This Dame Cooks A Collection of Recipes from Alaska to the South Pacific and Caribbean

Liver and Onions Italian Style

08.02.2013 · Posted in Main Dishes

Liver & OnionsIn the 1970s there was a terrific diner in the hard-hat area of San Francisco that served grilled calves liver steaks about 3/4 inch thick with gobs of sautéed onions, horseradish sauce and mashed potatoes.  I still remember the succulent caramelized flavor on the outside and the moist, tenderness on the inside of that medium-rare liver steak.  This was he-man food for construction crews.  It definitely wasn’t that shoe-leather that Mom cooked with heavy gravy that could only be masked with lots of French’s mustard.  But after all, liver is a good source of protein and iron and easy on the pocketbook so back in the day liver for dinner once or twice a month was not uncommon.

Over the years I’ve developed this flash method of sautéing liver and onions with a bit of lemon juice, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and some sage. It’s very similar to the Tuscan and Venetian style of preparing liver.  The acid of the lemon removes the gaminess of the liver and the Worcestershire sauce adds a little kick.  Served with polenta and garnished with garlic chives this is lighter in calories yet still filling.  The secret to tender liver is thin slices, flash-fried and rested while the onions sauté and you make polenta.  Dinner is ready in 30 minutes easily.

You don’t have to be a liver oficionado to like enjoy this dish.  Try this cheap meal.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1 lb. calves liver, rinsed and sliced 3/8-inches thin, 3-4 inches long
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon or 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried sage or marjoram
  • parsley or chives for garnish
  • 4 servings polenta prepared according to package directions

Method:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add oil.
  2. Salt and pepper liver slices and place in one layer in skillet.  Don’t crowd the slices.  As soon as the last slice is in the skillet start turning the first slices.  Cook no more than 30 seconds to 1 minutes on both sides.  Remove the liver slices to a plate.
  3. Saute the onions in the same skillet until fragrant, salt and pepper to taste, cover, turn onions every 5 minutes until caramelized, about 20 minutes total.  Remove the onions to the plate of liver.
  4. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire and sage to the skillet to stir to deglaze.  Return the liver and onions to the skillet and stir to distribute the lemon sauce.  Heat just until warmed through about 3 minutes, remove from heat and serve over polenta or mashed potatoes.

 

 

 

Update on Container Herb Garden

07.02.2013 · Posted in What's New with This Dame

DSCF0912All the herbs I planted are lush with foliage.  The self-watering containers made from milk jugs and vinegar bottles did their job.  They’re sitting on the side of house that gets full afternoon sun – just enough direct sun to keep them green.  The mint has absolutely gone crazy even with the leaves I pinched off for drinks and cooking and a couple starts I gave to friends.  We love mojitos here.

The thyme, tarragon and sage is ready to thin out also.  I’ll  bundle and dry some for my spice cupboard and maintain the rest in the containers for cooking.

DSCF0913DSCF0917  The cherry tomatoes are producing really sweet juicy orbs and the Roma tomato is loaded with blossoms so it shouldn’t be too long now to see those on the vine.  I have a new dehydrator that a friend of mine built and I’m looking forward to some sun- dried tomatoes in olive oil.

 

 

 

 

 

The basal is healthy and the beef-steak tomatoes finally have a few blossoms.  I have a mosquito net ready to cover the tomatoes if the birds get too rambunctious.  DSCF0916

Lettuce and scallions will grow year round here so next up is making more containers for greens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is pretty easy stuff and low maintenance once set up.  I encourage everyone to grow something you can eat…

 

 

Quick Seafood Pasta

06.12.2013 · Posted in Main Dishes

Seafood Pasta

Seafood Pasta

Italian pasta with simple or complex sauces is universal fare now-a-days.  The variety of pasta shapes is numerous also; everything from bow-ties, little hats, manicotti, gnocchi, and sea shells to linguini, spaghetti, fettuccine, and paparadelle noodles.  You can’t pick up a magazine without seeing a pasta recipe with a new twist, they simply are everywhere.  Even before the Romans, Italy grew the durum wheat for pasta.  The Romans baked their pasta rather like lasagna. However, it was some time before Italians boiled pasta.  Marco Polo is responsible for re-introducing pasta to Italy in a new form… Chinese noodles.  For a more complete history of Italian pasta and tomato sauce, go to http://lifeinitaly.com/food/pasta-history.asp

This quick and easy pasta sauce is ready in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta to al dente.  The mix of seafood includes squid, crab, shrimp, mussels and steamer clams.  Mixed seafood is available in most supermarket freezers or at your local fish monger.  This sauce also works with flaked marlin, swordfish, halibut, or tuna.  Get creative and add one of your favorite ingredients… perhaps capers, sweet peas, ramps, mushrooms, or cardoons.

Ingredients: – makes 4 servings

  • 1 pound pasta noodles
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 pound mixed seafood
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 scallions, chopped tops and bulbs
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced (about 4 cloves)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 sprig tarragon, chopped or ½ tsp dried tarragon
  • Pinch of marjoram or oregano
  • Couple dashes of Tabasco sauce or red pepper flakes to taste
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Method:

  1. Bring large pot of water with 1 Tbsp salt to a boil.
  2. Cook pasta in boiling water until it is al dente.
  3. Drain and hold.
  4. In a skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter until it froths.  Add the scallions, garlic, shallots, and seafood.  Sauté until aromatic and the shrimp are pink, about 3 minutes.  The seafood will be slightly undercooked at this point.  Remove from skillet.
  5. Add wine to the skillet and reduce to half, about 6 minutes.
  6. Slowly add cream, whisking gently so that the cream thickens.
  7. Add tarragon, marjoram, salt and pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Stir  in seafood to combine.
  8. Toss with boiled noodles, plate, pour the remaining sauce over, and garnish with the parsley.

Navajo Fried Bread and Chili with Chorizo Sausage

05.25.2013 · Posted in Breads, Main Dishes, Recipes

Chile and Navajo BreadAnother rainy day in paradise complete with thunder that just about makes you jump out of your skin.  Hurricanes are swirling around Puerto Rico so its time to get out the lanterns, replenish the water supply and cook up some staples.  The Western side of Puerto Rico will probably just get the tail winds but it’s still a bit unnerving.

Comfort food is the ticket to soothe those frazzled nerves.  This chili is made with locally made  chorizo sausage, 3 kinds of mild chilies and red beans.  Make it as spicy hot as you like with jalapeno, habanera or cayenne but if you like your chili mild just use chili powder. In any case, it really goes down easy with Navajo fried bread…crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  Whether you use the fried bread for a scoop or pile the chili on the bread and top it with lettuce, cheese and guacamole it is to die for. You can also split it open and fill the pocket with taco ingredients or honey and butter.  Yes, fried bread is just as good as a sweet pastry as it is a vehicle for savory bites.  Try it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream – WOW!

Fried bread is easy to make, doesn’t require any yeast or kneading, and puffs up like a pita bread.  You can pat them out to 5-inch in diameter or roll them out larger.  The thinner they are the faster they fry but the smaller the pockets.  Olive oil is not recommended because it will not hold up to high heat.  Use a vegetable oil suitable for deep frying.  Use a 10-inch skillet with 1/8 to 1/4-inch of oil in the bottom.  Heat the oil to 350° F. or hot enough to cause bubbles to rise when a tiny piece of dough is dropped into the oil.

Ingredients for 4 Navajo Fried Breads:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 to 1 cup tepid water
  • vegetable oil for frying

Method:

  1. Heat a skillet and oil over medium high heat.
  2. In a small bowl, place flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk to combine.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water and mix together with a spoon.  Add enough of the remaining water to form a soft ball of dough.  Don’t over work the dough.
  4. Lightly flour your work surface and place the dough on the flour.  Divide the dough into 4 even pieces.  Flour your hands and pat each piece of dough into a 4 or 5-inch disk.
  5. Fry each piece for 1 minute on each side until golden brown.  You may need to lower the heat if the bread fries too brown too quickly.
  6. Remove fried bread to paper towels.  If your oil was the right temperature there should be very little oil absorbed by the towels.

Check out this video demo

Check out my recipe for Chili with Homemade Turkey Sausage Just substitute chorizo or hamburger for the Turkey Sausage.