Recipes by Hollis

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Bruschetta

From my curriculum project for Education 14, in which I wrote lessons plans for teaching people to cook.

  • 1 loaf of garlic bread, made in the fashion you prefer, but with the bread toasted
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • a handful of parsley, chiffonaded
  • salt
  • pepper
  • balsamic vinegar

Slice the garlic bread, and broil it lightly so that the cut edges are crispy and a little bit browned. Next, treat it with more garlic, if you wish--rub the clove onto the edges of the bread, or mince the garlic and add it to the tomato. Put the tomato (and garlic, if you want) into a bowl, with the parsley and about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste, and let the mixture sit for a moment. If it seems too dry, add more vinegar. Turn on your broiler, and spoon the tomato mixture onto the slices of garlic bread, which you.ve placed on a broiling tray. Grate some Parmesan cheese onto the top of these, then broil them until it browns and melts a bit. Serve.

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Cheese and chile soup

Appeared in the Daily Show on 2 Jan 2002.

Ingredients:

  • a few tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can mild green chiles
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 potatoes, washed and diced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tsp. cumin seed
  • 1/2 Tsp. sage
  • black pepper
  • 3 bouillon cubes, of your chosen flavor
  • 1 can or 1/2 bag frozen corn
  • 6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • 1 Tsp. chopped pickled jalapenos

Heat your pan, etc., per my normal laborious instructions. Start sauteeing the onions and garlic. While you do that, puree (no, it's late, and I'm not going to type out the escape codes for accents, so you can just deal with my self-indulgent-not-quite-French) the chiles and the tomatoes together. Dice your potatoes, after washing them and peeling if that's your thing. Add the flour to the saute mixture and cook it for a bit, then add the pureed vegetables and the potatoes. Toss in the cumin seeds and sage, along with about a cup of water, and cook it for a few minutes.

Put in a lot of water, the pepper, and the corn. Cover, and turn your heat to medium high. Stir, and cook until the potatoes are soft. Chop your cheddar into small bits during this time. Don't eat too many of the small bits, silly. I have this problem.

Anyway, just before serving, turn off the heat, dump in the cheese, and stir. Pour in the milk, and toss in your jalapenos. Stir some more, for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese melts. Eat. Yum. I want more now.

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French Baguettes

I learned to make these baguettes from Mme. Clergeon, of Berd'huis, France, when I stayed in her home on foreign exchange in high school. They're simple and wonderful, and very versatile. This recipe figured prominently in my Education 14 final curriculum project, in which I wrote about teaching people to cook.

  • 1 1/2 cups water, warm
  • 1 Tbsp. honey or sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsps. instant bread yeast
  • 3 cups flour, of any type
  • 1 tsp. salt

Put the water in a large mixing bowl, and add the sweetener. Stir with a wooden spoon until it dissolves, and add the yeast. Again, stir until dissolved. Let the yeast sit for a bit. I should interject a little bit of religion here. I am all in favor of separation of church and state, and do not wish to alienate any devout believers, but I don't think you can make bread properly without a bit of faith in the magic of yeast and water. Zen is the term that always comes to mind; simple and elegant.

Anyway, now that the yeast has had a chance to breathe a bit, stir in the flour and the salt. Mix until no lumps remain, then cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place until the dough doubles in bulk, about 40 minutes. Turn it out onto a floured board, punch it down, return it to the bowl, and allow it again to double in bulk.

When it has doubled, turn it onto the floured board, divide the dough in half, and form the halves into baguettes (roll them flat, fold them lengthwise, and seal them). Place these on a greased cookie sheet or in couches, if you have them, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. Score the top of each baguette with a knife, and place them in your 450 oven. Bake them until they are golden and sound hollow when thunked with a finger, about 20 minutes. Spritz the oven several times with water in the first few minutes of baking (this is the secret).

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Home Fries for Rabi

Appeared in the Daily Show on 22 Aug 2001.

4 potatoes, I guess
1-2 onions
3-6 cloves garlic
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, whole

Chop your potatoes, shred them, make photorealistic dice with appropriately-placed pips on them, carve little figurines of George W. Bush receiving his degree from Yale University with them, build an altar to your navel, or slice them. Let the spirit of the thing reveal itself to you through your potatoes. If you're squeamish and don't like your potatoes turning black, put the cut pieces underwater. After you cut them. Peel the potatoes first, if you're into such things.

Meanwhile, everyone repeat after me, get a pan, put it on the stove, and let it heat up. Once it's hot, put in some olive oil/canola oil/butter/lard/bacon grease/white lithium/teflon spray/other pan lubricant of your choice. Let that heat up, too. While all that's going, take one onion, peel the thing, and then slice it thinly. I want to see even slices, but then, I'm doomed to be unsatisfied. You're making onion rings here, so let your conscience be your guide. Keep 'em thin.

So, you've got your onion rings, your hot pan, and your hot oil. Would you care to venture a guess as to where this is going? Put them in there. Yum! Close your eyes or the onion vapors will make you wince in pain. Cook. You want them hot, because you're going to caramelize them. This means cook them until they're more than brown but less than burnt. You will know it when you get there, or you will mess it up and have to start over, which isn't really a huge deal. Anyway. Cook 'em until they're caramelized, tip them onto a waiting plate, put the sugar on them, and stir them on the plate. They're all happy now. Resist, I say, resist the temptation to eat them all right now. That's not the point of this.

Take your garlic and remaining onion, peel them, and mince them or whatnot. Decide how big you like your chunks, and do that.

Put some more pan lubricant of choice into your pan. Let it heat. Pour in the cumin seeds, and stir them for perhaps 10-15 seconds. Put in the garlic and onion mixture. Cook for five or ten minutes, then put in your potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are happy and browned. When you've done this as many times as I have, you will agree that it is pointless to ascribe a cooking time to such things--some potatoes are virtually instant, while others take forever and a half to cook. Cook 'em until they're done, mix in the caramelized onions, and eat this stuff.

By way of commentary, I will note that this is classically done in the Easter household with the addition of a cheese product of your choice, preferably good Cheddar, mozzarella, or Parmesan. However, this recipe's for Rabi, and I will therefore leave it only as a comment, because otherwise she'll be sad, and that is even less the point than eating all the onions while you're still cooking is.

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Fake Indian Potato Balls with Sauce

Appeared in the Daily Show on 16 Aug 2001. Also known as the dish with no proper name

For potatoes:
4 potatoes
1/2 onion
1 jalapeno pepper
3 cloves garlic
1/2 inch ginger, peeled
1/2 tsp. whole cumin
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP) granules
1 tsp. salt
bread crumbs

For sauce:
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 inch ginger, peeled
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
2 tsp. sugar

This recipe just sort of happened. I was sitting at work trying to think of what I could make that would be yummy for dinner. I'd never heard of doing this, but it sounded interesting, so I did it. You win a prize if you can come up with a better name.

Peel the potatoes, slice them, and put them in boiling water. Boil them for 25 minutes to half an hour. For potato connoisseurs, you want mealy potatoes, not waxy ones. Try russets or something. Slicing makes them cook faster.

Peel your onion, garlic, and ginger, and remove the seeds from your pepper. I put them in a food processor because I was lazy; you may do the same, or you can chop them. Anyway, you want them to be nice and small--we want tiny tasty bits, not BIG HONKIN' CHUNKS O' VEGETABLE. Anyway, get them nice and chopped, and then put them in your pan. You have, of course, been heating your pan, right? And then you put some oil of some sort into it and let that heat up too, right?

Anyhoo, get them sautéeing all happily. Cook 'em down, I say! Throw in your cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, coriander, and cinnamon, and stir them in. Cook until it doesn't need to be cooked anymore. You'll know when.

By this time, your potatoes are probably pretty well cooked. Drain them, retaining the water. Don't _bloat_ their water, just retain it. Cooking instructions always have such weird lingo... I guess if you want to chop the chop, you gotta talk the talk.

Anyway, no losing track of the plot. Pay attention! Put some of the water in with the TVP. The TVP will reconstitute itself. Get rid of the excess water somehow. I used a rather tedious process involving a Pyrex measuring cup, a spoon, and a lot of time. Your mileage ought to be better. Learn from my mistakes, people!

Put the potatoes, TVP, spice mix, and salt into a bowl, and mash them together. Mash like you've never mashed before. Mash like an old TV show. Mash mash mash. It takes longer than you think. Once you've got them all mashed up, put a little oil into your pan, and let it heat.

Start forming the potato mixture into little balls, about a tablespoon each, and roll these in the bread crumbs to coat them before putting them in your nice hot pan. Cook them until they're browned to your liking.

Meanwhile! Do the whole choppety thing with the onion, garlic, and ginger that are going into the sauce. Chop chop chop! In a different pan, cook them, adding the coriander and cumin after a bit. Cook, stir, yum. When they're done (the potato balls should be coming along), add the tomatoes and the sugar, stir, cook. Keep stirring and cooking until you can't stand it anymore.

At this point, the potatoes should be nearly done. Put the sauce mixture into the pan with the potatoes, stir (gently, lest you break the potato balls you have labored to create), and turn everything off. Let it all sit for a minute. Serve over rice or something--I did rice with some cumin seed added.

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Latkes for Us

Appeared in the Daily Show on 4 Apr 2002.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • bread crumbs
  • garlic powder
  • basil
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • fat for frying - we use vegetable oil

This is the best name I could come up with late on a Sunday night for the potato pancakes that Eliz and I have been making. They've sort of grown into a tradition of ours, the original recipe taken from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything since neither of us had our recipes here and we both suddenly craved latkes. Since then, we've made and eaten these by ourselves almost every weekend, as a ritual of sorts. We dance in the kitchen, we sing, we have a good time. If you're going to do this like we do, don't bother getting out more than one plate for serving, as the pancakes go too quickly to warrant separate plates. Do, however, note that two forks are a luxury worth your consideration and indulgence. We've changed our recipe a bunch of times, and it's not a formal thing. We have a good time, and that's what makes them taste good.

You'll notice in that paragraph that I refer to them both as potato pancakes and latkes. Latkes are a traditional Ukrainian dish, often served by Jews. The dictionary tells me the name is Yiddish, from Ukrainian and Old Russian, thence from Greek eladia, "little oily things", from Greek for olive oil. They're defined as potato and egg with a little flour. Potato pancakes usually include other things, like spices, garlic, onion, cheese, etc. However, it's enough of a pain to keep them straight that we just refer to them as latkes or potato pancakes as the mood strikes. They're good whichever way you call them. I think I call them latkes more than Eliz does, mainly because potato pancakes identify so strongly as the ones my mother makes from the Corning Cookbook. These are different, and therefore end up as latkes more often.

So, enough sentimental rambling about love and on to some sentimental rambling about food. You're going to need to grate the potatoes for this one. I use a Moulinex that my parents gave me (Moulis are wonderful rotary graters), but you can use a normal finger-sanding grater or, in a pinch, a knife and a well-developed sense of patience for the grating. Whatever works--just make sure the potato strings are thin, so they'll cook quickly.

Wash your potatoes carefully, but do not peel them. Peeling wastes energy, and when you're a tired college student, you might just as well punch yourself in the face. So wash them, grate them, and let them sit for a while. You'll note that they start to turn a wee bit brown, and they begin to exude moisture--perspire is the industry term, I think. Anyway, that's great if you're a deodorant company looking to expand into the potato market, but it's a pretty bad thing when you throw that nice watery mess into hot oil. What to do? Think with your hands, Tarzan. Squeeze handfuls (handsful?) of the potatoes over your sink or press them through a strainer, and then put them on a separate plate when you're done. You'd be surprised how much water comes out of a potato.

To the pressed potatoes, add your chopped onion and your smashed and minced garlic. After that's mixed in, add the eggs, some bread crumbs, and appropriate amounts of the various spices. For me, this involves lots of them. Your mileage may vary. One thing I've noticed, though, is that these really suffer if they haven't got enough salt--I use about a teaspoon. Mix that all up.

You've been heating your pan, right? Turn it up, and get some oil heating in it. When it's hot enough, spoon out the mixture into pancake-sized blobs in the oil. Pat them down with your turner spatula thingy. Watch the potatoes turn first white, then brown, then upside-down as you flip them over. Fry on both sides until they're a bit browned and crispy, and then put them on your single plate. Put the next batch in the frying pan immediately. I'm serious about this one--don't even think about touching those pancakes before there are more on the way. You'll kick yourself later if you disobey.

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Palm Sunday Potatoes - Prep: 5 minutes. Cook: 10 minutes.

Appeared in the Daily Show on 24 Mar 2002.

  • 3 medium-to-large potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsps. oil, be it olive or otherwise
  • Thyme leaves
  • Basil leaves
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt, be it garlic or otherwise
  • Ground black pepper

Stick your pan on the stove and set it for low heat. Chop the onion to fairly small bits. Toss them into the pan. Make 1"-long shoestrings with the potato--thanks to Jacques Pépin, I can now do this really fast. Throw them in, as well.

Toss in the water, oil, and spices, and turn the heat to medium or medium high. Hot enough to boil the water. Cover the pan with a properly-sized lid. Leave the lid on so that the potatoes can steam. Steam them until they're nicely tender, and take off the lid so the water can evaporate. The oil will then start to fry the potatoes. Mash them in the pan with your implement of destruction, be it spatular or otherwise. Mash them well! Then brown the resultant mash until you're happy with it.

The title comes from the fact that today is Palm Sunday, and the fact that I can't think of names for things. "Smashed potatoes" doesn't quite work, nor does "fried and mashed potatoes". "Steamed mash" doesn't work, nor "strashed" or "myed" potatoes, though that last provoked the thought that "myed" potatoes would be great, because it would mean that there were more potatoes for me. But I digress. In a fit of logic, Elizabeth suggested "Palm Sunday Potatoes", and it stuck. Maybe if I'm really lucky, in thirty years I'll get an email forward from someone with this recipe in it, and a story about how Jesus Christ himself was served these same pancakes on Palm Sunday so many years ago, by a poor woman who had nothing to offer but her excellent cooking skills. She met him somewhere and fed him potato cakes--she'd been to the New World, y'know, and so she had potatoes. Potatoes are, as we know, a traditional Jewish food when made into latkes, and she was a very traditional Jew, and all, and all.

That'll be quite cool, if I get that in an email forward. Anyway.

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Pasta alla Fiaccheraia

Appeared in the Daily Show on 9 Jan 2002.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 cup minced cooked ham
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 serrano chile, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin seed
  • 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, or use fresh
  • 1 bouillon cube, dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

So, the name for this is stolen from Spaghetti alla fiaccheraia, on page 178 of Giuliano Buglialli's Fine Art of Italian Cooking. I thought of what I wanted to do, and I wanted to make sure it wasn't entirely from left field, so I went stalking, and found that it's an actual style of sauce. Of course, it ought to be made with pancetta or prosciutto, but I had ham, so I used ham. Anyway, the name means "in the coachmen's style", and the book has a lovely little tale about how coachmen are apparently the rogueish ruffians of Italy.

Heat pan. Heat a bit of olive oil in it. Or use canola oil. Hell, use rendered fat from a transplanted expatriate yak that, until recently, lived a peaceful life in a rural village in Appalachia. Point is, heat up some cooking medium in your nice hot pan. Eventually I'm going to get tired of beating this point into the ground, but not yet.

Toss the minced ham into it. Yes, I was doing this to use up some of the nice ham we had. Yes, you can do it without it. Saute the nice ham, but don't burn it. Once it's browned, toss in your onions, garlic, and carrots. Cook for a while, until the onions start getting all translucent and yummy.

Pour in the wine, and stir it. Put in the chile and the seeds. Cook it for a while, until you get bored. If you have a really long attention span, this probably isn't the recipe for you. Once it's looking all happy, pour in the tomatoes and your bouillon (or you can be all cool and have actual stock or demi-glace in your sauce).

Cook it. Let it boil a bit, and keep it hot for 15-20 minutes, or however long you feel like waiting. Make sure it's nice and warm, and it won't be too picky. Toss in the oregano and Parmesan, and stir. Serve over the nice pasta you've been making.

Note: do not make the mistake I made and trust the pasta manufacturer to know how to cook its own pasta. You'd think that the boiling point of water would be a relatively standard thing, and that cooking time would make sense, but no. I cooked their penne a minute less than the shortest time recommended, and rather than al dente I got al nonagenarionne. Caveat eator.

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Penne con Aglio e Olio

Appeared in the Daily Show on 22 Jul 2001.

Ingredients:
Olive oil
5 cloves garlic
Salt
Pepper
Penne rigate

Slice your garlic, chop it, do whatever you like. I like to slice it. Put a saucepan on the stove, and heat it up to frying temperature. On our stove, this is medium-high; your mileage may vary. Let the pan heat for a while, then pour in some olive oil. Not too much, just some. Don't quite cover the bottom of the pan, maybe. Let that heat itself for a while. Put in your garlic. Stir it as it cooks; let it brown but not burn. As it's cooking, stir in some salt (not much) and a little pepper. Add other flavorings if you want--oregano is nice, basil's probably good, you might try some peppers or something. Cook your penne, leaving it nicely al dente. Drain it, mix it with the sauce. Stir it around so you coat the pasta. Eat it.

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Saganakiopa!

Appeared in the Daily Show on 2 Jan 2002.

Ingredients:

  • 1 block kefalotiri, kasseri, or feta cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1 loaf of yummy bread
  • fire

Heat your pan, oil it, yes, I'm not very original, everything I cook involves these steps, jeez, if I were going to make lemonade or ice cream it'd probably involve olive oil, a pan, and careful heating. Start warming your bread in the oven, too.

Cut your lemon in half. Squeeze half into a bowl. Slice your cheese in something like 1/4" or 1/2" slices. Dredge each slice in lemon juice, then in breadcrumbs, and sautee. You want the slices to become slightly browned and a little crispy. When you're getting close, put the brandy in a saucepan and heat it to just below boiling.

Take the cheese out of the pan, put it in a flameproof serving dish, and take care to mind your eyebrows for the next bit. Pour the hot brandy around it, and say in an appropriately stentorian voice, "Opa!". Say it like Opie's father, you know, "OHp-pa!", and as you do so, apply the fire to the brandy.

Now, if you know me at all, you'll know that this is a truly great dish, because it combines two of my favorite subjects: fire/pyrotechnics, and food. Do not serve this food in a room with a low ceiling, and please don't stand over it when you light it, as the flames are sometimes 3-5 feet high. Once they've gone out, squeeze the other lemon half over the cheese. Spread it onto hastily-ripped hunks of the bread. This dish rarely lasts 4 minutes.

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Salsa Pizzaiola alla Pasqua

Appeared in the Daily Show on 2 Aug 2001.

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
1 green chile
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup red wine
15 kalamata olives
2 14 1/2 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon capers
red pepper flakes

Chop up your onions, garlic, and chile separately. Put a biggish saucepan on the stove, and turn it to sauté temperature. For me this is medium-high. Let it warm up. Put in the olive oil. Let that heat. Swirl it around the pan. Put in the onions, garlic, chile, cumin, oregano, and basil. Cook them until they're getting nice and well-cooked. Cover the pan somewhere near the end of that phase.

Put in your red wine, cover, and cook until some of the wine gets absorbed and you're tired of waiting, about 8 minutes. Stir it to keep things from burning.

While all that's going on, pit and chop your olives. Not too big, not too small, not too Goldilocks, but Just Right®. Put them in there once you get 'em chopped--all that lovely kalamata juice will soak out of them and get all happy with the rest of the sauce.

When it's done cooking, because you're tired of waiting, stir in your tomatoes, capers, and red pepper flakes. You'll note that I didn't put a quantity on the pepper flakes. How hot do you want it, baby? I wanted it fairly, um, warm, so I put in a couple of teaspoons, probably. Be careful until you know what you're doing. Actually, I don't know what I'm doing either. Taste it frequently, add more in small doses, and don't cry if you add too much. Sweat instead--it oozes much more machismo. Razor Ramon would approve.

Anyway, cook your sauce until it's done. Keep it covered. If it's boiling too hard, turn it down, fool! Do not, under any circumstances, sample your sauce by dipping Triscuits® into it and then eating them. This is an abhorrent behaviour, one which no real chef would ever commit.

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Soup to Cure All Ills

Appeared in the Daily Show on 20 Nov 2001.

To make Soup To Cure All Ills, combine the following ingredients in a culinarily appropriate fashion:

  • 8 potatoes, washed but not peeled
  • 4 onions
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 3 vegetarian vegetable bouillon cubes
  • some olive oil
  • 1 can green chiles from New Mexico, courtesy of Joy
  • basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, salt
  • a bunch of couscous
  • a bunch of water and heat

Cook it up and then eat it. It wanted more peppers, but it was good good good. Many people came by my room as I was cooking. Meika insisted on staying and helping to stir, even though she couldn't stay for the eating. Joy ate with me, and Laurel came and bonded a bit, which was nifty because I don't really know her. And I felt much much better during the soup time. Now my body hurts again, but I have a doctor appointment at ungodlyearly o'clock tomorrow morning, and hopefully they will give me drugs which will make me mood-swingy but better. Let us pray.

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Daily Show All this copyright 2001-2002 by Hollis Easter Randomness/entropy
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