Fifty of My Favorite Recipes
a list of many of my favorite recipes. They range from very
simple, some come very close to being off the package that
the food in came, to some that are more complicated and I'd
quess require some practice. You can be sure that each has
been tested more than a few times. Most are not mine, but
the products of other cooks that I have adopted along the
road. I have tried to give them the credit they deserve.
Not everyone of the favorites has a recipe attached so give
me a little time, this is a work in progress.
1. Scampi West Palm Beach - I tell my story of this recipe on my Big Five Culinary Ingredients page.
2. Spiedini di Gamberi (Skewered Shrimp) - It is from a cookbook I was given in high school and I have been making this dish for a very long time. I encourage you to grill the shrimp over the coals on a barbecue for the best flavor.
3. Spaghetti With Fried Eggs and Roasted Red Peppers - I found this recipe rather recently along with the one below it in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. Once you have roasted the red peppers, it is a simple recipe. You could make it from prepared roasted peppers, but I think the freshly roasted ones are best.
4. Spaghetti with swordfish - The richness of the swordfish really contributes to the wonderful nature of this dish. Have it with swordfish and skip all the canned tuna if you are trying to avoid mercury. A really easy meal to prepare.
5. Duck Breast with Raspberry Sauce - This is from a article in the Los Angeles Times some years ago. It is a very elegant dinner for your friends and not at all hard to do. This comes to us from a Times Food Section staffer who was served it at a dinner party hosted by a friend. The friend's aunt, Colette Daunay, had arrived from France and prepared this meal in one-half hour. Thank you, Collette.
6. Burmese Fish and Tomato Curry - I don't have too many Burmese meals in my repertoire. This is a fast and delicious favorite of mine that I found in Saveur.
7. Pan-Seared Filet Mignon w/ Madeira Pan Sauce - The folks at Cook's Illustrated do an excellent job figuring out how to make a good recipe into a great one. Here is their take on pan frying a steak. If you use quality meat and follow the directions you will never need another steak house.
8. Pasta Carbonara - I think that I ate this on my first trip to Italy and learned that I was genetically programmed to like it. This is comfort food for me. It is also easy to make when camping, but beware of the influence that the odor of cooking pancetta might have on the resident bear population.
9. Chile Colorado - This is chile colorado that isn't like anything that you've had before. It is from a wonderful cookbook by Jacqueline Higuera McMahan entitled Rancho Cooking. She grew up in a big family of "Californios", folks who ancestors had lived in California before it was part of the United States. These are the recipes of her family.
10. Baked Tomato Pasta - I tell the story of this recipe on my Big Five Culinary Ingredients page. The only thing I will add is that I think it is a great to add some freshly picked cooked crabmeat to the pasta just before you serve the dish, but Rose disagrees.
11. Oyster Pan Roast - One of the true delights of Manhattan is a visit to the Grand Central Oyster Bar for an Oyster Pan Roast. I'm not sure where the name came from but it is a simple but rich meal. Here's the Oyster Bar's own recipe courtesy of Esquire. I still encourage you to visit the restaurant if simply to see them preparing the meal in their one-of-a-kind double-boilers.
12. Oyster Spaghetti - This is a very simple, but incredible dish if you like oysters, butter and garlic. And who doesn't?
13. Salmon or Steelhead Roulade with Mustard Sauce - I saw Chef Patrick Clark make something like this on TV with Julia Child. I borrowed his Roulade style and added a delicious mustard sauce.
14. Clam Spaghetti - When in college I made this dish often with Gorton's Canned Clams. This version is much better and not much harder.
15. Vietnamese Crab Coleslaw - I know this sounds strange, but it's remarkable. It is a Vietnamese standard when made with shredded cooked chicken. Nigella Lawson in the New York Times got the idea of making it with cooked crab. For those who are hesitating would it help if I said it was low-fat and very healthy?
16. Crab and Tomato Pasta - Mark Bittman, "The Minimalist" of the New York Times food section came up with this modification of an old standby of mine: garlic, butter and crab on pasta. I still like mine but now make his version more often.
17. Crab Louie Salad - I guess I'm on a run with crusteaceans here. Crab Louie is an under-rated dish. If you make it at home you can use best ingredients and the results will be a crab lover's dream.
18. Cobb Salad - The Cobb Salad was invented in Los Angeles in the Brown Derby, the restaurant shaped like a hat. The Brown Derby was taken down moved into a mini-mall and resurrected as a bar in LA's Koreatown. The Cobb salad deserves a better fate. With good ingredients, made at home, you will realize why it is still popular.
19. Sole a la Meuniere with Salsa Verde - This is a very simple preparation of thin fillets of fish. The Salsa Verde is an old Italian sauce for meat or fish that is a great addition. I like to serve the meuniere with sauteed wedges of radicchio and small potatoes, roasted, boiled or baked. Then you can top each with a bit of salsa verde.
20. Baked Mackerel Fillets - I started making this recipe on a regular basis when I lived in Washington, D.C. and I lived a few block from Eastern Market. I could find small whole mackerel that looked pretty fresh. On the west coast they are harder to find, but often they are available at Japanese stores. Even people who think mackerel is too strongly flavored a fish have like this preparation.
21. Risotto - Risotto is a versatile rice dish from Italy. It gets a bad rap as everyone says you need to actively stir it for 20-25 minutes, but I think it is easier than it sounds. It's pretty quick and can be made even quicker in a pressure cooker if you're willing to reject tradition. Here's a basic recipe.
22. Warm Frisee Salad with bacon, potatoes and poached eggs - This is a dish that Rose brought home one day from a trip to San Francisco, the recipe had appeared in the Chronicle. It is a nice main dish salad that is easy to prepare.
23. Cioppino - Here is a seafood soup that appears to have originated within San Francisco's Italian immigrant community during the early part of the 20th Century. The recipe is an easy one from Sunset Magazine.
24. Cuban Picadillo in a sweet potato - I started making this when I lived in DC and I remember serving it at a party to a real "meat & potatoes" guy. When I served it he remarked, "fruit and meat?" I recall he came back for seconds. Picadillo is a popular meat "hash" in Latin America. It is often used as a tsaty stuffing for things like Chile Rellenos and Empandas.
26. Crawfish etouffee
27. Shrimp Creole (Sauce Piquante) - This is another recipe that I have been making for a long time from Howard Mitcham's book Creole Gumbo and all that Jazz. It is a bit more complicated a recipe than one for a Wednesday night dinner except if you made it Sunday night and let the favors meld before serving it Wednesday night.
28. Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells - This recipe started from the side of the package and has been modified over the years just a bit. To make a quick dinner I use Bertolli brand pasta sauce in jars, I think it is the tastiest of the bunch. One half of a package of large shells will make enough for a dinner party or a family meal with left-overs.
29. Pasta with Sausage and Greens
30. Tamale Pie
31. Pork Stew with Tomatillos (Cocido de Puerco con Tomatillo) - After she got a Ruhn Rikon pressure cooker, my sister-in-law Kathy tried many recipes in the new device. She mailed this one to me with a rave review. I made it and loved it, as well. Kathy uses a can of tomatillo sauce, I use fresh tomatillos. If you follow the pressure cooker path remember that no moisture will evaporate while cooking and so don't add too much liquid. I serve this a taco filling with hot corn tortillas.
32. Frito Pie - This satisfying snack of chili with cheese serve over Fritos Corn Chips originated at the F.W. Woolworth's store in downtown Santa Fe. At Woolworth's a bag of Fritos was slit open and the chili poured in. With the store long gone, the snack continues. This recipe is courtesy of Gourmet. I think that the delight of the dish lies in the corn chips that are variously softened by the hot chili. One ones on the edge remain crunch while those in the center have softened yet are still salty.
33. Singapore Fried Noodles (Mee Hoon Goreng) - I never had this dish until I lived in San Francisco in the 90s. There I first had it for lunch at a Chinese Restaurant on Polk Street. It a recipe of stir-fried rice noodles flavored with curry powder. It took me quite some time to find a recipe that was similar to what I had eaten in San Francisco.
34. Pan-Fried Soft Shell Crabs - Soft-shelled crabs are the very essence of the Cheaspeake Bay summer. Served with corn on the cob coleslaw and ice tea and you have the secret to surviving a day where the temperature and the humidty both seem to be pushing 90.
35. Shrimp Remoulade
36. Shrimp Boil - With the possible exception of a pig roast, a shrimp boil is the ultimate backyard chowdown.
37. Pavo en escabeche oriental - Here is a rather complicated (multi-step) recipe for a delicious Mexican turkey dish from the Yucatan Province. I rarely have seen it on the menu. It is "oriental" as it is flavored with some cloves and allspice. I had it first in a Pasadena restaurant and later I found the recipe in Diana Kennedy's masterpiece from the 1970s The Cuisines of Mexico.
38. Pasta with Sardines - It's really good for you. How many times have you heard that statement...and stayed away from what was offered? This one also tastes great. I agree with Alex Levine who invented the recipe that even people who say that they hate sardines enjoy it. But then again, it's good for you. It's high in omega 3 oils and packed with calcium. I found this in a Gourmet Magazine letters to the editor column.
39. Swiss Roesti topped with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs - My fascination with the Swiss potato pancake called roesti started one snowy day in a Swiss train station high in the Alps. A guidebook to riding the eurail recommended lunch at this station and said we should have the roesti and sausages. They were tremendous and during the next few days we ate roesti as oft as we encountered it. Since then I have learned the secret to roesti success and a way to make roesti a part of breakfast.
40. Salmon Teriyaki - Watching television one day I learned how to make a great teriyaki form the "Two Hot Tamales", two anglo gals that cook great Mexican food in LA. I don't remember what they were doing showing you how to make teriyaki but I did learn enough to make a teriyaki that is a favorite to many of the people I've served it to.
41. Phad Thai - Phad Thai seems almost like an American dish now that it we've been eating Thai food in major American cities for 30 years or so. But the dish seems to have been changed to be much sweeter and less like the dish we first learned to like. From Saveur comes this recipe that will allow you (if you have access to the ingredients) to make it just like they do in Bangkok. It's not as hard as it sounds.
42. Skillet Roasted Clams - In our family we really like our bivalves. This is another easy way to make a special dinner with clams. Make sure you serve it with sufficient bread to mop up the juices.
43. Thai Pork and Basil with Rice Noodles - This is a spicy dish that I found in the quick meals section of the Los Angeles Times food section. It is spicy and can be hot if you use lots of chiles. But it is fun to have a few Thai dishes that you don't see on the menu anywhere but you can whip up at home in a flash.
44. H & H Coffee Shop Burritos - I found this recipe in a copy of Saveur. It's from a small coffee shop in El Paso, Texas. These burrito are not these "howiter shell-like" creatures we are now used with meat, beans and rice all in the same immense tortilla. The H&H Coffee shop variety is small and slim. The are almost all meat. I have the H&H on my list of places to visit.
45. Pasta Putanesca - This is a classic dish of Italy but I never heard about it until the Silver Palate Cookbook came out. Suddenly everybody was serving it to me at dinner parties. Not surprising as it is tasty and is easy and quick to make. Here's a recipe from Mark Bittman of the New York Times.
46. Spiced Chicken Wings - Driving through Harrisburg, Pennsylvania one day, I noticed this recipe in the food section of the local paper. It has become a standard. It is also a good meal or appetizer for a party.
47. Fusilli al Ragu (Braciole al Ragu) - While this recipe can be quite a bit of work, for lovers of "red-sauce" Italian food the results can be spectacular. The way Italians would eat this is in two separate course: a pasta course with the tomato sauce and a course with the meat eaten by itself. I recommend you serve the sauce and the meat on a plate of pasta.
48. Veal Chops with Radicchio & White Beans - I saw this recipe in Gourmet just before I left on a big holiday trip a few years ago. I made it for Christmas dinner with a few immense veal chops that I picked up at the great butcher shop within the Pastaworks store on Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, Oregon. It was a hit.
49. Paglia e Fieno (Hay and Straw) - This rich Italian pasta dish is served on a mixture of egg fettuccine and spinach fettuccine thus it's name hay and straw. I'm not sure that it is a traditional Italian meal or an Italian-American one, but I enjoy it never the less. It's a great way to use up those last few slices of prosciutto that are hanging around the house. This version is from that famous Italian chef Wolfgang Puck.
50. Fusilli Carbonara with herbs - This delicious dish is only loosely related to the Carbonara described above. It is a dish of fusilli with an herby cream sauce thickened with egg yolks. I always keep my eyes open for fresh chervil and fresh tarragon. If I can find those two ingredients at the grocery store or farmer's market I am on the way to making this favorite.