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June 2010

Old Fashioned Anadama Bread

Anadama Bread Baked


"Anadama bread dates in print to 1915, but is probably somewhat older. If it were not for the frequency of their citation, it would be difficult to believe the story most often cited is of a Gloucester, Massachusetts, fisherman's wife named Anna, who gave her husband nothing but cornmeal and molasses to eat every day. One night the fisherman got so angry, he tossed the ingredients in with some yeast and flour and made a bread in the oven while muttering to himself, "Anna, damn her!"  -Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink.   Whatever its origin, this a wonderful bread, made even better when toasted and slathered with butter and jam.


½ cup water

¼ cup cornmeal

3 ¼ cups bread flour, plus extra for work surface

2 teaspoons table salt

¾ cup milk, warm (110 degrees)

1/3 cup water, warm (110 degrees)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

¼ cup molasses

1 package rapid-rise yeast (also called instant yeast)


1. Bring 1/2 cup water to boil in small saucepan, slowly whisk in cornmeal. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, about 1 minute.


2. Adjust oven rack to low position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Once oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain heat 10 minutes, then turn off oven heat.


3. Mix cornmeal mixture, flour, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix milk, warm water, butter, molasses, and yeast in 1-quart Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Turn machine to low and slowly add liquid. When dough comes together, increase speed to medium  and mix until dough is smooth and satiny, stopping machine two or three times to scrape dough from hook if necessary, about 10 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead to form smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.


4. Place dough in very lightly oiled bowl, rubbing dough around bowl to lightly coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.


5. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and form dough into loaf by gently pressing the dough into a 9x5” rectangle, one inch thick. Next, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn dough seam side up and pinch it closed. Place dough in greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and press gently so dough touches all four sides of pan.


6. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in warm spot until dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees, placing an empty loaf pan on bottom rack. Bring 2 cups water to boil.


7. Remove plastic wrap from loaf pan. Place pan in oven, immediately pouring heated water into empty loaf pan; close oven door. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted at angle from short end just above pan rim into center of loaf reads 195 degrees, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove bread from pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

Anadama Bread Oven
Anadama Bread Pan
Anadama Bread Cut

Creamy Parmesan Polenta with Tomato Meat Sauce

Polenta with Bolognese

Creamy Parmesan Polenta with Tomato Meat Sauce

Download Creamy Parmesan Polenta with Tomato Meat Sauce recipe

 Serving polenta with tomato sauce or your favorite Bolognese is pretty common in parts of Italy. My friend David introduced me to a wonderful restaurant in Carefree, Arizona – Café Bink (http://www.cafebink.com) – that offered a delicious version of this recipe. You can use your favorite recipe for tomato sauce or use the one below. It works well with any pasta and I usually make a big batch and freeze it in small containers to use when I need it.

Meat Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil 

2 tablespoons butter (or bacon drippings)

1 onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)

3-6 medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 pound ground beef

½ pound ground pork

4 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon table salt 

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 

1/4 cup heavy cream 

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes (San Marzano)

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

1 tsp sugar, honey, or agave

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

 1.    Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

 2.    Increase heat to medium-high and add ground meats, salt, and pepper; cook, breaking meat into small pieces with wooden spoon, until meat loses its raw color but has not browned, about 4 minutes.

 3.    Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 -2 minutes.  Add cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and only fat remains, about 4 minutes. Add crushed, drained diced tomatoes, sugar and bring to simmer; reduce heat to low and simmer slowly for 30-45 minutes.

 4.    Stir in herbs and simmer slowly until flavors are blended, about 3 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste

 5.    Serve over polenta or favorite pasta.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta:

6 cups water

Table salt

1 ½ cups medium-grind cornmeal, preferably stone-ground

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into large chunks, plus more for final serving

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for final serving

Ground black pepper

1. Bring the water to a rolling boil in a heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pour the cornmeal into the water in a very slow stream from a measuring cup, all the while whisking in a circular motion to prevent lumps.


2. Cover and cook, vigorously stirring the polenta with a wooden spoon for about 10 seconds once every 5 minutes and making sure to scrape clean the bottom and corners of the pot, until the polenta has lost its raw cornmeal taste and becomes soft and smooth, about 30 minutes. Stir in butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste. Divide the polenta among individual bowls and top each with a small pat of butter. Sprinkle generously with more grated Parmesan to taste and serve immediately with Tomato Meat Sauce.


Cinnamon Sugared Doughnut Muffins

Doughnut muffins 1

Cinnamon Sugared Doughnut Muffins

Download Cinnamon Sugared Doughnut Muffins recipe

These delicious, quick to make muffins are based on a recipe for “Nutmeg Muffins” in Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book. They are tender, moist and fragrant – be sure to use freshly grated nutmeg for the best flavor. The cinnamon sugar topping gives them a doughnut-like taste.


1½ cups flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

¾ cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1½ whole nutmegs, grated (use a box or plane grater)

½ tsp. salt

1 egg

¾ cup heavy cream

¾ cup milk

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted



½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 1.    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a standard muffin tin.

 2.    Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, grated nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl, thoroughly combining the ingredients.

 3.    Beat the egg in a small bowl, then stir in the cream, milk, and melted butter and blend well. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir only until there are no streaks of flour; do not over mix.

 4.    Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until the rounded tops are lightly golden.

 5.    While muffins are cooling, mix sugar and ground cinnamon in small bowl and melt butter in small saucepan. After baked muffins have cooled five minutes, working one at a time, dip tops of muffins in melted butter and then cinnamon-sugar. Set muffins upright on wire rack; serve.

Doughnut muffins baking
Doughnut muffins cooling


Blackberry Walnut Mini Cakes

Blackberry Walnut Cake ala Mode

Blackberry Walnut Mini Cakes

 Download Blackberry Walnut Mini Cakes recipe

This recipe also works well with fresh raspberries. You can also substitute pistachios, almonds or pecans for the walnuts. It’s a great recipe to make ahead, especially when the summer berries are on sale.


½ cup walnuts, chopped coarse

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups (about 16 ounces) fresh blackberries


1. Spray eight 6-ounce ramekins with vegetable oil spray and place on a rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Toast 1/4 cup of the walnuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat until lightly toasted and aromatic, 3 to 4 minutes; let cool.


2. Place the cooled toasted walnuts, butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor, and pulse until finely ground, 10 to 15 seconds. With the processor running, add the cream, eggs, vanilla and zest through the feed tube and continue to process until smooth, about 5 seconds. Add the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon and pulse until just incorporated, about 5 pulses.


3. Transfer the batter to a large bowl and gently fold in the blackberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins and sprinkle the top of each cobbler with the remaining 1/4 cup walnuts.


4. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake until golden and the buckles begin to pull away from the sides of the ramekins, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.



After spooning in batter, wrap each ramekin tightly with plastic wrap and then foil and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. If frozen, let the buckles sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. Unwrap the buckles and place them on a baking sheet. Bake until golden and the buckles begin to pull away from the sides of the ramekins, 25 to 35 minutes.

Blackberry walnut cake batter
Blackberry Walnut Cake
Blackberry Walnut Cake Ice Cream


Best Baltimore Crab Cakes with Creamy Chipotle Chile Sauce

Crab cake

I've tried crab cakes in most parts of the country, but none taste as good as the ones found in Maryland. They’re known for the large lumps of crab and very little breading, which makes for a spectacular crab cake. Old Bay is a spice staple and key to an authentic recipe. I like to serve them with a spicy chipotle cream sauce, but you can use the more traditional tartar sauce as well.

1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat  

4 scallions, white and green parts, minced (about 1/2 cup)

1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves or cilantro, dill, or basil, chopped

1 1/2   teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

2-4 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs, (pulse 2 slices quality white bread in food processor)

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 large egg


¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup vegetable oil

1. Carefully mix crabmeat, scallions, herb, Old Bay, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, zest, and Worcestershire sauce in medium bowl, being careful not to break up crab lumps. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Carefully fold in egg with rubber spatula until mixture just clings together. Add a few more bread crumbs if needed to help hold mixture together. 

2.    Divide crab mixture into four rounds, about 3 inches across and 1 1/2-inches high. Arrange on baking sheet lined with waxed paper; cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes. (Can refrigerate up to 24 hours.) 

3.    Put flour on plate or in pie tin. Handling crab cakes with care, lightly dredge crab cakes in flour. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Gently lay chilled crab cakes in skillet; pan-fry until outsides are crisp and browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve hot, with sauce. 

Creamy Chipotle Chile Sauce:

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce (minced)

½ tsp. chili powder

1 small clove garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves

1 -2 teaspoons lime juice from 1 lime


For the sauce: Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes. (The sauce can be refrigerated for several days.)

Crab cakes side 1

Crab cakes saute

Crab cakes frying


Fast Easy Delicious Rice Pudding

Rice pudding 

Fast Easy Delicious Rice Pudding    

This is a great way to use leftover rice (especially from a takeout restaurant).

3 cups cooked white rice
3 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar

¼ tsp. salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided


Optional rum raisins:

¼ cup rum

½ cup raisins


If using raisins:


  1. Place the raisins in a small bowl. In a small saucepan heat the rum over medium heat. Pour the rum over the raisins, cover and let soak at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Drain.

For the rice pudding:

1.    Combine cooked rice, milk, sugar, salt and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook for 25 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Mix in lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and rum raisins, if using. Spoon pudding into a serving dish and dust with remaining cinnamon. May serve chilled or at room temperature.

Rice pudding spoon


Coffee Rubbed Grilled Rib Eye Steaks


Coffe rub rib steak plate

Coffee Rubbed Grilled Rib Eye Steaks

 Download Coffee Rub Grilled Rib Eye Steaks recipe

This intense flavorful rub is great for any type of steak, but I prefer rib eye for barbecuing. This recipe is for indoor cooking, but you can also cook them on a charcoal or gas grill over high heat. Be sure and let the steaks rest before carving – I usually throw some olive oil coated vegetables (such as zucchini or asparagus coated with olive oil, sea salt and pepper) on the grill after I remove the steaks.


3 tablespoons finely ground espresso

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon Spanish sweet paprika

1 ½ tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoons ground ginger

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon allspice


2 bone-in or boneless rib-eye steaks, 2-inches thick, approximately 1 1/2 pounds each

Canola or olive oil

Salt and coarsely ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and adjust oven rack to center position. Combine all spices in a bowl and set aside.


2. Preheat a cast iron grill pan over high heat.


3. Brush each side of the steak with oil and then season each side liberally with salt and pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons of the coffee/spice mixture onto 1 side of each steak.


4. Cook the steak, rub side down until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the steak over, cook for 2 minutes and then transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven to medium-rare doneness, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.



Coffee rub rib eye steak

Coffe rub rib eye steak grilled

Traditional Flan

Flan 1 

Traditional Flan


½ cup sugar

3 tablespoons water

2 large eggs, at room temperature

3 large egg yolks, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon

1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounce)

1 ¼ cups milk (2% or whole)


1.    Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a baking dish or roasting pan. Lightly grease six 6 ounce ramekins and place them on the towel.


2.    Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, over medium high heat, swirling the pan gently, until the sugar has dissolved and has a light golden color (300 degrees on an instant read thermometer), about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has caramelized to a deep, dark mahogany color (350 degrees on thermometer), 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully and slowly divide the caramel into the ramekins, being careful not to splash caramel onto yourself or outside of the ramekins, and cool slightly until hardened.


3.    Meanwhile, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks together in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Whisk in the zest, sweetened condensed milk, and milk. Pour the mixture into the ramekins, and gently place the roasting pan on the oven rack. Being careful not to splash any water inside the pan of custard, pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until the water reaches halfway up the side of the ramekins. Bake until the center of the custard is just barely set, no longer sloshes in ramekin, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 170 to 175 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes (start checking the temperature after 25 minutes).


4.    Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Wrap the cake ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate the custard until completely chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.


5.    Run a knife around the ramekins to loosen the custard. Invert a serving plate over the top of the ramekin and quickly flip the custard onto the plate, drizzling any extra caramel sauce over the top (some caramel will remain stuck in the ramekin). Serve immediately.

Flan caramel boiling
Flan caramel 350
Flan caramel
Flan cooling


Grilled Salmon with Balsamic Syrup and Fresh Ginger Spaghetti

Salmon Ginger Spaghetti 

On a recent trip to Sao Paulo, I had an excellent lunch with friends at Restaurant Spot. The NY Times described the crowd as “mostly well-dressed office workers or business people… but it's the evening crowd, however, that keeps Spot buzzing when musicians, designers, models, and other trendy types crowd in to this glass-enclosed downtown cocoon to flirt, schmooze, and preen” We had the Grilled Salmon with Balsamic Syrup with a very tasty ginger spaghetti.  I’ve done my best to recreate the recipe below.   http://www.restaurantespot.com.br/menu.shtml.


Grilled Salmon with Balsamic Syrup and Fresh Ginger Spaghetti



Balsamic Syrup:


3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 small sprig fresh rosemary


Combine the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small pan, slowly bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat, add sprig of rosemary and simmer for 14-18 minutes until thickened and syrupy. Remove rosemary and serve syrup with salmon.


Simple Grilled Salmon:


4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ounces each)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Coarse salt and ground pepper.


1.    Heat grill to medium-high. Rub 4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ounces each) with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander; season with coarse salt and ground pepper.


2.    Lightly oil grates; place salmon, skinned side up, on grill. Cover grill; cook 5 minutes. Turn fillets; cover, and cook until opaque throughout and flaky, about 4 minutes more. Serve salmon drizzled with Balsamic Syrup


Fresh Ginger and Basil Pasta:


1 T peeled, roughly chopped fresh ginger

1 T cilantro

3 T fresh basil leaves

2 T finely chopped garlic

3 T olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 oz Spaghetti or pasta of choice


Put the ginger, cilantro, basil, garlic and olive oil in a food processor, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set the sauce aside.


Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add a generous teaspoon of sea salt, and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water and then drain in colander. Return the pasta to the saucepan, and add the sauce. Toss well, adding some reserved pasta water if needed to thin sauce.




Perfect Easy Popovers


Perfect Popovers

 I was in Washington DC recently and had a great dinner at BLT (Bistro Laurent Tourondel http://www.bltsteak.com/). The food was delicious, but the popovers were particularly memorable. Popovers are great in the morning with some strawberry butter, or you can add a little grated parmesan cheese to the batter and serve them at dinner. If you’re serving a Roast Prime Rib, you can also make great individual Yorkshire puddings by substituting pan drippings for the vegetable oil.

2 large eggs 

1 cup whole milk 

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)

1/2 teaspoon table salt 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter , melted

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 

1.    In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk until well combined, about 20 seconds. Whisk the flour and salt in a medium bowl and add to the egg mixture; stir with a wooden spoon or spatula just until the flour is incorporated; the mixture will still be lumpy. Add the melted butter. Whisk until the batter is bubbly and smooth, about 30 seconds. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2.    While the batter is resting, measure 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil into each cup of the popover pan. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place the popover pan in the oven, and heat to 450 degrees. After the batter has rested, pour it into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or another container with a spout (you will have about 2 cups batter). Working quickly, remove the pan from the oven and distribute the batter evenly among the 6 cups in the pan. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, without opening the oven door. Lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown all over, 15 to 18 minutes more. Invert the pan onto a wire rack to remove the popovers and cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately. 

Popovers oven