What's Cookin'

WELCOME TO THE FOOD COURT.  Below are links to sites and spreadsheets to spice up your life.  Bon appetit.

• Hot Sauces—A guide to sauces I've tried
10 Stinky Cheeses—Limburger garners #7
• Barpro—An online program of cocktails
• Beer Labels—A list of my beer label collection
Slippery Nipple—A Wikipedia article I created


Beef Stroganoff 

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Fracassee & Dumplings

Chicken Waikiki Beach

Hot German Potato Salad

Polish Stew

Salsa Mexicana

Steak & Kidney Pie

COMING SOON(er or later)

Coq au Vin

Salsa Mexicana AKA Pico de Gallo

MASTER RECIPE (Yield: about 1½ cup)

Ingredients                  Type or variety           Amount                  Preparation                                              

Tomato                                   Large & ripe                           1                                     Seeded & finely diced

Onion                                      Small (white, red, or yellow)  1                                     Finely chopped

Peppers                                  Jalepeno, serranos,              To taste  (~2 to 3            Finely chopped & usually seeded/deveined                                                         .           habanero                               depending on variety)                                                  

Garlic                                      Clove (or jarred)                    ½ clove (or ½ tbsp.)       Minced

Seasoning                               Fresh cilantro                        8 to 10 sprigs

Salt & possibly                        Fresh black pepper               ½ teaspoon of each
black pepper

Liquid base                             Lime juice or cider vinegar    1 to 2 teaspoons


Preparations (see recipe below) 

1.   Chopping the ingredients. Core the tomato, then optionally seed it by cutting across the width and squeezing out the seeds and liquid. Chop it very finely (so that no pieces are larger than 1/16 inch) and scoop into a small bowl. If you want a mild sauce, seed the chiles, then chop very finely and add to the tomatoes. Finely chop the onion and garlic and add to the bowl along with the coriander.

2.    Seasoning the sauce. Stir in the salt, vinegar (or lime juice and 1 tablespoon water, then let the flavors mingle for ½ hour or so before serving.

Perfect Guacamole


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped [Suggest adding jalapeno too]
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • A dash of freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped 
  • Garnish with red radishes or jicama. Serve with tortilla chips.


1 Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avocado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl. (See How to Cut and Peel an Avocado.)

2 Using a fork, mash the avocado. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more. Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness. So, start with a half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness. Be careful handling the peppers; wash your hands thoroughly after handling and do not touch your eyes or the area near your eyes with your hands for several hours.

Keep the tomatoes separate until ready to serve.

Remember that much of this is done to taste because of the variability in the fresh ingredients. Start with this recipe and adjust to your taste.

3 Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it. Refrigerate until ready.

4 Just before serving, add the chopped tomato to the guacamole and mix.

Serves 2-4.


¨    You don't need to have tomatoes in your guacamole.

¨    To extend a limited supply of avocados, add either sour cream or cottage cheese to your guacamole dip. It tastes great. In fact, guacamole with a little cottage cheese added to it is my favorite.

¨    [Marc’s] Add garlic & black pepper.  Supplement Serrano with jalapeño chiles. 

Simply Recipes http://simplyrecipes.com

The deal here is that there's a lot of peeling and chopping, but it's well worth the effort.


  • 2 lbs. kielbasa
  • a lot of potatoes, peeled and chopped to 1 to 2 inch slices or cubes
  • rutabagas, peeled and chopped to 1 to 2 inch slices or cubes
  • onions, chopped to whatever size you like (it doesn't much matter since they'll all break apart)
  • seasoning; this is largely a matter of taste, and not overly important because the main flavoring will be the kielbasa, but I suggest adding the following to taste:
    • bay leaves
    • thyme leaves
    • rubbed sage
    • oregano leaves
    • lots of course ground black pepper
    • and salt of course

While peeling and slicing, bring 3/4 gallon of water to boil in a large kettle.  First throw in the rutabaga since they'll take the longest to cook.  Then add the potatoes, kielbasa, and spices.  When the rutabagas have turned orange and are tender enough to eat, the stew is ready.  Enjoy with a German beer.  And I suggest telling the tale of "Rock Stew" while dining to enhance the heartiness of the meal.  If you aren't familiar with the story, then it's time you were.  One version can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_soup

Recipe courtesy Rachel Ray, 2007

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 pound Spanish chorizo, halved lengthwise then sliced 1/2-inch thick 
  • 1 small head or 1/2 large head, no more than 1 pound, savoy cabbage, shredded 
  • 2 leeks 
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 fresh or dry bay leaf 
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chick peas, drained 
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • 3/4 to 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces 
  • 3/4 pound ground beef pork and veal mix 
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs or 1 slice stale bread, crumbled 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika or paprika 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • A few grates fresh nutmeg 
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, 2 handfuls, and divided 
  • 1 egg, beaten 
  • 2 cups fideos or medium egg noodles 
  • 1 lemon, zested 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 2 firm plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium to medium high heat with extra-virgin olive oil. Add chorizo and render 2 to 3 minutes. To chorizo, add cabbage and begin to cook it down. While cabbage wilts, trim the leeks of top 3 to 4 inches and root ends then halve them lengthwise and thinly slice. Soak in large bowl of water to release grit. Repeat of leeks are especially sandy. Wipe down work area. Dry the leeks on kitchen towel and add to cabbage with some grated carrot. Season with salt and pepper and bay leaf and sweat the vegetables 3 to 4 minutes. Add chick peas and chicken stock to the pot, cover to bring up to a boil. 

Uncover pot and turn heat back a bit but keep at a low boil. Stir chicken into soup. 

Add ground meat to a bowl and top with bread crumbs or crumbled bread. Season the bread with paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add a handful of parsley to the bowl and an egg. Mix and form 1-inch meatballs, adding them to the soup as you work. Wash up and simmer meats 5 minutes then stir in egg pasta and simmer 5 minutes more. Turn off soup. 

While the soup cooks, combine remaining parsley with lemon zest, and chopped garlic Place seeded and chopped tomatoes in a small bowl and combine with lemon-garlic-parsley mixture. 

Serve Cocido in shallow bowls and top with spoonfuls of tomato topping to stir in.

1 to 1-1/2 pounds round steak1 veal kidney or small beef kidney
1 cup chopped onions
5 tablespoons tried-out beef fat, butter, or margarine
4 tablespoons flour
3-1/2 cups beef bouillon or consomme
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Pastry of your choice, using 2 to 4 cups of flour

Trim the fat from the steak and put it in a frying pan over medium heat to melt.  Cut the steak into cubes, 3/4 inch to 1 inch.  Cut the kidney meat away from the white fibers and remove the fat.  Cut the kidney into small chunks.  When the beef fat is tried out, remove the solid parts left in the pan.  Add butter or margarine to the pan (if needed) to make 5 tablespoons.  Saute the onions very lightly in the fat.  Stir in the flour and blend well.  Add the bouillon or consomme and stir until thickened.  Season with the salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.  Add the meat and cool. 

Have ready a 2-quart casserole or baking pan of comparable capacity.  If using a bottom crust as well as top, the pastry will require 3 or 4 cups of flour.  Follow the recipe for suet, or regular, or lard and butter pie crust.  If using a top crust only, prepare any of these or a meat-puff paste.  Like many meat pies, this will be better if a custard cup or egg cup is inverted in the center of the pie to hold up the crust and to gather the gravy during baking.  Put the filling into the casserole or pan, top with pastry, and bake 20 minutes at 450 degrees.  Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake 35 to 40 minutes longer.



v     2 pounds beef tenderloin or sirloin steak

v     ¼ cup butter or margarine

v     1 can (6 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained

v     2 cans (10 ½ ounces each) condensed beef broth (bouillon)

v     1/3 cup instant minced onion

v     ¼ cup catsup

v     1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt

v     1/3 cup Gold Medal flour

v     2 cups dairy sour cream

v     8 to 10 ounces uncooked medium noodles

v     3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Cut meat across the grain into ¾–inch slices, then into strips 3x ¼ inch. Melt ¼ cup butter in large skillet. Cook and stir mushrooms in butter about 5 minutes; remove mushrooms.

In same skillet, brown meat. Reserving 2/3 cup of the broth, stir in remaining broth, the onion, catsup and garlic salt. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Blend reserved broth and the flour; stir into meat. Add mushrooms; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in sour cream; heat through.

Cook noodles as directed on package; drain. Toss with 3 tablespoons butter. Serve with stroganoff.  6 to 8 servings. 



q      3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up

q       1/4 cup shortening

q       1/2 cup Gold Medal flour

q       2 cups thinly sliced onionrings

q       1/2 cup chopped green pepper

q       2 cloves garlic, crushed

q       1 can (16 ounces) tomatoes, drained

q       1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

q       1 can (3 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained

q       1 teaspoon salt

q       1/4 teaspoon oregano

Wash chicken and pat dry. In large skillet, melt shortening over medium heat. Coat chicken with flour. Cook chicken in hot shortening over medium heat 15 to 20 minutes or until brown. Remove chicken; set aside.

Add onion rings, green pepper and garlic to skillet; cook and stir over medium heat until onion and pepper are tender.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Add chicken; cover and simmer 30 to 40 minutes or until thickest pieces are tender. 4 servings.

Serve with a tossed green salad and Jumbo Bread Sticks: Cut unsliced loaf of bread into thick "fingers." Dip each into melted butter or margarine, then sprinkle with sesame seed. Bake in 325° oven 20 to 25 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.


q 9 medium potatoes

q 6 slices bacon

q 3/4 cup chopped onion

q 2 tablespoons flour

q 2 tablespoons sugar

q 2 teaspoons salt

q 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

q Dash pepper

q 3/4 cup water

q 1/3 cup vinegar

q 2 packages (12 ounces each) bratwurst

q 2 tablespoons shortening

Pare potatoes. In saucepan, heat 1 inch salted water (1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup water) to boiling. Add potatoes. Cover; cook 30 to 35 minutes or until tender. Drain; set aside.

In large skillet, fry bacon until crisp; remove and drain. Cook and stir onion in bacon drippings until golden brown. Blend in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in water and vinegar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Crumble bacon. Thinly slice potatoes. Carefully stir bacon and potatoes into hot mixture. Heat through, stirring lightly to coat potato slices.

In skillet, brown bratwurst in shortening, turning with tongs; do not pierce with a fork. Serve with potato salad. 5 or 6 servings.


  • 2 ½ - to 3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
  • 1 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 can (10 ½ ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 ½ cups milk Dumpling dough
  • ½ teaspoon parsley flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning

Wash chicken pieces and pat dry. Mix baking mix, salt, paprika and pepper in paper or plastic bag. Shake 2 or 3 pieces of chicken at a time in bag to coat thoroughly. Melt shortening and butter in large skillet; brown chicken on all sides.

Remove chicken. Drain fat from skillet; stir in soup and milk and add chicken. Cover and simmer about 1 hour or until thickest pieces are tender.

Twenty minutes before end of cooking time, prepare Dumpling dough as directed on baking mix package, adding parsley flakes and poultry seasoning before mixing in liquid. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto hot chicken. Cook uncovered 10 minutes; cover and cook 10 minutes longer. 4 servings.


2 whole chicken legs and 2 whole chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup salad oil or shortening
1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 can (1lb, 4 oz) sliced pineapple
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 chicken bouillon cube

1 large green pepper, cut crosswise in 1/4 inch circles

1. Wash chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Coat chicken with flour.

2. Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, and brown on all sides. Remove as browned to shallow roasting pan, arrange pieces skin sides up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.

4. Make Sauce: Drain pineapple, pouring syrup into 2-cup measure. Add water to make 1 3/4 cups.

5. In medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, pineapple syrup, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and bouillon cube. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly; boil 2 minutes. Pour over chicken.

6. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes. Add pineapple slices and green pepper. Bake 30 minutes longer, or until chicken is tender. Serve with fluffy white rice.

Makes 4 servings.

CINCINNATI "SKYLINE" CHILI (from http://americanfood.about.com/od/classicchowdersandstews/r/cinnchili.htm)
  • 1 quart cold water
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups crushed tomato
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • cooked spaghetti to serve chili over, optional
  • Prep Time: 21 minutes
  • Cook Time: 240 minutes

  • Add beef and water to a 4-quart pot. Bring to a simmer while stirring until the ground beef is in very small pieces.
    Simmer for 30 minutes and add all the rest of the ingredients.
    Simmer on low, uncovered, for 3 hours. Add water as needed if the chili becomes to thick.
    Refrigerated the chili overnight, and the next day remove the layer of fat from top before reheating and serving.

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. In a clean glass or metal bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they can hold a stiff peak. Set aside.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, sugar, egg yolks, melted butter and buttermilk at one time and beat until smooth. Gently fold in the egg whites last.
  3. Put about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in the bottom of each aebleskiver pan cup and heat until hot. Pour in about 2 tablespoons of the batter into each cup. As soon as they get bubbly around the edge, turn them quickly (Danish cooks use a long knitting needle, but a fork will work). Continue cooking, turning the ball to keep it from burning.