Retro Recipes and Traditional Fare

oneeggomeletAs with many good things, a cherished recipe resulted from an accident.

My wife wanted an omelet for breakfast and we had only one egg in the refrigerator. That egg was an especially good, farmers' market egg, but it did not have a companion and my wife was used to having a two-egg omelet.

Many solutions came to mind.

Go to the market to buy more. That seemed like too much trouble with a cup of coffee already brewed and waiting on the dining room table next to the Sunday New York Times. Use a lot of milk as "filler." But the resulting omelet would have been more like a custard than what my wife likes, a very firm cooked egg.

So, I did the only thing any guy would do in the circumstances. I punted.

If I was short an egg, well, I'd compensate with a lot more filling, hoping my wife would be distracted by all the goodies so she wouldn't notice the paucity of "egg."

Read more ...

mockmashchickenHolidays can be treacherous times for anyone trying to shed weight…unless you’ve learned how to fill yourself up and fake yourself out with The Skinny versions of the foods you crave!

And if you’re craving mashed potatoes with your turkey dinner, or just want them as part of a simple supper, this is a recipe that delivers in taste and texture…but has only a fraction of the calories and none of the fat.

Mashed potatoes made with milk and butter can have as much as 200 calories a cup. But a cup of “mock mashed” made with nutrient rich cauliflower has less than 30!

I didn’t invent the brilliant substitution of cauliflower for spuds–that’s a trick I learned from The South Beach Diet years ago…

But by changing the cooking technique–microwaving the cauliflower rather than steaming it (which made it too wet!)–and using just a wee bit ofSmart Balance Light Butter Spread and fat-free half and half, the dish is now quicker, easier, requires much less clean-up AND has much better flavor and texture..which means I can serve it to the pickiest of eaters!

Read more ...

cucumbersalad.jpgCool as a cucumber…and on the hottest of summer days, a refreshing and cool treat is hard to pass up. Thinly sliced, set on ice, and seasoned with a dash of basil, salt, and pepper, this easy breezy salad is sure to be a hit at your table…it is at this Farmer’s table!

With summer in full swing, produce is bountiful and delicious, and sometimes, the best way to enjoy the bounty is through a simple yet very elegant salad. Shallots or Vidalias make for lovely complements to this dish and a bath of white balsamic vinegar is the perfect dressing. I sweeten the vinegar with “just a spoonful of sugar” and this step actually adds a depth of flavor and volume as well, contrasting the bitter, salty, and tangy of the onions, cucumbers, and vinegar. If you love onions, go with Vidalias…if you like onions, stick with shallots for a milder flavor – it’s a winner either way. A few leaves of basil, shredded or julienned add that marvelous dose of flavor that only fresh garden herbs can…the small leaves of African Blue basil are tres magnifique yet any good basil will do!

This strikingly beautiful dish has a special place in my heart, for it is one of the first things I ever learned how to prepare. The soft green and cool white of the cucumbers, their opalescence of sorts, the ice chips, the crisp onions and sharp vinegar made for a sensual dish – engaging sight, smell, taste, and touch.

Read more ...

ValGumboMaking gumbo is a ritual in my family. We make it when the New Orleans Saints play their first game of the season. We make it after Thanksgiving. We make it Super Bowl Sunday. We make it for just about any occasion that falls between Friday and Sunday, since it gets better every time we heat it up and we want those three days to enjoy it.

Gumbo is the reason for the big variety of hot sauces in my fridge. It's also one of the reasons I work out at least an hour every day. And it reminds me of when my family lived in Shreveport, Louisiana.

It's no accident that all of the food I'm passionate about leads back to family. It was Faith Ford, a born-and-raised Louisianan, though, who first introduced me to the food from the Creole State. She made an amazing gumbo, along with mind-blowing black-eyed peas that are a Southern tradition on New Year's Day. They're thought to bring good luck and wealth.

But it wasn't until my youngest brother, Pat, married his wife, Stacy, who is also from Louisiana, that we all became gumbo zealots. You get a good sense of the two of them as soon as you find out their recipe begins with a six-pack of beer---and those are for the cooks (they assume at least two cooks) to consume as they make the gumbo.

Read more ...

bestcoleslawIt’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching Labor Day weekend – the summer just flew by. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), Labor Day is one of the most popular holidays for barbecuing - after 4th of July and Memorial Day.

So most likely, if you’re not hosting a gathering, you’ve been invited to one. No other side dish embodies a cookout quite the same as coleslaw. When made correctly, it’s the perfect accompaniment to savory barbecued meats and vegetables.

The trick is to create a crisp salad with fresh vibrant flavors that isn’t too sweet or too soupy. This is one of my favorite “dressings” for coleslaw. It can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to toss with the cabbage and veggies.

Read more ...