Monday, January 28, 2013

Kidney Stew

"For as long as I can remember, my mother and grandmother always enjoyed a good bowl of kidney stew. They don't have it often, but when they get a hankering, or "the woolies" as my mother would say, they have to have it! Walking into my mother's house last night and seeing the two of them sitting at the table enjoying their stew, for me was like a looking at a Norman Rockwell scene. Then it dawned on me that it was my turn to post a recipe and I had nothing. Perfect! Kidney stew it is. So I grabbed a pen and paper and told the two of them to start taking. In addition to the recipe, I heard some interesting stories. 

Turns out my grandmother's mother would go to the farm, squeeze all the chickens to find the plumpest, and then take the headless victim home in a bag for my grandmother to pluck away the feathers. 'She cooked. every part of the chicken,' my grandmother explained. 'She even made lung stew.' OK, gross. But wait; it gets better. 'Then she would peel the membrane from the brain, cut it up, and bread the pieces and fry them up. They were delicious; I loved them.' Hmmm.  

My mother recalled eating blackbirds as a child and how, when she was 5, she ruined Easter for everyone when she made a commotion after discovering that her favorite pet duck, Donald, was dinner. Needless to say it was an interesting night. I may not like kidney stew, but sure do love the memories and stories that go with it." —Diana 

You'll Need: 
2 veal kidneys (you can use pork or beef if you prefer)

1 medium onion, red or yellow, sliced

1/2 cup white vinegar 

1 tbsp. salt

1 can vegetable broth (or equivalent amount of water)

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

3 bay leaves 

The kidneys need to be cured before cooking. Put them in a pot or bowl and cover with water. Add the white vinegar and salt. Let soak for at least 2 hours. 

When done soaking, drain and rinse the kidneys with cold water. 

Heat a large skillet coated with oil and sauté the onion slices until golden. Add the kidneys, black pepper, red wine vinegar and bay leaves. Mix gently then add the vegetable broth or water. 

Cover and cook on medium heat for about one hour. When done, add flour to thicken to desired consistency. 

Serve over rice or spaghetti. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Salad and Subs a la Rita

"My mom Rita has been making this salad for as long as I can remember. It's a version of her antipasta platter, but as a salad. You can serve it with chips or crusty bread, which I recommend with everything,or it's great as an entree with grilled chicken or as a side with burgers, pasta or fish. We love it it with my mom's Italian subs—a perfect combination for Super Bowl Sunday. Game on! —Jill

You'll need:
1/2 lb. thick-cut Genoa salami, cut into cubes
1/2 lb. block Swiss cheese, cut into cubes
1 can pitted black olives
1 jar pimento-stuffed olives
1 medium red onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about a half a lemon)
4 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. sugar

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Cover, shake to mix well, and place in fridge overnight. If you are in a pinch for time, you don't have to let it sit overnight, but it always tastes better when you do. 

Serve alongside Rita's Italian subs...

You'll need: 
One large ciabatta bread
Italian boiled ham, sliced
Fresh mozzarella, long slices
Roasted red peppers, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar

Slice bread and layer with ham, mozzarella, peppers, and onion. Drizzle with olive oil, red wine vinegar and sprinkle with oregano. Serves four. 

Go team! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Salmon and Shrimp Fried Rice

"I decided to break from tradition and not cook my usual Italian, Sunday pasta meal. Instead, this particular Sunday screamed fried rice. To keep it healthier, I used low-sodium soy sauce, salmon and daughters' favorites. Enjoy. I know my family did!" ~Jennifer

What you’ll need:
2 eggs
½ pound salmon, skinned and cubed
½ pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined.
1 1/2 cups white rice
Snap peas
Baby carrots
Bushel of scallions
Low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Follow cooking instructions for white rice. 
In a separate pot, bring water to a rolling boil for vegetables.
Rough cut the baby carrots and snap peas and add to boiling water.  Cook until tender.
Heat wok and place a tablespoon of sesame oil and the tablespoon of vegetable oil to coat the bottom.
Place salmon in the wok.
Rough cut the scallions and add to the salmon.
Add the boiled carrots and snap peas.
Add the eggs, let cook until whites are visible (like a fried egg) and begin breaking up.
Add tablespoon of sesame oil and throw in the shrimp. Cook until pink.
Finally, add the white rice and begin adding soy sauce to taste.
Add more scallions for garnish, grab your chop sticks and dig in! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Every Christmas Eve I make fried calamari. I didn’t have a deep fryer so I would use a deep pot, heat the oil until I thought it was hot enough, then used my spider to fry the calamari.  This year got myself a new toy! I went high tech and bought myself a deep fryer. It has a temperature gauge that I can set and a timer. Oh yes, I was very excited! This year's Christmas Eve calamari was better than ever. 

But I couldn't just pack away the fryer until next year. Oh no. Picture it: Wildcard Sunday. My house has two Washington Redskin fans. So when the Redskins were playing the Seahawks and my son told me he had a couple of guys coming over to watch the game, it was the perfect opportunity to make chicken wings. 

Unfortunately the “pig pen” (Redskins fans will know what that is) was unhappy with the outcome of the game, but everyone was happy with the wings! Lisa

You'll need:
Vegetable oil (as per your deep fryer)
1 large package chicken wing sections, completely defrosted
2 cups buttermilk
3 ½ cups flour
2/3 cups cayenne pepper

Heat the oil to 375 degrees.

Soak the defrosted chicken in the buttermilk for about 1 hour.

Mix the flour, cayenne pepper and salt

Coat the chicken completely with four mixture.

Cook chicken in batches of 6-7 pieces (depending on the size of your fryer) for 10-13 minutes or until the coating is deep golden brown. 

I love my new toy!