Sunday, April 25, 2010


(Korean Mixed Vegetables and Rice)
Rice is a glorious canvas to paint a delicious meal. Zoë found me this recipe, and I was all for trying something new, especially with rice. This is a Korean dish, basically a mixture of meat and leftover side-dish veggies known as banchan, beautifully arranged on a bed of rice and garnished with an egg before mixing and eating. There is no disguising leftovers here, the leftovers themselves are the star of the show. I am all for authentic food, but unfortunately I don't keep an assortment of banchan in my refrigerator. And as a busy working woman, I do my best to create the authentic flavor using what limited ingredients I can find in a dish that can be tossed in a container and eaten at work. But I did take the obligatory beauty shot...

...before I smooshed it all together for the weeks eating.

It's as close as I can get to Korean food in rural Pennsylvania, and it sure is delicious and keeps well.

1 1/2 cups Long grain rice
1 pound Ground beef
4 tablespoon Soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sesame oil
2 medium Scallion
2 cloves Garlic
1 tablespoon Toasted sesame seeds crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
2 cups Mung bean sprouts
1 cup Celery thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 medium Carrots shredded
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Sriracha (to taste)
Fresh ground black pepper
Kosher Salt 

additional peanut oil to stir fry veggies

Steam the rice, toss with rice wine vinegar and set aside. Mix beef, soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, garlic, sesame seeds, salt and pepper and fry slowly in a skillet or wok until meat is done. Add bean sprouts (drained if using canned) and cook until heated through. Do not overcook. Remove from heat. Cut celery thin on the diagonal and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let celery stand for 15 minutes and then drain liquid squeeze excess liquid. Shred carrots.

In a second fry pan, saute celery in 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and add to meat mixture. Do the same with the carrots after the celery is done. Combine all into the meat and serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish with a nice dollop of Sriracha.

Bi Bim Bap on Foodista

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Potato Dumplings

(Kartoffel Klösse)
Of the four recipe books I have of my Great Grandmother Sophia Kraft, only one contains a small amount of main course foods. The others are filled with pickles and jams and every dessert imaginable.  The recipe is one of three dumpling recipes I inherited - the other two being the dreaded liver dumpling and the farina dumpling. These are all foods that originate in Germany, so by making these, I felt I was reuniting a bit with my German ancestors. Sophia's mother was from Tiergarten in Baden, and her father was from Ensfeld, Bavaria. So maybe I am cooking a family recipe that is much much older.

Serve this with a warm roast on a chilly day.

Potato Dumplings
4 medium potatoes, riced
1 1/2 tablespoons fat drippings
1 medium onion, grated
1/2 cup dry unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1 large egg
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon celery salt

Rice four medium cold boiled potatoes. Add fat drippings, grated onion, egg, bread crumbs, flour, and seasonings and form into 8 large or 12 small balls. Dredge lightly with flour. Chill balls. Drop into boiling salted water (1/2 tablespoon salt). Boil until firm. In small skillet, brown a few bread crumbs with butter and pour over hot dumplings. Serve with any roasted meat.

Kartoffel Kloesse on Foodista

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pineapple Kielbasa

This recipe comes from my sister Kathy, who made it once for a dinner party. It is a great addition to any gathering from holiday feast to tailgate party. I like to take it in to work on snack days because it is easy and delicious. It is a celebration of Pittsburgh flavors.

The pineapple juice acts as a tenderizer for the kielbasa, making it fork tender and sweet. Use as an entree or appetizer.

Pineapple Kielbasa
1 pound lowfat Polska kielbasa
1 bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
1 can crushed pineapple
1 cup brown sugar

Put chili sauce, pineapple (with juice), and brown sugar into a crock pot and mix well. Slice kielbasa into 1/2 inch pieces and add to crock pot. Cook on high for four hours, and turn to low to keep heated throughout the day.

Kielbasa on Foodista

Beef with Peanuts

This recipe comes from my Grandma Harvey. My aunt Ellen tells me that her recipes came from both her mother Sophia Kraft and my grandfather's mother Ella Harvey. My Grandpa Harvey also went to gourmet cooking school. According to Ellen, she would cook "Japanese, Chinese, Greek, field game,  you name it she cooked it."

Beef with Peanuts
1 pound top round steak, sliced
1/2 cup onions, sliced
4 cups bok choy, shredded
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Combine broth, soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.  In a skillet or wok, fry peanuts in peanut oil until golden. Remove peanuts from wok and set aside. Stir fry vegetables briefly until crisp tender and then remove from the wok and set aside. Put beef into wok and stir fry until just cooked through. Add broth and soy sauce mixture and heat until thick. Return vegetables and peanuts to the wok and stir until heated through. Serve over hot rice.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Who would have thought? The world's pickiest eater who never so much as touched a vegetable would like something with beans! I grew up thinking that beans were an alien life form spawned from deep space. Oh what anxiety I caused my poor Mother!  I can easily say that my pet dog Buttons was the very specimen of a healthy diet full of vegetables. I can recall the day I tried hummus. It was poetry on a pita. I can't stop eating this stuff.

One of my favorites is the hummus you can buy homemade at Labad's Middle Eastern Grocery in the Strip District of Pittsburgh. When hard up I might even buy a national brand from a supermarket but it doesn't come close to my recipe. Dunk veggies, pretzels and of course - pita.

2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons tahini
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
extra virgin olive oil

Drain the canned chickpeas, reserving about 3/4 of a cup of the liquid in the can. Put the reserved liquid, water and chickpeas into a blender and blend until a smooth paste. Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini, cumin, salt and cayenne and continue to blend. Garnish with paprika and drizzle of olive oil.

Hummus on Foodista