A new dish every month. I favor few ingredients, and speed and ease of preparation. That’s why I call these Alligator Sandwiches — because they’re snappy.
Some of these dishes I “made up out of my head”, as my youngest used to say; some of them I was given by friends/family, and some I got from the wonderful folks of World Wide Recipes (see Links page). Credit is given where it is remembered.
- can of corn or frozen equivalent defrosted
- can of black or red beans
- salsa of whatever strength and quantity you like
- tortilla chips
Drain corn, beans, and salsa of excess liquid. Put them all together and serve with chips. Good cold, room temperature, or heated.
Angel Hair Pasta and Stuff
for two light eaters
- two “nests” of angel hair pasta or equivalent of angel hair pasta straight strands
- stuff (chopped peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, leftover vegetables)
- olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
Put water for pasta on to heat. If using dried mushrooms and/or tomatoes, toss them in the water as it heats. Meanwhile, stir-fry anything else (except the cheese!) in a little olive oil. When the water boils, put in the pasta and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain. Toss with the rest of the stuff, divide between two plates, top with cheese.
This has nothing to do with monks or alcoholic beverages. It was invented by Louisville restaurateur Jennie Benedict around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries.
- small cucumber
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- chopped onion or onion powder
- green food coloring if necessary
Peel the cucumber. Cut it in half length-wise and scoop out all the seeds and mishy stuff in the center. Chop the rest fine and put it on a paper towel in a strainer. Mix in some salt and let it stand for at least half an hour so a lot of the juice pulls out of it. In a food processor or blender, mix the cucumber and cream cheese, adding onion or onion powder and more salt to taste. It should be a very pale green. If it is not, add ONE drop of green food coloring. Refrigerate. It will get a little more firm when it’s chilled. Can be used as a dip or a sandwich spread.
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 cup water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a pie pan. Mix water and flour. Put dough in pie pan. Pat down fairly flat with water-coated hands. Bake about 30 minutes, or until risen and brown. That’s all there is to it! At first taste, you may think it’s kind of bland, but it is excellent with soups and stews, or warm and slathered with butter.
Bear Whipping Sauce
- brown sugar
Mix equal amounts of mayonnaise (not salad dressing) and brown sugar (either light or dark). Good as a dressing for fruit salad or to dip fruit in (like a cold fondu). I used to call it “berry dipping sauce” until my youngest misunderstood me one day. It’s been “bear whipping sauce” ever since.
Bean and Cheese Dip
- can of chili beans in sauce
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese — or Velveeta (processed cheese spread), if you prefer
- heavy-duty dipping chips or sliced French bread
Heat chili and cheese until cheese is melted. Dip chips into it or spoon it over bread.
Peel avocado. Slit all the way around and twist to remove pit. Cut into slim wedges. Overlap slices on plate or divide between more than one plate. Squirt lime juice over slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. You won’t believe how good this is if the avocado is just right and you use real lime juice, not bottled or from a little plastic limeanoid.
Cut up fresh fruit. Put jam, jelly, marmalade or preserves into a bowl and stir until it is broken up and slightly liquified. Either put it on top of the fruit or stir it into the fruit as a dressing. It’s also pretty to layer the fresh fruit and the preserved fruit in a wine or dessert glass, and garnish with a piece of fruit or mint leaves.
- butter or margarine or cooking oil
- onions, chopped small
- garlic, minced (chopped VERY small)
- mushrooms, chopped or sliced (I like portobello)
- squash, diced (I like yellow crookneck)
- 1 cup liquid (I use vegetable bouillon)
- 1/3 cup wine (I use sherry)
- salt, pepper, and herbs to taste (I like parsley and oregano)
- grated Parmesan cheese
- cooked pasta, rice, or gnocci — or you could use potato pancakes or any other such base
Heat butter, margarine or oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add mushrooms and squash and cook until mushrooms throw off moisture or squash begins to turn translucent. Add broth and seasonings and cook until the liquid is almost gone. Add wine and cook until liquid is almost gone again. Serve over pasta or whatever base you choose. Sprinkle with cheese.
- can of beans (white, black, lima, butterbeans)
- can of diced tomatoes (I like the kind with garlic, oregano and basil)
- can of water
- 2 boullion cubes
- frozen spinach, as much as you like
I taught myself to cook back in the day, mostly from the labels on cans and boxes. The best ever chocolate frosting recipe is on the back of the cocoa powder box. The basic recipe for this relish is on the back of the fresh cranberry bags you find around Thanksgiving and Christmas (in the USA, anyway). I’ve added a few touches of my own.
Cut the orange in two. If it has seeds, remove them, and cut off the stem end. If the orange has a thick skin, run a vegetable peeler over it to take off the outer ride and save this, then peel off the thick white inner membrane and throw it away. Put the orange and peel (if the skin is thin, you don’t need to peel it at all), the walnuts and the sugar in a blender and blend until as chunky or as smooth as you like. Add more sugar to taste. Wonderful with poultry, ham, smoked tofu, sweet potatoes, or as a dressing for fruit salad.
This recipe was cut from the newspaper by my dearest friend in my new hometown, Mildred Kepner O’Bannon, and passed on to me. My late grandfather loved them. I make them every year in memory of both of them — and because these are absolutely delicious!
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