Wednesday, April 30, 2008


(& thanks to Nook & Pantry)

The photo above is NOT our picadillo. It's a delicious pork picadillo courtesy of Nook & Pantry - A Food and Recipe Blog, which adapted it from Everyday Food.

Our picadillo was also delicious, only our photograph left something to be desired. (To see what we mean, click here.) Our recipe was passed down from grandma Ida, who we think might have first learned how to cook picadillo as a teenager in Havana from the classic Cuban cookbook, Cocina al Minuto.

Brown the ground beef. Pour out the fat. You can use a strainer to do this and keep the beef in the strainer for the time being. Saute diced onions, chopped garlic, green peppers and a bay leaf. When onions are soft, add the meat back in, some red wine, a can of plain tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes with the liquid, and raisins (Ruth doesn't like green olives, so she leaves them out, however, many of us think the saltiness of the olives mixed with the sweet pop of the warm raisins is the essence of picadillo). Cover and simmer for a half hour or so. Another option is to start by cooking the onions and when they're soft, adding the meat and browning.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Anything Goes Granola

Granola contains two sets of ingredients: hard stuff (any mix of grains, seeds, nuts and dried fruit) and soft stuff (syrup to bind the hard stuff together). Our hard stuff included grains (rolled rice, rolled oats, rolled barley) and seeds & nuts (sesame, pumpkin, almonds, walnuts). We heated our soft stuff (brown rice syrup and maple syrup) on the stove until it was hot. Then we laid out the granola mixture on a baking sheet and poured over the syrup so every piece was covered. We baked it all at 350 degrees, moving around occasionally, until browned and crispy.

Later, we added dried fruits to the mix: banana chips, cranberries, goji berries, apples slices and coconut.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Nassau County Meatballs

These easy meatballs come courtesy of Ina. They dominated the first night of Passover this year. Combine lean ground beef, salt, pepper, ketchup, plenty of bread crumbs and an egg. Shape into little balls. In pot, pour one bottle of Heinz chili sauce, the equivalent amount of water, one can of cranberry sauce (not the jellied kind), and the equivalent amount of water. Heat on a medium setting and when the liquid is hot, put the balls in and let them cook, covered for about an hour, or until they're done. Don't worry about the liquid so much--if it seems too thick, add more water. If it seems to liquidy, uncover it for a bit so some of the water evaporates. No harm done either way.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Linguine With Clam Sauce

Mince quite a few garlic cloves and saute them briefly in olive oil. Add two small cans of minced clams with their liquid, salt and white pepper. Bring to a simmer. In a separate pot, boil linguine (we used whole wheat) and when it's almost ready, add lots of chopped parsley to the sauce. Combine pasta and sauce and add plenty of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Use any thin cut of beef--shell, flank, hangar, tenderloin sliced with a grain. Make a chimichurri sauce: the leaves from two or three bundles of flat-leaf parsley go into the food processor with salt, pepper, a few shakes of Tabasco and lots of garlic (we used all the cloves from one head). Process and stream in enough olive oil for a thick sauce consistency, then add distilled white vinegar until it tastes piquant.

Use half the sauce to marinate the beef for an hour or so. Grill the meat, just a few minutes per side for medium rare. Serve with reserved sauce. We dished ours up with grilled tomatoes sprinkled with sauteed garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fresh thyme, along with grilled fresh asparagus and scallions.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

World's Easiest Brisket

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place any size brisket in an oven bag, pour in a bottle of Heinz chili sauce and a can of beer. Seal the bag, place in a roasting pan and cook for as many hours as you can stand, or until the meat is tender. Four hours is generally enough. You can also use a covered casserole dish instead of a bag.

These are Shirley's time-tested ingredients, but there are endless possibilities with this technique. Any combination of one part liquid and one part sauce will work. Bourbon and barbecue sauce? Water and Thai peanut sauce? Dos Equis and chipotles? Check out this one from Simply Recipes or post your favorite brisket recipe below.

Here's the cooked brisket, accompanied by steamed asparagus and a cabbage dish adapted from Miriam's Red Cabbage. We sliced a head of purple cabbage, chopped two peeled apples and diced an onion. We through everything in a big pot, sauteing with oil until all three ingredients were soft. Then we added sugar, water and red wine vinegar and kept cooking on a low heat for about 20 minutes. You can cook for longer or shorter, depending on how you like your cabbage.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Deconstructed Duck Fattoush

Warning: This dish, though easy to make and hard to screw up (everything is basically mixed, added and cooked to taste), has more steps involved than most dishes on Panzer Kitchen.

Pita: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Open a few whole-wheat pitas, drizzle them with olive oil and toast in oven until crisp.
Duck: Skin side down, rub top of duck breast with coriander seeds, salt and cayenne pepper. Heat a little olive oil in an oven-proof skillet on medium-high heat. When hot, place breast skin side down and cook until skin is very browned. Flip breast and cook until the other side is browned. Place skillet and duck in the 425-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until it reaches the desired color (we like it pink, or cooked to about160 degrees inside). Remove from heat. Slice.
Salad: In a bowl, mix julienned cucumbers, radicchio and cabbage of your choice (we used green), halved red grapes, small bunch chopped parsley, smaller bunch chopped mint, diced shallot. Toss with dressing.
Dressing: 2 parts olive oil to one part sherry vinegar, splash of honey, fresh lime juice to taste, salt, pepper. **For an even duckier flavor, deglaze the duck pan on the stove top by adding some red wine and stirring it with the leftover duck fat until mixture is slightly thickened. Add a spoonfull of the mix to the salad dressing.
Compose the salad any way you like. We layered -- placing bite-sized pieces of the pita on the bottom layer, followed by the salad and topped with duck. But you can also toss everything together so the pita gets a little moister.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Brunch for Dinner

The main ingredient is good quality pre-packaged smoked trout. From there, add on the garnishes: finely diced onion, cucumber and chive, sour cream, capers, lemon wedge. Scramble eggs, folding in sour cream for a richer texture than milk. Salad dressing, inspired by Franny's in Brooklyn, blends pine nuts, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, half a clove of raw garlic, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper (we also added a splash of walnut oil for a nuttier taste, but it's not essential) in a food processor. Toss with a simple lettuce (we used dandelion greens, but don't recommend them because their natural bitterness overwhelmed the dressing) and top with grated ricotta.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pita and Veggie Burger

Throw vegetables in a food processor or blender: Portobello mushrooms, carrots, red peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, kale, etc. Add a can of rinsed and drained black beans, soy sauce, cumin, salt, pepper, chives. Blend everything together. Mix in a lot of bread crumbs and one egg. Form patties and pan fry in oil until crunchy on the outside.

Monday, April 14, 2008

No-Skewer Chicken Satay

From Tom in New York. Chicken Satay: Turn on the broiler to heat and slice a few chicken breasts into thin strips. Toss with a small splash of vegetable oil and some spices of your choice, maybe coriander, curry powder, a bit of cayenne. Prepare a peanut sauce by mixing a scoop of chunky peanut butter with a few squirts of soy sauce, some brown sugar, and enough lime juice to thin the mixture. Cover a jelly-roll pan with foil and lay out the chicken strips. Stick under the broiler for just a couple of minutes until crisp. Side dishes include grated cucumber with sliced red onion, rice-wine vinegar and a sprinkling of sugar, and microwaved or steamed snap peas.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Salads

From Lenore in Miami, clockwise from top.
Salmon salad: Can of salmon, capers, parsley, lemon, olive oil, minced shallot, salt, pepper.
Egg salad: Onions, celery, salt, pepper.
Crusty bread.
Pasta salad: shells, diced red and green bell peppers, sliced black olives, mayo, celery salt, dry mustard, pepperoncini, diced cornichons, diced shallot, salt, pepper.
Roasted peppers tossed with mashed anchovies, olive oil.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sashimi Tuna Avocado

From Talia, via the Japanese market. Cut up sushi-grade tuna, avocado, cucumber and scallions. Toss with sesame seeds, cilantro, sesame oil, wasabi, soy sauce. Serve with prepackaged wonton wrappers rubbed with olive oil and salt and baked.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Green Lentils and Sausage

Slice carrots, onions and garlic and saute in olive oil. When soft, add lentils and enough water to cover the lentils. Add bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer until lentils are as soft as you like them. Add more water as the lentils cook if they seem like they need more to soften up. Slice cooked sausage (in this case, leftover sage pork sausage from Flying Pigs farm) and stir in until everything is hot.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink tuna salad: A can of tunafish in olive oil, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onion, sliced gherkins, olives, carrots, pine nuts, ricotta, parmesan, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

1st Street Tostadas

From Alexandra. Chop an onion, chop some garlic. Saute some of both in a pot with olive oil for a bit then add a can of pinto beans and some salsa. In a separate pan, saute the rest of the onion and garlic in some olive oil. Add slices of yellow or red bell pepper. When they’re almost soft, add spinach leaves and cook until they’re just wilted. Soften tortillas—corn or flour—in the oven. To assemble, take a tortilla, add grated cheese, a dollop of the beans, a dollop of the spinach/pepper mix, guacamole, chipotle or other chile saude, chopped tomatoes, lime juice.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bar Saigon

Like taco night, only Vietnamese. Lay out mint leaves, basil, cilantro, sesame seeds, peanuts, sliced radishes with sugar and soy sauce, lime wedges, sliced jalapenos, a jar of chile-garlic sauce, whole leaves of butter lettuce and leftover carrot-beet salad. Meanwhile, marinate the skirt steak in fish sauce and slices of lemongrass. Grill the steak , slice it, lay it out with the rest of the fixings. Use the lettuce as taco-shell-like wrappers, and stuff with fixings of your choice. Wash it all down with grape soda.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Early Spring Dinner

Slice and grate a bunch of carrots and raw beets (grating is easiest in the food processor), add a bunch of raisins and pine nuts. Pour in a few things from the cupboard—in this case, olive oil, sherry vinegar, honey, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice—until it tastes the way you like it. Pair with a nice cheese, crackers and fig jam.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fish Dinner ($16.95 from farmer's market)

A dozen oysters (shuck them over the sink), a few filets of mackerel sliced for sashimi, and two whole mackerels grilled on the stove with olive oil, salt and pepper. Accessories include sliced jalapenos, horseradish, lemon, wasabi (made with store-bought wasabi powder and mixed with water). Bottle of $8.95 Reisling.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Beer-in-the-Butt Chicken

Take the top of the beer can off with a can opener, empty half the beer out, then plop in spices of your choice—in this case, garlic cloves, thyme, tarragon. Rub the chicken with butter, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, stick it, butt first, over the beer. Cook in a 350-degree oven for about an hour.