Monday, May 28, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Quail Sinatra-Style, with Stuffing and White Wine Sauce

Our local grocery's staff is beginning to look forward to my Soprano-inspired visits.
I'm becoming good for a laugh.
This week was no exception.

Artie Bucco is a bit more chatty than Carmela is.
It's just as well he never got into 'The Business'.
Loose lips sink ships is still a good motto.
And no one wants to sleep with the fishes.

Anway, Artie has a chapter about his training and his own creations.
In Mia Cucina, he explained how he got his inspirations.
Sophia Loren.
Marriage Italian-Style.
Okay...  Sophia inspired a lot of things.

Quail Sinatra-Style was inspired by Frank Sinatra singing Luck be a Lady.
Go figure.

Artie's secret ingredient is sun-dried tomatoes.
Tomato paste can do in a pinch.

Back to my local butcher...
My request for quail cracked him up.
He directed me to the cornish hens.
Okay...  a small bird is a small bird.
He also explained the Italian-style fennel pork sausage is mild, not hot.
He doesn't totally want to lose me as a customer.

Oh, and I left the wing tips and legs as is.

                        Quail Sinatra-Style

Preheat oven to 375º

Rinse and pat dry 
8 fresh or thawed quail
Tuck the wing tips under the backs

Remove the sausage meat from
8 ounces Italian-style fennel pork sausages
2 Tablespoons very finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
Stuff the meat mixture into the quail.
Tie the legs together.
Put the quail in a flameproof covered casserole that is large enough 
to hold the quail in a single layer.

1 Cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
Cover and bake 1 hour.
Uncover and bake 40 minutes, basting 3 times, until the meat is browned.
Transfer the quail to a serving platter.
Cover and keep warm.

Place the casserole over a medium flame.
Simmer, stirring, until the liquid is reduced to a glaze.
Spoon the sauce over the quail.

Sprinkle over the quail
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Serve immediately.

Would I make Quail Sinatra-Style again?
Sure, using cornish hens.
Maybe I'll even try the stuffing with a roasting chicken.
If Artie can experiment, so can I.

One recipe down.  Ninety-five more to go.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dump Cake with crushed pineapple and cherry pie filling l Dump Cake with Eggs l Flavour Variations - Margaret Ullrich

When you're right, you're right.
Where's a quick dessert to go with the
Seven Layer Dinner?

Here's a quickie.

And it bakes at the same temperature as the Dinner.
No, Ma didn't make it.
She drew the line at cake mixes.

If you don't have such scruples, this is a handy recipe to have.

                        Dump Cake

Preheat oven to 350º
Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan

Melt in a small pot
1/2 Cup margarine or butter

Dump into greased 9x13 inch pan and spread evenly
1 can crushed pineapple DON'T DRAIN
Over this spread evenly
1 can cherry pie filling
Sprinkle over and spread evenly
1 package yellow cake mix
Sprinkle over top of cake mix
1 Cup chopped pecans
Drizzle melted margarine or butter over all.
Mix together.
Bake 45 - 55 minutes.

                        Dump Cake with Eggs

Preheat oven to 350º
Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan

Melt in a small pot
1/2 Cup margarine or butter

Dump into greased 9x13 inch pan and spread evenly
1 can apple pie filling
Sprinkle over and spread evenly
1 package vanilla cake mix
Pour over top of cake mix
3 beaten eggs
Drizzle melted margarine or butter over all.
Mix together.
Bake 35 minutes.


Vanilla cake mix works with peach pie filling
Yellow  cake mix works with cherry pie filling
Lemon cake mix works with blueberry pie filling
Spice cake mix works with apple pie filling, topped with cinnamon sugar

Chocolate cake mix works with raspberry or cherry pie filling
Drizzle with hot fudge sauce!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Anna Sultana's Seven Layer Dinner (casserole recipe)

Lately stores have been having 'case lot' sales.
And 'buy one, get one free' sales.
Gotta love those sales!!

Okay... now to cook that stuff.
Especially before the veggies turn into compost.

But who wants to slave in the kitchen now that Spring is finally here?
Winters in Manitoba are long enough.
And the yard is calling.
I mean, the garden isn't going to plant itself.

Ma didn't just learn how to make Rouladen when we lived in College Point.
There was a popular casserole recipe floating around in the 50s.
You probably remember it.
If you don't - or aren't sure of the order - here it is.

Life's too short to stay in the kitchen.
An easy dessert to bake with this is Dump Cake.

                        Seven Layer Dinner

Cook and drain
1 1/2 pounds ground beef

Mix together
1 can tomato soup
1 can water

Preheat oven to 350º
Grease a casserole dish

In the prepared casserole dish place in the following order
3 potatoes, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/4 Cup uncooked rice
1 Cup peas
the cooked ground beef
the tomato soup / water mixture
Cover and bake 1 1/2 hours.
Uncover and bake another 1/2 hour.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Anna Sultana's Rouladen (German Style Simmered Beef Rolls)

Got a few emails after I posted Carmela Soprano's Braciole.
I had mentioned that it's similar to the German recipe Rouladen.
So, folks asked, what's this Rouladen?
Think of it as the German Braciole.
You just can't keep a good idea down on the farm.
Or just in Cooking the Neapolitan Way.
How did Ma know about Rouladen?
We lived in College Point, an Irish / German town.
The grocery store there, like the grocery stores here in Winnipeg's North End, 
catered to its customers.
No fancy stuff, like prosciutto.
But, they did have thinly sliced steaks packaged and sold for Rouladen.
They were also perfect for making Bragoli. 

One day I had eaten Rouladen at a friend's home.
I told Ma about it.
Ma asked my friend's Mom for the recipe.
Which she shared.
As Moms do.
Then pickles and potatoes were on sale.
Well, need I say more?

This recipe serves four.
But, it's easy to double.

Halve and then thinly slice into half rings 
1 onion

Cut in half lengthwise
2 large dill pickles
Place on a board
4 thin slices beef round, flank or top butt (about a pound) 

Brush each steak with 
mustard (Deli is nice)
Season with
Salt and pepper

Cover with
4 slices bacon (1 on each steak)
the prepared onion slices
a prepared pickle slice

Fold 2 opposing sides in towards the center, forming a rectangle.
Roll up each rectangle like a sausage and tie with a string.
In a dutch oven heat
4 Tablespoons oil
the rouladen
Cook, turning the meat until it is browned on all sides.
Drain the fat.

1/2 Cup dry red wine
1 1/2 Cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours, turning the meat occasionally.

When meat is almost done, combine
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water
Remove the rouladen from the broth.
Stir the cornstarch water into the broth.
Return the rouladen to the thickened broth and heat through.

Serve the rouladen with mashed potatoes seasoned with nutmeg.
Also serve either cooked vegetables or a salad.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Anna Sultana's Queen Elizabeth Barley Water Drink for Skin Care

Ma's Queen Elizabeth Cake is becoming popular.
Guess everyone wants to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.
Well, it is easier - and cheaper - to bake a cake, than to fly to London.

When Prince Charles and Lady Diana got married, lots of folks baked something fitting, such as scones, to have something proper to munch while watching the fun on the telly.
Same thing happened when William and Kate got married.
It is an easy and cheap way to feel like part of the fun.

Back to those care packages from Malta...
There was also a recipe for Barley Water.
Apparently Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, along with the Queen Mum, 
drank this regularly.
It was supposed to help them keep their lovely complexions.
No Clinique in those days.

Now before you laugh Barley Water off, consider this:
I also enjoy this drink.
I just turned 62.
A couple of weeks ago I went to buy something to remove a small age spot.
The beautician asked what line of skin care products I use.
Clinique, Olay, Nivea? 
Nope.  Just Vaseline lotion for dry skin.
She was surprised.

Could there be something in the barley water that boosts Vaseline's power to 
the level of Clinique's?

Barley Water can't hurt.
And it's really easy and cheap.
Something that I like.
Something that would also appeal to Queen Elizabeth II, a fellow Taurus.

                        Queen Elizabeth Barley Water

In a dutch oven place
1/2 Cup pearl barley
2 1/2 Quarts boiling water
Cover and simmer 1 hour.

2 lemons
6 oranges
Squeeze and keep the juice, including the pulp.
Discard the rinds of 1 lemon and 4 oranges.
Slice the rinds of the remaining 1 lemon and 2 oranges.

Strain the water from the barley into a bowl.
the sliced rinds
3/4 Cup sugar (brown or white), more or less
Cool liquid.
Strain into a pitcher.
Add the fruit juice.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Anna Sultana's Other Bragoli with Leftover Pork and Bread Crumbs

A little over a year ago I posted Ma's recipe for Beef Olives / Bragoli.
Well, that was one recipe for Ma's Braġoli.
That recipe calls for ground pork, chopped ham and bacon.

Ma had another recipe.
It's a little simpler.
A recipe she pulled out when she was using up a bit of leftover pork.
No ham.

And more of a budget stretcher.
It calls for bread crumbs to soak up some of the flavor and make it look 
like the meat serving is bigger.
You eat with the eyes first.
If you see a big enough portion, you feel fuller.
And maybe lose a few ounces.

They're both good recipes.
Why not try both?

In a large dutch oven fry
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 pound bacon, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Cup bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
2 Eggs

Place between 2 pieces of plastic wrap
8 thin slices boneless beef round (about 2 pounds) 
Pound gently to about 1/4 inch, or as thin as possible.
Remove the top piece of plastic.
Put some of the pork mixture in the middle of each portion and roll up like a sausage.
Either pin each roll with a toothpick or tie closed with a string.

In a dutch oven heat
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
Remove the onions.

In the same dutch oven add
2 Tablespoons olive oil 
Fry the bragoli, turning the meat until it is browned on all sides.
the fried onions
1 Cup dry red wine
Cover and simmer 1 hour, turning the meat occasionally.

Serve the braġoli with either pasta or pan fried potatoes.
Also serve either cooked vegetables or a salad.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Braciole / Stuffed Beef Rolls in Tomato Sauce

Last weekend we watched the movie Sex and the City on TV.
Not the second movie.
The good one.

Anyway, when I saw Kim Cattrall rolling up raw fish sushi rolls, then posing as a human platter with sushi on her naked body - a little something to spice up Valentine's Day - I got to thinking.

It was time to try something new.
We were getting in a rut.
Night after night.
Same old, same old.

Yep, it was time for a change.
Time to try something like I'd seen on Sex and the City.
Time to make some beef rolls.

The Sopranos Family Cookbook has a fine recipe for Braciole (Stuffed 
Beef Rolls in Tomato Sauce) in the Cooking the Neapolitan Way chapter.
Sorry, Carmela.
The recipe, and its variations, is a little more popular than that.
I know it's similar to the German recipe Rouladen.

About the prosciutto...
My local grocers are beginning to wonder about me.
Last week it was the truffles.
Big laughs.
Now I'm asking for prosciutto?
Ain't gonna happen here.

Okay... think this through.
Prosciutto is dry cured ham.
Just ham.
Not something weird that fell from Mars.

Braciole is very similar to my Ma's Bragoli
In her Bragoli, Ma added pork, ham and bacon.
Got it.
Stuff the beef with something from a pig.

I bought some good quality bacon.
I used a slice for each beef roll.
So there.

This recipe serves four.
Since it's going to cook for 2 hours, you might want to make a few extra.
The math is easy.
Kill two meals with one cooking.

Place between 2 pieces of plastic wrap
4 thin slices boneless beef round (1 pound) 
Pound gently to about 1/4 inch, or as thin as possible
Remove the top piece of plastic.

1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons grated Romano cheese
2 Tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Spread the spice/cheese mixture over the beef slices.
Cover with
4 thin slices prosciutto
Roll up each slice like a sausage and tie with a string.
In a dutch oven heat
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
the Braciole
Cook, turning the meat until it is browned on all sides.
1 Cup dry red wine
Simmer 2 minutes.
Remove the garlic.
4 Cups tomato puree
4 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Cover and simmer 2 hours, turning the meat occasionally.
If the sauce is too thick, add water.

1 pound ziti or penne
Serve the sauce over the hot pasta as a first course.
Serve the Braciole as a second course.

Would I make Braciole again?
With bacon.
Hey, I didn't get any complaints.
And I served them with the spaghetti.

One recipe down.  Ninety-six more to go. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Anna Sultana's Risotto, Maltese Style, with Variations

Risotto is a fairly simple recipe.
If you don't use champagne and truffles, as Carmela did in her recipe.
Time consuming, but easy.

For special occasions, Ma would make some.
But, it had to be a special occasion.
A really special occasion.

Ma served risotto as a side dish.
It went further that way.
Usually a cup of raw rice stretched to 6 servings.
Ma made sure of that.


In a saucepan simmer over very low heat
5 Cups beef broth

In a dutch oven heat over medium heat
2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped fine
Cook for 2 minutes.

1 Cup rice, medium-grain or whatever you have
Stir for 1 minute.

1/2 Cup of the broth
Continue cooking, stirring until liquid is absorbed.
Repeat with the remaining broth, 1/2 Cup at a time.

After about 20 minutes, the liquid should all be absorbed, yet the rice will be al dente,
tender yet firm to the bite, moist and creamy.
If it's dry you can add water.
Taste and add if necessary
Salt and black pepper

Place risotto in serving bowl.
Top with
grated romano or parmesan (if desired)
Serve immediately.

Ma never used a truffle.
But she knew how to jazz up her risotto.
Sometimes she even made a whole meal out of it.

While cooking, add to your risotto any of the following:
chicken livers
fish, mushrooms and peas
beans and chopped vegetables
marrow, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and butter
marrow, mushrooms, saffron and butter
ham, mushrooms, green peppers, saffron and diced tomatoes

The last two recipes are also good without the saffron.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Risotto with Truffles and Champagne

The Queen and Mother's Day got me thinking about The Sopranos.
I don't know why.
Maybe it's early dementia.

It was fun cooking my way through Carmela's Entertaining with the Sopranos.
No, really, it was.

Last February I posted a recipe for Tomato Sauce from The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
Yes, the Sunday Gravy recipe.
It also includes a recipe for meatballs.

The post got quite a few visits.
And a few requests for the recipe for Ma's Tomato Sauce.
Which I also posted.

The Sopranos Family Cookbook has a total of 99 recipes.
Some seem like a slight variation of a recipe in Carmela's Entertaining with the Sopranos.
But, that still leaves quite a few recipes to try.
Or at least look at.

Risotto with Truffles and Champagne, as written in the Cibo D' Amore chapter, is a basic recipe.
Supposedly it was from Adriana.
On a hostess's salary?
I don't think so.
It has Carmela written all over it.

About the truffle...
If you are using a jarred truffle, chop it fine and stir it into the risotto.
If it's a fresh truffle, spoon out the cooked rice onto two plates, then, with a vegetable peeler, shave the truffle over the risotto.

My local grocers cracked up when I asked if they had truffles.
No fresh.
No jarred.
Hey, this is Winnipeg, north end.
I bought a large brown mushroom.
I chopped it fine and stirred it into the risotto.
So there.

This serves two.
Feeding more than two?
Do the math.

                        Risotto with Truffles and Champagne

In a saucepan combine
2 Cups beef broth
3 Cups water
Simmer over very low heat.

In a dutch oven melt over medium heat
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/4 Cup minced shallots, or onion
Cook for 5 minutes.

1 Cup medium-grain rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
Stir for 1 minute.

1/2 Cup Champagne or dry white wine
Cook, stirring, until most of the wine is absorbed.
1/2 Cup of the broth
Continue cooking, stirring until liquid is absorbed.
Repeat with the remaining broth, 1/2 Cup at a time.
If you are using a jarred truffle, add the liquid to the rice.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
After about 20 minutes, the liquid should all be absorbed, yet the rice will be al dente,
tender yet firm to the bite, moist and creamy.
If it's dry you can add water.

Stir in 
1 Tablespoon butter
the prepared jarred truffle
Serve immediately.

Would I make Risotto with Truffles and Champagne?
With a large brown mushroom and dry white wine.
Hey, do I look like Carmela?

Two recipes down.  Ninety-seven more to go. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Anna Sultana's Mother's Day Brunch: Baked Bread Pudding

Time sure does fly.
We were just talking about Wills and Kate's first anniversary. 

Don't worry.
They're not expecting a gift.

But next week is Mother's Day.
And, yes, she IS expecting a gift.

A staple of comic strips and sit coms is the Mother's Day Brunch.
The kids cook up something awful.
And, of course, they make a huge mess.

Somebody thinks this is a laugh riot.
Somebody who's not a Mom.
Somebody who's not going to clean up the huge mess.

Okay... the kids remembered last year's shows.
They want to make a big breakfast for their Mom.
I know, if they were starving, they wouldn't wash an apple.
Now they think they're Martha Stewart.

You know better.

My Ma knew better, too.
The night before Mother's Day she'd prepare this.
We just had to take the prepared stuff out of the fridge. 
And put the pan in the oven.

Even we could handle that.

This is a great easy brunch dish.
To honor a great Mom.

                        Mother's Day Brunch: Baked Bread Pudding : Baked Bread Pudding: Baked Bread Pudding: Baked Bread Pudding

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish

In the prepared pan overlap about 
12 slices of bread (Whatever you have.  Ma used old Italian bread.)

In a bowl, combine
5 eggs, beaten
2 1/12 Cups milk
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pour over the bread.

Sprinkle over the bread
2 Cups blueberries or apple slices

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning
Remove the pan from the refrigerator.
Remove the cover from the pan.
Preheat oven to 400º
Put the pan in the oven. 
Bake 40 minutes. 
Put a hot mat near the oven.
Remove the pan from the oven and put it on the hot mat.

Yes, leave a note telling the kids how to do this part.
Trust me.

Happy Mother's Day!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Anna Sultana's Queen Elizabeth Cake (Date and Walnut Cake) l Brown Sugar Coconut Topping

Time sure flies.
It's been a year since Wills and Kate got married.
I can remember when Princess Di showed off her bundle of joy.

I wonder if Kate smirked when she said, "For richer, for poorer."
What, like they'd lose a castle or two?
Never mind.
They looked adorable.
They kissed twice on the balcony.
Her sister's rear end made world news.

And this year we're celebrating Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee!!
On Oxford Street 147 Union flags have been unfurled.
On June 3 up to 1000 boats will sail along the Thames to honor the Queen.

And, in Winnipeg, I'm going to bake my Ma's Queen Elizabeth Cake.

I don't know when Ma got this recipe.
When I was a kid, my folks often got care packages from Malta.
Sometimes my relatives included newspaper clippings.
One of them must have had a recipe for this cake.
Maybe it was invented when Queen Elizabeth was crowned. 

No matter.
It's a great cake.
To honor a great Queen.

                        Queen Elizabeth Cake

Preheat oven to 325º
Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan

In a bowl place
1 Cup pitted dates, cut up
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Cup boiling water
Set aside.

Sift together
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts

In a large mixer bowl beat until creamy
1/4 Cup margarine

Beat in 
1 Cup sugar

Beat in
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir in date mixture.
Stir in sifted ingredients with the walnuts.

Turn into prepared pan.
Bake 45 minutes (it's almost done).

While the cake is baking, prepare

Brown Sugar Coconut Topping

Combine in a saucepan
1/3 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons margarine
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 Cup unsweetened dried coconut
Stirring constantly, simmer over low heat 3 minutes.
After cake has baked 45 minutes, spread topping on cake.
Return cake to oven for another 10 minutes.
Topping will bubble, but will not brown.

The Brown Sugar Topping is also good on other cakes.
Just remember to spread it on 10 minutes before the cake is done.

I'm sure Queen Elizabeth wouldn't mind.