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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Remembering Mother

By Judy Eichner Growing up in Manhattan was an education in itself.  I never realized how much of an education until I met people from other States and Western Europe.  My mother’s family came from Eastern Europe and when she married my dad at the ripe old age of 18, she knew as much about cooking as a toddler does.  She was determined to learn how and by the time I was married she had become one of the best cooks I had ever known. In honor of her and all the mothers around the world, I am sharing two of her favorite recipes…they are mine, too. Linguini with Scallops              1 lb. bay scallops 1 bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 tablespoons) 1 large clove of garlic Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg Pinch of ground ginger Salt Freshly ground white pepper 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter ¼ cup of heavy cream ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 1 lb. of linguini Wash scallops thoroughly under cold water and drain well.  Put them in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Start a large pot of water to boil, covered. Chop enough parsley to yield ½ tablespoon.  Chop the garlic and grate the nutmeg and ginger.  Add the parsley, garlic, nutmeg, ginger, salt and white pepper to the mixing bowl holding the scallops.  Toss well.  Taste the marinade and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.  Let the scallops sit in the marinade until ready to cook. When the water comes to a boil, drop in the linguine and stir once or twice with a fork.  Cook according to package directions, or until the pasta is cooked al dente. Drain the pasta. Set the skillet over a medium flame and wait 1 minute; then add…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Time for Easter Dinner: Let’s Skip the Ham and Make Some Lamb…Shanks!

by Chef Charles Oppman With Easter just around the corner, it’s time to break out the lamb recipes. When we think spring lamb, most of think of that boneless roast or a bone-in leg, but let’s try something different. Of course, French cut lamb chops are wonderful, but expensive and lack flavor. Why not do lamb shanks? This is a great cut of lamb for several reasons―fairly inexpensive, bursting with flavor, soft texture and high collagen (when heated, collagen dissolves to provide flavor and gelatinous texture). A meat shank or shin is the portion of meat around the tibia of the animal, the leg bone beneath the knee. Since the leg muscles are well developed they tend to be tough must be braised or slow-baked in the oven. This recipe calls for the braising in the oven. As with any cut of lamb, the shanks are delicious with mint sauce. Please don’t resort to mint jelly. Fresh mint sauce is a snap to make. You just add mint leaves and a pinch of sugar to the natural juices. This is an easy recipe that you’ll love. One caveat, the bone in lamb shanks can be large (this is a good thing because this means more flavor) so compensate for this when judging how many shanks to cook. Ingredients 3-4 pounds of lamb shanks ¼ cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon table salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 cup onion, diced 1 cup celery, diced 2 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped 4 bay leaves 1 teaspoon thyme leaves 2 cups beef broth, canned is fine 1 tablespoon Worstershire sauce 6 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped Method In a heavy skillet or Dutch oven heat the oil over a high flame. Salt and pepper the shanks and sear in hot oil on all sides…

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Irish Colcannon – A slice of Heaven

By Grace Stewart If you have never heard of colcannon and champ, you’d be hard pressed to figure out what these are. Colcannon is a much beloved Irish mashed potato dish. It is a heavenly concoction, traditionally served on All Hallows’ Eve, with either charms or coins hidden inside it, but equally as welcome on St. Patrick’s Day. Colcannon (along with champ), is one of the 1,000 foods to eat listed in the book 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, by Mimi Sheraton. If you’ve never tried colcannon, I beg you to make this and indulge in a huge bowl of it soon! I can describe it as creamy and buttery mashed potatoes mixed with softened and boiled cabbage. Green onions (champ) are added last, along with a generous amount of pepper. A significant amount of butter should then be placed in the middle of a mound of the colcannon, to melt into it. You should go about eating the colcannon by spooning up a heap of the potatoes, along with some of the melted butter. This is heaven. INGREDIENTS 2 large Russet potatoes ¼ cabbage cored and chopped 6 green onions sliced 6 tablespoon butter split ½ cup milk salt to taste pepper to taste INSTRUCTIONS Peel and cut your potatoes into small pieces and place in a pot.  Add water to just cover the potatoes.  Add a pinch of salt, and then bring the potatoes to the boil.  Once boiling, lower the heat to medium and then simmer for approximately 10 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. Meanwhile bring another pot of water (filled about ¾ full) to the boil.  Add your chopped cabbage along with a pinch of salt, and boil for about 2 minutes.  Lower your heat to medium and simmer for another 8 minutes or so. Once your potatoes and cabbage are tender drain.  Add the potatoes…

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Valentine’s Day Decadence

By Charles Oppman With Valentine’s Day “almost” upon us, you probably need to come up with a gift for that special someone. Why not make a gift of food, but not just any food, it must be chocolate. Lovers the world over consider chocolate to be sexy, sensual and few other gifts can say “Je t’aime ma chérie” like chocolate. Ever since the Spanish Conquistadors brought this wonderful food back to Europe, chocolate has been one of the most prized foods in history and the perfect gift for special occasions. We usually just hand over chocolates that someone else made. Why not make this Valentine’s Day extra special and hand-make your gift of chocolate this year. When I think Valentine’s chocolate I think chocolate mousse. Why not? Here’s a quick and easy chocolate mousse recipe served in a chocolate cup no less. This will be the most memorable Valentine’s Day ever.  While there are more complicated recipes involving meringue and gelatin, this one will do just fine. Ingredients 1 3/4 cups whipping cream 16 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate chips OR chopped bar (reserve 4 oz. for cups) 1 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in warm water 3 tablespoon dark rum 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened The Mousse Chill whipping cream in refrigerator. Chill metal mixing bowl. Place 12 ounces of chocolate chips in metal bowl and place in a double boiler or over a sauce pan with simmering water. Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly. Remove from heat while small chunks are still visible. Cool to nearly room temperature. Taste it, if it’s too hot to taste, allow continuing to cool. Add butter, rum and coffee mixture to chocolate. It might coagulate and clump at first, but continue to stir until smooth. In the chilled mixing bowl, whip cream to…

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Jewish Penicillin aka Homemade Chicken Soup and Matzo Balls

By Judy Eichner w/Lani Gering Jewish Penicillin aka Homemade Chicken Soup and Matzo Balls              The OTC published this recipe 11 years ago and I ran across it looking for some old photos. I thought that it would be a good to reprint since we are going into “Cold and Flu” season and the lingering of the Covid variants still plagues us. Judy has since passed away and we are happy to remember her in this space. See her recipe below: Whether or not the claim that homemade chicken soup is a cure-all, also known as Jewish penicillin, its use is widespread in many cultures around the world.  Doctors have differing opinions, but most of the parent’s I know swear it’s so.  Try making the soup using the following recipe and see if it makes you feel better the next time you have a cold or an upper respiratory infection. The Chicken Soup 1 whole chicken, or 3 chicken breasts (6 pieces) 4 large celery ribs 4-6 large carrots 2 large onions Salt and pepper to taste Put all the ingredients in a large soup pot.  Use enough water to just about cover the ingredients.  Bring to a rolling boil and then lower the flame to medium and cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove the vegetables and put in a food processor or blender.  Process until the mixture is thick and the vegetable pieces are not distinguishable from one another.  Remove the chicken from the pot and cut into bite sized pieces.  Add the veggies and the chicken to the pot and slowly cook covered for about 1 to 1 ½ hours.  If it looks like a good part of the liquid has evaporated, add a container of clear chicken broth, preferably organic.  Serve with either matzo…

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Christmas Yule Log

By Charles Oppman Christmas Yule Log We’ve all seen the famous French Christmas Yule log―the bûche de Noël. A bûche is made by slathering butter cream on a sheet of pliable sheet cake called roulade, rolling it into a cylinder and decorating it with butter cream to resemble a small log. Making a bûche requires a bit of work, but it’s not beyond the skills of serious home bakers. Your family and guests will be impressed. They make great gifts too. Serves: 8 Time: 2 hours Roulade (Jelly roll cake) Ingredients 4 egg yolks, from large eggs 1/3 cup white granulated sugar 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 4 fresh egg whites, from large eggs Instructions Grease a standard jelly roll pan (about 11 x 7 inches) and line it with parchment paper or waxed paper. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. These tasks must be done prior making the roulade. Whip the yolks and sugar on medium speed until the mixture turns pale yellow and ribbons form. This can be expedited by warming the bowl intermittently over hot water or a low flame on top of the range. Once ribbons have formed, incrementally fold the flour into the yolks and sugar mixture with a curved rubber spatula. Folding is best accomplished by turning the bowl whilst you fold in the flour in stages. This provides uniform distribution of the flour. If you have only one mixer, remove this mixture to another bowl then wash and dry the machine bowl for whipping the whites. In a very clean and dry mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff and peaks form. Whipping should be done on medium speed as this will result in firmer, more stable meringue. High speed will result in a meringue that…

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Turkey and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Let’s Eat by Charles Oppman Turkey and Smoked Sausage Gumbo With Thanksgiving arriving in a few weeks, we ought to consider a recipe that is a bit more interesting than the worn out leftover turkey and veggie soup. Most Americans know that gumbo is a classic soup made famous by Louisiana chefs, but it is also rooted in African and American Indian cuisines. Okra is commonly used as a thickening agent and for flavor. The slaves brought okra with them from Africa and the Choctaw Indians of Louisiana introduced filé (a spice essential to gumbo) to early American chefs.  Gumbo came out of bayous of southwest Louisiana. There is not a single recipe for gumbo, every family and every restaurant has its own. Here’s one that I learned from a veteran New Orleans’ chef who passed away during Katrina. Try this soup, you’ll love it. Serves: 6-8 Time: 1½ hours Ingredients 2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into ¼’’ slices 4 pounds turkey parts, thighs and legs (chicken, duck or pork is optional) 1 cup each parsley, bell pepper, celery and onion; chopped ¼ cup fresh garlic, chopped 6 bay leaves 4 tablespoons tomato paste 2 tablespoons thyme leaves 3 tablespoons Worstershire sauce ½ cup vegetable oil or butter ½ cup flour Hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste Instructions In a stockpot, just cover the turkey parts with water or chicken stock. Simmer uncovered until tender, approximately 1 hour. When cooled, de-bone the turkey reserving the meat and stock. In a large, heavy pot combine the oil and flour and make a roux. Cook over medium heat and stir continuously with a whisk until the color of peanut butter. DO NOT burn the roux as this will impart a burnt flavor to the soup. If burnt, discard and begin again….

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Country Apple Tart

Let’s Eat by Charles Oppman Country Apple Tart What says autumn better than a homemade apple dessert? When the apple harvest is in it’s the perfect time to whip up everyone’s favorite dessert, an apple tart. Apple pies are fine, but here’s a treat with a twist, a one-crust tart. This dessert is not only attractive it tastes great. You can’t just use any apple for this tart. You need an apple that has the right sugar content and texture. The Granny Smith apple is the perfect choice. Almond cream (Frangipane) Ingredients ½ cup unsalted butter 1 cup confectioner’s sugar 3 egg yolks 1 cup blanched almond slivers, ground 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon salt Directions In a food processor, grind the almonds to a consistency of corn meal. Set almond meal aside. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This mixture will turn pale yellow. Mix in almond meal, salt and vanilla. Blend in egg yolks one at time until all is incorporated and smooth, creamy mixture is achieved. Refrigerate for later use. The Pastry Ingredients 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cold 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cold 2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup very cold milk, or as needed 2 cups cake flour, all purpose will suffice 1/2 cups chocolate chips, optional Directions Mix together sifted flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter and shortening into the flour until pieces are pea-size. To form dough, add milk incrementally and mix until a dough ball is formed. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Dough should be slightly crumbly, but wet enough to form a ball when compressed. Form dough into a flat disc, wrap with plastic wrap and refridgerage for at least 2 hours before rolling out. On…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Apple Pie Moonshine That Packs a Punch

Let’s Eat By Christina Hitchcock   Apple Pie Moonshine That Packs a Punch     This easy Apple Pie Moonshine recipe is an incredibly delicious cocktail. It’s always the hit of the party and everyone goes crazy for this easy moonshine recipe.  Plus, you won’t believe how easy it is to make! This recipe is crazy good!  It goes down very easy but really packs a punch.  It’s a really easy recipe that doesn’t require a moonshine still or any complicated steps.  This is really a flavored moonshine recipe. It uses grain alcohol that you purchase so it’s fairly simple to make. Make sure, though, you make it a few weeks before you plan to drink it.  It needs time to sit and mellow out before you can enjoy it. I usually make several batches at one time.  The hardest part is finding the grain alcohol.  I use an entire bottle of 190 proof Everclear for each batch, however, 190 proof grain alcohol can be hard to find.  Some states don’t sell it.  If you can’t find it, you can easily use a lower proof (151 proof grain alcohol is much easier to find) vodka or moonshine purchased from a liquor store.   This is truly the best Apple Pie Moonshine recipe you will ever try.   Remember to let it sit and mellow, though. If you try this moonshine too soon, it’s like drinking rocket fuel.  Or, at least I’m assuming that’s what rocket fuel would taste like.  I’ve never really tried it. This stuff is VERY potent, but oh, so good!   Ingredients 64 oz apple juice 64 oz apple cider 3 cups sugar 14 cinnamon sticks divided 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 750 ml 190 proof Everclear grain alcohol or the highest proof vodka you can find   Instructions Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 1 hour Total: 1 hour 5 minutes Bring the apple juice, cider, sugar, nutmeg, ground cinnamon and 8…

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Deep-Fried Soft Shell Crabs

By Charles Oppman Deep-Fried Soft Shell Crabs Now that we’re approaching the end of soft shell crab season we should be thinking about frying up a few of these fabulous crustaceans while we still have them. The soft shell crab is one of the South’s greatest contributions to American cuisine. Soft shells are a delicacy in every sense of the word. They can be sautéed or deep fried. A soft shell is a common blue crab that’s harvested during the early stages of molting, when the crab sheds its smaller shell and before a new, larger shell forms. The crab should be cooked before the new shell begins to harden.   A bit of pre-cooking preparation needs to be done. The crab needs to be cleaned.   To clean soft-shell crabs, hold the crab in one hand, and using a pair of kitchen shears, cut off the mouth and eye parts. Lift one pointed end of the crab’s outer shell; remove the gills by pulling them out. Repeat on the other side. Turn the crab over and pull off the small flap known as the apron. Rinse the entire crab well and pat dry. Once cleaned, crabs should be cooked immediately.   Only buy crabs that are alive. If they don’t move when touched, they’re dead and you won’t know when they expired. Smell the crabs. Like other seafood, soft shells should odorless or smell like the ocean. Avoid buying frozen crabs as they lose most of their body fluid when they thaw out and appendages tend to break off. Soft shells should only be consumed during the season, which varies with the latitude. Soft shells are great with French fries and coleslaw or as a po’ boy sandwich. Any po’ boy should be made on a crunchy French baguette….

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