May 14, 2011

Texas or Vidalia Onion Dip

Mix equal parts of sliced onions, mayonnaise and your favorite shredded cheese together in an oven-proof bowl. Bake covered, at 350 degrees F, for 30-45 minutes, or until onions are soft. Serve with rye Triscuits, pita chips and sliced apples. Absolutely scrumptious!

January 11, 2011

Beefy Tortilla Soup

Beefy Tortilla Soup is a twist on Chicken Tortilla Soup, and it started out with a “desperate” interpretation of Ropa Vieja, a dish that’s famous in South Florida’s best Cuban restaurants.
Start to finish: 12 minutes

Yield: 6 servings


•5 cups La Nueva Ropa Vieja (3 cups broth and 2 cups meat/vegetable mixture), defrosted if frozen, recipe follows

•2 cups water

•1 can (141/2 ounces) diced tomatoes seasoned with onions and garlic (see cook’s note)

•1 can (15 ounces) black beans

•11/2 cups frozen yellow corn kernels

•Juice from 1/2 lime

•2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

•1 teaspoon sugar

•1/2 teaspoon onion powder

•1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

•1/4 teaspoon black pepper

•6 tablespoons crushed baked tortilla chips, or more to taste

•Optional toppings: shredded Mexican-blend cheese or cheddar, reduced-fat sour cream, avocado chunks

Cook’s note: Any type of seasoned, diced tomatoes that contains garlic can be used.

Bring the broth, water, shredded beef with its vegetables, the tomatoes with their juices and the beans with juices to a boil over medium-high heat in a 41/2- quart Dutch oven or soup pot. Stir frequently.

Add the corn (no need to thaw, but rinse away any ice crystals), lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, onion and garlic powders and black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer at a slow boil, stirring frequently, until the soup has heated through and the flavors blend, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare any optional toppings.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with the chips and any other desired toppings and serve at once.

Laurie's notes: Try it with The Produce Box tomatoes, garlic and corn!

La Nueva Ropa Vieja

This mild dish is comforting to the max with its thin broth seasoned by tomatoes, green pepper and spices. It's called ropa vieja (old clothes) because the beef is simmered to tender perfection and then shredded, making it look like rags. We're calling our version La Nueva Ropa Vieja (New Old Clothes), and although it's not the original dish of Cuban grandmothers, it comes pretty close.

You can freeze the leftovers.


1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
½ cup water
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1 large onion (for about 1 cup slices)
2 pounds skirt or flank steak (see note)
1 red bell pepper (for about 1 cup pieces)
1 green bell pepper (for about 1 cup pieces)
1 (14 ½ -ounce) can diced tomatoes, seasoned with garlic and olive oil (see note)
2 cups cooked rice, for serving
Put the tomato sauce, water, bay leaves, vinegar, garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper into the slow-cooker. Stir to combine. Peel the onion, and cut it into quarters. Thinly slice the onion quarters, and add them to the cooker. Place the beef over the onions, and spoon some of the liquid over the meat. (If you are using skirt steak or flank steak, there will be several thin pieces, and they will overlap in the pot.)

Rinse the bell peppers, and discard the seeds and membranes. Cut the peppers into quarters, then thinly slice them and add the pieces to the pot. Pour the diced tomatoes with their juice evenly on top. Cover the pot and cook on low until the meat is so tender that it practically falls apart, about 8 hours if using skirt or flank steak or 10 hours if using sirloin or chuck.

About 20 minutes before serving, cook the rice.

Before serving, remove the beef and vegetables from the slow-cooker to a large serving bowl. Use two forks to pull the beef into shreds. There should be some cooking juices in the bowl; if not, add about 1/2 cup juices. Stir to mix the beef and vegetables. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve all but 2 cups of the beef- vegetable mixture over a bed of hot rice.

Serves 4 generously, with about 5 cups (total) leftover beef mixture and broth.

Note: Sirloin steak or chuck roast also can be used. The exact seasoning for the diced tomatoes doesn't matter as long as you choose a type that includes garlic. Petite diced tomatoes and no-salt-added varieties also work.

To store the leftovers: Refrigerate the remaining 2 cups of the beef mixture in a large, covered storage container. Pour all of the cooking juices (just over 3 cups) into a separate container and refrigerate overnight to let fat rise to the top. Discard the fat from the broth, and then add the remaining broth to the beef-vegetable mixture. Freeze for up to 1 month (or the mixture may be refrigerated for up to 3 days). Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, or use a microwave oven according to the manufacturer's defrosting instructions.

from Desperation Dinners

Laurie's notes: I subbed Produce Box garlic, tomatoes and peppers. The peppers were frozen whole; the tomatoes were diced and sauteed with garlic and olive oil, back in August, then frozen. Cuban food is typically mild and sweet. We like spicy food, so I added a diced Poblano and six diced Serrano peppers (also frozen back in August.)

October 29, 2010

Anniez Ethiopian Aleecha Vegetable Stew

1/2 cup olive oil
1- 10 oz bag shredded carrots, washed and drained
3 Tbsp minced garlic
3 yellow onions, slivered
2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp ground cumin
3 Tbsp ground turmeric
5 white potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 head cabbage, shredded

1. In skillet, heat oilve oil over medium-high heat. Cook carrots, onions and garlic about 5 minutes

2. Stir in salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric and potatoes and cook another 15-20 minutes.

3. Add cabbage; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are soft, about 20-30 minutes more.

Unstuffed Cabbage

12 oz ground turkey, chicken, beef or tofu crumbles
5 cups coarsely shredded cabbage
2- 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with garlic & onions
1/2 raisins
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. Coat large non-stick skillet with non-stick spray. Over medium-high heat, brown meat or tofu, breaking up with wooden spoon. Add Cabbage; cover and cook 3 minutes, or until wilted.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. Good with rice.

Woman's Day, September 18, 2001

October 17, 2010

Pattypan or Scalloped Squash

Mrs. Turner's Squash Skillet

½ cup Onion -- chopped
½ cup Pepper, Bell -- chopped
2 cup Squash, Patty Pan -- cubed
2 med Tomatoes -- quartered or smaller
2 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Sugar
¼ tsp Pepper, Black
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Flour, Plain

Saute onion and green pepper in butter. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add squash and tomatoes and cook only until tender.

You can tell that this is a truly Southern recipe because sugar is added to vegetables. Sugar is added to everything here, EXCEPT the cornbread. Cornbread, by the way, is the perfect accompaniment to this squash dish. Anyway, if you feel uncomfortable adding sugar to vegetables, don't do it or add less, which is what I do. The squash will still be good.

Here are some other things I know about summer squash. You may substitute any summer squash in any summer squash recipe. There will be subtle taste and consistency issues, but the recipe will not fail or taste terrible. With that in mind here is one of my favorite summer squash recipes. It is good with the patty pan squash. I tried it last year. I copied it from Bay Tables which is a Junior League cookbook of my mother's. See, I'm still not giving any of my recipes. My mother must have been right about me.

Basil Couscous with Summer Squash

2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup couscous
1 cup zucchini -- 1/4" dice
1 cup squash, yellow -- 1/4" dice
1 cup basil -- slivered
1/4 cup Almonds -- toasted and sliced

Bring the chicken stock and 1 tbsp of olive oil to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in salt and couscous. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 5 minutes. Saute the zucchini and yellow squash in the remaining oil. Add vegetables, almonds, and basil to couscous and mix well. Serve immediately.
Or carve out centers of zucchini or squash and steam shells. Fill with couscous. Sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.

from Twice Bloomed Wisteria

August 17, 2010

Scuppernong grapes- yummy sweet inside, with a tough, chewy hull.

A little trivia-

It’s North Carolina’s state fruit, it tastes delicious and it’s an emerging nutrition superstar. Native to North Carolina, scuppernong and other muscadine grapes are grown in the backyards of many Eastern North Carolina homes. They are among the richest sources of antioxidants found in nature. Muscadine grapes are a leading food source for a potent cancer-fighting substance called resveratrol. A theory about why resveratrol is protective in humans and animals is that our genes respond to plant defensive chemicals in a beneficial way. Plantings of native muscadine grapes, also known as scuppernongs, are relatively pest resistant and thrive in the hot, sandy conditions of the coastal region. The coastal climate necessitates resistance to disease, viruses, bacteria, pests and mold. The plant’s adaptation to these conditions has developed unique properties that have significant health benefits for those who consume the muscadine grape.

The scuppernong is a greenish, or bronze, variety of muscadine. At first it was simply called the Big White Grape. During the 17th and 18th centuries cuttings of the mother vine were placed into production around Scuppernong, a small town in North Carolina. The name Scuppernong originally comes from an Algonquin Indian name, Ascopo for the sweet bay tree. Ascupernung, meaning place of the Ascopo, appears on early maps of North Carolina as the name of a river in Washington County that runs into the Albemarle Sound. By 1800 the spelling of the river had become Scuppernong. Soon the name of the town and river came to be applied to the grapes grown in the area. In this roundabout fashion, ascopo, the Algonquin word for sweet bay tree became scuppernong, the word for a variety of wild grape.

Here's the best way to enjoy these delicious grapes:
Pinch the grape between your fingers, with a firm grip and hold the scuppernong with the blossom end inside your mouth, (the indented side), a little more than halfway in. Push down with your top and bottom teeth. This will pop the pulp out of the skin. Enjoy the sweet, juicy fruit and throw away the seeds and the hull.