Thursday, September 29, 2016

Barrio Salad

Essential for this are cucumber, tomato and cantaloupe.

Cut cucumber up, first in slices, then halved slices, then quartered.

Same for tomato.

Cantaloupe -- cut into bite-size chunks.

Optional, and good, are diced apples, diced bell pepper, diced radishes, orange or tangerine slices. You might want to experiment with other fruits and vegetables. Diced avocado works well with this, too.

Toss all ingredients. Cover with chile salt -- I recommend Pico de Gallo brand, but any supermarket of size has other kinds, if you aren't allergic to red food dye -- and lime juice. Toss again. Add more lime juice or chile salt, to taste.

Makes a spicy-hot side for any main protein course.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Dijon-picante chicken


1. Chicken, whatever kind you like or have.

2. Dijon mustard

3. Water -- mix with Dijon mustard to create saucelike consistency. Easy -- not too much water.

4. Picante sauce. Pace makes it for 3 tastes -- hot, medium and mild. I like it hot.

5. Surround chicken parts with cut vegetables on a microwave-safe plate. Pour Dijon and water mixture over chicken, then cover that with picante sauce.

6. 1 teaspoon of sugar, brown if you have it, other will do. Sprinkle evenly on picante-Dijon-covered chicken parts. Let it sit in the refrigerator a while, if you have time.

Cook in microwave for 10 minutes on high, or until chicken is done (stick a fork in it).

Makes a cheap and satisfying main course.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Curried calf liver

Even people who don't generally like liver may find this one tasty.

To feed 4 people you need:

1 pound of calf liver

2 medium onions

Garlic, to taste

Curry powder, to taste

Garam masala, to taste

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Paprika, to taste

4 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/8 wedges

4 fresh jalapeno peppers, cut into 1/4 wedges, or to taste (not for pepper wimps)

Fresh spinach, a few fistfuls (optional, but I recommend it)

Olive oil, used sparingly

A little milk. I use fat-free Promised Land.

A few fresh asparagus stalks work well in this, too, when they are in season.

Cilantro, fresh, is another option.

If you have cracker crumbs or flatbread crumbs that you need to use, this is good for them, too.

Combine all ingredients in an appropriately deep skillet and sautee until liver and onions are tender. Have some bread or tortillas handy to mop up the sauce/drippings.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Creole cabbage

Credit belongs where it is due. This recipe is ripped off from Threadgill's, one of Austin, Texas' best old eateries.

6 slices bacon, diced
2 cups yellow onions, diced
4 cups tomatoes, diced
1 head green cabbage, cut into 1 1/4-inch squares
4 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

SAUTE DICED BACON, add onion, and continue cooking. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring to avoid scorching. Turn down to a simmer and stew until cabbage is done, about 1 hour. Makes 10 big servings.

Good additions for meat lovers: Sausage of any kind, anchovies, beef of any kind. If you want to substitute better fat for worse, fry the bacon crisp first, separate from the grease, then crumble and use an olive-oil base. Some extra garlic also goes well with this, plus any additional chile peppers, according to taste. Italian-style parsley is good if you can get it. Creole-style seasoned salt also subs well for plain salt.

Emeril Lagasse recommends a bottle of beer instead of the water, plus a couple of bay leaves, and his "essence" instead of the Creole seasoning.

A dusting of appropriate spices, like celery seed and sage, won't hurt this either. -- mj

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chile Con Queso

I know that Velveeta is considered declasse among cheese sauce purists, but this recipe will make you think twice about that. Sometimes simple can be good.

Get a deep, microwave-safe bowl. Add:

1 stick of Velveeta, 32 oz. Use the 2% milkfat variety if you want to cut down on the fat. To aid melting, cut it into chunks.

1 can of Ro-Tel tomatoes with green chiles, 10 oz.

About 10 oz. of hot salsa. I used "Pain Is Good" habanero-garlic. Use mild or medium if your tastes run more in that direction.

Powdered cumin, to taste. I used a few shakes.

Dried oregano, to taste. I used a few shakes

Stale beer, a few ounces.

Chili powder, to taste. I used a few shakes.

Minced garlic, to taste. I used about a teaspoon.

Worchestershire sauce, a few good shakes.

Fresh cilantro, a handful, chopped.

That should be enough -- certainly enough heat. Now nuke it, stir, and nuke again until you have the texture you want.

This queso is good on steak, chicken, fish, or just heated up and used as a dip with tostadas or pork rinds. Also, try it for a spicy macaroni-and-cheese dish. Oh, and I almost forgot baked potatoes, crudites, and as a way to jazz up brown rice.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

For Lemonade Without Sugar Collecting At The Bottom

Use a combination of Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup, and Sugar in the Raw natural cane Turbinado sugar, in appropriate amounts in place of the refined sugar that most recipes call for. Stir well, and let it sit for a few minutes. Stir again, then serve with lots of ice. This will make a lemonade that's darker than you may be used to, but well worth it. There will be no sugar collecting at the bottom of the pitcher, and the pure cane products aren't as bad for you as the refined sugar is, anyway.

Postscript: This recipe also works well with lime juice, for limeade.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rosemary Steak

Use a good, thick cut of steak, something like London broil.

Salt, to taste.

Pepper, to taste.

Coat steak, both sides, with olive oil.

Cover steak with rosemary. Dried is OK. Fresh herb is better.

Last, cover one side of steak with minced garlic.

Put on microwave-safe plate and microwave until done to taste, or on foil in gas-stove broiler, same. I like mine medium rare.

Goes very well with an Italian-style vegetable-pasta side dish.

A Cheap And Easy Sandwich With 4 Basic Ingredients

2 slices of whole-grain bread

Underwood deviled ham

Cream cheese

Cucumber slices

Spread deviled ham on one slice of bread, to taste. Then spread cream cheese on the other slice of bread, to taste. I use Philadelphia reduced-fat onion and chive flavor. Put cucumber slices between, and it's basically ready. Mustard may be added to your taste, if you like it.

Postscript: Tomato slices, zucchini slices or yellow squash slices are also good additions or alternatives. Depends on how many veggies you like on your sandwich.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lazy Man's Sangrita

I have a "traditional" blender recipe for sangrita on this blog, but if you just want to throw something together and not have as many dishes to wash, this works well, too.

5.5 oz. Snap-e-Tom tomato juice cocktail (It's a hard-to-find product by Del Monte, but it's available online by the case.) This is roughly half of an 11.5-oz can. The reason this is an important component is that, in addition to tomato juice concentrate, it contains juices of onion and green chiles, which are part of what makes sangrita taste like it does.
If you can't find Snap-e-Tom, V-8 hot and spicy juice works OK in the same amount.

About 4 oz. orange juice, any kind.

About 1.5 oz. lime juice, any kind. The reconstituted type in bottles will do for this.

Mexican-style hot sauce, your choice, to taste. Sriracha, the Southeast Asian serrano hot sauce with garlic, also works well in this.

Combine in a tall glass and stir well.

This is traditionally a chaser for shots of tequila with lime wedges and a little salt. If you are on the wagon, it also makes a good nonalcoholic "virgin Mary" (or as they say in Australia, a bloody shame).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fast And Easy Mustard Potato Salad


3 medium red potatoes, boiled or microwaved with skins on. If you don't like potato skins, peel them, but I leave them on because the skins contain nutrients.

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped. For vegans, chopped tofu, the firm kind, may be substituted in an appropriate amount.

Mayonnaise, to taste. I use the kind that has an olive oil base.

Mustard, just plain salad type will do, to taste, but plenty -- this is mustard potato salad.

2 slices of bacon, well-done and crisp, crumbled. You can skip this if you're a vegetarian or vegan.

Dill weed, to taste.

Paprika, to taste.

Dill pickle, chopped, to taste. I use one smaller one, or a wedge of a bigger one.

Combine everything in a large bowl, mix well and mash until you have a slightly chunky potato salad consistency. Then chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Skip the salt unless you omit the bacon. If you don't, there should be enough salt in all the other ingredients.

Chopped onion, chopped celery, celery seed, and pepper or hot sauce are optional, but may be added to taste. Some people also like cumin powder in potato salad, to taste. Warning: This will give it a brown appearance.

All this should make a heaping bowl with enough to serve 3-4 people. Double the recipe if you expect 6 guests and yourself.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Steve McQueen Cocktail

Steve may never have had one of these, but perhaps he should have. He only lived to be 50 anyway, and these probably beat laetrile.


3 oz. of brandy. Cheap California stuff is fine.

1 heaping teaspoon of ketchup.

1 raw egg.

A dusting of cayenne pepper.

Mix brandy and ketchup together in a glass and chill. Then crack raw egg into mixture, and top with pepper dusting.

It's often recommended that these be swallowed with one or two determined gulps. I find them tasty, but that might not be a universal opinion.

Good hangover therapy -- again, I won't say "cure," because there's no cure for a hangover other than sleep, food and abstinence. But this will help take the sting out of a "big" night before.

Some people may have qualms about a raw egg. Do they use mayonnaise?

Postscript: Some recipes also call for a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with this. This could add some nutrients. There are also those who like a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce in theirs. Angostura bitters, a few dashes, is another additive.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Red Eye recipe

This is a variation of a drink sometimes called "red beer," but it's stronger and reputed to be theraputic for a hangover. (I'm not going to say "cure," because there's really no cure for a hangover except for food, sleep, vitamins and abstinence.) I will say "therapy" because a hair of the dog will help you endure the pain. Here goes:

6 oz. lager beer

1.5 oz. vodka

A few drops of hot sauce, Tabasco traditionally, but any will do

Top with tomato juice or V-8. 4-5 oz., with the rest, should fill a tall glass.

By some traditions, this drink also contains a raw egg. It's optional -- you may want to dodge the salmonella risk, but from experience I'd say it's very slight.

Some people also like a couple of dashes of Worchestershire sauce in theirs.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Caesar cocktail, Canadian-style

This is one of the best cocktails I can remember having. (Remembering may be the key word to this.) It's a variation on the bloody Mary, and I would say it's an improvement on it.

For a double:

2 shots of vodka or gin, 1.5 ounces for each shot.

About a half teaspoon of horseradish, the prepared kind that has no dairy content in it.

About a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice.

A few drops of Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce, to taste.

About another teaspoon of Worchestershire sauce.

A jigger (1.5 oz.) of clam juice -- or commensurate Clamato juice, if you have it. I can't drink it because it has MSG.

If you don't have Clamato or can't drink it -- tomato juice or V-8 to make up for the lack of that. As much of that as fills the glass.

Celery sticks for garnish.

Plenty of ice to chill!

Black pepper, to taste. This should have enough salt already, but that can also be added to taste.

Some recipes call for fresh clams, if you can find them.

Combine and enjoy! Best way I've ever found to get a light buzz on before dinner!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ranch And Cheese Vegetable Medley

This was an experiment, brought on by produce and other items that were in need of use, that turned out to be a success.


Broccoli, a full head, crowns only, chopped

About half of a zucchini, chopped

1 medium potato, microwaved to tenderness first

A thick slice of onion, chopped

About half of a Roma tomato, chopped

Ranch dressing, to taste (I recommend Paul Newman's. The others have MSG.)

Paprika, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Jalapeno, chopped (Optional. I used one large fresh one.)

Poblano or bell pepper, a whole one, chopped

Buttermilk, to taste and for texture

Olive oil, about a tablespoon

Butter, about the same amount

Sage, to taste

1 egg

Cilantro, a small handful, chopped

Garlic, chopped, to taste

1 slice of cooked bacon, crumbled

Finish with grated Mozzarella cheese, a handful

Combine all ingredients in a pot and sautee, covered, and mix until everything is done and tender.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Easy Rosemary Potatoes

Bake or microwave one potato per person.

Once cooled a bit, mash them up in a bowl, size according to the number of potatoes.

Then add:

Rosemary. I prefer the powdered kind. If that's not available, crush the rosemary as finely as possible before adding. Amount will be to taste.

Butter. I recommend light butter from Land O'Lakes, made with olive oil. Add enough to give the potatoes a moist, fluffy consistency.

Salt and pepper, to taste.

Minced garlic, one clove worth per potato (optional).

Mix everything up very well, until a consistency of mashed potatoes is reached. If the consistency isn't what you want, a little milk will probably get it there. Keep mixing until it's got the mashed consistency. Then bake or microwave everything in the bowl until it's hot again.

Serve immediately. Goes very well with any main course.