Tag Archives: Chef’s Corner

DECEMBER “CHEF’S CORNER” WITH JOHN RUDY: CHICKEN FRICASSEE

CHICKEN  FRICASSEE

This recipe, before changes, came from the McCall’s Cooking School.  It serves 6-8.  The dumplings are a nice touch and differentiate this recipe from others you might know.  Because of the dumplings, this is not served over noodles or rice.  The original recipe, in my opinion, had insufficient chicken, and I also switched from white to dark meat as the dark meat is more forgiving and can survive over-cooking (who would do that?).

This recipe has a lot of vegetables, and I have put in what I like.  You can certainly change them.  Some Chicken Fricassee recipes call for wine.  You can replace some of the water with red wine if you wish.  I also make it a bit spicy, and this, too, can be adjusted.

Many will toss the chicken in flour.  I prefer to use pancake mix which contains some other ingredients.  I use the same strategy when pan-frying fish.

Ingredients

4 lbs       chicken legs and thighs with skin on

4 Tbs      butter (add more if necessary)

1 tsp       salt

1/3 cup   Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix

1/8 tsp    red pepper powder  (adjust to your taste)

1 cup    chicken stock

1 cup   water

2      medium onions cut ¼ inch thick

25+   baby carrots or cut up larger carrots

1 can   artichoke hearts

6   whole cloves

15   whole peppers, crushed

8   stalks   Celery, cut thick

10  Mushrooms (large), halved

1½  cup  Bisquick

1       egg

¼ cup     milk

remaining flour

½ cup   light cream

Instructions

  • Toss the chicken in the flour, salt, pepper mixture. Dry the chicken first, and don’t put it all in the bag at the same time.  If you are very calorie conscious, you can remove the chicken skin.
  • Brown the chicken, skin side down first, in the butter in a dutch oven.  You will not be able to fit all the pieces in the pot at the same time.  Make sure that the skin is quite brown.  Remove the pieces to a side dish with paper towel to drip.
  • Put the cloves, peppers, onions, and baby carrots into the butter, and sauté about 5 mins. Stir occasionally, and deglaze the bottom of the pot with some of the water.
  • Add the soup and the remaining water; bring to a boil; and add the chicken back. Cook, covered, on low about 30 minutes.
  • Add the celery and mushrooms, and cook an additional 5 minutes. (If they are added early, they will become soggy.)
  • Mix the Bisquick, egg, and milk, and put tablespoons full (there will be about 6) onto the chicken above the liquid. Cook uncovered 10 minutes.
  • Cover, and cook an additional 10 minutes.
  • Gently remove the dumplings, and thicken with the remaining flour which has been mixed with the light cream. Remember–flour can only be mixed with cold liquid.
  • Return the dumplings to the pot for serving.
  • If this recipe is done with boneless chicken breasts, reduce cooking by ~10 minutes.
“Chef’s Corner” writer John Rudy

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)

NOVEMBER CHEF’S CORNER WITH JOHN RUDY: THE TURKEY!

ROAST TURKEY

by John Rudy

This recipe, with some adjustments, came from Sally and Jimmy Weiner ~1985.  I believe it came to them from  WBZ daytime personality Dave Maynard.  The teaching lesson here is that, if any meat is cooked at too high a temperature, all the juices evaporate and the meat dries out.  (The same is true, by the way, for Prime Rib which I cook at 250° until the last 20 minutes.)

Use an 18-20# Turkey for ~ 12 hungry people which, depending on the amount of appetizers, may end up about half eaten.  I have very successfully used frozen turkey, and the closer to the holiday, the lower the price.  It takes about 5 days to thaw and might be more of the refrigerator is particularly cold.  They can be kept a few days in the refrigerator in the vacuum wrapping, so leaving more days for thawing is best.  I prefer to cook the stuffing outside the turkey though others like the turkey juice to infiltrate the stuffing.  The decision affects the cooking time.

  1. Season the turkey, inside and out, 24 hours in advance, and keep it in the refrigerator. I use salt, pepper and Lawry’s Season Salt.  Put 8-10 stalks of celery into the turkey cavity to provide extra moisture.  These will be discarded at the end of the cooking.
  2. Take out the neck, gizzard, liver and heart (and anything else they stuff in) and add another 2# package of gizzards. Boil them with salt and a chicken cube or two for at least 2 hours to make chicken stock. Remove the meat and boil it down by 50%.  This will be added to the pan stickings to make the gravy.  It is even better if you have left-over (frozen) gravy from a previous chicken or two. Put aside the liver for making paté. Pull the meat from the neck and cut the grizzle from the gizzard.  Chop everything finely and it can be added both to the stuffing and the gravy.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°. Turn to 325° when you put the bird into the oven.  If you have a new oven it will cool down too slowly so you might have to help by opening the oven door for a minute.
  4. Put cold butter slices inside the skin of the breast, if you can. Don’t cut the skin.  VERY IMPORTANT: cook breast side down for about 1.5 hours.  This is best done on a small cooking rack to keep the breast skin off of the bottom of the tray.
  5. Turn the turkey over. The easiest way to do this is by wearing rubber gloves.  Put aluminum foil over wings and drumsticks so that they don’t dry.
  6. Baste regularly (every ~20 mins) by ladling pan drippings onto the cheesecloth. It takes ~15 minutes /per pound to cook.  Remove the cheesecloth for the last 30 minutes to crisp the skin.
  7. Turkey is best if left to its final cooking with the oven turned off. Can be put back in for 20 minutes just before slicing, if it has been removed from the oven to bake other things.
  8. These times below are based on placing the whole turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 325 degree
 Weight of Bird  Roasting Time (Unstuffed)  Roasting Time (Stuffed)
10 to 18 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours 3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds 3-1/2 to 4 hours 4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds 4 to 4-1/2 hours 5 to 5-1/2 hours
24 to 29 pounds  4-1/2 to 5 hours 5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

Stuffing

  • I prefer a combination of regular and cornbread stuffing. I use 1 bag (Pepperidge Farm) of each.  It requires about 30% more water than called for.  Make at very last minute so that it doesn’t have to be heated.  If absolutely necessary to heat, use the microwave so that the pan doesn’t burn!
  • Add pan-fried onions, pieces of celery (10-15 stalks chopped), and fresh mushrooms. The pieces of giblet (grizzle removed) and neck meat can be put through the grinder or can be chopped up and added to the stuffing.
  • I sometimes make oyster stuffing with about 1/3rd of the stuffing, by cutting up 4 to 8 oz of oysters and gently, VERY quickly pan-frying them in butter before adding them to the stuffing.

Gravy

  • Thicken the soup that was made with the giblets with roué. Roué: Take ¾ stick of butter and melt it and add ½ cup of flour while whisking.  Continue whisking for 2-3 minutes until the mixture starts turning a light brown.  Then whisk the gravy into the roue.  Whisk continuously and bring to a boil.
  • Add the pan droppings after removing all of the fat. Add water to the pan, if necessary, to remove any pan stickings that are burned into the pan.
  • Bring mixture to a boil to thicken the gravy. Adjust the flour to the quantity of gravy.  I sometimes supplement the gravy with gravy from Boston Market or Neillios (Lexington), the only decent commercial gravies I have found.  I also save gravy from roast chickens (and freeze) for a month.

If all this is too much effort, and if you are the only one for Thanksgiving, an alternative is to make an origami turkey.  Here, thanks to MIT, is the method:

https://slice.mit.edu/2016/11/23/turkey/

Chef’s Corner feature writer John Rudy

 

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)

OCTOBER CHEF’S CORNER WITH JOHN RUDY: CHEESECAKE!

CHEESECAKE —  RICH AND CREAMY

(Serves 8 or more)

This recipe, originally from p. 466 of The Best Recipe by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, gives a detailed explanation of the cream cheese/sugar/egg/cream/sour-cream ratios and discusses the effect of changing each.  The texture of the cake changes considerably as one adjusts the amounts, and these are the amounts I like.  Make it a half dozen times in slightly different ways to see what you like.  It also describes the difference between the various cooking processes.  We first made it in 2005.  All agreed that this was the best cheesecake ever.  The water bath really makes a difference.  50 minutes for prep and clean-up.

“Crust” (more like a dusting)  OR use a full crust

2 tsp          Butter, melted

2 Tbs         Vanilla Wafer or Graham Cracker crumbs  —  very fine.  ~7 vanilla wafers.

Cheese Filling

32 oz         Cream cheese at room temperature  (“lite” cheese is NOT                         acceptable).  4 pkgs.

1¼ cup      Sugar

¼ cup        Heavy Cream or Whipping Cream  (I use whipping cream)

¼ cup        Sour Cream

2 tsp          Vanilla extract

4                Eggs at room temperature

9″              Springform pan

2 sheets     Aluminum foil (one extra wide and extra heavy).

Use an outer pan large enough to easily seat the 9” pan, like a Lobster Pot bottom or the pan you roast your turkey in.

Optional: strawberries, cherries or chocolate fudge sauce for the topping.

  1. A Springform is made of two pieces: the side (with the spring) and the round bottom. Line the bottom of the pan with foil and put the base back with the foil hanging outside the pan and coming UP the side of the pan.  This is the second line of protection if the outer foil layer fails.  Bring the 2nd heavy, wide foil up the side of the pan, and put on tightly so water doesn’t enter. See the picture.  Set oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Brush the bottom and the sides with butter, and sprinkle the crumbs over the bottom. Tilt the pan in all directions to have the crumbs go up the sides.  Pour out excess.  Alternatively,  you can also make a bread crust for the bottom.  I prefer the dusting.
  3. Boil enough water for the water bath. About 4 cups should be sufficient, but check during cooking that it hasn’t boiled off.
  4. Beat the room temperature cream cheese until smooth, and then beat in the sugar for about 3 minutes on medium until fully incorporated.
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the side of the bowl after each one. Do not over beat.  Add vanilla and beat until just incorporated.  Add the cream and sour cream, and beat in at very low speed, until smooth.
  6. Pour mixture into the pan, and set into the larger pan. THEN pour in enough boiling water to go halfway up the side of the pan.  DON’T go above the aluminum foil protection.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for about 55-60 minutes until the perimeter of the cake is just slightly set and the center jiggles like jello.
  8. Turn off the heat and open the oven door slightly.  Leave for 1 hour longer.  Very carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and set on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature.  This takes another hour.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.  If covered when warm, water will form on the cover and drip into the cheesecake!!
  9. Sometimes, I top this with sliced fresh strawberries, or a combination of strawberries and blueberries.
“Chef’s Corner” (and “Tech Talk”) feature writer John Rudy

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)

SEPTEMBER CHEF’S CORNER WITH JOHN RUDY: THUMBPRINT COOKIES

THUMBPRINT COOKIES

(One and a Half Recipes Makes about 45 Small Ones)

I was given this recipe in the 4th grade (1954) and have been using it, with no changes, ever since.  I have tried to fill the thumbprint with Nestles chocolate or with M&Ms but it never seems just right.  The best chocolate is the Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chips which, when warm (after baking), can be flattened with a spoon.  My favorite filing is apricot preserves.  The preserves must be thick, not runny.

See this before you cook to get into the mood.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye8mB6VsUHw&feature=youtu.be

I usually make 1½ recipes.

2 sticks   Butter (at room temperature)

3            Egg yolks

¾ cup     Sugar, granulated

¼ tsp     Salt

2¾ cup   Flour   (sift after measuring)

1 tsp      Vanilla

Preserves (strawberry, raspberry or apricot).  Don’t use anything too “liquidy.”

You could use a chocolate that re-hardens.  Or M&Ms.

*

Cream butter. NOTE: I use my normal, salted butter.  If you choose to use unsalted butter, add another ¼ tsp of salt.

  1. Beat in the sugar until it is totally absorbed by the butter.
  2. Beat in the yolks, salt and vanilla (find something useful for the whites).
  3. Slowly beat in the flour. The last flour may be hard to add, as the mixture gets crumbly. If you beat the flour too quickly there will be flour all over the kitchen.
  4. Roll the batter into balls, about 1″ in diameter, flatten slightly, and place on un-greased cookie pan, separated by about 2″. They will enlarge when baked.  The easiest way to do this is to take a spoonful and roll it in your hands.  24 will fit in a pan (4×6).  There is a lot of butter in the recipe so you do not need to grease the pan
  5. Flatten each cookie a bit and put a thumbprint in the middle. The thumbprint must be deep enough to hold the preserve.  The sides of the cookie may crack a bit as you push down but you can hold them together with your left hand when making the thumbprint with the right.
  6. Fill the thumbprint with preserve. An alternative to the preserve is a chocolate Candy Kiss or other chocolate.
  7. Cook at 375ofor 12 to 15 minutes.  DON’T overcook.  Undercook slightly as they continue to cook when removed from the pan.  DO NOT USE A DARK COLORED PAN, they cook too fast and burn on the bottom.  Under-cooking is fine.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven when the tops of the cookies are just beginning to get brown. It may look too early but it is not.  They will harden as they cool; otherwise they are overcooked and hard.  You can also check the underside for browning.  Note that when cooking two pans simultaneously, they bake at different rates even if they are on the same level.  When you have one pan on top of the other the air flow in the oven is disrupted
  9. Remove cookies immediately to wire racks to cool, and they then can be stored in a tin. If they are at all warm when they are put in the tin the steam will turn to water and you will be unhappy.
  10. Cookies can be made in advance and frozen (and I like them when they are frozen).
  11. As I said earlier I started making these cookies in the 4th grade.This is the perfect first cookie recipe to teach the grandkids.
Chef John Rudy

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.) John also provides our monthly “BOLLI Matters Tech Talk” feature.  

 

 

AUGUST’S CHEF’S CORNER WITH JOHN RUDY: STUFFED CABBAGE

STUFFED CABBAGE – GERMAN STYLE

There are many recipes for stuffed cabbage.  This is the Rudy-version.  This recipe came from my mother-in-law, Lillian Weil, and probably came from a previous generation.  The details of the recipe were never written down and so what is here is “best recollection” plus the result of some experimentation.  Since everyone likes it, apparently the experimentation worked!  It makes enough for at least 10 servings and I usually split it up into ½ gallon plastic containers and freeze the ones that will not be immediately eaten.

No quantity in this recipe is exact; all should be played with to get the taste that you like.  More rice?  More meat?  More sauce? Go for it!

1               Cabbage (medium size)

1½ lbs    85% Hamburger.  Don’t use too lean, it loses taste

1             Large onion, diced

¾ cup     Spaghetti sauce (has more flavor than plain tomato  sauce)

¾ cup     Rice.  Not Minute Rice. Measure after cooking.

¾ cup     Spaghetti sauce (this is not an error)

24 oz      Stewed tomatoes, diced (could use more; like 2 large cans)

2 cans     Sauerkraut, large cans or 4 medium cans.  DO NOT DRAIN.

1 cup      Spaghetti sauce  (this is not an error either)

1½ Tbs   Brown sugar

1½ Tbs   Granulated sugar

Cut the center out of the cabbage and pull off some of the outer leaves if they are not crisp. Boil the cabbage at least 60 minutes (longer if really large) until the leaves pull off fairly easily.  But don’t cook so long that it is mushy.  Let it cool by soaking in cold water. Note:  if it is not cooked enough, the leaves break when you try to wrap the meat.

  1. Cook the rice.
  2. Sauté the onions. Slightly under-cook.
  3. Mix the raw hamburger, rice, onions and ¾ cup of the sauce. This will become the filling of the cabbage
  4. Gently remove the leaves from the cabbage. It will not be easy to do, and some of the leaves are very large.  You may have to recut the hole in the cabbage.
  5. Combine the sauerkraut, another ¾ cup of the sauce, sugars, and stewed tomatoes in the bottom of a large pot. Mix together.  This will provide the base to the stuffed leaves.
  6. Put the meat mix into the leaves, fold over, and place on top of the sauerkraut mixture, open side down. The amount you use depends on the size of the leaf.  As you make them, lay them on top of the sauerkraut base.
  7. Pour the last cup of sauce on top of the filled leaves, along with leftover cabbage.
  8. Here is where you have two options, and my preference is to use the oven. (1) Bring the pot SLOWLY to a boil (be careful; you may have to add some water so that it doesn’t burn), and then let it simmer for 45 minutes.  (2) Alternatively, it can be put in the oven, covered, at 350o to 375o for about an hour.  The problem with the first option is that it is really easy to burn the bottom of the pan.
  9. This makes a lot. It can be separated and frozen, even in plastic bags.
  10. OPTIONAL: cook up another pound of hamburger and add sauce. This can be added to the top of the cabbage mixture to give it even more protein.
  11. NOTE: everything is cooked before being put in the oven, so the baking period is really for everything to mix together.

Enjoy!

“Chef’s Corner” feature writer, John Rudy

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)

JULY CHEF’S CORNER WITH JOHN RUDY: CREAMY ORANGE CHICKEN

CREAMY ORANGE CHICKEN

I love Mandarin Oranges and had recently had an Orange Chicken dish at a Chinese restaurant that was overcooked and not to my standards.  So I made this.  Like all entrée dishes,  a wide variability in the amounts of any ingredient is possible, and you should doctor things to your taste.  More sauce, less sauce, etc.  Make sure that you use Chinese rice, and not something like Uncle Ben’s, or you can use noodles or potatoes.

Some notes about the chicken: Dark meat is more forgiving and tends not to overcook.  I have used chicken breasts but make sure that they are not cut too thin, or they can dry out.  I prefer boneless/skinless thighs.  (If you choose bone-in, you’ll need 2 lbs.)

A note on the onion: I like them ¼ inch thick, but others like them as thin as possible.  Do what you wish.

A note on thickening: the standard approach is to add flour to cold liquid and then mix it in.  I like my cold liquid to be orange liqueur or, alternatively, orange juice

1  1/2 lb     Chicken, thighs1/4 cup                                                                       1/4 cup      Cornstarch (or flour) to coat                                                                                          Flour for thickening                                                                                                              Peanut Oil plus butter (50/50)                                                        1/2 cup      Whipping cream (or save calories with regular cream)            1                  Onion, large, sliced                                                                                         1 lb             Mushrooms, fresh, sliced                                                                            1-2 cans   Mandarin oranges (save the sugary liquid)                                                            Broccoli or thin-sliced carrots                                                                                      Sticky rice or noodles                                                                                                          Salt and pepper to taste                                                                                   1tbs       Hot cayenne pepper (optional).  I like it spicy.

 

  1. Coat the chicken with cornstarch/salt/pepper (shake in a bag).
  2. Heat the oil/butter very hot in a wok or fry pan, and fry the chicken.  This will take about 5 minutes and chicken should be turned.  If there is a lot of chicken do it by turns.  Don’t overcook the chicken.  Don’t make the pieces too large or too small.
  3. Remove chicken to a side dish.
  4. Remove all but a few tbs. of the oil, and cook the onion. You may need to add some water to keep it from burning.  Optionally, sprinkle the onion with the hot Cayenne pepper (flakes or powder)
  5. Cut the carrots very thin or use a peeler and add in sliced mushrooms.  Mushrooms can add a lot of liquid.  Add at the very end, and it will take maybe 1-2 minutes to cook.  Add in the orange slices (without their syrup).
  6. Add 1 tbs flour to the ¼ cup cold Mandarin-juice (or orange juice or orange liquor) and stir well.
  7. Add the cream and quickly bring to a boil so that you can add the flour to thicken
  8. Return the chicken to the wok or pan briefly.
  9. Serve over sticky rice (about ¾ cup per person) or noodles.

Enjoy!

BOLLI MATTERS food and tech feature writer John Rudy

 

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)

JUNE CHEF’S CORNER WITH JOHN RUDY: SLOW-COOKER STROGANOFF/GOULASH

SLOW-COOKER STROGANOFF/GOULASH

Many years ago, when we were first married, we bought (like all our friends) a crock pot.  The theory was that we would set it up before going to work, and a meal would be ready when we got home.  After a number of abortive attempts and lousy meals, we gave up.  Eventually, we gave away that primitive pot.

Then, last year, we were at my daughter’s, and she made this wonderful meal in her high technology slow-cooker.  It was great, and nothing like our decades-earlier attempts.  So we went out and bought one and have made many dishes.  The key now is adjustable temperature as in our Hamilton Beach Stay or Go.

You can double the recipe for company (or left-overs), and it will still fit in the cooker.

It is also important to understand that not all ingredients go in at the beginning.  Adding, say, string beans, and cooking for 6 hours will result in green paste.

1½ lbs       Beef  (a tougher piece of meat with good marbling.                                        I like chuck)

1 Tbs         Worcestershire Sauce

1                  Onion, chopped

1/4 cup    Water

1 can         Cream of mushroom soup (I only use Campbell’s)

4 oz           Cream cheese

8 oz           Noodles  (or alternative starch)

6 oz           Mushrooms (optional)

  1.   Cut meat a bit (not too small).
  2.   Put all EXCEPT the cream cheese into the slow cooker on low for   5 hours. If using mushrooms, cook them separately as they will       generate a lot of water.  Add at the end.
  3.   Add the cream cheese and mix in. It is not necessary that it be         perfectly mixed.
  4.   Serve over noodles, rice, or potato.  My preference is Angel Hair     noodles.
  5.   I like this with carrots, but it is tricky to know when to put them    in so that they cook the right amount for your taste. So it is best  to cook them separately and add them near the end.  I also like    large chunks of onion and I add them half-way through so that  they are still somewhat crisp.

Try this one out and let me know how you like it!  Leave comments in the box below, or email me at john.rudy@alum.mit.edu

BOLLI Matters chef and tech expert John Rudy

 

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)

MAY CHEF’S CORNER WITH JOHN RUDY: APPLE PANCAKES

APPLE PANCAKES

My parents found this recipe in the early ‘80s when staying at The Edgecombe-Coles House, a B&B in Camden, Maine.  This recipe serves 3.  I usually double the recipe for guests and put it in a 9” x 13” Pyrex which requires about 10 minutes additional cooking.  It is similar to Bickfords’ Apple Pancake, though that one is cooked in an iron pan in the oven (and therefore is round).  Of course you can use any other fruit.  I like it with maple syrup (only the real, 100% kind), but it is also good with powdered sugar.

4                  Eggs

1 cup         Flour

1 cup         Milk

¼ stick      Butter

½ can         Comstock apple pie filling (or equivalent) in heavy sauce,                          not water

Salt (optional)

  1. Melt butter in 8” x 8” glass pan in the oven at 425 degrees until the butter begins to blacken.  Turn/twist the pan so that the butter goes up the sides.
  2. Blend milk, eggs and flour and pour into the hot pan. As with pancakes, a few lumps are OK.  By the time the cooking is over they are gone.
  3. Spoon in ½ can of apple pie filling, and spread it around the pan. Apples can be replaced with cherries, blueberries, etc. but be careful that it doesn’t introduce a significant amount of water.  If it does, add a bit more flour to the mix.  Comstock has two types of apple filling so I always get the one in the heavy syrup.  Note that the recipe does not call for sugar, as that comes from the proper can of fruit.
  4. Bake at 425ofor about 30 minutes.  It will be done when the sides are crisp, the eggs are cooked, and the batter is rising out of the pan at the edges.  Cook it over a cookie sheet in case it overflows.  The larger pan (doubled recipe) will take a few minutes more.
  5. Can be served alone, with melted butter, powdered sugar, or with maple syrup. I prefer real maple syrup.
  6. Serve immediately after removing from the oven, before it falls.
  7. This is easy to reheat in the microwave on a low setting. (If you reheat it on High, it becomes rubbery.)
CHEF’S CORNER Feature Writer John Rudy

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)

APRIL CHEF’S CORNER WITH JOHN RUDY: NOODLE PUDDING

NOODLE PUDDING

This recipe came from my Grandmother Helen Rudy in about 1965.  She got it from her mother or grandmother.  As is usual with that generation, nothing was written down, so what is here is a tuning of the recipe based on making it–a lot.  Most commercial Noodle Puddings have a higher concentration of noodles, and that certainly can be arranged, but I like it softer and creamier.  Others have raisins, pineapple, and other stuff I don’t like to put in my noodle pudding, but there is no problem adding other ingredients unless they either absorb a lot of moisture or generate a lot of moisture.  If that is the case, moderate the milk to get the consistency you like.  This recipe makes 8-10 portions in a 9” x 13” pan (117 sq in).  A half recipe goes into an 8”x8” pan.  With two of us, the half size works just fine.

9×13 pan      8×8 pan

1 lb                  ½ lb         Cottage Cheese (standard size container)

8 oz                 4 oz        Cream Cheese, softened

4                       2              Eggs, Jumbo (adjust if using a smaller sized egg)

½ pint           ½ cup     Sour Cream

1¼ cup         ⅝ cup     Milk (note that 1/8th  cup is 2 tablespoons)

2½ Tbs         1¼          Sugar

8 oz              4oz         Broad Noodles.  (Note: Some bags are 12oz,                                                        others  are 16oz)

2 Tbs            1 Tbs      Butter

½ cup           ¼ cup     Cornflake crumbs (just pour from box till it is                                                      enough)

shakes          shakes    Cinnamon-Sugar

Except for when there will be a crowd, make ½ of this recipe

  1. Certain recipes require accurate measuring. A noodle pudding does not.  And you might as well play with the ingredients to tune it to your taste.
  2. Cook the noodles for 6-7 minutes, drain, and cool in water. Don’t make them too soft as they will continue to cook as you bake the pudding.
  3. Beat the Cream Cheese, then add the eggs, Sour Cream, Cottage Cheese, and Sugar. If you use “lite” sour cream or cottage cheese it will affect the taste.  Only you will know if you care.
  4. Slowly beat in the milk and then stir in the well drained noodles. It will be very liquid at this point but will thicken during cooking.
  5. Heat the oven to 350°
  6. Melt the butter in a Pyrex pan and make sure that the sides are also buttered. The amount of butter is approximate.  Place the pan onto an edged cookie tray (to collect leakage).  Pour in the pudding material.  This can, in fact, be done hours before the cooking.
  7. Sprinkle the top liberally but not thick with Cornflake crumbs, and then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
  8. Bake, uncovered, ~33 minutes until it browns on the top and it is reasonably solidified. It will not harden in the pan while hot.  If covered it will boil, not bake.  The smaller pan will take 28 minutes.
  9. The pudding can be prepared a day before cooking.

The pudding reheats well in the microwave.

CHEF’S CORNER Feature Writer John Rudy

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)

MARCH’S CHEF’S CORNER WITH CHEF RUDY: SPARE RIBS!

MEATY SPARE RIBS

This recipe was developed from a Chinese Cuisine site on the web, though I have made a lot of alterations.  When buying the spareribs try to find those with a meaty back side (unlike what is typically found in a Chinese Restaurant where they remove that part to be used in other dishes).

The keys are to cook slowly, with the oven moist, to keep the meat tender.  Then at the end cook them under the broiler to make them crisp.

6  Spareribs (meaty)                                                                                                         ¼ cup Soy Sauce                                                                                                                  ½ cup red Chinese sauce (Ah So)                                                                          1½ Tbs Catsup                                                                                                                 1½ tsp Mustard (I use powdered)                                                                          1½ Tbs Red Wine Vinegar (or other vinegar)                                                    1 Tbs Brown Sugar                                                                                                            5 Garlic Cloves, well chopped                                                                               1/3 cup Honey (dissolved in some water)

  1. Marinate the spareribs (turning occasionally) in everything but the honey.  Best if marinated for a full day (or even 36 hours).  A 10×14” pan works particularly well.  You will probably have to cut the rack of ribs into 6” sections to fit, but don’t cut individual ribs.
  2. Bake at 335 for about an hour, with the meat side up on a rack over a cookie tray.  Put aluminum foil in the pan to catch the fat drippings.
  3. Place a tray of water a few inches under the cooking tray.  This generates steam and keeps the ribs moist.  (Make sure that it doesn’t evaporate.)
  4. Baste the ribs with honey every 15 minutes
  5. Remove the ribs from the oven, get rid of the foil and the fat.
  6. Put the ribs back in, under the broiler, about 6” from the element.  Baste heavily with the honey and broil for 5-7 minutes to crisp the ribs.  Turn over, baste the back side, and cook the back under the broiler for 5-7 minutes. A lot more fat may come off during the broiling process.
  7. Individually cut apart the ribs.
  8. Serve with Duck Sauce and lots of napkins.
Our “Chef’s Corner” feature writer John Rudy

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked exclusively vegetables in boil-able packages.)

john.rudy@alum.mit.edu (781-861-0402)