Buster’s Baked Beans

May 17, 2010

Serves 20 according to Buster. That’s ridiculous.

  • 2 pounds dry white Navy Beans
  • 2 cups dark beer
  • 1/2 pound salt pork
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cups molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound bacon, chopped

Wash the beans, cover with water and soak overnight.

In the morning change the water, add the salt pork and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for one hour.

Drain beans, reserving broth. Mix the beans, 2 cups of broth, 1 cup of beer and remaining ingredients in a Dutch oven.

Bake at 250 degree for 6 to 9 hours, adding beer as needed. Uncover the pot during the last hour of cooking so that the top becomes crusty.

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Moules Marinieres

May 17, 2010

Serves 4

Mussels are fast, inexpensive and incredibly easy to cook. They are also beautiful and delicious. I can’t think of a better week-night dinner than a big bowl of these mussels with a loaf of bread and a little salad. You don’t even need spoons: the shells work perfectly as built-in utensils.

  • 3 quarts clean mussels (5 pounds)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf

Sauté onions and garlic in butter until golden. Add wine and bay leaf, cook one minute. Add the mussels, cover and cook over medium heat until all shells are open (about 5 minutes). Do not overcook. Remove unopened mussels.

Ladle into bowls and serve with bread to soak up the sauce.

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Hermine’s Oatmeal Cookies

May 17, 2010

Classic lace cookies (although I didn’t know it at the time I wrote the book), these are chewy, delicate, and very addictive. Although they contain no nuts, the combination of butter, oats and brown sugar gives them a distinctly nutty flavor.

  • 2 1/2 cups instant oats
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Melt the butter and add to dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Add the egg and the vanilla.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a well-greased cookie sheet and flatten with the back of the spoon. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies begin to brown. Remove from oven, let sit a minute or two and then remove from the sheet.  If they stick to the cookie sheet, put them back into the oven for a minute.

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Coquilles St. Jacques

May 17, 2010

Serves 6 as an appetizer.

This is one of those almost-forgotten recipes, but it deserves to be brought back. It’s rich, old-fashioned, really satisfying. Use sea scallops; bay scallops are too delicate – and too expensive – for this dish.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • sprinkle of parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Gruyere

Mix water, wine, parsley and bay leaf.  Add scallops; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes.  Drain the liquid and reserve, throwing out the spices.  Cut the scallops into 6 pieces and reserve separately.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet.  Add mushrooms, onions, sherry and lemon juice.  Cover and cook gently 6 minutes.  Drain the liquid into the scallop liquid and add the mushrooms to the reserved scallops.

In the same skilled melt 3 tablespoons butter and whisk in the flour.  Whisk in the liquid and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Mix egg yolks and cream.  Stir in a little of the hot sauce and then stir the egg mixture into the pot.  Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until thick.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the scallops and mushrooms to the sauce.  Traditionally you would now divide the mixture into 6 separate dishes, cover with bread crumbs, dot with cheese and remaining butter and put under the broiler until brown.  If you have no “coquilles” just use a casserole and throw it all together.  Less elegant – but it tastes the same.

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Spaghetti Carbonara

May 17, 2010

Serves 3

Contrary to the recipe so often used in restaurants, real carbonara contains no cream. The real thing also uses guanciale, cured pork jowl, but to be honest, I like bacon better. I think of this as bacon and eggs with pasta instead of toast. It’s the perfect last minute dinner, and I’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t like it.

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/4 to 1/2 pound thickly sliced good quality bacon (I prefer Nueske’s)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 large eggs
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for the table

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When it is boiling, throwthe spaghetti in. Most dried spaghetti takes 9 to 10 minutes to cook,and you can make the sauce in that time.

Cut the bacon crosswise into pieces about 1/2 inch wide. Put them in a skillet and cook for 2 minutes, until fat begins to render. Add the whole cloves of garlic and cook another 5 minutes, until the edges of the bacon just begin to get crisp. Do not overcook; if they get too crisp they won’t meld with the pasta. Meanwhile, break the eggs into the bowl you will serve the pasta in, and beat them with a fork. Add some grindings of pepper.

Remove the garlic from the bacon pan. If it looks like too much to you, discard some, but you’re going to toss the bacon with most of its fat into the pasta. When it is cooked, drain the pasta and immediately throw it into the beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly. The heat of the spaghetti will cook the eggs and turn them into a sauce. Add the bacon with its fat, toss again, add cheese and serve.

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