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Month: June 2008

Southern Fried Chicken

Southern Fried Chicken

By Jane Bartels

1 chicken, cut up and soaked for an hour (or so…) in salted water.

Pat dry.

Same chicken soaked in buttermilk for an hour. (buttermilk: milk with sour cream mixed into it…maybe a 1/2 cup with 2 cups of milk.)

crush potato chips (a bag??) and mix with 1 cup of flour, salt and pepper…

dip into potato chips/flour mixture, into buttermilk again, and flour mixture.

fry in deep oil…until golden brown.


Casanova Macaroni?

Casanova Macaroni?

I read a book review of a biography of Casanova that happened to mention that, “he liked his macaroni sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.”

That set me on a mission. I wanted to know how this was prepared. Macaroni by itself, even sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, will just dry out. So was it prepared with butter? Was it macaroni and cheese sprinkled with the goodness? What was it?

I pondered, I Googled, I asked my email groups, I beat my head into the monitor until bits of brain and LED goo were splattered all over the walls (OK, I made that last one up, but that’s what it felt like!), and finally I found some leads on what might possibly replicate the elusive dish.

Here is what I finally found:
The Food Journal (page 3)
Pasta: The Story of a Universal Food

So, working on limited time and a limited budget, I decided to give it a go, totaling faking it at the last minute mostly with what I had on hand and making a quick run to the grocery store (about ½ mile away at most) for some gnocchi.

I’ve never made a better, spur of the moment, bad decision in my life (OK, I probably have, but that’s none of your business!). Based on what I gleaned from these recipes here is what I created:

2 cups milk
16 oz package gnocchi
8oz medium cheddar (grated)
½ stock butter

Preheat oven to 350. Heat milk to just boiling. Meanwhile, sprinkle bottom of baking dish with cheese, cinnamon, and sugar. Add gnocchi to heated milk and simmer or warm for 3 minutes. Do not drain. Spoon about half of the gnocchi and milk on top of cheese mixture. Top as evenly as possible with pats of butter. Top with cheese, cinnamon, and sugar. Add the rest of the gnocchi and milk. Top with pats of butter and cheese, cinnamon, and sugar again. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

It was so good!!!

Next time I plan to use a more appropriate hard cheese and top it with braised meat, as suggested. From my reading, the milk can be left out when meat is served on top.

Unlike most dishes, this did not improve after sitting overnight. It was best the first day and made for mediocre leftovers which required salting, which was not necessary on the fresh serving.

In my research I learned that, at one time (in the 1500’s), pasta was almost always heavily sweetened, and that cinnamon was a common spice to add to pasta dishes. The interesting thing about that is that we now know that cinnamon helps the body properly metabolize sugar and may even help with some types of diabetes.

The recipes I found seem to be from the 1500’s. Casanova lived in the 1700’s. I still want to know exactly what it was he was eating!



By Jane Bartels

This is probably not only Hungarian, but Viennese, Polish and other mid European countries pastry, but the Hungarians make it the best.

It is very easy to make.

2 1/4 cups of all purpose Flour…meaning no rising stuff..Plain Flour.
King Arthur’s Flour is great and the unbleached kind is best.

2 sticks of butter

1 16 ounce package of cream cheese

Mix this well, by hands is best. break off into balls and let the flour/creamcheese/butter rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Why? I never really knew but my grandmother said so, but she’s dead so do what you want. I think it is because the butter sets up in the flour.

Roll this out after proper cooling in fridge into rectangles or as close as you can get to that piece of geometry.

Cut into 3 inch squares.

Do this on a marble if you have…or recool the flour mixture that you haven’t yet used…


Lekvar: Prune paste. Easy to do: bag or two of stewed prunes…drain…and cool…Mash.

Apricot: same as prune but almost as good. No sugar used in these two pastes.

Nut filling: Walnuts smashed flat and in tiny pieces…use a meat tenderizer hammer..easy…or blender…and a little sugar and water…simmer for about 5 minutes and cool..should be thick…

Place a teaspoon of filling on each square. Fold over opposite ends…and press closed…

BAKE about 20 minutes until just a little tan. You don’t ever want to overbake Kyflies.

Cool on baking sheet and sprinkle well with powdered sugar.

These are excellent for morning breakfast with coffee or tea….and they are better if NOT refrigerated. They have the shelf life of the Pharoahs. But you probably will eat them fast.

Hungarian Chicken Paparkish

Hungarian Chicken Paparkish

By Jane Bartels.

1 chicken already dead and cut up…feathers removed.

2 large cut up onions….also dead.

a handful of parsley, cut up.

1 clove of garlic, cut up or smashed

enough water to cover in a large skillet

salt and pepper

Hungarian Sweet Paparika (spellling varies…) about 2 tablespoons.
(this spice you can get at most large grocery stores. Try for the Hungarian Sweet stuff..makes a world of difference.)

Stew on low heat on top of stove until the chicken is tender.
I use chicken with bone in because it usually has more taste, but if you are rich and lazy, use good chicken breasts….

let it cool a bit and mix in a 16 ounce Sour Cream. You can make this with low fat sour cream but you will go to hell. Or you won’t be Hungarian, but you will live longer…

Boil decent egg noodles, drain, and butter them well….mix in with chicken in skillet.

Adjust salt and pepper (which means, throw in more of both)


Roasting Garlic

Roasting Garlic

Roasted garlic is delicious and incredibly easy to work with. It is much easier to peel than raw garlic, and other than having to wait for it, it is easy to make.

Simply place the whole bulb of garlic in a baking dish and cover. Cook at 400 for about 30 minutes to an hour. When you pull it out of the oven it will be very hot inside, so you will probably want to let it cool. Cut the bottom off the bulb (where it looks like there used to be a stem). The cloves will squeeze or pull right out of their peels!

Roasted garlic is great in just about everything. Try it in:

Mashed potatoes
Potato salad
Pasta salad
Spaghetti sauce

Meatball Potato Soup

Meatball Potato Soup

Meatball ingredients:
2 lbs ground beef
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Worcestershire sauce (optional)

the rest of the soup:
Potatoes (about 4 cups peeled and cut into large chunks)
Cheese (cubed)
Water or broth

Preheat oven to 400. Mix all meatball ingredients well. I start by breaking it up with a fork and then mash it all together with my hands. Form meatballs about 1½ inch. You should get about 25 meatballs. Place in a baking dish (it’s OK if they touch each other), cover and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Place the whole onion and garlic bulb in a baking dish, cover and roast in oven while the meatballs cook.

Peel and cut up potatoes. Place in soup pan and cover with about 4 cups of water. Simmer until tender and whip with electric mixer until smooth. Peel and process onion and garlic in the food processor until smooth, add to potatoes. Use tongs to pick up meatballs and add to soup pot. Add about 6 cups of water or stock. Add salt if needed. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add milk and cheese. Do not allow to boil after the milk is added. It won’t ruin the soup, but it will look disgusting.



Bacon grease
Fresh ground pepper

Slice the garlic. Melt the bacon grease in a skillet (about 2 tablespoons). You can use butter or olive oil if you are squeamish about bacon grease or just don’t have any, but the flavor won’t be as good. Rinse greens and drain well. Pat dry with a paper towel if you have the patience; the water will make the grease splatter. Add greens and garlic to the skillet and toss to coat with the grease. You my need to come back and toss a few times as the greens wilt, to get everything thoroughly and evenly cooked. Once evrything is well coated, cover the pan and let them moisture help them wilt. It won’t take a long time. The greens shrink a lot as they cook!

The Goodness of Greens

The Goodness of Greens

Greens are amazing! They are so nutritious, can be added to salads or soups, or they can be cooked alone. You can even sneak them into spaghetti sauce. The leaves from just about any root vegetable and many other plants can be used. Sadly, most people cut them off and throw them away, and grocery stores tend to sell their vegetables with the greens cut off. Green are sometimes more nutritious than the vegetables from which they are cut!

Here are just a few types of greens you can cook:

Dandelion leaves
Borage leaves
Turnip greens
Collard greens
Mustard greens
Radish greens
Parsnip greens
Carrot greens
Beet greens
Bok Choy

Here are just a few of the nutrients found in greens:

Vitamin A
B Vitamins
Vitamin C
Vitamin K
Omega 3’s

They are good for your bones and joints, blood, and heart. They can help prevent cancer, diabetes, and arthritis, and they are anti-aging. Recipe to follow.

A Little Permaculture and Other Issues…

A Little Permaculture and Other Issues…

By Jane Bartels

Is there any better time to start and maintain a garden than now? It’s not just the weather, the beginning of summer so fragrant with fruit and vegetables, but necessary with the ridiculous cost of gas and the increasing price of groceries.

Even apartment dwellers can tap into a bounty that costs little except water and attention. Container grown tomatoes are excellent and handy. Berries work well in 5 gallon plastic buckets and the buckets can be disguised with pain or wood. Running a row of plastic buckets with blueberries can be very pretty in the sun of a patio. Hanging tomatoes… those upside down ones that look impossible to survive and produce are quite the thing now.

For those of us who have enough room for a strip of veggies, we benefit greatly. Have you seen the price of tomatoes lately, never mind the ban because of salmonella. Some tender lettuce, some bush beans where it’s not hot yet and cantaloupe can’t be beat.

I used to write about Permaculture: that’s Permanent Agriculture. That just means turning your ¼ or ½ acre, the usual urban allotment into a garden of Eden. We had 12 dwarf fruit trees (down to 6 now because of ‘issues’ with soil and maintenance), berry bushes (mostly blueberries) black berries and raspberries. These are long term plantings that produce year after year. They are great for landscapes…especially blueberry. Grapes are wonderful, but they do need some tending and culturing.

The idea in Permaculture can be as little as a few dwarf fruit trees, or as broad as an orchard. The point is cultivating on small holdings. That can be done easily in urban areas. Grape vines can be trellised over a patio area and the cool from the summer sun is wonderful sitting in the gloom of the shade.

There are bigger issues afoot: the population of bees has taken a hit in the last few years. These are the pollinators for all our food stuffs.

First it was a bee mite in the throat that was choking and killing bees. Now it’s a pollution of over 40 substances that have drastically effects our pollinators. They are losing the ability to go out of the hives, find sources of nectar and return to the hive. I recently heard that what they are suffering from, in part, was an autoimmune disease, similar to AIDS. Plus, their Global Positioning isn’t working in so many hives. This is an epidemic amongst beekeepers.

What I also read was that this issue, the lack and diminishing of our natural pollinators will make global warming a secondary issue. There will be mass starvation on a world wide scale. Already the honey hives in Spain and France are deeply affected.

One thing, a small thing, to do is plant bee balm and lemon balm to attract and nurture bees of all kinds. Honey bees are most hit by hive depletion, but other bees also are being hurt by our man made pollution.

There are so many issues abounding in this topic, and I hope others will chime in here with their knowledge and experience.

Our future depends on what we do now, and IF we have a future. It’s that important.

Food. Something we all can’t do without.