Saturday, January 26, 2013

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup is made with at the very least cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, beans, and pasta. There are as many variations on this soup as there are stars in the sky, but this one is a Levay-Krause family favorite and I hope it will become your family's favorite.

Warm the sliced onions in a bit of olive oil, until they become soft. Add to a large stock pot or crock pot, along with minced garlic, chopped carrots and celery, 4 tbls fresh oregano, thick sliced cabbage, and diced tomatoes.

Brown the meat and add to the pot along with all of it's drippings. Pour in 6 cups of water and then the very well drained beans.

Add in 2 tbls each salt flakes and cracked peppercorns, and 1 tbls ground white pepper. Turn up to medium-high heat, stir well and cover. Twenty minutes before serving, bring water to a boil and cook the pasta until just firm. Drain and toss with a splash of olive oil. Add to the rest of the soup, stir, and then serve with bistro bread.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Japanese International Dinner

On Saturday, January 12 we celebrated Japan, our third dinner at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo.

After watching the different groups that were participating in the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society's Bunka no Hi, or Japan Culture Day back in November, I knew I had to ask the dancers if they would like to come and perform for our Japanese International Dinner.

Robert Poczik told stories about what it is like for a Westerner to go to a traditional Japanese public bath; this story was a humorous and surprising view of everyday Japanese culture. He then shared a slide show from his several trips to Japan, showing highlights of the city of Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan and the country's greatest repository of imperial palaces, as well as it's monasteries, gardens and home to Japan's geisha. It was a very rich visual glimpse into the beauty of Japan.

Pictured above is a Japanese Buddhist altar. Pictured below is candied ginger.

The following people and groups helped to make this evening so successful:

Bruce Acker, the Assistant Director of Asian Studies Program at the University at Buffalo.

Dr. Takako Michii, PHD is the president of Buffalo-Kanazawa (Japan) Sister Cities Committee, former director of the Japanese program at SUNY Buffalo, distributor of Kaengen (Enagic) Water.

Joshua Smith of Serene Gardens.

Atsuko Nishida-Mitchell, certified tea ceremony instructor and Martin House docent.

Leader Setsuko Mullen, Yoshiko Connolly and others, all members of the Odori No Kai (Japanese Dance Group).

Susan Mann Dolce donated boxes and boxes of oranges for the center pieces.

Eve Holberg helped set up the main hall and produced dozens and dozens of origami cranes.

Kate Goehrig Scott helped transport all of the lovely dancers and assisted them with their music.

There were many many many door prizes that were donated by Serene Gardens, A Chau International, and Westside Stories, including books, chopsticks, gift certificates, and more. It made for a very exciting end of the evening!

The evening's menu included:

Salt massaged cucumbers with miso, undaria pinnatifida seaweed, and sesame seed

Sake steamed kabocha squash with white miso

Misoshiru with shaved daikon, yellow onions, and mountain yam

Sliced ginger and cracked red pepper crusted grilled tofu

Crystalized ginger wild rice blend with carrots and chaved cabbage

Roasted peppers with mentsuyu served on mixed beans

Azuki bean ice cream

Green salad with terriyaki nori and pumpkin seed dressing

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blueberry Scones

Freeze one stick of butter.
Shred it like you would cheese.
Cover it and tuck it back into the freezer.

Measure out 2 cups of flour, and blend well
with 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda,
and 1/2 tsp salt.

Add in the butter and quickly blend by hand.

Whip 3/4 cup of cream, 1/2 cup sour cream, 3/4 cup sugar. Whisk until foamy.

Add to the dry ingredients. Using a silicon spatula, blend until a shaggy ball of dough forms.

Preheat the oven to 400*

Roll out on a floured surface
to about 20 x 10 inches.

Fold up as shown in the photo to the left.

Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Lightly oil a cookie sheet.

Roll of the dough to 14 x 6 inches.

Firmly press about 1 to 1 1/4 frozen fruit, like these fat blueberries.

Roll the long edge until about 4 inches wide and press down to flatten the top.

Score half way through the roll, creating
triangles as shown in the photo to the right.
Drizzle milk or cream over the top.

Sprinkle sugar evenly all over the top.

Bake for 15 minutes. Pull from the oven and cut all the way through, separating the scones out onto the sheet.

Continue to bake until golden brown.

Set out to cool on a wire rack, sprinkle with a bit more sugar. Serve with whipped heavy cream.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Red Bean Ice Cream - No Eggs!

The vanilla ice cream is 1 pint of heavy cream, one cup of milk, 1/2 cup raw organic sugar and 2 tsp vanilla bean paste. Blended for 30 minutes in the ice cream maker, this soft ice cream needs to be packed and placed in the freezer while you make the red bean paste.

Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Mash until the consistency of refried beans.

Pull out the ice cream and add the bean paste. Use a mixer and blend until smooth.

Place back into the freezer. Re-mix after one hour so that the beans are even distributed throughout the ice cream.

Its consistency is like a dry gelato, mild, not too sweet. Very うま味. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup

Start by making a court bouillon. Dice an onion, carrot, celery, fresh bouquet garni, salt, a splash each of white wine vinegar and a cooking sherry. Cook on low in butter and olive oil until very soft.

Puree everything smooth.
Add 6 cups of water.

Make whole wheat pasta. I used this recipe but added olive oil to it. Sugarlaws shows how to make make it without a pasta machine. Once sliced, toss in a bit of flour and set aside for the last seven minutes before serving.

Sprinkle a quartered chicken with olive oil and Old Bay Seasoning.

Cover with foil and cook for 25 minutes under a low broil or at 450* for 45 minutes. Set out to cool. Cube the breast meat.

Add 1/4 cup of the pan drippings to the soup base and blend with the stick blender. Add the cubed chicken and then the pasta and continue to cook for seven more minutes.

Serve with buttered bread and a salad.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stuffed Peppers

Cut off the tops and dispose of the core, seeds, and stem. Chop and sprinkle with salt.

Add to a pan along with 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1 lb ground beef or bison, as featured here, 1 chopped onion, 5 chopped cloves of garlic, 2 tsps olive oil, 6 oz tomato paste, 7 cups water, 3 tbls oregano, 2 tbls basil, 1 cup red wine, 1 tsp cracked pepper. Parboil 1 1/2 cup of rice. Blend with meat sauce. Stuff into peppers and place them in a casserole dish, along with one cup of water. Cover with foil and bake at 350* for at least an hour, longer if the pepper or rice are still firm.


This is an English-Indian curry dish, popular throughout eastern parts of India, that originated from Portuguese sailors who would cook one pot meals using remnants of meats and vegetables flavored heavily to mask their age or gaminess. I used leftover turkey for this dish.

I prepared wild rice and chickpeas with fennel seed, paprika, minced sweet green peppers, and a masala blend I created that includes: black cardamom pods, black pepper, ground cassia leaf, chili, clove, salt, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, ground mango, ground nutmeg, turmeric.

The turkey marinated in one cup of water, chopped onion, slivered garlic and ginger, tamarind, sunflower oil, vinegar, coconut powder, one can diced tomatoes, chopped coriander, red chilies, salt, butter, masala blend, and strained yogurt. Cook over low heat, stir frequently while the rice finishes. Served with minced parsley and a sprinkle of paprika. This is a spicy dish!