼ cup tequila
3 tablespoons grenadine syrup
1 (8-ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish
with nonstick cooking spray.
Prepare and bake the cake according to the package directions for a 9 x 13-inch cake. Place cake on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
Poke holes evenly over the baked cake using the tines of a fork.
Place the water in a 4-cup microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on High (100%) power for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the water comes to a boil. Stir the gelatin into the water until it is dissolved. Stir in the tequila. Pour the gelatin mixture evenly over the cake.
Slowly and evenly drizzle the cake with the grenadine, making a striped design across the cake. Cover and refrigerate the cake for 1 hour. Frost the cake with the whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour or up overnight before serving.
If you prefer to omit the tequila, prepare the gelatin as directed. Stir in ¼ cup cold water and proceed as the recipe directs. If desired, instead of using all water to prepare the cake mix, substitute ¼ cup tequila and ½ cup orange juice for part of the water. Add water, as needed, to equal the required amount of liquid specified on the cake mix box. Proceed as the recipe directs.
Grenadine is a sweet, red syrup that is often used to flavor cocktails. While it is not a liquor, you will often find it in the grocery store shelved with mixers and supplies for cocktails.
Chocolate and Vanilla Poke ’n’ Tote Cakes
Neat and portable, these luscious chocolate cakes are ready to take to the park, soccer field, or office, or any time you want a dessert to go. They are a winner, and the chocolate cake, topped with a creamy vanilla pudding and then a chocolate glaze, just may remind you of a cream-filled snack cake!
Nonstick cooking spray
½ cup boiling water
1⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2½ cups whole milk
1⁄3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (3.4-ounce) box vanilla instant pudding mix
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2½ tablespoons whole milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Spray 12 (8-ounce) canning jars with nonstick cooking spray. Set the lids and rings aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the boiling water and cocoa powder until smooth; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a handheld mixer on low speed, beat in the egg, ½ cup of the milk, the oil, vanilla, and cocoa mixture.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl well and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Spoon about ¼ cup of the batter into each prepared jar. Do not cover.
Arrange the jars in a shallow baking pan, leaving about 1 inch between the jars.
Bake for 24 to 28 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. (Do not overbake.)
Place the baking pan with the jars in it on a wire rack and let the cakes cool completely. Poke holes evenly over the baked cakes in the jars using a drinking straw.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and the remaining 2 cups of milk until the pudding is blended. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the pudding over each cake.
Seal each jar with its lid and ring and refrigerate the cakes for 1 hour.
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the cocoa powder. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add the milk and vanilla and stir until smooth. The glaze should be thin enough to drizzle off the tip of a spoon.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the Chocolate Glaze over the pudding in each jar. Gently, using the back of a spoon, spread the glaze to cover the pudding completely.
Seal each jar again and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight before serving.
Poke Cupcakes: Line muffin pans with paper liners. Prepare the batter as directed and spoon it into the prepared pan, filling each cup about halfway full. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
Proceed as the recipe directs, poking the cakes with a drinking straw, topping with pudding, and spreading the pudding to the edge of the cupcakes. Top with the glaze, gently covering the pudding. Individual Poke Cakes: Instead of canning jars, prepare the individual poke cakes in 8-ounce ovenproof ramekins. Spray the ramekins with nonstick cooking spray, then spoon in the batter, filling ramekins about halfway. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Proceed as the recipe directs, poking the cakes with a drinking straw, topping with pudding, and spreading the pudding to the edge of the cakes. Top with the glaze, gently covering the pudding.
Crunchy Toffee Poke Cake
Do you need to bring a dessert to the office party, potluck, or bunko night? No worries! Bake Crunchy Toffee Poke Cake the day ahead, and you’ve got it covered. This will make the gathering memorable to many, and there won’t be one piece left to carry home. That’s a good thing, right?
Nonstick cooking spray
1 (15.25- to 18-ounce) German chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9-ounce) box chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
2⁄3 cup water
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (12.25-ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping
1 (8-ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
4 (1.4-ounce) milk chocolate English toffee candy bars
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl using a handheld mixer on low speed, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl well and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Place the cake on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Poke holes evenly over the baked cake using the handle of a wooden spoon. Let the cake cool completely.
Drizzle three-quarters of the caramel topping into the holes on the cake.
Frost the cake with the whipped topping.
Place the candy bars in a zip-top bag and coarsely crush with a rolling pin or mallet. Sprinkle the candy bars evenly over the cake.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, drizzle the top of the cake with the remaining caramel topping.
You can substitute caramels and milk for the caramel ice-cream topping.
Combine 1 (14-ounce) package caramels, unwrapped, and ¼ cup whole milk in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on High (100%) power in 30-second intervals, stirring well after each, until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth, making sure not to overcook the caramels.
Pour three-quarters of the caramel mixture into the poked holes in the cake.
Warm the remaining caramel mixture in the microwave on high power for 10 to 15 seconds or until warm.
Drizzle over the cake just before serving.
If you want to reduce the amount of chocolate, use a white or yellow cake mix in place of the German chocolate cake mix.
Returning to the flavors of his very earliest years, chef Peter Serpico was born in Seoul, Korea and adopted when he was two. Raised in Maryland, he graduated from the Baltimore International Culinary School and cooked professionally at such well-known restaurants as Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City’s East Village. Serpico worked with David Chang, who founded the Momofuku chain, in opening two new restaurants. His job as director of culinary operations for Momofuku, Serpico garnered three stars from the New York Times, two Michelin stars and a James Beard Award. He currently owns KPOD, a contemporary Korean-American concept in Philadelphia’s University City.
Serpico was already an award winning chef when a taste of marinated short ribs and black bean noodles reeled him back through the years, giving him a taste of his original home. Now that reckoning, exploration, and elevation of the foods of his past has resulted in his debut cookbook,Learning Korean: Recipes for Home Cooking (Norton), Serpico has long been recognized as a virtuoso with ingredients but his lesser known talent becomes apparent in this book. He makes Korean home cooking easy. For anyone who has tried to master this intricate and delicious cuisine, it’s a relief to be able to easily cook Korean cuisine in a home kitchen using everyday home equipment.
Serpico starts with kimchi, that Korean staple often served in some guise or other, at every meal (and yes, that includes breakfast) with a recipe for Countertop Kimchi and then quickly segues into a master recipe that can be used to make a plethora of the fermented vegetable dishes.
“I also wanted to develop an easy ‘master’ method that could be applied to any vegetable, regardless of its texture, density, surface area, or water content,” writes Serpico before giving us the way to make Apple Kimchi, Carrot Kimchi, and Potato Kimchi, among others.
He continues with the simplification. Sure, there are some complicated recipes for those who already have or want to advance their skills with such dishes as Crispy Fried Rice–a recipe that’s a full page long. Add to that the ancillary recipes needed to complete the dish–Korean Chili Sauce, Marinated Spinach, Marinated Bean Sprouts, and Rolled Omelette which are all on different pages. But for those not up to or interested in the challenge, just flip to the recipes for such dishes as Easy Pork Shoulder Stew, Soy-Braised Beef, Battered Zucchini, Potato Salad, Chocolate Rice Pudding, and Jujube Tea as well as many others.
And while anyone experimenting with the cuisine of another country understands that they’ll need to purchase some unique ingredients, these are not budget breakers or, in many instances, so esoteric that after one use they’ll sit unused in your cabinet for an eternity. For example Serpico’s recipe for potato salad calls for Kewpie Mayonnaise instead of the mayo we typically have in our refrigerator. The latter uses whole eggs and white vinegar while Kewpie is made from just egg yolks and rice or apple cider vinegar. But the cost difference is definitely reasonable and a home chef might just find the extra richness translates to other recipes as well whether they’re Korean or not.
About the Author
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Peter Serpico was adopted when he was two years old, and was raised in Laurel, Maryland. Serpico graduated from the Baltimore International College Culinary School and his first cook job was at the Belmont Conference Center, where he worked under chef Rob Dunn. In 2006, Peter began as sous chef at the original Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village. For the next six years, Serpico worked with David Chang to open Momofuku Ssäm Bar and Momofuku Ko. As director of culinary operations, Serpico earned three stars from the New York Times, a James Beard Award, and two Michelin Stars, among other accolades. Serpico’s highly praised eponymous restaurant on South Street in Philadelphia opened in 2013.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Serpico was reimagined as Pete’s Place. In 2022, Serpico and restaurant-partner Stephen Starr launched a revamp of Pod, a long-standing Philadelphia pan-Asian restaurant, as KPod, with a menu inspired by Serpico’s native South Korea. Serpico lives with his family in Philadelphia.
Unless you’re deeply committed to a life of vegetables, words like plant-based can be a turnoff when it comes to menus and cookbooks. Sure, many of us, myself included, want to expand our vegetable repertoire but still need to indulge their inner carnivore—particularly when we think of a bleak future with nothing but quinoa and steamed broccoli. But Kate Ramos, who created the blog ¡Hola! Jalapeño! with the goal of merging authentic ingredients and flavors with modern preparations, has our back. Taking that philosophy, Ramos has written her Plant Powered Mexican: Fast, Fresh Recipes from a Mexican-American Kitchen , published by Harvard Common Press, it’s a lushly photographer book with recipes that are so wonderful it’s easy to forget there’s nary an animal protein anywhere in her book.
Instead, Ramos offers us such dishes as Chileatole (a thick soup) with Masa Dumplings and Lime Crema, Potato and Collard Greens, Crispy Tacos with Ancho Chile Crema, and my personal favorite–One-Pan Cheesy Rice Chile Relleno Casserole.
In her first chapter, Ramos tells us what’s in her pantry, providing us with an entrée into the world of chiles, peppers, oils, spices, herbs, and Mexican cheeses as well as the equipment she relies upon. The latter are simple enough. Just a comal (but she notes you can use a cast iron skillet instead) and a molcajete and tejolote, a volcanic stone mortar and pestle for grinding spices and making chunky salsas. As for the ingredients she commonly uses, I’d be willing to bet that many of us have such items as black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, kosher salt, and coriander in our spice drawer already. That just leaves a variety of dried chile powders—ancho, guajillo, arbol, and habanero as well as a few other ingredients that can be bought as needed. Unlike many entrees into a new cuisine, Ramos keeps it simple and inexpensive.
Six of the remaining chapters are divided into cooking methods—slow cookers, stovetop, grills, and oven. Instant Pot aficionados will be very happy to hear that there’s an entire chapter devoted to recipes using the beyond popular small kitchen appliance. Ramos cooks out of a small kitchen and says she’s never been enamored of kitchen equipment until, that is, she fell in love with her Instant Pot. Besides, its ability to cook beans—a common ingredient in Mexican cookery–quickly, Ramos offers a selection of recipes she’s developed for quick dinners for busy home cooks like Black Bean Enchilada Casserole, Smoky Tomato Tortilla Soup, and her Loaded Sweet Potatoes with Lime Crema, Sofrito Beans, Roasted Kale, and Chives.
The recipes I made all worked without me having to make tweaks to salvage them. That’s a plus because I have encountered recipes that haven’t been tested or at least not well evaluated before being included in a cookbook. If I have one complaint about Plant Powered Mexican it’s that the font is small so instead of just glancing at the recipe while cooking, I often had to pick up the book to be able to read the directions. It’s a small complaint and shouldn’t stop anyone who is interested in plant-based cooking from purchasing this well-written cookbook.
Vegan Picadillo Tostadas with Rice and Peas
For the tostadas
12 6-inch corn tortillas
For the picadillo
2 tablespoons avocado or sunflower oil
1 medium white onion chopped
2 medium carrots chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
3 small Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced
1 pound plant-based beef
1 recipe Magic Spice Mix see below
1 ¼ cups Gluten-free beer or vegetable broth
½ cup frozen peas no need to thaw
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 cups steamed rice
1 large avocado diced
1-2 medium jalapeños thinly sliced
To make the tostadas: Heat the oven to 350°F. Once the oven is ready, lay the tortillas directly on the oven racks with plenty of room around them for air to circulate. (I put six on the top rack and six on the bottom in my oven.)
Bake for about 15 minutes, turning the tortillas halfway through, until they are very crisp and crack if you break them. Look for a light brown color, no darker than the shade of a roasted peanut. Remove the tortillas to a serving platter.
To make the picadillo: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, and potatoes. Cook until the garlic and onions start to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the plant-based beef and spice mix, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until the beef is browned, about 3 minutes. Add the beer or broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer the picadillo for about 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Stir in the peas and parsley, and cook for about 1 minute.
To Serve: Spread ¼ cup of rice on a tostada, and top with ¼ cup picadillo. Pass the garnishes at the table.
Magic Spice Mix:
Mix 1 tablespoon guajillo chile powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon ground coriander, ½ teaspoon dried epazote or oregano (preferably Mexican) together in a small bowl until evenly combined. Use immediately or keep in a container for up to 1 month.
Chilled Avocado Soup
FOR THE SOUP:
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
2 cups cold water
2 small Persian cucumbers
2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
FOR THE FAIRY DUST
1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup popped amaranth
1/4 cup edible flower petals, such as nasturtium, pansies, marigolds, or cornflowers
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
To make the soup:
Blend soup ingredients. Add avocado, water, cucumbers, scallions, chile, lime juice, cilantro, oil, and salt to a blender. Blend until smooth.
Chill. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until completely cold, at least 2 hours.
To make the fairy dust:
Combine. Add the sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, amaranth, flowers, and cumin seeds to a small bowl. Mix gently.
Serve. Ladle the cold soup into bowls and sprinkle fairy dust over the top.
Known as “the gumbo of the Bluegrass,” burgoo is a meat stew consisting of a variety of meats that were often smoked as that’s one of the ways they preserved food back then. The list of ingredients included at least one “bird of the air” and at least one “beast of the field.” The latter could include squirrel, ground hog, lamb, pork jowl, and rabbit. Added to that were whatever vegetables (think corn, tomatoes, turnips, potatoes, carrots, onions, okra, and lima beans) were either in season or still stored and edible in the larder. Sometimes oysters, oatmeal and/or pearl barley were thrown in as well. Schmid also includes, among his many burgoo recipes, one that feeds 10,000 which calls for a ton and a half of beef (I’m not including it but if you’re expecting a huge crowd over email me and I’ll send it) and another that makes 1200 gallons.
“Often you’ll find this dish paired with one of the Commonwealth’s other favorite exports, bourbon, and the state’s distinctive barbecue,” writes Schmid, who immersed himself in archives of early cookbooks.
He takes us back to the days of Daniel Boone, uncovering forgotten recipes of regional dishes and such lost recipes as Mush Biscuits and Half Moon Fried Pies. There are numerous recipes for burgoo starting from early pioneer days, each unique depending on the region, food tastes, and what ingredients were easily sourced. Burgoo was an early community dish with people coming together to prepare it in vast amounts for celebrations.
Women would gather for peeling parties which meant endlessly peeling and dicing vegetables while men would stir the ingredients as they simmered in the huge pots throughout the night, most likely with sips of bourbon to keep them enthused about the task. Whether women got to sip bourbon too, we can only hope so. But in an age where water wasn’t safe to drink and even children were given wine, cider, small beer, and the dregs of their parents sweetened spirits to drink, I’m guessing so.
The Mysterious Name of Burgoo
As for the name burgoo, well, no one, not even Schmid is sure where it comes from.
“It may have described an oatmeal porridge that was served to English sailors in the mid-1700s, or it may have come from the small town of Bergoo, West Virginia,” Schmid hypothesized. The word might also be a slur of bird stew or perhaps bulger; it could also be a mispronunciation of barbecue, ragout, or an amalgam of the lot. If the oatmeal story is true, burgoo continued as a military staple as it became a hearty stew for soldiers who could travel light and hunt and gather ingredients ‘from wild things in the woods’ once they stopped moving for the day—so they did not have to move the supplies from one location to another.”
Of course, a hearty burgoo demands a great bourbon drink and Schmid offers quite a few of those as well. One name I’m particularly taken with is called Kentucky Fog, presumably because over-consumption left one in a fog. Other great names for bourbon drinks mentioned in the book are Moon Glow, Bourbaree, and the Hot Tom and Jerry.
The following recipes are from Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon.
1 quart Kentucky bourbon
1 quart strong coffee
1 quart vanilla ice cream
Combine the ingredients in a punch bowl and serve.
1½ ounces bourbon
2 ounces cranberry juice
2 ounces orange juice
2 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice
Pack a tall glass with crushed ice. Add the cranberry juice and the orange juice. Add the maraschino cherry juice. Then add the bourbon. Stir well with a bar spoon and garnish with 2 maraschino cherries and a straw.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Brown the stew meat with the herbs and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients, except the cornstarch, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for at least 3 hours. Adjust seasonings to taste and thicken with cornstarch.
Spoonbread with Bourbon
2 cups water, boiling
1 cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 egg yolks, beaten
3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons lard
1 tablespoon bourbon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Boil the water; add the lard and butter; to this mixture add
the cornmeal, egg yolks, and baking soda. Stir in the buttermilk and stiffly beaten egg whites. Add the bourbon and pour into a buttered casserole dish. Bake for 35 minutes.
Original Kentucky Whiskey Cake
5 cups flour, sifted
1 pound sugar
1 cup brown sugar
¾ pound butter
6 eggs, separated and beaten
1 pint Kentucky bourbon
1 pound candied cherries, cut in pieces
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound shelled pecans
½ pound golden raisins, halved, or ½ pound dates, chopped
Soak cherries and raisins in bourbon overnight.
Preheat oven to 250–275 degrees F.
Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat well. To the butter and egg mixture, add the soaked fruit and the remaining liquid alternately with the flour. Reserve a small amount of flour for the nuts. Add the nutmeg and baking powder. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Add the lightly floured pecans last. Bake in a large, greased tube pan that has been lined with 3 layers of greased brown paper. Bake for 3–4 hours. Watch baking time carefully.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Richard Hougen was the manager of the Boone Tavern Hotel of Hotel and Restaurant of Berea College and the author of several cookbooks, including Look No Further: A Cookbook of Favorite Recipes from Boone Tavern Hotel (Berea College, Kentucky), Hougen includes the recipe for Boone Tavern Cornsticks. He notes at the bottom of the recipe, adapted here, how important it is to “heat well-greased cornstick pan to smoking hot on top of the stove before pouring in your batter.
Boone Tavern Hotel Cornsticks
2 cups white cornmeal
½ cup flour
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons lard, melted
Preheat oven to 450–500 degrees F.
Sift the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder together.
Mix the baking soda with the buttermilk, and then add to the dry ingredients; beat well. Add the eggs and beat. Add the lard. Mix well. Pour the batter into very hot well-greased cornstick pans on
top of stove, filling the pans to level.
Place pans on the lower shelf of the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Move the pans to the upper shelf and bake for an additional 5–10 minutes.
Family memories, times together, food, family, and friends–all come together in Phil Potempa’s newest cookbook.
My friend Phil Potempa writes these encyclopedia-sized cookbooks based upon growing up on a farm and his years—still counting—as a food and entertainment columnist, currently for the Chicago Tribune Media Co. Well, his latest, Back From the Farm: Family Recipes and Memories of a Lifetime Vol. 4, is no different. I didn’t weigh it but it’s hefty and thick with 576 pages. Chocked full of recipes, photos, and anecdotes, the book is a compilation of Phil’s food and entertainment columns that takes us from growing up on the family farm in La Pierre, Indiana to hanging out with celebrities and everything in between such as local baking contests, chef interviews, chili cook-offs, ethnic celebrations, and readers’ favorite recipes.
“There are a lot of ways to read these books,” Phil tells me, noting that some people tell him they go straight to the index and look up the celebrity names while others leaf through the book, stopping at recipes that look interesting and still others are intrigued by stories of Potempa’s farm relatives. After all, who could resist recipes with such names as “Granny Wojdula’s Nine-Day Sweet Pickles,” “Jim Nabors’ Mom’s Split Green Pea Soup,” “Bob Hope’s Favorite Chicken Hash,” or “Blondie Wappel’s Favorite Pink Champagne Cake,” which implies that Blondie must have had several recipes for cakes made with pink Champagne. Now that’s really drilling down on an ingredient.
San Pierre, for anyone—and that’s most of us—is a small dot on the map consisting of less than 200 people according to Wikipedia. It’s where the Potempa still spends time with his family (he also has a place in Chicago) and is the center of Indiana’s mint growing industry and where the North Judson Mint Festival is held every year. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Services third nationally for spearmint production and fourth for peppermint production. Much of their mint ends up as oil and is sold to Wrigley, Colgate Palmolive, and Proctor & Gamble for use in their products. In other words, when you brush your teeth with a spearmint flavored toothpaste it might have come from San Pierre which is some 50 miles away.
Asked what his favorite story was, Potempa names Phyllis Diller, a housewife from Lima, Ohio who hit it big as a comedian in her late 30s and had a career that continued on until her death in 2012 at age 95. Her schtick included donning a fright wig for wild blonde hair, downplaying her good looks with bad make-up, and, with a cigarette in a long holder, cackling out jokes about her life including her poor domestic skills. She was considered the first woman stand-up comedian and like Joan Rivers, another first in the field, was expected to make fun of herself to be successful.
“One of her lines was that she used a smoke detector as a way of timing her dinners, when it went off, she knew the food was ready,” recalls Potempa. “In actuality, she was a great cook.”
Indeed, Diller opened a food production business, though as far as I can figure she only sold cans of her chili which came in three varieties—beef, chicken, and vegetarian. But don’t look for it in the grocery store and even Amazon doesn’t carry it as her food company is closed now. But the recipe for her chili is a popular search item on Google and is included in Potempa’s book.
The two both shared a love of cooking and Diller helped Phil with his first From the Farm cookbook.
Describing her as his first celebrity interview, Potempa says that over the years when she was performing in Northwest Indiana or the Chicago area she would invite he and his family to attend her shows and then visit her backstage afterwards.
“She was really a friend, I’ve been to her home and it was so wonderful to see my cookbooks in her fire red kitchen,” says Potempa about one of his visits to her home in the tony Brentwood, California city near Los Angeles.
Another fav story was told to him by his good friend Russ Adams, a 1978 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, who worked at the Strongbow Inn, a Valparaiso Restaurant that was started by Adams’s grandparents on the site of their turkey farm and for more than 75 years was a favorite stopping point for dinner no matter what time of year. Adams recalled when Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda came into the kitchen to see what was going on. He’d ordered a turkey sandwich and told Russ to “load it up! And make it like you’re making it for your brother.”
Russ also told him about the time his Grandma Bess was at the hostess stand sometime in the late 1950s and came face-to-face with a portly man waiting to be seated, who looked very much like Oscar winning actor Charles Laughton. When Bess mentioned how much he resembled the famous actor, he told her, in a very cold and stiff English accent: “Madam, THAT is because…I AM CHARLES LAUGHTON.”
Interestingly, Colonel Harlan Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, frequented the Strongbow Inn whenever he was in Northwest Indiana visiting his key local fast-food franchises says Potempa. Popcorn King Orville Redenbacher of the popcorn powerhouse ate there every year when he’d return home. In all, the restaurant served more than 250,000 pounds of turkey a year but one of the most requested recipes from the place that Phil received was for their Blue Cheese Dressing.
Phil wrote in one of his columns that he never expected to get the dressing recipe with its secret combination of ingredients because the Strongbow Inn restaurant used to bottle and sell their dressing in their lobby waiting area, displayed on a rack near a small freezer where a frozen version of their signature turkey pot-pies and gravy could also be purchased. But with its closing that changed and the recipe is below as are several others.
Phyllis Diller’s Chili
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 pound ground beef (chuck is good)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped (see note)
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 or 3 dashes tabasco sauce or to taste
1 (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans s & w kidney beans, undrained
Garnishing – if desired
1 white onion, chopped
2 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, breaking it up, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
While the beef is cooking, peel and chop onion. Set aside. Core and chop bell pepper. Set aside. Peel and mince garlic cloves. Set aside.
Once the beef is cooked through, add the onions, bell pepper and garlic. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 3 or 4 minutes.
Stir in the seasonings and tomatoes. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the chili until it begins to thicken slightly, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Stir in the kidney beans with their juices. Simmer an additional 10 minutes or until heated through.
Adjust to taste.
Peggy’s Easy Beef and Noodles Supper
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
2 quarts water (divided use)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups chopped celery
2 teaspoons mixed seasoning blend, like Mrs. Dash
6 teaspoons beef bouillon paste (or equivalent using cubes)
1 (16-ounce) bag of Amish egg noodles (grocery shelf variety, not frozen)
Heat oil in bottom of a large soup pot and lightly brown beef and onion. Add 1 quart of water and simmer for 1 hour. Add carrots and celery, beef base and seasoning blend and add remaining 1 quart of water and simmer 1/2 hour. Finally add dry noodles and cook according to instructions, about 1/2 hour. More water can be added as needed during cooking time.
Makes 10 servings.
Blondie Wappel’s Favorite Pink Champagne Cake
Makes 18 servings.
1 (16.25-ounce) package white cake mix
1-1/4 cups pink champagne
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites
3 or 4 drops red food color
Pink Champagne Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
3-3/4 to 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup pink champagne
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 or 4 drops red food color
For the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together dry cake mix and champagne in a large bowl; add oil, egg whites and food color and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Lightly grease and flour the bottom of a 13-inch by 9-inch shiny aluminum pan. Note: The baking temp has to be adjusted for glass, dark or nonstick pans or alter baking times and pan prep according to the directions on the cake mix package.
Pour cake batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 29 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, cream butter with an electric mixer in a medium bowl and gradually add the rest of the frosting ingredients, beating at medium speed until the frosting is of a smooth consistency. Spread frosting evenly over cooled cake.
Decorate as desired, including possible garnish with pink and white sugar crystals.
Forbidden Apple Cake
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 sticks Imperial margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups unpeeled apples, cored and diced (a firm, slightly tart baking apple is best)
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
1 cup golden raisins (can be soaked in 1/2 cup good rum for one week for a “sinful” addition)
Powdered sugar for dusting.
Note: Seal rum-soaked raisins in a glass container at room temperature for one week, ahead of time. If using the rum version, omit cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 10-inch bundt or tube pan with non-stick cooking spray. Beat oil with margarine. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add apples to flour mixture and stir a few times to coat. Add raisins and nuts, if using, to egg/oil mixture. Stir flour/apple mixture into egg/oil mixture until well blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 75 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes, invert onto cake plate. When completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar. Makes 10 slices.
Strongbow Inn Bleu Cheese and Garlic Dressing
Makes 5 cups
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon oregano
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 cups vegetable oil
Cheesecloth and string
1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
Prepare a piece of cheesecloth cut into a small square.
Combine salt, pepper, sugar, oregano and garlic, wrap in cheesecloth, fasten, and tie. Use a mallet or rolling pin to slightly pound the contents of the tied cheesecloth.
Place the cheesecloth bundle in a large quart-canning jar. Pour 1 cup of the cider vinegar over the spice bundle, seal jar and allow spices to steep overnight on kitchen counter.
Remove spice bundle, squeezing out excess liquid before discarding bundle.
Add three cups vegetable oil to vinegar mixture to fill jar and drop in the crumbled bleu cheese.
Store dressing in refrigerator and stir well before serving.
Philip Potempa can be reached at email@example.com or mail your questions: From the Farm, PO Box 68, San Pierre, Ind. 46374.
Noted chef Jamie Oliver has introduced a cookbook full of recipes for making memorable meals easily.
Minimizing your time in the kitchen and maximizing your time with friends and family is what Jamie Oliver’s newest cookbook, Together, is all about. There are recipes for entire meals such as his Taco Party–Slow Cooked Pork Belly, Black Beans and Cheese, Homemade Tortillas, Roasted Pineapple and Hot Red Pepper Sauce, Green Salsa, Chocolate Semifreddo, and Tequila Michelada or you can select one or more of the 130 recipes in this fascinating book with its lush photos. Oliver, being British, offers some unique recipes such as Wimbledon Summer Pudding, Bloody Mary Crumpets, and My Maple Old Fashioned.
My Sumptuous Beef Bourguignon
Burgundy, Bacon, Button Mushrooms & Shallots
3 pounds beef cheeks, trimmed
4 large carrots
4 stalks of celery
4 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 fresh bay leaves
1 small pinch of ground cloves
3 cups Burgundy or Pinot Noir
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
6 slices of smoked bacon
7 ounces shallots
14 ounces button mushrooms
½ a bunch of Italian parsley (½ ounce)
GET AHEAD Chop the beef cheeks into 2-inch chunks. Wash, trim and chop the carrots and celery into 11/4-inch chunks. Peel the garlic and onion, then roughly chop. Place it all in a large bowl with the mustard, bay, cloves, a generous pinch of black pepper and the wine. Mix well, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
ON THE DAY Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Pour the contents of the beef bowl into a colander set over another bowl. Pick out just the beef and pat dry with paper towel, then toss with the flour. Put a large casserole pan on a medium heat and melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. In batches, brown the floured beef all over, turning with tongs and removing to a plate with any crispy bits once browned. Tip the veg into the pan, and cook for 10 minutes, or until starting to caramelize, stirring occasionally and scraping up any sticky bits. Return the beef to the pan, pour over the reserved wine and 3 cups of boiling water, then bring to a simmer. Cover with a scrunched-up sheet of damp parchment paper and transfer to the oven for around 4 hours, or until the beef is beautifully tender, topping up with splashes of water, if needed.
TO SERVE When the beef is perfect, turn the oven off. Slice the bacon, then place in a large non-stick pan on a medium-high heat. Peel, chop and add the shallots, tossing regularly, then trim and halve or quarter the mushrooms, adding to the pan as you go. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden, stirring regularly. Finely chop and toss through the parsley leaves, then pour the contents of the pan over the bourguignon and season to perfection, tasting and tweaking.
CHICKEN, SAUSAGE & BACON PUFF PIE with ENGLISH MUSTARD, LEEKS & WATERCRESS SAUCE
2 slices of smoked bacon
2 chicken thighs (3 ½ oz each), skin off, bone out
2 pork sausages
2 small potatoes (3 ½ oz each)
2 heaping teaspoons English mustard
2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk
3 ¼ oz watercress
11 oz pre-rolled puff pastry
1 large egg
GET AHEAD You can do this on the day, if you prefer. Slice the bacon and place in a large shallow casserole pan on a medium heat. Chop the chicken and sausages into 11/4-inch chunks, and add to the pan. Cook until lightly golden, stirring regularly, while you trim and wash the leeks, peel the potatoes, chop it all into 11/4-inch chunks, then stir in with a good splash of water. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the leeks have softened, stirring occasionally, scraping up any sticky bits, and adding an extra splash of water, if needed. Stir in the mustard and flour, followed by the broth, then the milk. Bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes on a low heat, stirring regularly, then season to perfection, tasting and tweaking. Carefully pour everything through a colander to separate the filling from the sauce. Pour the sauce into a blender, add the watercress and blitz until smooth. Spoon the filling into an 8-inch pie dish with 7 tablespoons of sauce. Let everything cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
TO SERVE Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Brush the rim of the pie dish with olive oil. Cut the pastry into 3/4-inch strips, using a crinkly pasta cutter if you’ve got one, then arrange over the dish – I like a messy lattice. Eggwash all the pastry, then bake the pie for 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is piping hot. Gently heat up the watercress sauce to serve on the side.
Peel 1 lb of root veg of your choice, chop into ¾ –1 ¼ -inch chunks and cook for 20 minutes with the leeks, potatoes, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the leaves from ½ a bunch of thyme (1/3 oz). Use veg broth with the milk, top up with ½ cup of sauce on assembly, then finish in the same way.
TANGERINE DREAM CAKE
A pleasure to make, this cake is joyous served with a cup of tea – make sure you pack your flask. Any leftovers crumbled over ice cream will also be a treat. I like to make the whole thing on the day, but you can absolutely make the sponge ahead and simply store it in an airtight container overnight.
1 cup soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
8 oz liquid honey
2 cups self-rising flour
1 ¾ cups ground almonds
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
6 large eggs
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
Optional: plain yogurt, to serve
ON THE DAY Preheat the oven to 350ºF and generously grease an 8-cup non-stick bundt pan with butter. Place the remaining butter in a food processor with the honey, flour, almonds and vanilla paste. Crack in the eggs, finely grate in the tangerine zest (reserving some for garnish) and blitz until smooth. Pour the mixture into the bundt pan, scraping it out of the processor with a spatula, then jiggle the pan to level it out. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Sift the confectioner’s sugar into a bowl, then squeeze and stir in enough tangerine juice to make a thick drizzle. Pour or spoon over the cool cake, easing some drips down the sides in an arty way, then sprinkle over the reserved zest. Peel the remaining tangerines and slice into rounds, to serve on the side. A spoonful of yogurt also pairs with it very nicely, if you like.
CLASSIC CAKE: Don’t worry if you don’t have a bundt pan, a 10-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper will work just as well.
Whether he’s in the hood or in an international city, Snoop Dogg says he’s got to eat and over three decades of performing around the globe, the famous rapper has learned to adapt dishes from what he grew up eating as well as recipes he’s discovered on the road. He shares these in his cookbook, Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen.
Place the bologna on a cutting board and cut one slit from the middle to the edge of each slice.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Swirl the skillet to cover the bottom
completely. When the skillet is hot and the foam has subsided, add the bread. Lightly toast for about 2
minutes per side, or until golden. Transfer to a cutting board and spread the mustard on one slice of
Return the skillet to the heat and add the bologna in a single layer. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the edges are golden and crisp. Flip the bologna and top each slice with the American cheese. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until the cheese starts to melt.
Place the fried bologna and cheese on the toasted bread slice without mustard and top with as many chips as you and your sandwich can handle.
Close the sandwich, placing the other bread slice, mustard-side down, on top. Go to town.
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
8 slices thick-cut bacon
Preheat the oven to 400°F, with a rack in the top third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place a wire rack on top of the foil, and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Lay the bacon slices on the rack. Spread the brown sugar mixture evenly over the bacon.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking. The bacon is done when it’s crispy and glazed.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool the bacon for 5 minutes on the rack. Serve warm.