Ray gardner, sr




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Linguine con Aglio y Olio - ☺♥

Seldom do we come across a superb dish in a restaurant only to find that we can never get that same dish again, anywhere. Well, that happened to me back in 1979. Marie and I ate at a local middle class Italian restaurant named Marina’s® in Wilmington DE which she knew, but which was new to me. I happened to spot an entrée that I had never seen before and I decided to try it. Wow! It was pungent and it knocked my socks off! I had so much garlic on my breath after eating that meal that I could have breathed on a large oak tree and knocked it down! Okay, I’m just kidding, but the garlic was really there. In fact, all the different flavors were intense, and that pleased me highly.


The recipe title above simply means linguine with garlic and oil. But as served to me at Marina’s® that one time, the garlic had been sautéed with anchovies and halved ripe olives as well. Of course, I used a liberal amount of grated Parmesan cheese on top. What made the dish so superb was the precise cooking of the slices of garlic such that they were sautéed to the point of being sticky, not soft, yet they were not crisp. There is that magic point in sautéing garlic where the flavor is most intense and the garlic sticky so that it will stick to your teeth. That may not sound appetizing but believe me it was/is unforgettably delicious. Even a slight undercooking or overcooking will not result in the right effect.
I was never able to have that dish again in any restaurant, including Marina’s®. I attempted to tell the chefs in numerous restaurants, via the waitresses, exactly how to cook the dish, to no avail. They blew it every time in different ways. I was so annoyed I decided to make perfection myself. And I did. And now so can you.
Ingredients: (Serves two or three adults)
3/4 lb. of linguine (uncooked)

4 oz. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1, 2 oz. tin of flat anchovies in olive oil

6 oz. of extra large ripe olives, sliced in half lengthwise (one can, drained net weight)

6 cloves (or more, yes, more!) of fresh garlic, sliced 1/16 to 1/8th of an inch thick lengthwise

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (used at serving time)

1/2 tsp. of sea salt
Directions:
Prepare a large pot of boiling water, half full in a one gallon or six quart pot on high heat. When the water boils add the sea salt and turn off the heat and cover the pot.
Put the olive oil into a medium to large skillet. Add the tin of anchovies including the oil in the tin.
Prepare the drained ripe olives by slicing them in half lengthwise. Add them to the skillet.
Heat the skillet on medium heat to begin the sauté process and mix the contents. The anchovies will break up and seem to disappear during sautéing. Once the ripe olives begin to bubble as they lose water reduce the heat to low. Stir every few minutes. You may want to cover the skillet with a screen cover as the olives often cause oil to expel from the skillet as they sauté.
Prepare the sliced garlic while the skillet contents sauté.
Meanwhile, reheat the pot of water to boiling on high heat and add the linguine and stir well after one minute to assure it will not stick together while cooking. Follow the directions on the box for cooking time to obtain an al dente (literally "to the teeth," which means not cooked to the point of total softness) degree of doneness.
Add the sliced garlic to the sauté skillet when the olives show wrinkling on the outside surfaces.
Reduce the heat to low while the garlic sautés. Remove the skillet from the heat when the outside edges of the garlic turn slightly tan. That is the exact time to stop the cooking process.
Drain the linguine and put it onto a platter. Pour the sauté skillet contents over the linguine, mix and serve.
Each person can add Parmesan cheese to his or her liking on an individual portion, and then mix again.
This dish is best served with cold beer to counter/complement the intense flavors, though younger folks may prefer a different carbonated beverage.
Also, a fresh salad with Italian dressing will provide some useful vinegar contrast to the oil and garlic of the main dish. In general, contrasts make both types of food more enjoyable as each clears the palate for fresh enjoyment of the other food.
Taking a drink of beer or wine or some other flavored beverage will also contribute to the contrast effect.
This stuff is so good I almost became Italian!
Linguine with Seafood Sauce - ☺♥
This recipe is an outgrowth of trying to cook simple food for my now deceased lifetime best friend Morrie Shaffer during his convalescence. The recipe shown below, however, has been enhanced to become truly "knock 'em out" delicious. The best part is that it is completely original, and it receives rave reviews, and I get a real kick out of watching people dive back in for seconds. This recipe will easily feed eight people. Remember to look at the recommendations at the end of this recipe for appetizers, side dishes and dessert. Life can be beautiful!
Ingredients:
2, 1 lb. boxes of linguine

2, 8 oz. bottles of clam juice

2, 6 oz. cans of chopped clams in clam juice

2, 6 oz. cans of lump crabmeat

2, 6 oz. cans of sliced mushrooms

1½ lbs. of small shrimp, peeled (raw or cooked, frozen)

1 lb. of raw bay scallops or sea scallops (quartered)

1 tbsp. of dried basil

5 tbsp. of cornstarch

1, 14 oz. can of chicken broth

2 tsp. of sea salt

1 tsp. of white pepper

½ stick of butter

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 cup of Parmesan cheese (served separately in a bowl)
Directions:
Prepare a large pot of water (about 5 quarts) to cook the linguine. Put 1 tsp. sea salt and the ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil into the pot, cover it and heat to boiling. Keep the pot covered and shut off the heat. This will provide a quick means later to cook the linguine, just before serving the meal, as the water will not take very long to come to a boil.
Use a very large skillet with high vertical sides and a glass cover available. Pour in the bottled clam juice and chopped clams with clam juice from the cans. Add the cans of the sliced mushrooms including the liquid. Add the crab without the liquid.
Add the bay or quartered sea scallops and the basil and mix the contents. Chop the shrimp into pieces the size of the scallops. Add the shrimp, 1 tsp. of sea salt and the white pepper to the skillet and mix the contents.
Put the cornstarch into a medium bowl and pour ½ can of the chicken broth into it while mixing. Pour the mixed contents into the skillet and mix well. Use the other ½ can of chicken broth to get any remaining cornstarch out of the bowl and pour that into the skillet. Mix very well. Slice the butter into small pieces and add them to the skillet.
Heat the skillet contents on medium heat, with the skillet covered. Stir gently but thoroughly every two minutes, until the mixture comes to a boil. Let it boil gently for two minutes while stirring. The sauce should be thickened and the seafood cooked just enough. Remove the covered skillet to a warm 200ºF oven.
Place plates or large shallow serving bowls for each person into the oven to pre-warm them.
Heat the pot of water to boiling on high heat, add and stir in one pound of the linguine and partially cover the pot to maintain medium boiling while cooking for nine minutes (or less per package instructions). Stir to assure the linguine pieces are not sticking together after the first minute of boiling. When done, use a utensil to extract the linguine and put it into a medium bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and put it into the warming oven. Cook the second pound of linguine in the water used for the first pound. When done, drain it and place it and the linguine made earlier into a very large serving bowl. Add the contents of the skillet and mix well.
Serve the meal with freshly sliced warmed Italian bread and butter and a Caesar salad, with the bowl of Parmesan cheese on the side for sprinkling on the linguine with seafood. A nice white wine like a chilled Pinot Grigio with chilled wine goblets goes very well with this meal. Ice water is also recommended.
The recipe for excellent homemade Caesar salad is contained within this collection of recipes. To feed eight people I recommend three large heads of romaine lettuce and a double recipe of the salad dressing.
Melon (very ripe cantaloupe is best) wrapped in proscuitto ham makes a great appetizer, along with some kalamata and/or oil cured olives and some marinated artichoke hearts and snack crackers, plus a robust provolone or gorgonzola cheese.
Spumoni ice cream with Pepperidge Farm® Milano or Brussels cookies and freshly made coffee makes a nice dessert course.
Burp! Ahhh …
Linguine with White Clam Sauce - ☺♥
(Serves four to six people)
This recipe is the very best I have ever found for this meal, and I really love linguine with white clam sauce. The recipe is a composite of different recipes I have tried in the past, and it combines the best of flavors and procedures. Credit goes first to Marie’s sister Joanne who found the original excellent recipe. Then I made a few improvements. Most recently I modified the recipe based on what Linda Lange told me Patricia Mallon uses in her recipe, which includes two ingredients I had not used previously … oregano and a can of anchovies. Boy, did they amp up the taste!
A nice addition to this meal is a loaf of crusty Italian or French bread and butter. A small tossed salad is also nice as a side dish. If you want an appetizer I suggest bite size pieces of very ripe sweet cantaloupe wrapped in proscuitto ham. For the beverage I recommend pinot grigio, chardonnay or French white burgundy (like Louis Jadot® Pouilly Fuisse) wine as these have a clean taste that goes well with this particular meal. A glass of ice water along with the wine is also nice.
The white clam sauce has a very rich flavor. It is unforgettable and it will delight your guests. They will want the recipe.
Ingredients:
1 lb. of linguine (uncooked)

1, 2 oz. Can of anchovies

6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

1, 6 oz. Drained weight can of ripe olives

¾ tsp. of red pepper flakes (Or less. Heat fanatics may add habanero flakes.)

¼ lb. of butter

2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil for the white clam sauce

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil for the linguine

4, 6 oz. Drained weight cans of chopped clams in clam broth

1, 10 oz. Drained weight can of whole baby clams in clam broth

¾ tsp. of dried oregano

1 tsp. of dried parsley

1 tsp. of lemon zest

1 cup of pinot grigio or similar dry to medium dry white wine

½ tsp. of black pepper

½ tsp. of sea salt for the clam sauce

½ tsp. of salt for the linguine

2/3 cup of Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Fill an eight-quart pot with four quarts of water and add ½ tsp. salt. Cover with a lid and heat on high. Start preparing the ingredients for the white clam sauce while the water is heating. When the water boils turn off the heat and keep the lid on the pot to retain heat.
Make the white clam sauce in a large deep skillet. Put the olive oil and one half stick of butter into the skillet and heat on low. Add the can of anchovies to the skillet.

Drain the can of ripe olives, discarding the liquid, and cut the olives in half lengthwise, then add the pieces to the skillet. Peel and then slice the garlic cloves into thin pieces and add half of them to the skillet. Stir gently to distribute ingredients evenly. At this point the skillet contents should be sautéing gently. If not, increase the heat to medium.
Drain the clam broth from the cans of clams and reserve it for later use in this recipe.
Add the red pepper flakes, parsley and oregano to the skillet and mix gently. Sauté until the olives begin to wrinkle or until the garlic becomes a pale tan at the edges.
Add the remainder of the garlic. Add the clams, mix gently and reduce heat to low.
Add the salt and the pepper to the skillet and continue to sauté very gently on low heat while making the linguine.
Reheat the water in the pot to boiling. When it boils, add the linguine and stir it after one minute to avoid clumping. Partially cover the pot and boil the linguine for nine minutes (some brands require less than nine minutes). Drain it in a colander and mix it with ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil in a large bowl. Cover the linguine with plastic wrap to retain moisture and put it into a warm (200ºF) oven. Put the bowls for individual servings into the oven individually to pre-warm them as this will keep the meal pleasantly warm later while it is being eaten.
Put the reserved clam broth into the skillet, avoiding any sand or grit that might be present on the bottom of the container. Mix the ingredients in the skillet and increase the heat to high. Add the wine and continue mixing gently. When the skillet contents begin to boil reduce the heat to low and add the lemon zest. Mix gently and then add the remaining ½ stick of butter. Mix gently until the butter melts. The white clam sauce is done. Place it in a large pre-warmed bowl and provide a soup ladle for mixing and dispensing the sauce later.
Serve the Parmesan cheese in a small serving dish. Remove the linguine from the warm oven and serve it. Place the warmed serving bowls on place mats to avoid damaging the wood surface finish of your table.
Do not mix the sauce and the linguine together except in individual servings, for any leftovers must be kept separately from each other or the linguine will absorb sauce and become water logged.
Add the sauce to individual servings of linguine and top with Parmesan cheese.

Eat. Wow!
After this feast dessert is generally unnecessary, but if you insist on having dessert later I suggest cherries jubilee. You can find an exact recipe for that item, but in general it is a bag of frozen pitted dark cherries and a small amount of water, cooked briefly with sugar, butter, corn starch and a touch of cherry liquor or brandy. The warm thickened mixture is served over a high quality vanilla ice cream, with a side of tea cookies and a cup of good coffee.
Prepare to join Weight Watchers®!

Pierogies and Blintzes - ?



I have been experimenting with my KitchenAid® pasta maker accessories and having lots of fun. I decided to make Raviolis but I don’t have the KitchenAid® accessory for that so I made them manually from sheets of pasta dough from the pasta roller accessory.

It wasn’t as easy as I had hoped so I went searching the Internet for the Ravioli accessory, only to find that the cheapest price was $133 plus shipping. Not good! That device is significantly overpriced and though it attaches to the front accessory port of the mixer it is completely manual in use, i.e. all done by hand cranking with no mixer power used at all. It is stupid to pay that much money for a manual device.
I went looking for other devices available via the Internet that would be less expensive. The best items I found make pierogies or raviolis or a variety of other filled dough foods, like pot stickers. I bought the devices in two sizes, large and small, and the total cost plus shipping was $45. They are made in Canada.
Well, it turns out that Janet and I love pot stickers, pierogies, blintzes, etc., so we will be using our new purchases first to make pierogies, then other related but unique foods.
The recipe provided immediately below is from the Internet from a guy in Pittsburgh, PA. It looks to be a very traditional recipe and we are anxious to try it … And so we will when our ordered pierogie maker devices arrive.
Following the initial recipe I have included a variety of other filling recipes, savory and sweet, along with some dough recipe variations, especially for the sweet pierogies or blintzes.
I will report back with our results later. I will then weigh 300 pounds!!!
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough

  • 1/2 teaspoon ofsalt

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup of sour cream, plus extra to serve with the pierogi

  • 1/4 cup of butter, softened and cut into small pieces

  • butter and onions for sauteing

  • ingredients for filling of your choice (potato & cheese filling recipe below)



Directions:
Pierogi Dough:

To prepare the pierogi dough, mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then add all at once to the flour mixture. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and the softened butter pieces and work until the dough loses most of its stickiness (about 5-7 minutes). You can use a food processor with a dough hook for this, but be careful not to overbeat. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight; the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Each batch of dough makes about 12-15 pierogies, depending on size.

Making the Pierogies:

Roll the pierogi dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8" thick. Cut circles of dough (2" for small pierogies and 3-3 1/2" for large pierogies) with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork.
Boil the perogies a few at a time in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry.

Saute chopped onions in butter in a large pan until onions are soft. Then add pierogies and pan fry until lightly crispy. Serve with a side of sour cream for a true Pittsburgh pierogi meal.
Homemade Pierogi Tips:

If you are having a hard time getting the edges to stick together, you may have too much flour in the dough. Add a little water to help get a good seal.
If you don't want to cook all of the pierogies right away, you can refrigerate them (uncooked) for several days or freeze them for up to several months.

You can fill pierogies with pretty much anything you want, though potato and cheese is the most common (recipe below). Sweet pierogies are often filled with a prune mixture.
Pierogi Filling Recipes:
Potato, Cheese & Onion Filling:

Peel and boil 5 large potatoes until soft. Red potatoes are especially good for this. While the potatoes are boiling, finely chop 1 large onion and saute in butter until soft and translucent. Mash the potatoes with the sauted onions and 4-8oz of grated cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you want your pierogies), adding salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some fresh parsley, bacon bits, chives, or other enhancements if you desire. Let the potato mixture cool and then form into 1" balls.
Meat Filling:
Ingredients:


  • 1/2 pound of ground beef

  • 1/2 pound of ground veal

  • 1/2 pound of ground lamb

  • 2 cups of grated onion

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon of marjoram

  • 3/4 teaspoon of basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

  • 1/3 cup of fine dry bread crumbs

  • 2 tablespoons of beef stock, or more as necessary


Directions:
In a large skillet, fry ground meats and onion until meat is cooked and onion is tender. Drain.

Transfer meat-onion mixture to a large bowl and add seasonings and bread crumbs. Add just enough beef stock for meat to hold together. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Smoked Sausage Filling:
Ingredients:


  • 10 ounces of fully cooked, smoked Polish sausage, skinned and chopped

  • 1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup of fine dry bread crumbs

  • 1 large egg, beaten


Directions:
Combine all ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Use immediately.
Cabbage and Mushroom Filling:
Ingredients:


  • 1 (1-pound) head of green cabbage, shredded

  • 1/3 cup of water

  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced

  • 1 (4-ounce) can of mushrooms (stems and pieces), drained

  • 2 tablespoons of butter

  • 1 teaspoon of salt or to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

  • 2 finely chopped hard-cooked eggs (optional)


Directions:
In large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cabbage, water, onion, mushrooms and butter. When cabbage collapses to half its volume, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water, if necessary.

Drain. When cool enough to handle, chop finely. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. At this point, mixture can be refrigerated until ready to use. Just before filling, add hard-cooked eggs, if using, and mix well.

Blueberry Filling for Blintzes or Pierogies:
Ingredients:


  • 1/2 cup of sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest(optional)

  • 1 1/4 pounds of washed, stemmed blueberries


Directions:
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest (if using), and blueberries. Toss and place over medium heat. Allow it to come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.

When filling pierogi, use a slotted spoon to place 3 to 4 blueberries on each piece of dough for pierogi. Use more berries for nalesniki. Use the reserved sauce to garnish the cooked, plated dumplings or crepes.
Here is Georgia’s Pierogi Dough recipe, very suitable for all types of pierogies, regular or sweet.
Ingredients:


  • 2 large eggs

  • 5 tablespoons of sour cream

  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 3/4 cup of chicken broth

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour


Directions:
In a large bowl, combine eggs, sour cream oil, salt and chicken broth until well mixed. Add flour and knead by hand or in a stand mixer until the dough is smooth. Wrap with plastic and let rest at least 10 minutes. Fill with your favorite pierogi filling.
Nalesniki dough recipe to make sweet blintzes:

Ingredients:


  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup of milk

  • 1/4 cup of lukewarm water

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons of butter, melted

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar

  • Pinch of salt


Directions:
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients until smooth. Transfer to a pitcher, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes so the liquid can be absorbed by the flour.

Using a 2-ounce ladle, portion out batter into a nonstick crepe pan or small skillet that has been lightly coated with butter. Rotate pan and swirl batter until it covers the entire bottom of pan. Cook until lightly brown or spotted brown on the underside. Turn and cook second side until light brown.

Remove to waxed paper or parchment paper and repeat with remaining batter and butter. Serve immediately or wrap and freeze up to 1 month.

Use the savory nalesniki recipe for savory fillings and the sweet nalesniki recipe for sweet fillings. Place 2 heaping tablespoons filling on each nalesniki and fold the sides in first and then bottom, rolling away from yourself, as for an eggroll or burrito.

Filled nalesniki may be panfried in butter or baked in a buttered casserole dish until the filling is set. Some prefer to dip their nalesniki in beaten egg and then in fine, dry bread crumbs. They are then fried in butter or a small amount of hot oil until golden on all sides.
Nalesniki Sweet Cheese Filling:
Ingredients:


  • 2 cups of farmers cheese or ricotta

  • 3 ounces of cream cheese, softened

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

  • 3 tablespoons of sugar

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla


Directions:
Place cheese in bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process until fluffy.

Divide filling among 12 crepes and roll. Saute in small amount of butter and serve with fruit sauce, like fresh blueberry sauce, if desired.
Fruit Filling:
Ingredients:


  • 2 cups of pitted cherries, peeled and chopped apples, or stemmed blueberries

  • 3/4 cup of water

  • 1/3 cup of sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon or cardamom (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of fine dry bread crumbs


Directions:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine fruit, water and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until fruit is tender and water is almost evaporated. Remove from heat.

Mash fruit slightly and add spice of choice and lemon juice. Return to heat and cook over low heat until mixture is thick.

If mixture is not thick enough, stir in enough bread crumbs so fruit is not liquidy.

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