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Friday, July 29, 2011

Dinner on the Grounds

Chloe Webb, author of Legacy of the Sacred Harp, on the left and Melinda Esco, production manager at TCU Press, on the right. Below, some of the guests at the Dinner on the Grounds.
The Bookish Frogs, a community support group for TCU Press, met at the home of Mary Volcansek tonight for dinner on the grounds, a feast usually associated with Sacred Harp or shape note or fasola singing. Yes, dinner is usually held outside, on picnic tables, or with blankets spread on the ground, but as I assured serveral nervous would-be guests, we would be meeting inside tonight. Too darned hot for dinner literally on the grounds--besides, Mary's backyard is the domain of her two feral cats. But we had the traditional bounteous feast associated with this custom, a potluck that ranged from the best lemony potato salad I've ever tasted to a tomato mozarella salad and the crunchy Asian salad that author Chloe Webb said is the reason she started shape note singing--I need more details on that story, but my friend Jim Lee declares it's the best salad he ever ate. We had asparagus and pasta salad and deviled eggs and spanikopita (all gone before I got any, but I did sneak a deviled egg before anyone began eating because I knew they would go quickly). There were spinach balls and boursin cheese and watermelon and fruit salads and simply a host of good dishes, including peach cobbler and homemade ginger snaps..
After dinner Chloe gave a brief talk on the origins of sacred harp singing and what people should expect. It is, she emphasized, participatory music and not listening music. She passed out music sheets and encouraged everyone to sing. First she and a small group of singers who had come to dinner sang Amazing Grace in fasola syllables--the melody was lovely and clear--and then she encouraged all of us to sing it in the words we know. But I got tickled when she said if you don't know what to sing, it's perfectly okay to just sing La, La, La. It was an interesting program about a musical tradition that is gaining followers across the country and undergoing a revival of interest.
Legacy of the Sacred Harp, which mixes genealogy and sacred harp history, is available from University Publishing, 1-800-826-8911.
But the purpose of this blog is not to sell books, it's to talk about food. I intended to take two dishes: I cleaned and sliced Brussel sprouts, doused with them a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted them for 15 minutes. While they were still hot out of the oven, I tossed them with a light lemon vinaigrette. And then I left them in the refrigerator when I went to the dinner. But I did take the main dish, which we know as Louella's rice. I never met Louella--she was the stepmother of my good high school friend Barbara Ashcraft--who remains dear to me to this day. Here's the recipe, although I doubled it--for the faint of heart cook this couldn't be easier.

1 cup Minute Rice
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of celery soup (since everything else in this is high cholesterol, try to assuage your conscience and use the Healthy Heart version)
1 4 oz. can chopped green chillies

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Not exactly gourmet fare, but so delicious. Barbara tells me it appears at every family meal they have--and they have a lot, since she and Don have five children and I've lost count of how many grandchildren plus they just had their first great-grandchild.
There may well be a sacred harp group in your area--you can visit, join in the singing, and, if  you're lucky, they'll have dinner on the grounds.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hardly Homemade

My guest blogger today is Polly Hooper, a member of my memoir writing class and a neighbor. From the goodies that Polly has brought to our class meetings, I know she means what she says aboiut delicious but hardly homemade food.

Semi-homemade may be trademarked by a television personality on the food channel but it could be my mantra.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a decent cook and loved cooking all day to prepare a special meal when I was much younger.  I got my own apartment at nineteen after landing my first decent-paying full time job and decided to have my family over for dinner.  I had never cooked an entire meal in my life, but how hard could it be?  I settled on sweet and sour pork.  I had ordered it at a restaurant recently and was sure it was the meal to impress my guests.  My roommate was from Mexia, Texas—a real farm girl who was raised to cook for her many younger siblings.  She found me distraught in our kitchen when she came home late from a date.  I was attempting to carve a raw pork roast into cubes to dredge in flour and fry.  I had a dull knife and a hunk of meat with some fat and gristle that would not budge.  I had carved some interesting pieces—thankfully Mae caught me just in time.  She took over with a different knife and made short work of cutting nearly perfect cubes.  Heading off to bed, she issued a stern warning about making sure the grease wasn’t too hot and said she had better not find flour and grease all over the kitchen in the morning.  Crisis averted!   The meal turned out fine if not a gourmet wonder, but I learned to be better prepared and start my cooking career with some simpler dishes.
These days although I still love good tasting and beautifully prepared food, I have so many other interests I just can’t spare the time.  So, I take shortcuts like most of us do in the twenty-first century.  Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store?  Check.  Deli prepared sides from Central Market? Check.  Restaurant takeout for the main course of a dinner party?  Check! Check!  Give me easy four or five ingredient recipes and carefully selected items to save me time, and I am a genius in the kitchen.  Well, that may overstate it a bit.

My four sisters and I frequently share recipes in our daily emails, and sometimes we include pictures.  One sister copied this idea from a catered event she hosted and now it is my special appetizer too.  Go to Costco and buy marinated mozzarella balls and some cherry tomatoes, getting the red and the yellow if available.  Stop by the grocery store and pick up some fresh basil and the party store for toothpicks with frilly ends. 
Bite Size Insalata Caprese

Tub of Costco’s marinated mozzarella balls
Fresh basil
Cherry tomatoes
Cut each tomato in half and place one half the toothpick.  Add one mozzarella ball and a folded basil leaf, ending with the other half of the tomato. Be sure to arrange them on your serving dish with all the frilly ends going the same direction.  These should be made right before you plan to serve as they are best served at room temperature and tomatoes don’t fare well when refrigerated.

 So yummy.  Add a bowl of hummus, some pita chips, the adult drink of your choice, and you have a party! 

One of my favorite go-to recipes involves buying prepared Rotisserie Chicken Salad from Costco(again! I wish they would put one on my side of town!).  I also buy a bag of dried cranberries, some celery, and pecans.
Sour Cream Cranberry Chicken Salad with Pecans

Rotisserie Chicken Salad from Costco (1 clear clamshell container)
1 bunch of celery finely chopped
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
Sour cream to taste
Mix all ingredients and chill.  Line a platter with lettuce leaves and place the chicken salad on top to serve.

It is a hit every time.  I like to serve it with fruit I buy already cut up and a green salad.  Actually Costco also has a delightful spinach salad kit that gives you no reason to make your own but you should use only use half the dressing they provide.   Voila!  A summertime meal in very little time.  When it is my turn to host Bunco or Pokeno, I am ready!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Do you cook with canned soups?

Some time ago, I wrote a memoir/cookbook, Cooking My Way through Life with Kids and Books—why I wrote it is too long a story to tell here, but it was fun to do and I was pleased with the results. A local university press that publishes cookbooks reviewed the manuscript and, after many months, sent a detailed six-page critique from a reader. The critique was like a roadmap for a revision, and I was grateful, but at one point it called my recipes “nice faux gourmet recipes.” Referring to my recipe for that standard, King Ranch Chicken, the anonymous writer claimed she never used canned soups but always made her own white sauce. The comment made me think of all the things you can do with canned soups without feeling guilty.
Canned soup recipes have probably been around as long as canned soups, and probably controversial just as long. The critic’s comment sounded like snobbery to me, but a lot of people simply prefer not to use canned ingredients. One person on a web forum about canned soups said she objected to tomato soup recipes, because they left an aftertaste. I don’t particularly like beef-based soups, like vegetable beef, and I dislike the smell when someone is heating one in the office microwave. What did I really mean by canned soups? Creamed soups, such as chicken, mushroom, and celery. But then there’s that good bacon/spinach dip recipe that calls for cheddar cheese soup (not always easy to find).
Some people object that canned soups are high in sodium and fat. Yes, but you can buy low sodium and low fat. Others simply prefer not to use canned soups and make white sauce, as the lofty critic did, or use one of the recipes for substitutes on the web.

Canned Soup Substitute
2 c. nonfat powdered milk
¾ c. cornstarch
¼ c. or less inst. vegetable bouillon
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. thyme
½ tsp. pepper
Trouble with that is, you’ve used four prepared ingredients, gone to a lot of trouble, and probably (I don’t know this for sure) produced a pretty tasteless or artificial-tasting product. There is of course a difference between canned and prepared soups, like instant vegetable bouillon or dried onion soup mix, from which almost everyone makes that sour cream dip that disappears as soon as you put it out..
Once I gave a “retro” dinner party, and we all brought dishes from the ‘50s (mine was a tuna/noodle casserole that I love!) One guest brought that dip, and one of the men looked at his wife and said, “Can you get this recipe?” She smiled and said, “I think I can figure it out.”
Neither Jacques Pepin nor Julia Child ever cooked with prepared or canned soups, but Rachel Ray does. I’m for canned soup in moderation but not to the extent I need to buy 101 Things to Do with Canned Soup or The Biggest Book of Canned Soup Recipes.
Almost everyone knows how to make King Ranch Chicken with soup, but here are a couple of less common recipes that I’m fond of.

Colin’s Queso
1 lb. hamburger
1 lb. sausage (your choice if it’s mild, medium or hot)
1 16 oz. jar Pace picante sauce (again, mild, medium or hot—you choose)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 lb. Velveeta Original (I use Light if Colin isn’t looking)
Brown meat in skillet, breaking up the chunks. Put meat in a crock pot, add remaining ingredients, and heat until cheese melts and ingredients are blended. Serve hot with corn chips. I used to put chips in the bottom of soup bowls, top them with this queso, and serve it to my kids as a one-dish meal.

Spinach-bacon Spread
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 10-oz. pkgs. chopped spinach, thawed and well drained—squeeze it by hand for best results
32 oz. Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños, shredded
1 11-oz. can cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp. Greek seasoning
½ tsp. onion power
1 tsp. Tabasco, or less if you prefer; this is pretty spicy
1 2-oz. jar diced pimiento, drained
Combine everything but bacon, pimiento and paprika. Heat until cheese melts. Stir in crumbled bacon, sprinkle with pimiento and paprika if you want. Serve hot with crackers.

Here's a quickie soup: Mix 1 can pepper pot soup with 1 can diced stewed tomatoes (without all the garic and basil and stuff they add these days). Heat for a perfect cold weather lunch.

What about you? Do you have favorite canned soup recipes? Send them to me and I'll share.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Brussel sprouts come around again

A friend recently said to me that when he was a kid, Brussel sprouts were boiled—and that was it. Perhaps a little butter, salt and pepper. He hated them, but now, he tells me, his wife has started cooking them several new ways and he’s learned to love them. I think my kids ate them but without enthusiasm and mostly because they could tease their cousin, Russell, by calling them Russell sprouts. But today these tiny green veggies are appearing in all kinds of dishes, from salads to sides. They look like tiny cabbages and are indeed the buds of wild edible cabbages.

If you’re going to cook or make salad with Brussel sprouts, be sure to trim the stem end and pull off any tough outer leaves. They’re good shredded and tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then baked at 350 for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan. When I first tried this I followed a recipe that called for baking at 425 for 30 minutes—burned them to a fare-thee-well, a phrase that always makes the Russell in my family laugh.

One of the first “different” recipes with the sprouts that I tasted was made by a friend’s mother, a woman from Canada.   She combined

1 can quartered artichokes
1 pkg. frozen Brussel sprouts (I’d use fresh today)
½ c. mayonnaise
¼ c. Parmesan
¼ c. butter
She baked it all for ten minutes. Rich but so good.

Another recipe akin to that calls for making a sauce of
2/3 c. whipping cream
2/3 c. milk
½ c. grated Parmesan
Trim 1-1/2 lb. Brussel sprouts and slice uncooked
Two cloves garlic, finely chopped
Butter a shallow baking dish. Layer sprouts, half the garlic and pour ¼ sauce over them. Continue to layer. Baked about an hour at 350.

These sprouts, which are and aren’t really sprouts, are often combined with blue cheese.

Cook 16 sprouts, cool and halve
In frying pan heat
2 Tbsp. oil, then add
2 leeks thinly sliced
1 shallot chopped
1 Tbsp. white wine
Sauté all and add Brussel sprouts to mix. Sauté 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with 2 oz. blue cheese and serve


Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in skillet
Add 2 large shallots, halved lengthwise and then sliced crosswise
1 lb. Brussel sprouts, ends trimmed and halved
1 7.4 oz. jar steamed chestnuts
Sprinkle mixture with salt and pepper and stir for a minute of so.
Add 1 c. low-salt chicken broth (the kind in a box)
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer and cook until sprouts are almost tender—5 minutes
Uncover and boil until liquid is almost gone
Add 1/3 c. whipping cream and boil until sprouts and chestnuts are coated. Stir frequently.
Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with 3 Tbsp. chopped chives (grow them in a pot on your porch—in Texas, they freeze out and then come back year after year) and
½ c. crumbled blue cheese

Want Brussel sprouts in a salad?

Slice ½ small red onion as thin as possible; dunk onion slices in bowl of cold water
Mix together
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp grainy mustard
Sea or kosher salt to taste and freshly ground pepper Let sit ten minutes. Then stir in
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Trim 6 cups Brussel sprouts and slice thinly—a mandolin would be best, but you want something that resembles a fine slaw
Put slaw in bowl, add 1 c. grated Pecorino and drained onions, toss with the dressing. Serve immediately.

This is off on a different topic, but Christian, who I’ve mentioned is seriously vegetable challenged, will eat a bag of radishes at one sitting. I happened across a pickled radish recipe and now have ten large radishes pickling in the fridge. We tried them at dinner tonight, and they were delicious. So easy to do too! No sterilizing, none of that--just vinegar, peppercorns, and I forget what else. If anyone's interested, I'll look up the recipe.

I seem to be on a kick to write about those veggies we don’t eat as often as we should Next time, maybe beets.

What happened to all those people who wanted to guest blog and send me their recipes? Please help me make this an interactive blog. I’m not much on desserts? You have a killer recipe? Send it to me, please at

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sunday night suppers

My mom used to fix Sunday night supper when I was a kid. My brother was long out of the house, so Mom, Dad, and I had supper on a tea cart that she rolled in front of the living room fireplace. We had light meals--spinach soufflé (to this day I wish I had the recipe), cheese strata, sometimes Welsh rarebit, and always a big salad. Those were calm, peaceful evenings, and I remember them fondly.

But when I had a houseful of teenagers and Mom was no longer able to cook for all of us, Sunday dinner moved to my house and could include as many as twenty people. It was rowdy, noisy, and anything but the peaceful suppers of my childhood--I loved it. Over the years various individuals have said to me that they remember so well having Sunday dinner at my house--I guess I lost track of who joined us when. But it was always my four kids, Mom, my brother and his two kids, and assorted boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. Frequently Carole and Bill, a couple I was very fond of, joined us with their infant, my god-daughter Kate (now twenty-three)--we swore Bill would never learn to stand still because he stood in the corner and bounced the baby all evening. My longtime friend Mary Lu usually joined us.

We always held hands and said the grace the chldren had learned in preschool. John would say, "Start 'em out Jame," and we'd all recite,

“God is great, God is good;

Let us thank him for this food.

By his hand we are fed;

Give us, Lord, our daily bread.”

My brother, John, made it a habit to go around the table, asking everyone to tell about their week. And then there was that notorious Thanksgiving when Megan brought a new boyfriend. John asked us all to tell what we were thankful for. Megan had brought a new boyfriend to dinner, and when it was his turn, he stood and said, "I am thankful for Megan and her beauty." Well, her siblings and cousins had to cover their mouths to keep from guffawing, and to this day someone will say, "I'm thankful for Megan and her beauty," and everyone is off in gales of laughter, Megan included.

I cooked a lot of soups, stews, and casseroles in those years. Once when I was working on a historical cookbook, I fixed hamburger corn bread from the manuscript. John looked at me and asked, "Sis, is the budget the problem?" Sometimes I fixed leg of lamb (I must have been feeling plush) or such standards as King Ranch Chicken or a Tex-Mex casserole that feeds an army. I remember stuffed turkey breasts (a lot of work) and a stuffed pork roast.

But one recipe I wish I'd had in those days is now a favorite of mine.

Tamale pie with polenta

1 lb. ground sirloin, as fat-free as possible (now I use buffalo)

1½ Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 16-oz. bottle medium hot salsa (Pace picante preferred)

1 15-oz. can refried beans (original flavor or lowfat)

1¾ c. chicken broth (preferably from organic carton rather than canned)

½ c. chopped cilantro

2 1-lb. rolls prepared polenta, sliced ¼ inch thick

3½ c. shredded sharp cheddar

Brown beef, breaking up clumps. Add chili powder and cumin. Stir briefly. Add salsa, beans, and broth. Simmer until thick, about 10 minutes. Add the cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste.

Layer half the polenta in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with sauce and 1½ c. cheese. Top with remaining polenta and then remaining cheddar. Bake uncovered at 350° for 35 minutes. Let it sit a minute before serving.

Serves 8 generously.

I still like to make an occasion out of Sunday supper. Jordan, Christian, and Jacob often join me and I try to cook things that both Christian (a challenged eater, particularly of veggies) and 5-year-old Jacob will eat. If they're not coming to supper, I usually invite company. This Sunday, they're coming, and I think a longtime good friend will join us. I'm going to try Cleo Coyle's recipe for chicken parmesan from that wonderful blog, Mystery Lovers Kitchen. .

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer means BBQ means pinto beans

Growing up in Chicago, I never saw pinto beans, never heard of them, didn’t know a thing about them. My mother cooked “northern” or “sweet” beans—navy beans from the can that she doctored with molasses or brown sugar, mustard, ketchup, and onion. I used to do that, too, until I discovered Bush’s original beans. They honestly do taste just like those Mom made and are a lot easier.
But on to pinto beans. The handy thing about them is you can start them in the morning and pretty much ignore them while you cook the rest of a meal. They’re one of many new foods I encountered when I moved to Texas all those years ago. My first introduction was probably at Joe T. Garcia’s restaurant where I had refried beans—and loved them. I’m sure they have lots of lard in them, and rumor is that they have beer too—maybe that’s what makes them good.

Someone gave me a cookbook about cooking wild game—not that I was going to go hunting, but now I would cook wild game.  Closest I’ve come, though, is bison. That cookbook had the best recipe for beans I’ve ever found—and this was probably 40 years ago.

A Pot of Beans

Rinse 1 lb. pinto beans and soak overnight in cold water. Discard broken, disfigured beans and those that float to the top. Next morning, drain the beans; in your Dutch oven sauté a chopped piece of salt pork or slab bacon or whatever you want to call it. Use a piece about four oz. When it begins to fry, add one diced onion. When the onion is browned, remove from heat, add the beans and cover with cold water. Return to stove and add five beef bouillon cubes or the equivalent. Sounds like a lot, but it makes them really tasty. Give it a good stir, bring close to a boil and then simmer all day. Supposedly if you never let beans come to a full boil, they won’t cause gastric distress later. There are several other theories about how to avoid that condition, but I’m not sure which works and which doesn’t.

I’m a believer in “from scratch” cooking but I admit to using Ranch Style beans for a couple of dishes. One is a salad someone made probably thirty years ago. Suzi Kaman is long gone from my world—no idea where she is—but her bean salad lives on in my household.

Suzi Kaman’s Bean Salad

1 3 lb.-4 oz. can Ranch Style beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion chopped
1 tomato chopped, or more if you want
Grated cheese to taste
At least 1 4-oz. can chopped green chilies
Chopped lettuce (I found it got soggy and usually left it out but you could add crisp lettuce to individual portions at serving)
1 small bottle Catalina dressing
Mix all together and chill. Helpful hint: I often omit or cut down the Catalina—everything else has such good flavors! And I learned to serve the Fritos on the side, so that they stay crisp. If you put them in the salad and you have leftovers, the chips get soggy and awful and nobody will eat the leftovers.
Another helpful hint: If you want to make a main dish of this, fry 1lb. of lean ground beef and add some taco seasoning. Add to the salad.

Reva’s good beans
I fix this “as is” in spite of my ironclad rule against including green peppers in anything!

1 3-lb.-4-oz.can Ranch Style beans
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes (or two 14-oz. cans)
1 onion, chopped
½ green pepper, seeded and diced
Drain beans, but do not rinse. Put into crock pot along with other ingredients and simmer however long is convenient. (You want them to thicken up and the flavors to blend.)

Mixing beans is popular today, so here’s a recipe that echoes Mom’s sweet beans but uses pintos, black beans, red beans, and Great Northerns.

Picnic beans
2 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
1 can each of red, pinto, black and Great Northern beans
16 oz. tomato sauce
¼ c. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. molasses
¼ c. brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
Fry bacon and onion until lightly brown. Mix beans together and add bacon and onion. Mix the tomato sauce, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar and chili powder and pour over the beans. Stir will, put in a baking dish, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve hot.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Awful Anchovy

When I announced I was starting a food blog I included anchovies in the topics I might write about, and someone wrote and said, "Please don't ruin Caesar salad for me!" I hope I won't ruin anything for anybody but will give you a better understanding of the woefully unappreciated anchovy. I have eaten plates of white anchovies as tapas. I also eat an anchovy fillet out of the can on a cracker, but I can understand not many people want to do that. Anchovies are strong and salty fish, even those small fillets that come in a can, covered with oil, either rolled around a caper or flat (anchovies are often combined with capers in recipes). But mostly anchovies are used sparingly to heighten flavor and you may not have any idea they're there--like Caesar salad. Do you like Green Goddes dressing? Usually has anchovies in it. My youngest daughter wouldn't touch an anchovy, but she loves a pork, chicken, and prosciutto roulade I do--in between the layers is a sauce of green peppercorns, garlic, olive oil, parsley, fresh basil, and a half can (that's a lot!) of anchovy fillets, drained.
Some notes about anchovies: if you soak them in cool water for 30 minutes, drain and pat dry, some of the saltiness goes away. If you make a salad dressing or something similar with them, be aware that it's like serrano chilis in adobe sauce--they just get stronger. Most recipes call for two to four anchovy fillets--and there you are with a whole can; if they're packed in oil, seal them air-tight and refrigerate for up to two months.
My appalling collection of recipes has ideas for including anchovies in a cream cheese/sour cream dip along with capers, choped onion, garlic, and chives. Just use four anchovy fillets if you use an 8 oz. pkg of cream cheese and a cup of sour cream. Or put them between layers when you make scalloped potatoes. Or toss them, rinsed and minced, with cooked broccoli flowerets, minced garlic, olive oil and an optional bit of dried red pepper flakes. Serve that hot or cold.
My former neighbor and still good friend, Sue Boggs, gave me her favorite salad dressing recipe (her own invention, I think):
Juice of 1 lemon
Two Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar (I use chardonnay vinegar a lot--maybe because I drink chardonnay)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Dash of Worcestershire
2 anchovies, ground into paste
1/8 c. fresh ground Parmesan cheese
Three turns of fresh groudn peppercorns
Delicious when first served, but I let it sit a few days after that, then served it to Jordan, Christian, and my neighbor Jay. Jay didn't touch his salad, and the others complained it was fishy. "What did you do to it?" Oh, well.
Jay gave me an appetizer recipe that is superb:
Smoked Salmon Tartare
 2 anchovy fillets, chopped
2 tsp. roasted garlic paste (sprinkle olive oil over about four garlic cloves, seal in foil, and roast 45 minutes @ 350; cool, peel, and mash)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. sour cream
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 lb. smoked salmon. diced
1 small jalopeno, seeded and minced (I probably omitted it when I made this)
1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
1 Tbsp. capers, drained and coarsely chopped if they are large
1 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro plus leaves for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Serve with corn chips
Mash anchovies with garlic paste, cumin, and olive oil. Stir in sour cream and lime joice. Fold in smoked salmon, jalopeno, red onion, capers and chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Keeps 1 day refrigerated. Ideally you lay chips on a platter, top each with a dollop of the tartare and then cilantro leaves to garnish. I just put out a bowl of salmon tartare and a bowl of chips. So much easier.
I have several recipes for pasta with anchovies. Here's one of my favorites. If you want more, write me at or leave a comment on this blog:
Spaghetti with fried capers and anchovies
Ever fried capers? They pop, brown, and shrivel, and then they're crispy and delicious. In this dish, I actually tasted the capers more than the anchovies, once again proving that anchovies add accent rather than being the main, dominant flavor.
1/3 c. olive oil
1/2 c. capers, drained and rinsed, dried as much as possible
Fry the capers in pre-heated olive oil at high heat, about four minutes.
6 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove, mined
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/3 c. olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon j uice
Crushed red pepper if desired
1 lb. spaghetti or fettucine
Parmesan cheese to taste
Cook spaghetti. While it's cooking, put anchovies, garlic and lemon zest in food processor--it will make a thick paste. In bowl stir together paste, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, fried capers and red pepper. I like to add the Parmesan but use a light hand so it doesn't overwhem the sauce.
Drain spaghetti, add caper/anchovy mixture and toss.
Hope you still like your Caesar salad and will try some of these ideas.