Zabaglione - ☺♥
Zabaglione is a classic sweet that you don’t encounter often on restaurant menus or home meals. That is a shame because it is delicious. Marie used to make this wonderful dessert, layering it with fresh fruit in tall sundae glasses, so I decided to get a few good Internet recipes, improve and combine them into one recipe, and provide it in Food Nirvana.
Zabaglione belongs to the family of custard-like sauces that use egg yolks to thicken a liquid, such as hollandaise sauce and mayonnaise. All of these require some patience in adding the liquid to the egg yolks and, for the warm ones like zabaglione, care not to overheat and curdle the mixture. In this recipe, you whisk the egg, sugar and wine constantly until it becomes more of a mousse than a custard. You need arm muscle stamina if you’re going to whisk by hand, but an electric whisk can make preparation easy.
Ingredients: (serves six people)
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup of sweet Marsala wine
1/2 pint of fresh, chilled red raspberries
1/2 pint of fresh blackberries or blueberries, chilled
1 cup of chilled heavy cream
1 tbsp. of sugar for the heavy cream
1 tsp. of vanilla extract for the heavy cream
Fill a large saucepan with several inches of water, and bring it to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat until the water maintains a strong simmer.
Place the egg yolks and half cup of sugar into a metal mixing bowl. Whisk the mixture until you have an even consistency.
Place the bowl over the simmering water. Whisk constantly, adding the Marsala wine gradually in a thin stream and continuing to whisk constantly, until the zabaglione turns pale yellow and thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream.
Transfer the zabaglione with a rubber spatula into a clean, chilled mixing bowl, set over ice, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the zabaglione is cold. Once it is cold, it is ready for the next step where you fold in the whipped cream.
Whip the cream in a separate chilled bowl with an electric mixer. When it forms soft peaks add one tbsp. of sugar and one tsp. of vanilla extract and continue whipping for no more than 30 seconds.
Fold the whipped cream gently into the chilled zabaglione.
Divide the berries to be used into portions for 6 large sundae glasses.
Layer the berries and the zabaglione in the glasses, ending with a berry or two on top. Keep the dessert chilled in the refrigerator for no more than one or two hours, covered with plastic wrap, until it is time to serve dessert.
Serve and enjoy!
SALADS & SLAWS:
History of the Caesar Salad:
This popular dish was originally created in 1924 by Italian chef Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico and was prepared and served right at the table. If you have never experienced "the show" that goes with table side presentation, you don't know what you missed. What an opportunity for a waiter to show off his stuff, mixing and whisking to the delight of the patrons.
Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s we used to enjoy Mr. Vincente of Vincente’s Restaurant® in Wilmington, DE making his terrific Caesar salad tableside. What a showman he was, and his meals were excellent, what today we would call “Best of Breed.”
What about the use of raw egg in caesar salad?
Though some recipes use a raw egg, a coddled egg will give the dressing a smoother, creamier texture. Also, the emulsion formed in the final mixing of the ingredients will hold, ergo not break down, for up to a week in your refrigerator. Bring a one quart pan half filled with water to a fast boil and gently place an extra large or jumbo egg into it and cook for only 45 or 60 seconds based on the size of the egg. Then break the egg into a cool two quart bowl and whisk it quickly and thoroughly for thirty seconds to stop further cooking.
For the croutons:
2 large garlic cloves
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
2 cups of French baguette slices cut up into 1/2 inch cubes (white bread works too)
For the salad dressing:
1 extra large or jumbo coddled egg
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce (I omit this ingredient. Yuck!)
Juice from one fresh lemon
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
¼ tsp. of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
1 can of anchovies (including the oil) plus a second can, drained, to be used when the salad is served
1 teaspoon of capers (I omit this ingredient. The flavor is not a good addition)
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard (I omit this ingredient. Yuck!)
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 medium heads of romaine lettuce -- outer leaf tips removed
1/3 cup of Parmesan or Locatel cheese -- grated
Prepping the croutons - Preheat oven to 350º F. Crush the garlic cloves with the side of a chefs knife (be very careful) or with a garlic press. Slice the baguette and cut the slices into 1/2 inch cubes.
Croutons - Combine garlic, oil, salt, and bread cubes in a bowl. Mix until cubes are coated evenly. Spread the coated cubes onto a baking sheet and bake until the croutons are golden. (I think a light spraying with Pam® before baking helps.) This should take about 10 minutes. Stir as necessary every few minutes to get even baking on all sides.
To make the salad - Bring a half filled one quart pan of water to a boil on high heat, then add the egg gently from a spoon and cook it for just 45 seconds if it is an extra large eggs or 60 seconds for a jumbo egg ... NO MORE! This is coddling the egg.
Remove the egg from the hot water. Break it into a cool two quart bowl and whisk it for 30 seconds. Mix all the other ingredients in a blender. Blend them on high speed until completely smooth. Add the blended ingredients to the whisked egg very slowly continuing to whisk moderately fast with each addition until blended. The coddled egg forms a stable emulsion if this process is done correctly, and that will provide you a dressing that will not separate even after a few days of refrigeration of leftovers.
Tear/cut the romaine lettuce into 1 to 2 inch pieces and add them to a large bowl (wooden if you have one, and some chefs like to rub the inside of the wooden bowl with freshly cut garlic first). Add half the dressing, toss, add remaining dressing, the grated cheese and croutons and toss again. Serve on chilled plates or salad bowls. A better way is to let each guest add dressing to their individual serving of romaine in the amount they want and mix it, then add Parmesan cheese and mix again, then add the croutons and toss lightly.
Serve a small plate of anchovy strips for people who love anchovies on their caesar salad.
If the lettuce, croutons, cheese and dressing are kept separate from each other for making individual servings, then leftovers can be saved individually and refrigerated with no loss of individual flavor or texture, and then combined later to again serve what tastes like a freshly made salad. Conversely, if all the ingredients have been mixed together before serving the salad then storage of leftovers will result in less crisp lettuce and soggy croutons.
Caprese Salad - ☺♥
No salad menu is complete without the simple and delicious Caprese Salad. But you must have fresh basil leaves to make this salad, which can be a challenge during winter months. Pick a good supermarket and you will have no problem. I have included recipes for a regular Caprese Salad, a Mini-Caprese Salad that uses garlic and lemon juice and my friend Linda Lange's Caprese Salad.
You may want to try all of these recipes and then pick your favorite. I prefer the addition of the garlic and the lemon juice, but I use the sliced tomatoes and cheese approach of the first recipe and Linda's recipe instead of the balls of mozzarela shown in the mini-caprese salad.
3 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4" thick slices
1 pound of fresh mozzarela, 1/4" thick slices
20 to 30 leaves of fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Coarse salt and pepper
Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
1 lemon, juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup of basil leaves, about 20 leaves, plus a few for garnish
1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup of bocconcini (bite-sized fresh mozzarella balls), drained, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine lemon juice, garlic, basil and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process to form a smooth dressing. Combine tomatoes, cheese and dressing in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a few torn basil leaves.
I particularly like the Caprese salad made by my great friend, Linda Lange, so I asked for her recipe and it is shown below.
Linda Lange’s Caprese Salad
5, Medium to large ripe tomatoes (sliced)
Big handful of fresh Basil – washed, rolled and cut into ribbons
Small Basil leaves for decoration
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1/3 cup
Salt and Pepper
One or two cloves of garlic, pressed or finely diced
A few sprinkles of Tuscan Herbs (maybe ¼ tsp.)
1 tbsp. of Balsamic Vinegar
Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese (1 large ball or 2 medium balls)
Slice the tomatoes and place the slices on a large tray.
Salt and Pepper the tomato slices lightly.
In a one cup measuring cup pour in the 1/3 cup of olive oil and add the garlic and the Tuscan Herbs. Mix gently.
With a teaspoon spread some of the garlic from the oil mixture over each of the tomato slices.
Slice the Mozzarella cheese about 1/8th inch to ¼” thick and place a slice of it on each slice of tomato.
Drizzle the rest of the olive oil mixture over the tomatoes and cheese.
Dress the tomatoes and cheese with the ribbons of fresh Basil. Be sure to add some of the whole small leaves to decorate the finished product.
Chicken Salad - ☺♥
This is another of Marie’s recipes. I know not where she got it but it is good.
3 cups of cooked and diced chicken breasts
1 cup of Hellman’s® mayonnaise
½ cup of sour cream
1 tbsp. of ranch dressing
2 tbsp. of chopped red onion
2 tbsp. of chopped celery
¼ cup of shredded carrots
8 red seedless grapes cut in half
1 tbsp. of sugar
½ cup of finely chopped pecans
Salt and pepper
Add all ingredients except the grapes into a large bowl, mix them thoroughly, then add the grapes for a final light tossing.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours, toss lightly before serving and add more mayonnaise if needed. This is a crunchy chicken salad that is very attractive as well as delicious.
Serve on a bed of Bibb lettuce.
Coleslaw - ☺♥
This fairly common dish is something folks either know how to do well or not do well at all. I have had great coleslaw and awful coleslaw in restaurants and homes of friends and relatives. This creamy recipe is guaranteed by me to please you unless you are a vinegar and celery seed fanatic … I created it.
1 small to medium size head of cabbage
1½ cups of Hellman’s® mayonnaise
½ cup of light cream
½ cup of sour cream
1 tsp. of Sea salt
1 tsp. of Pepper
2½ tbsp. of Fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. of Sugar
Shred the cabbage to the size pieces you prefer and put them into a 3 or 4 quart bowl.
Mix the mayonnaise and cream and sour cream in a one quart bowl.
Add the sea salt, pepper, sugar and lemon juice and mix thoroughly.
Pour the dressing over the cabbage and mix until all pieces of cabbage are coated evenly.
Cover the coleslaw with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours. It is then ready to serve.
Note: Food items like coleslaw frequently taste better the day after they are made, so you might want to prepare this recipe one day in advance of planned use.
Some people like small amounts of grated carrot (1/3 cup) and/or drained crushed pineapple (1/3 cup) to be added to the above ingredients. Yet another variation is to add one teaspoon of celery seed to the above recipe.
Holiday Jello® Salad - ?
This blueberry and pineapple Jello® salad is a nice change of pace for a holiday dinner salad. It is made with cream cheese and sour cream, along with flavored gelatin and canned (or frozen) blueberries.
I believe that the Jello® flavors mentioned in this recipe can be changed to use cherry Jello® or orange Jello®, depending on the holiday … orange for Thanksgiving and red for Christmas.
Ingredients: (serves 6 to 8)
1, 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple in unsweetened pineapple juice
2 packages (3 oz. each) of blackberry or black raspberry Jello®
3 cups of boiling water
1, 15 oz. can of blueberries, drained, or 1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
1 cup of sour cream
8 oz. of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts
Drain the juice from the pineapple, reserving the pineapple juice.
Dissolve the Jello® in boiling water, then add and mix in the reserved pineapple juice.
Chill in the refrigerator until slightly set, about the consistency of an unbeaten egg white.
Stir in the pineapple and the blueberries.
Pour the mixture into an 8"x 8"x 2" glass baking dish.
Chill the mixture in the refrigerator, until it is firm.
Combine the sour cream, cream cheese and sugar. Mix well until it is smooth.
Spread the mixture over the blueberry Jello® salad and top the salad with the chopped pecans or walnuts.
Chill the Holiday Jello® Salad in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, until it is time to serve it.
Creamed Cucumber Salad - ☺♥
There are many good recipes for creamed cucumbers, along with a few cucumber salad recipes that omit the creamed part. If you like cucumbers they all taste good. The most important parts are to get the right ratio of vinegar and sugar and to allow the completed salad to chill overnight to get all the flavors to blend throughout the sauce. This is especially noticeable with the onion and cucumber flavors. The cream sauce takes on both flavors and that is exactly what you want. The finished sauce should neither be thick or runny, thus the recipe below allows for a variable amount of cream or mayonnaise/Miracle Whip® to be used. One last point … do not use thick or overripe cucumbers as they will have wimpy flavor/texture and also have too many large seeds.
Ingredients: (six to eight servings)
2 medium large (8”) to large (10”) fresh crisp cucumbers, 1 ½ inches thick
1 medium size (3”) sweet onion
1 cup of Hellman’s® mayonnaise or Miracle Whip®
½ cup of sour cream
¼ to ½ cup of light or heavy cream
1 tbsp. of sugar
2 tbsp. of rice vinegar
3/4 tsp. of sea salt
½ tsp. of black pepper
Dice the onion fairly fine (1/4”x 1/4” pieces) and put the pieces into a two or three quart bowl. Add the mayonnaise or Miracle Whip®, the sour cream and ¼ cup of light or heavy cream. Mix well. Add the sugar, sea salt, pepper and vinegar and mix well. At this point the sauce may appear too thick. Don’t worry … the cucumber slices you will add next will provide moisture to thin the sauce.
Peel the cucumbers, cut off the ends and slice each cucumber lengthwise into two halves. Slice the halves crosswise with a thickness of less than 1/8th of an inch. Add the cucumber pieces to the bowl in six increments and mix each time to coat the pieces with the cream sauce. When all the cucumber pieces have been coated the moisture from the cucumbers will have thinned the sauce somewhat. If it has a consistency you like it is done. If it seems too thick then add another 1/4 cup of cream and mix well. If it seems too thin then add another ¼ cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip® and mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the salad overnight.
Mix the salad the next day, taste it and adjust the salt, pepper and/or vinegar/sugar to please yourself. I have not found it necessary to adjust the seasonings, but all of us have individual preferences, so please yourself and your guests.
Hot German Potato Salad - ?
This untested hot German potato salad recipe is likely to be a perfect accompaniment to the Poor Man’s Schnitzel recipe in the Pork section of this book. Add warm cinnamon applesauce and you should have a delightful meal. As usual, the recipe below is a composite of different recipes I found, discussed, modified and completed with my wife. We’ll report back as soon as we have tried it.
4 cups of sliced peeled potatoes
4 slices of bacon
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup of white vinegar
¼ cup of water
1 tbsp. of flour
2 tablespoons of white sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of ground black pepper
¼ tsp. of celery seed
1 tbsp. of chopped fresh parsley as garnish
2 hardboiled eggs sliced as garnish
paprika sprinkled on top as garnish
Boil two raw eggs on low heat for ten minutes. Chill the eggs in cold water and remove the shells. Set them aside.
Peel and slice the potatoes and put them into a large saucepan and fill it with enough water to cover the potatoes. Add a small amount of salt.
Bring the water to a boil on high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the saucepan and simmer for about 8 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain the water from the potatoes and set them aside to cool.
Place the bacon in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Fry until done medium (no soft fat remaining), turning as needed. Remove the bacon and set it aside.
Add the scallion pieces to the bacon grease, and sauté them over medium heat until they are translucent. Reduce the heat to very low. Add the flour and mix well to form a roux.
Add the vinegar, water, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, then add the bacon and gradually add the potatoes while mixing gently.
Transfer the hot potato salad to a pre-warmed serving dish. Sprinkle the potato salad lightly with paprika. Slice the hardboiled eggs and place them around the perimeter of the potato salad as a garnish. Sprinkle the fresh parsley on top of the potatoes as a garnish.
Macaroni Salad - ☺♥
Who doesn’t like simple but yummy cold salads like macaroni salad? I suppose a simple food like macaroni salad seems a bit common to appear in Food Nirvana, but if it is made well it is delicious, so it belongs with other yummy foods in Food Nirvana. Some of the different versions of macaroni salad I have tasted in the past were so bland they were boring. Fear not ... the recipe variations shown below will all make excellent macaroni salad.
Peggy and I looked at multiple Internet recipes for macaroni salad, we used our own knowledge from making it in the past, and we combined all of that information, eliminating some recommended Internet recipe ingredients, to create the recipe variations shown below. I made the green Manzanilla olive version of this salad to please Peggy (she loves salty foods) and it is excellent. You may use halved green Manzanilla olives to create the more salty salad or diced sweet gherkins to create a sweeter salad. But don't use both.
You will see multiple ingredient variations below that all will produce unique and superior macaroni salads. We suggest trying the different variations to find what you and your family and friends like the best.
1 1/2 cups of Hellman's® mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of sweet gherkin pickle juice (Variation: Use juice from bread and butter pickles)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt if using olives or 2 teaspoons of sea salt if using sweet gherkins or bread and butter pickles
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper (Variation: Use 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper)
1 lb. of dry macaroni, cooked, drained, rinsed in cold water, drained again and chilled
1 1/2 cups of diced celery
1/2 cup of diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup of diced sweet red pepper
1/2 cup of diced sweet onion (Variation: Use chopped scallions, including green part)
1 1/2 cups of halved green Manzanilla olives, or, one cup of diced sweet gherkin pickles (but not both)
Olive and Pickle Variation: Use 3/4 cup of sliced black olives and 3/4 cup of chopped bread and butter pickles
Prepare the macaroni per the package instructions. Drain it well in a colander, then rinse and drain the cooked macaroni three times in cold water using the cooking pot and the colander. Then put the macaroni into a two quart bowl and chill it for one hour or more in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap.
Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, sweet pickle juice, sugar, ground pepper(s) and salt in a three quart bowl.
Prepare the celery, green bell pepper, red sweet pepper, onion/scallions and the olives (or sweet gherkins and/or bread and butter pickles).
Add the prepared vegetables to the mayonnaise mixture and mix well.
Add the chilled macaroni to the mayonnaise and vegetables mixture gradually and mix gently but thoroughly.
Chill the macaroni salad, covered, in the refrigerator until it is used. This type of salad tastes best if the flavors are allowed to combine overnight.
Taste the chilled salad and make any ingredient additions you think will enhance it and mix it/them well into the salad.
When you are ready to serve the salad be sure to mix the bowl contents thoroughly to coat the macaroni uniformly with any dressing that accumulated in the bottom of the bowl.
Note that any apparent extra dressing will be absorbed by the refrigerated, cooked macaroni within a day or two, so do not be concerned if there appears to be extra dressing at the time the salad is made. Do, however, mix the salad each time it is served to capture and evenly distribute any remaining extra dressing.
Nicoise Salad - ? & ☺♥
Janet and I have been talking about a variety of foods I have eaten either in California or in various places in Europe. One salad item that we have not made is the Nicoise Salad, so I got the following recipe from the Internet.
I will make it and likely modify it and report back to you with the results.
Note that the text below, excepting one parenthesized comment from me, is not mine.
Salad Niçoise (pronounced nee-suaz) is essentially a French composed salad, much like our American Cobb Salad, but with tuna, green beans, and potatoes, instead of chicken, bacon, and avocado. Salad Niçoise hails from Nice, on the Mediterranean Sea, though like so many foods we enjoy here of French origin, it has changed a bit to adapt to our tastes.
According to the Wikipedia the Niçoise salads are always made with raw vegetables and served with anchovies. Nicoise salads that are served in America are typically served on a bed of lettuce and include cooked green beans and potatoes. According to our Paris Insider, the Niçoise salads there are all made with canned tuna. Depending on the establishment here, I've had them either with canned or with freshly grilled tuna.
Like its American Cobb salad cousin, the Salad Nicoise takes some time to prepare, given all of the ingredients. This is one dish where setting up your kitchen (all ingredients chopped and ready to go) will help the salad come together smoothly.
1/2 cup of lemon juice
3/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tbsp. of minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp. of minced fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons of minced fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks* (8 oz each) or 2-3 cans of tuna
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered
10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1 1/4 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium heads of Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
1 small red onion, sliced very thin
8 ounces of green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise
1/4 cup of niçoise olives
2 Tbsp. of capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)
*Marinate the tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook the steaks 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through (Are they crazy?! Use Ahi and cook them until seared but rare).
Make the dressing: Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in a medium size bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Make the salad: Bring potatoes and 4 quarts cold water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon (do not discard boiling water). Toss the warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside.
Build the salad: While the potatoes are cooking, toss the lettuce with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in a large bowl until coated. Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter (I used two serving platters, shown in the photos). Cut tuna into 1/2-inch thick slices, coat with vinaigrette. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Toss tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste in bowl; arrange tomato-onion mixture on the lettuce bed. Arrange reserved potatoes in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.
Return water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and green beans. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans, transfer to reserved ice water, and let stand until just cool, about 30 seconds; dry beans well. Toss beans, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.
Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle eggs with remaining 2 tablespoons dressing, sprinkle entire salad with capers (if using), and serve immediately.
Oriental Salad - ☺♥
Marie and I first learned of this salad when her best friend, Linda Lange, served it to us. It is really good. The ramen noodles add just the right amount of crunch.
1 small head of cabbage or 1, 12 oz. package broccoli slaw
1 or 2 bunches of green onions, chopped (including most of the green part)
1 package ramen noodles (Chicken or Oriental flavor)
½ cup Toasted sliced or chopped almonds
¼ cup of vegetable oil
2 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp. of salt
1/8 tsp. of pepper
1 tsp. of sugar
½ of the package of ramen noodle seasoning
Crush the ramen noodles. If using cabbage, shred it. Add the chopped green onions to the broccoli slaw or cabbage, add toasted almonds, mix the dressing and put it on the salad along with the crushed ramen noodles. Mix well and serve.
Note: If you expect to have leftovers, do not mix all of the crushed ramen noodles into the salad. Instead, prepare individual servings and save the extra salad separately from the extra ramen noodles. This assures that the noodles will be crisp when the leftover salad is served the next day.
Cost savings tip: I save the large stems from fresh broccoli that one would normally discard when steaming broccoli. I keep them refrigerated in a plastic bag. When I have half a dozen or so I use a peeler and create my own broccoli slaw. It is identical to the store bought stuff, and essentially free.
Potato Salad - ☺♥
When I was a teenager I had a close friend named Don Himes. Don claimed his mother made the best potato salad in the world. Hmm … that was quite a claim. My mother’s potato salad was not to my liking and sure enough one day I went fishing with Don and his parents and his mother brought her potato salad along. Wow! He was right, and to this day I have not tasted any homemade conventional potato salad to rival hers. Thus, I did my best to recreate her potato salad and I think I’m pretty close. You benefit from my experience. The secret is in slightly undercooking the potatoes and having sweet gherkins chopped into the dressing … and mustard totally excluded and no &%^$ hard-boiled eggs.
6, large russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups of diced celery
1 1/2 cups of diced onion
2 tsp. of Celery seed
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups of Hellman’s® mayonnaise
1½, tbsp. of Fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. of Rice vinegar
1 tsp. of Sea salt
1 tsp. of Pepper
10, medium size sweet gherkins
3 oz. of sweet gherkin juice
1/3 cup of sweet pickle relish
3 tbsp. of Sugar (amount optional … try 1 tbsp. first and increase as you see fit)
3 hard boiled eggs, chilled (optional, for those who just don’t understand …)
Peel and slice the potatoes into pieces approximately ¼” thick by ¾” by ¾”. Put the pieces into a large pot with water initially at a depth of 4”, for as each raw potato is processed it will not be exposed to air/oxygen and the pieces will stay light in color. Add one tbsp. Sea salt to the pot along with 2 tbsp. Vinegar. Cover the pot and cook on high until the water boils. Then, reduce heat to a medium simmer and cook the potato slices for five minutes, uncovered.
Test for doneness with a fork. The potatoes should not be soft and mealy, but instead tend towards firmness, yet be readily punctured with a fork. If they are too hard cook one minute longer and test again. When done, immediately put the potatoes into a colander and rinse them thoroughly with cold water. Gently toss the potatoes while the cold water is being sprayed on them. Be sure all potato slices have been cooled. Empty the drained potato slices from the colander into the serving dish you plan to use and cover it with plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator.
Dice the celery and onion and slice the garlic thinly and put those items into a large bowl. Dice the sweet gherkins and add them to the bowl. Put the mayonnaise into a separate one quart bowl. Then add the fresh lemon juice and the rice vinegar and mix thoroughly with the mayonnaise. Then add the sea salt, pepper and sugar and celery seed if you used it, and again mix thoroughly. Empty the contents into the bowl used for the diced vegetables and mix thoroughly. Taste the sauce and adjust the flavor to please yourself with additional salt, pepper, mayonnaise, vinegar or lemon juice, sugar and/or relish.
Remove the potato pieces from the refrigerator, drain off any water from the bottom of the bowl and gradually and gently add the potato pieces to the mayonnaise mixture and mix gently with each addition until all the potato pieces are completely and evenly coated. At this point the potato salad is finished and it can be put back into the serving bowl, covered and again refrigerated for a few hours to chill it to the proper temperature. It is then ready to serve, but it will actually taste better if prepared one day before it is used.
If you want to use chilled hard boiled eggs in your potato salad then make hard boiled eggs, peel them, chill them and then slice them and put the slices evenly on the top of the finished potato salad. Do this just prior to covering the potato salad for the final chilling. I say, if you want egg salad then make egg salad. If you want potato salad then make potato salad. Avoid confusion.
There are many different ways to make the mayonnaise mixture for potato salad. One of the best tasting versions in my opinion comes from the local delicatessen, and it seems like the only ingredients besides potatoes are mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip®) plus some kind of special vinegar and a very small amount of sugar ... and perhaps some salt. I have not been able to duplicate that taste yet, which I suspect is a matter of type of vinegar. In any event, it is worth your while to experiment with variety and quantity of all ingredients to produce what you believe to be the best potato salad you have ever tasted. To point, we can go through life eating ho-hum food, or, we can really enjoy eating … it is up to each of us to decide if life should be simply okay or great. Be creative.
The true test of flavor for the potato salad is after it has been chilled for 24 hours. At that time when you taste it you know precisely if it is perfect or in need of more of some ingredient(s). If/when you add any ingredient(s) and are pleased with the result be sure to write the change(s) on the paper that contains your basic recipe.
Ray's Oriental Salad - ☺♥
Janet and I were planning a Chinese meal for our friends, Russ and Sue Gale, and one thing we decided to make was an Oriental salad. I looked at the two existing recipes in Food Nirvana for Oriental/Asian type salads and got the idea that they could partially be combined, some new ideas added based on some salads we've had in better restaurants, and thus would be created a new recipe. We were excited to try this experiment but also a bit worried that it was risky serving a dish to friends without first testing it ourselves.
What makes these types of Oriental salads so enjoyable is the combination of ingredient textures, colors and complementary tastes. Our conventional tossed salads in the USA are drab by comparison, even with typical store bought salad dressings used on them. The picture displayed to the right is not an entirely accurate view of our new Oriental salad, but it is close enough.
One thing I find important with salads is to keep the ingredients pretty much separated until serving time, and then, let each person build the salad to their own liking. Russ called it a "Table Salad Bar." This method has two benefits: 1) Each person gets exactly what they want, and 2) Any leftovers are stored separately so that later use of them does not result in soggy ingredients. I use the same approach with my Caesar Salad recipe.
We needn't have worried. By the time we completed our recipes combination, modifications and additions we had a knock your socks off delicious salad. This was verified, of course, at dinner that evening. All four of us gobbled the stuff up with gusto. Janet may not like me naming this delight as Ray's salad, for she was crucial to the ingredient selection, tasting and instant re-engineering of the salad to make it unique and very tasty. I'll see if I can slip this one past her!
Salad Ingredients: (serves four hungry adults)
12 oz. package of broccoli slaw, or, make it yourself from fresh broccoli stems as I do.
3 large leaves of Napa, chopped
1 bunch of fresh green onions (scallions, about 8), chopped into 1/4" pieces(including most of the green part)
1 package of Oriental flavor dry Ramen noodles (soup mix package)
½ cup of roasted sliced blanched almonds
3/4 to one cup of Mandarin orange slices
3/4 to one cup of sliced Lychee, each whole lychee cut into four pieces. This canned product is like a sweet fruit, though I am told it is actually a nut. You can find it at a decent price in Asian markets, or, pay through the nose at your supermarket, if they even have cans of lychee.
In a small saucepan combine 1/3 cup of sugar, ¼ cup of sesame oil, ¼ cup of rice vinegar, 2 tbsp. of soy sauce and the seasoning packet contents from the Oriental flavor Ramen Noodles package. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low and simmer it uncovered for one minute. Pour the dressing into a two cup bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, cool it to room temperature and then refrigerate it until it is used.
Turn on the oven to 350ºF.
Crush the Ramen noodles. I use a one quart Ziploc® freezer bag to hold the noodles, I seal it, and then I use a kitchen mallet to gently crush the noodles. Put the crushed noodles into a small serving cup and cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside for later use.
To get the broccoli slaw you either buy it prepackaged at your supermarket, or, make it at home, at almost no cost. I buy fresh broccoli with long stems/stalks. About five large stems/stalks (one inch or larger in diameter, five or six inches long), processed, will provide the 12 ounces of broccoli slaw needed. I use a kitchen scale to be accurate. Cut off the heads of the broccoli and store/refrigerate them as broccoli crowns for later use in a different meal. Wash the stems and cut off the bottom edges. Use a paring knife and stand each stem vertically and cut off the lumpy areas. Use a potato peeler to peel the hard surface layer from each stem. Grate the stems to create the slaw, using either a hand grater or a grating cutter with a food processor.
Put the slaw into a two quart salad bowl.
Remove three large leaves of Napa from one head. Cut off the bottom edges and rinse the leaves. Cut the leaves lengthwise into six to eight strips, including the leafy part. Crosscut the leafy parts by putting them together and chopping every half inch. Crosscut the stem parts by putting them together and cutting every 1 1/2". Add the Napa pieces to the salad bowl.
Cut off the bottom root areas and a small part of the tops from the green onions. If necessary strip any dried parts from the onions. Chop the onions into 1/4" long pieces. Add the pieces to the salad bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until it is used.
Open the cans of Mandarin oranges and Lychee. Fill a small serving dish with about 3/4 to one cup of the orange slices, add enough liquid from the can to keep the slices wet, and cover the serving dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until it is used.
Similarly, remove some lychees from the can, cut each one into four quarters and put the pieces into a small serving dish that will hold about 3/4 of a cup to one cup. When the dish is full, add enough liquid from the can to keep the pieces wet, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until it is used.
I use whole almonds that I buy inexpensively at Costco® (three pounds for $10) and blanch about 1/2 cup of them to remove the skins. An easy way to blanch the almonds is to put them into a one cup Pyrex® glass measuring cup and add enough water to bring the water level up to the one cup mark. Then microwave the water and almond mixture for about one and one half minutes ... just long enough to get the water barely boiling. Pour the water off and dump the hot, wet almonds onto a cutting board. Let them cool for a minute and then remove the skins by pressing each nut between your thumb and forefinger. Discard the skins. Dry the blanched nuts with a paper towel and chop each one into two pieces, lengthwise, with a medium to large kitchen knife.
Put the chopped pieces onto a cookie tray and roast them in the 350ºF oven for ten minutes, mixing them with a spatula after the first five minutes to assure even roasting. Remove the roasted almond pieces from the tray and allow them to cool, then put them into a small serving dish and cover it with plastic wrap until it is used. Remember to turn the oven off.
When you are ready to serve the salad whisk the dressing, add half of it to the salad bowl, and mix/toss the contents well to coat the broccoli slaw, Napa and chopped green onion pieces. If necessary, add additional dressing and mix again. Serve the remaining dressing along with the containers of Ramen noodle pieces, roasted almond pieces, Mandarin orange slices and Lychee pieces.
Have each guest build the salad individually, starting with the salad bowl contents and then adding as much of the other ingredients as wanted, then tossing the salad gently.
I don't know how to say Bon Appetit' in Chinese, Mandarin or Cantonese, but I am sure you understand my wish for you to enjoy this yummy salad. If you have any leftovers (which I doubt will happen), keep the various salad items separated from each other, covered and refrigerated until they are used.
Sinful Salad - ☺
This salad is a sweet Jello® based fruit and layered sour cream delight. It is perfect for summer picnics. I’ve modified Marie’s recipe by adding more than the one cup of water I found in her recipe as I believe that was a typographical error. I also added all of the juice from the frozen strawberries and the fruit cocktail. A large package of Jello® calls for four cups of water, and I figure what I have used will be about three cups in total, which will make a fairly firm gelatin mixture without being too firm.
1 large 6 oz. package of Strawberry Jello®
2 cups of boiling water
3 medium size ripe Bananas, mashed
20 oz. package of frozen strawberries
20 oz. can of fruit cocktail
1 pint of sour cream
Combine the Jello® and boiling water in a two quart mixing bowl. Stir until the Jello® is completely dissolved.
Cover the bowl and chill the Jello® in the refrigerator for about 15 to 30 minutes but do not let it set. Add the mashed bananas, strawberries and fruit cocktail to the Jello® and stir gently to combine. Divide the mixture in half.
Pour one half of the Jello® and fruit mixture into a 13”x 9”x2” inch glass baking dish. Refrigerate it until it is set (about 1 to 2 hours). Keep the remaining Jello® and fruit mixture at room temperature.
Take the dish with the set Jello® and spread the sour cream evenly over the top.
Gently dispense the remaining Jello® mixture on top of the sour cream slowly and evenly. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate the salad until it is set, about 1½ hours.
Tangy and Light Asian Salad - ?
I have not tried this recipe yet but I found it in Marie’s recipe collection. It looks to be pretty good so I am including it for the time being. I will test it. Note that the ingredient Daikon in the recipe is an oriental type of large white long radish that you can find in your supermarket. If not, change supermarkets.
1 recipe of Sweet and Tangy Salad Dressing (see below)
14 cups of torn or chopped romaine lettuce
8 green onions (scallions) sliced fine
2 cups of finely chopped cooked chicken or turkey breast
1 small Daikon, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced, or, 1 cup sliced radishes
3 tbsp. of butter
2, 3-oz packages of chicken or oriental flavor ramen noodles
1 cup of chopped peanuts
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Prepare the Sweet and Tangy Salad Dressing (recipe below) and cool it to room temperature.
In a 4 or 5 quart salad bowl combine the lettuce, onions, chicken, and Daikon/radish slices. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the mixture until serving time.
Put the butter into a 13”x 9”x2” ovenproof glass baking dish. Place the dish into the oven for 1 to 2 minutes or until the butter is melted.
Break the ramen noodles into small pieces. You will have used one of the included seasoning packs when you made the salad dressing. Discard the other pack.
Stir the noodles and the chopped peanuts into the hot butter. Bake about 15 minutes or until crisp and slightly browned, stirring once. Remove the baking dish from the oven and cool the mixture to room temperature.
Sprinkle the noodle and peanut mixture over the lettuce mixture and drizzle with all of the salad dressing. Toss well to combine the ingredients and serve immediately.
Below is the recipe for the Sweet and Tangy Salad Dressing:
In a small saucepan combine 1/3 cup sugar, ¼ cup sesame oil, ¼ cup cider vinegar, 2 tbsp. of soy sauce and 1 seasoning packet from the Ramen Noodles. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to very low and simmer uncovered for one minute. Cool to room temperature. Whisk the dressing immediately before adding it to the salad.
Waldorf Salad - ☺♥
I happened to reminisce about my old college days and think about dining hall food. Most foods served there were unremarkable, but one item made well was the Waldorf Salad. I realized that a lot of years have passed since I ate a Waldorf Salad. They don't appear often on restaurant menus and I simply forgot all about that salad. This recipe corrects my weak recall! It is a composite of different ones I found on the Internet, adjusted to suit me.
One excellent suggestion I found was to leave the skins on the apple pieces ... and provided you select nice apples that is surely the right thing to do. Speaking of apples, choose types that are fairly crisp, not soft, as Gala or Granny Smith and a few other types will provide the best texture.
Janet and I tried the recipe ... we served it at a great dinner with friends Russ and Sue Gale ... and I doubled the amount of dressing called for in the original recipe (my doubled amount is reflected in this recipe). I'm really glad I did. Of course, the salad came out great!
What makes a Waldorf Salad really good is the sweetness and mild tartness combined with very different ingredient textures and tastes. They are very complementary, much like the fruit, nut and lettuce combinations found in the more modern Oriental salads. Waldorf Salad is also quite attractive and thus lends itself well to meals when you entertain. I hope you try it.
Ingredients: (5 to 6 servings)
3 Gala or similar apples - cored and chopped or sliced thinly but do not peel. Put the pieces into a 2 qt. bowl of water containing 2 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
2 additional tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 cup of seedless grapes, washed and sliced in half lengthwise (we use seedless black grapes)
2 stalks of celery, chopped fine
1/3 cup of raisins, plumped slightly in boiling water, then pressed lightly. We use a three quarter filled Pyrex® measuring cup in the microwave oven for one minute.
2/3 cup of Hellman's® mayonnaise
1/3 cup plus one tbsp. of apple juice
1 head of boston bibb lettuce or romaine lettuce, washed, trimmed, leaves separated, patted dry and chilled
1/2 cup of walnut halves, roasted for about 8 minutes at 350ºF, then broken into pieces
2 tbsp. of sugar
1/2 tsp. of sea salt
1/2 tsp. of white pepper
Set the oven temperature at 350ºF.
Roast the walnut halves on a cookie tray for about 8 minutes, then remove them from the oven and let them cool to room temperature. Break them into about four pieces each.
Combine the drained, thinly sliced or chopped apples and the additional lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the sliced grapes, chopped celery and plumped raisins; toss gently but thoroughly. Refrigerate the mixture until it is needed.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, salt, pepper, apple juice and sugar in a small bowl.
Pour/spoon it over the apple mixture, and toss gently.
Arrange the lettuce pieces on individual, chilled salad plates, cutting the leaves in half if you use romaine lettuce.
Mound the apple mixture on top and sprinkle with the walnut pieces. We had all the salad ingredients cold already so we simply mixed the walnut pieces in with everything else before putting the salad on the lettuce leaves.
Chill the salads in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes if needed.
Serve cold. Yummy! Expect compliments.
Any extra Waldorf Salad will remain fresh and delicious if it is put into a sealed container, kept refrigerated and consumed within two days.
Wilted Lettuce Salad - ☺♥
This salad comes from my youth and it is one of the nice foods my mother Dorothy made for our family. I believe the origin of wilted lettuce salad is either Germany or the Germans who immigrated into eastern Pennsylvania around 200 years ago. We incorrectly named these people the Pennsylvania Dutch.
This salad is best served either very warm or hot. In a sense it serves as both a pungent appetizer and as a salad. It is enjoyed best during cold weather, and it certainly does stimulate your appetite. It is a delicious combination of a cooked sweet and sour dressing with bacon. Sometimes it is a thin dressing. At other times people use a small amount of cornstarch to thicken it so that it sticks better to the lettuce.
It is called a wilted salad because hot dressing is poured over room temperature chopped iceberg lettuce, and the hot liquid when mixed with the lettuce causes the lettuce to turn partially translucent and to wilt. Thus, the lettuce in this salad is not crisp, nor is it intended to be crisp.
1 head of iceberg lettuce at room temperature, chopped into 1 ½”x1 ½” pieces
6 strips of bacon
1/3 cup of white or rice vinegar
¼ cup of sugar (or less, depending on whether you want it more tart or more sweet)
1 cup of water
1 tsp. of cornstarch (optional)
Warm a glass bowl large enough to hold the chopped lettuce in a 200º F oven. Also pre-warm the number of small salad or side dishes you plan to use for your guests.
Fry the bacon in a skillet on medium heat until the bacon is fairly crisp without large fatty spots, but not burned. Drain the bacon on a paper towel. When it is cool break it into very small pieces. Set the pieces aside.
Pour the hot bacon grease into a cup. Clean the skillet and return about 2 to 3 tbsp. of the bacon grease to the skillet.
On low heat add the vinegar to the bacon grease and mix well. Then add the sugar and mix well. If you plan to use the optional cornstarch then mix it with the cup of water. Gradually add the water (with/without cornstarch mixed in it) while continuing to mix the skillet contents. Add the small bacon pieces and mix. Heat the mixture to a simmering temperature and then remove the skillet from the heat.
Put the chopped lettuce into the warmed glass bowl. Then pour all of the skillet contents over the lettuce and mix everything thoroughly with two large forks, so that the lettuce all gets coated and wilts.
Return the bowl to the 200º F oven briefly to keep the salad warm.
Serve the salad warm in the pre-warmed small salad or side dishes as your guests sit down to eat.
Enjoy … the bacon and sweet and sour dressing served warm on the warm wilted lettuce is quite tasty.
Note that no salt was used because the bacon contributed plenty of salt. Some guests might choose to sprinkle a small amount of black pepper on their salad serving.
Dried Beef and Tomato - ☺♥
Dried Beef sandwiches are not common in the USA outside of the mid-Atlantic states, but they are delicious. They also have a fairly high salt content. I have enjoyed them since I was a child, but never as much as I have since finding a source of really great dried beef that is higher in moisture content and lower in salt content.
I can order and have shipped to me the best dried beef I ever tasted, from Fisher’s Country Store® in Cessna, PA. They will only take phone orders so look up their web page to find out all the various products they will ship, and then call them at 814-623-2667 to place your order. Yes, they will ship dried beef but not fresh meats. The present cost as of January 2011 is $7.89 per pound and the shipping cost for five pounds of dried beef is around $11 via USPS Priority Mail. Fisher’s is a Pennsylvania Dutch type of store and I know not who their wholesale suppliers might be but I guarantee you will love their dried beef. It has somewhat more moisture and somewhat less salt than the plastic bag or glass jar products we find in some supermarkets, so it is much easier for most folks to enjoy in a sandwich.
Janet had her first experience ever with a dried beef sandwich when we visited Fisher’s Country Store® and purchased all the fixings. She was blown away by the great taste and she became an instant fan of that type of sandwich.
For the record, you can buy the dried beef in bulk and vacuum seal it in portions appropriate to your usage rate and refrigerate it and I know by experience it will keep very well, easily, for a year. The combination of salty meat and vacuum sealing simply destroys all common assumptions about “shelf life.”
12” long roll for making a small sub
1 ripe fresh large tomato
¼ lb. of dried beef (or more)
Cut the sub roll part way through so you can open it and fill it.
Slather Mayonnaise on both interior surfaces.
Cut the tomato into 1/4 inch thick slices to fill along both sides of the interior length of the roll.
Sprinkle the tomato slices generously with ground black pepper.
Add the dried beef evenly on top of the tomatoes. Close the sandwich.
The Story Behind the Sandwich:
I used to work in downtown Wilmington, DE and at lunchtime I had a variety of good restaurants and delicatessens to use. There was one delicatessen named Leo and Jimmies® on Market Street Mall that made great sandwiches for a decent price, so I loved going there from time to time and ordering either of my two favorite sandwiches.
My choice of which sandwich to order was based on who waited on me! The younger employees had no idea that dried beef should be used in lesser amounts than other cold meats in making the sandwiches. When one of them waited on me I would order the sandwich per the above recipe (Without stating the amount of dried beef!), and I swear they stuffed it with at least half a pound of dried beef. What a killer sandwich and I loved it! And my, was it cheap given the contents.
When one of the owners or their wives waited on me I ordered my other favorite sandwich, as I knew I would get far less dried beef from the business owners. My other favorite sandwich is in this sandwich section of the book … the one with German salami, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing, all on a long roll. Don’t miss that one either.
German Salami and Swiss Cheese with Russian Dressing - ☺♥
This sandwich is one of my two favorite sandwiches, the other being the dried beef sandwich described earlier in this book section. As with the dried beef sandwich, this one also has a funny story.
I used to patronize a Wilmington DE delicatessen on Market Street Mall named Tote A Treat®. They had a few good menu items as a restaurant and also good freshly made deli sandwiches. Their flagship sandwich was called the Tote A Treat® Deluxe, and it consisted of a medium long sub roll with Russian dressing, lots of white turkey breast pieces, Swiss cheese and German salami. It was expensive, and I never thought about buying one until I saw a friend at work (a fellow lunchtime bridge player named Bruce Smith) who declared that to be his all time favorite sandwich. Well, I tried one, and it was very good, but the turkey didn’t do that much for me.
About that time I was becoming angry with the owner of the delicatessen as he was a real prick to his young employees. I actually saw him fire a girl who had simply displeased him by not kowtowing with lowered head to his constant harangue. That did it for me. I never went back.
Ah, what to do? Leo and Jimmies® delicatessen was just down the mall a few doors so I got the brilliant idea of patronizing them for the “Deluxe” sandwich, sans turkey. What a pleasant surprise! They packed the long roll with plenty of German salami and Swiss cheese and “lots of Russian dressing” per my instructions. The price was really low compared to that of the “Deluxe” sandwich at Tote A Treat®.
A medium long sub roll (about 12”)
Open the sub roll and slather a thick coating of Russian dressing on both interior surfaces. Put three slices of Swiss cheese along the length on both sides of the sandwich (six slices in all). Layer 12 thin slices of German salami along the inside of the sandwich and close it. Enjoy!
Why the German salami? Wouldn’t Italian salami, hard or cooked do the trick? Well, in a word, no. The German salami was simply better tasting and less fatty than the Italian hard salami, and I would never eat the cooked Italian salami if I have a choice. ‘Nuff said!
Grilled Pastrami with Swiss Cheese on Rye with Deli Mustard - ☺♥
Oh, my … as I type these favorite sandwich recipes my appetite alarm is sounding!
I learned about this sandwich from ordering it at a Jewish delicatessen and restaurant named Gamiel’s® in Wilmington DE in the early 1970’s. Actually, I learned a whole lot about Jewish foods in general, eating there many times. No doubt as I remember specific food items I will include the recipes in this book.
I used to make this sandwich for my best friend, Morrie Shaffer, when he would come to visit. He loved it.
The flavor combinations in this sandwich make it very popular. It is served hot with a side of garlic dill pickle and potato chips. The cured meat taste of the pastrami, grilled and piled high, is delicious. Add plenty of melted Swiss cheese on top of the hot pastrami and the two flavors are like the perfect marriage, intense and contrasting and clearly a “natural” combination.
The products that take this sandwich to the perfection level are very fresh seeded rye bread, grilled on one side with butter, and strongly flavored brown deli mustard. The pickle is a texture and taste contrast with a bit of crunchy moisture, albeit salty, and a strong garlic overtone. The potato chips might be considered a quiet food used to cleanse your palate for the next bite of sandwich.
You definitely want to make this sandwich as it is easy to make and most yummy! I recommend either cold beer or a soda as an appropriate beverage.
¼ lb. or more top quality pastrami (not the cheap stuff)
2 large slices of fresh seeded rye bread
2 or 3 sandwich size slices of Swiss cheese
1 or 2 tbsp. or more of a Brown Deli Mustard
1 medium to large deli style garlic dill pickle (often sold from plastic tubs)
1 oz. of Potato chips
1 or 2 tbsp. of soybean oil
2 pats of butter
Butter the slices of bread on one side and grill them to a light golden color in a skillet over medium heat. Put the grilled bread slices together grilled side out and put them into a warm 150º F oven on a serving plate.
Grill the pastrami on a medium hot grill or in a non-stick skillet after heating the soybean oil and spreading it over the grill or skillet surface. The pastrami will shrink in size as it grills and loses moisture. This is to be expected and the pastrami is not done until it has shrunken.
Put the pastrami on a saucer, formed into the shape and size of the rye bread, then put the Swiss cheese on top and put it under a broiler just long enough to melt the cheese.
Put the pastrami and cheese between the slices of warmed rye bread and cut it diagonally with a sharp knife. Serve the sandwich on the warmed plate with a bowl or bottle of Brown Deli Style Mustard and the garlic dill pickle and the potato chips.