Retro Recipes and Traditional Fare

greek orzo salad 020When I lived in Fargo, I used to love going to Santa Lucia restaurant for a big Greek salad. It was a plate filled generously with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta and kalamata olives. The colorful mix was dressed with a nicely seasoned vinaigrette. I could easily make that salad a meal. It’s been several years since I’ve had an opportunity to dine at Sanat Lucia, but I’ve often thought of that delicious salad.

The other day I had cooked chicken in the refrigerator. It was meat remaining from my experiment grill-roasting chicken, one propped on a can of beer, another placed right on the grill rack over a shallow pan of water and lemon juice. I was interested to know how the flavor and juiciness would differ.

My pick is the chicken placed over a pan of liquid and cooked over indirect heat. It really is the juiciest and most flavorful chicken I’ve ever eaten. The rub of spices and olive oil on the skin and under the skin of the chicken certainly helps it along. My husband says it’s just as good as the Greek-style chicken he would sometimes have on our visits to Omega restaurant in Niles, IL — moist and juicy with a hint of lemon.

Read more ...

roastbeefappThis is one of the simplest recipes but always a crowd pleaser. Everything can be picked up at the grocery store – unless you’re in the mood to roast your own peppers – and assembled quickly at home. The recipe can easily be increased to make as many servings as your gathering requires. Trader Joes makes a great Fire Roasted Red Bell Pepper if you happen to have one nearby.

Rare Roast Beef with Boursin and Red Bell Pepper Appetizers

Makes 12 pieces

12 slices dark pumpernickel bread or rye cocktail bread

1/2 cup Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs cheese, at room temperature

6 thinly sliced pieces deli rare roast beef, cut in half

1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or dill

Fresh ground black pepper

1. Spread each piece of bread with 2 teaspoons of Boursin cheese and place piece roast beef. Top with 3 pepper strips and sprinkle with thyme or dill and a few grinds of black pepper. Refrigerate for up to 3 hours and bring to room temperature before serving.

Read more ...

ImageThere is something indulgent about starting the day with a cup of rich dark coffee, (no cream or sugar, thank you), and a big, warm, moist scone that is loaded with dried apricots and a generous amount of big chunks of nuts and maybe, sometimes, still-soft morsels of dark chocolate that melt on the tongue with each bite.

But, the coffee must be aromatic and wonderful. These days, my morning coffee is French press. And the scone, well, it can’t be just any old scone.

The scones I eat must be my own homemade variety. Yes, they are full of fat. That’s why they are pure indulgence. And, that’s why I make them only as a special treat once in a while. But, it is the fat that makes them so moist and flavorful.

Read more ...

cherry_almond_puff_021.jpgFebruary is zipping right by. The days are getting longer, the sun is shining, the temps have been mild. I’m enjoying a mid-winter high. In just a couple of weeks, though, March will arrive with gray days, dirty snow, more snow, ice — all things that make the month of March in Minnesota my least favorite time of the year.

I’ve decided to celebrate the sunshine of today with a batch of Cherry Almond Puff. I began the process with an old recipe for Almond Puff that I got years ago from a friend of mine who lives in Bird Island, Minnesota. I haven’t made it in years, but was reminded of it when I was having coffee with someone the other day who told me about this great dessert she had made for a neighborhood get-together. I recognized it as Almond Puff.

Since February is National Cherry Month, I made a filling with dried cherries and almond paste. Yes, I’m still finding ways to use almond paste.

Read more ...

caperdip.jpgThis weekend in the United States we celebrate Labor Day.  A holiday that originated in the 1880's to give the working citizens of America a day of rest. 

I think for Americans it is a more significant celebration of the end of summer. 

It's not Labor Day (or any holiday) unless I have some type of "dip".  It doesn't matter what kind, just as long as it exists in some shape or form in my kitchen.

Yesterday I was having a terrible salt craving so I opted for something with capers to satisfy the urge.  I make this Lemon-Caper Dip in two versions, low-fat and full-of-fat.  Of course my husband prefers the full-of-fat version but it's easy to make either way and is only a matter of switching out one of the ingredients. 

I made the lower-fat version this time using yogurt but for the full-of-fat version just substitute mayonnaise for the yogurt, it's really good that way too.

Read more ...