Bloody Margarets – Not Your Usual Bloody Mary Recipe

Last night my girl friend Amber came over for girl talk, and since there were no adult libations in the house, we went to our local Armenian liquor store to get something.

Amber likes vodka, and the Armenian store is the place to go, since vodka is very popular with Armenians. It seems that every type of vodka made in the world is available in the Armenian liquor store, with myriad flavors, and whimsical bottles. We got a citrus flavored variety since I had a large can of tomato juice in the refrigerator. I also have a large sweet Italian basil plant.

My friend and former chef at Birds in Hollywood, Chef John Farion, had come over to change the door on the refrigerator. Of course, as I was getting ice and then the tomato juice out of the refrigerator, I kept trying to open it on the wrong side. That made Amber and I laugh.

I had watered my sweet Italian basil plant and it was sitting on the counter. You know where this is going, huh? Me too. These drinks turned out really tasty, and I think you will want to add them to your next get together.

Recipe: Bloody Margarets

Summary: A take off on Bloody Mary and Margarita Pizza. Fresh basil anyone?

Ingredients

  • 8 whole basil leaves
  • 2 cups citrus or other good vodka
  • 1 large can tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • Garlic Pepper
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Moisten the lip of four tall glasses, then crust the edges in garlic pepper. If you don’t have garlic pepper, or don’t like pepper rimmed drinks, you can skip this step.
  2. Put ice in each glass, and one whole basil leaf in each glass.
  3. Put the vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco and remaining ice in a nice pitcher. Rub the basil leaves together in your hands to release the oils, then roll up and slice finely in a Chiffonade. Add that to the pitcher and stir. Check for seasoning, adding more Tabasco or Worcestershire as needed.
  4. Pour this into the tall glasses and serve. There should be more left in the pitcher for refills.

Quick notes

You can make this in a pitcher or in individual tall glasses. The directions here are for a pitcher. This recipe is for four adults.

Variations

If you have little ones at home, who would like to have some, put the vodka directly into the glasses and not the pitcher.

Preparation time: 1 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © The Good Plate.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Enjoy!

Lasagna alla casa di Boswell

Recipes in this PostLasagna alla casa di Boswell - ricotta spinach sausage

A few days ago, I found a box of no-cook lasagna noodles in the sale section of the store. I had never tried no-cook lasagna noodles, so I bought them with the intent of making my own version of Lasagna.

I have been making this lasagna for many years, and it seems to get better every time.  Yes, it is time consuming, but the rewards for the taste buds are worth the time and effort.

I do not make a standard red sauce, although there are tomatoes in the sauce.  There is a lot of meat – a little over three pounds all together.  Mushrooms sautéed with shallots in butter and sherry. Italian sausage cooked and sliced on the bias.

I don’t like ricotta cheese, I never have.  A lot of people who don’t like it use cottage cheese instead, but although I don’t like the texture of ricotta, I do like the flavor, so to compensate for the texture, I add spinach, nutmeg and Parmesan to the ricotta.  It gives nice flavor with more nutrients as well.

This is a great lasagna. Don’t let the complexity of this dish put you off. Once the sauce is done, you are home free.

Recipe: Lasagna alla casa di Boswell

Ingredients

Sauce
  • 1 pound Ground beef
  • 1 pound Ground pork
  • 2 Garlic chopped
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 2 Carrot chopped
  • 1 Green pepper chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 cup Red wine
  • 1 can Whole tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
– Ricotta Layer –
  • 2 cups Ricotta cheese
  • 1 package Frozen spinach
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
– Mushroom Layer –
  • 10 Mushroom sliced
  • 1 Shallot chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dry sherry
– Other Layers –
  • 1 pound Italian sausage sliced
  • 2 cups Mozzarella sliced
  • 1 package Lasagna Noodles cooked (or uncooked in this case)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

Make the sauce
  • Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl it around so the whole pan is covered.
  • Sauté the vegetables until they are translucent.
  • Add the meat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, then add some of the milk.
  • Turn the heat down.
  • Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until you cannot see the milk. Then add more milk. Do this until all the milk has been incorporated.
  • When all the milk has combined, add the wine and the tomatoes, then cook down on low heat until the sauce is thick. Set aside.
  • Make the Ricotta layer

    1. Defrost and remove all the water from the spinach. You can do this by putting the spinach in the microwave for 3 minutes. Then add the ricotta, Parmesan and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
    Make the Mushroom layer
    1. In a sauté pan, melt the butter. Add the shallots and let them cook until they are translucent, then add the mushrooms. Add the sherry. Sauté the mushrooms until they brown with the shallots in butter and sherry. Set aside.
    Make the sausage layer
    1. Pan fry the sausages on medium heat. Turn to brown on all sides. Remove from the pan, cool slightly, then slice them on the diagonal.
    Make the pasta layer:
    1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a large pot. Cook the pasta just until it’s done, then drain and leave in cold water while assembling the lasagna.
    Assembly:
    1. Spread some of the sauce on the bottom of the lasagna pan.
    2. Put a layer of pasta.
    3. Put the some of the sauce on the pasta, then put the mushrooms.
    4. Put a layer of pasta.
    5. Put a layer of sauce and mozzarella.
    6. Put a layer of pasta.
    7. Put the ricotta layer.
    8. Put a layer of pasta.
    9. Put some of the sauce and then the sausages.
    10. Put a layer of pasta.
    11. Put the rest of the sauce.
    12. Put the last layer of mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan.
    13. Bake in a slow oven for about 30 minutes or until the cheeses are brown and bubbling.
    14. Remove from the oven and let sit at least 10 minutes so the lasagna can settle.

    Quick notes

    If you have sauce left over, freeze it for another dish.

    Variations

    If you don’t like spinach, you can omit it. If you don’t want to use pork sausage, you could use turkey sausage instead.

    Preparation time: 3 hour(s)

    Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

    Number of servings (yield): 8

    Culinary tradition: Italian

    My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 22 review(s)

    Copyright © The Good Plate.
    Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
    Microformatting by hRecipe.

    Risotto Corned Beef Stuffed Peppers with Tomato Cream Sauce and Colcannon

    Recipes in this Post

    I remember as a child I really loved stuffed peppers, and my mother would buy a can of corned beef hash and stuff the peppers with that.  They were always so wonderful, real comfort food.  I have to admit, the first time I tried to make them, the peppers styed hard, and they just were not good.  I had given up on them, but I really had a taste for them recently.

    Now here is the perfect opportunity to have corned beef and cabbage, St. Patrick’s Day. Since there are only three of us, and our refrigerator is very small, I could not see any reason to buy a corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, but I still wanted a traditional meal.  A can of corned beef was just the ticket.

    The cabbage part was not hard at all – Colcannon is great any time.  Cabbage is really good for you, and so are potatoes, put them together – it’s a super food!

    I decided to use Arborio rice since it is more glutinous, and absorbs other flavorings readily.

    I served the stuffed peppers with a  little tomato cream sauce on the plate and the colcannon.  Everyone loved it!
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    Chicken with Gorgonzola and Pistachios

    Recipes in this Post
    Chicken with Gorgonzola and Pistachios

    Chicken with Gorgonzola and Pistachios

    This was a dish that Chef John Farion made for me a long, long time ago. He was the chef at Bird’s restaurant in Hollywood, and had gotten the recipe from a chef he was working under.

    I have made this several times. I consider it a real treat, something I make for company, or I make for people I really care about. It isn’t really that time consuming, but it is a little expensive.

    The recipe calls for Gorgonzola, which is a blue veined Italian cheese. If you cannot find Gorgonzola, or do not want to pay the steep price for it, you can substitute a good blue cheese. Luckily, I live in Glendale, California, which has a high Armenian population, and Armenian grocery stores always have low cost, good quality blue cheese available by the pound. Don’t try to use the already crumbled blue cheese, it is dried out, has no flavor, and is usually expensive.

    It goes best with the wonderful Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Noodles, as the sauce coats each noodle delicately and the noodles hug the pieces of chicken. Yum!

    If you are afraid that your guests will not like the blue cheese – yes, there really are some people who find it too strong and strange – you can add the cheese as a garnish for the people who do want the blue cheese flavor.

    I made this tonight with broccoli and served it with a bottle of Two Buck Chuck. My friend, Amber, and her husband Stevie, just loved it. Spane has had it many times, and even Amber’s persnickety son wanted some.

    Recipe: Chicken with Gorgonzola and Pistachios

    Ingredients

    • 2 Chicken breasts Boned
    • 1 cup Sliced mushrooms
    • 1/4 cup Gogonzola Cheese
    • 1 Garlic Clove
    • 1/2 cup Dry White Wine
    • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
    • 1/2 cup Pistachio Nuts
    • Cracked Black Peppercorns
    • Wide Noodles – Pennsylvania Dutch Edd Noodles are best

    Instructions

    1. Shell the pistachio nuts. Heat a pan and toast the nuts in it, stirring often to prevent burning. Chop into a course chop and set aside.
    2. Cut the chicken into one inch pieces and set aside. Put butter into a saute pan, melt, then add garlic. Saute until translucent, then add mushrooms. Saute mushrooms and add about a tablespoon of white wine. Cook the mushrooms until they brown, then remove from the pan and set aside.
    3. Boil a large pot of water and add salt. Add pasta.
    4. Put more butter into the saute pan, then add chicken pieces. Saute on high heat until they are browned nicely on all sides. Remove from the pan, and deglaze with wine. Cook the wine down, then put the chicken back. Add the cream, and cook down until the cream has thickened. Add half of the nuts, leaving the rest for garnish. If you do not have anyone that is adverse to blue cheese, add the cheese at this point. Then add the mushrooms. Just before serving, crack black peppercorns over.
    5. Cook the pasta until it is al dente. If it reaches that stage before the chicken is done, turn the heat off. Drain the pasta in a colander and start to plate-up.
    6. Put pasta, then serve chicken and sauce over the pasta. Top with cheese if you have not added it to the sauce, then garnish with remaining nuts and chopped Italian parsley.

    Variations

    If you can’t get Gorgonzola, you can substitute a good Danish Blue Cheese instead.

    Preparation time: 45 minute(s)

    Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

    Number of servings (yield): 6

    Culinary tradition: Italian

    Calories: 611

    Fat: 125

    Protein: 111.7

    My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★10 review(s)

    Copyright © The Good Plate.
    Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
    Microformatting by hRecipe.


    This recipe is available for download at BigOven.

    Enjoy!

    Southern Italian Sunday Breakfast

    Spane with his new hair cut.

    Spane with his new hair cut.

    Spane had a new haircut and I had a package of mild Italian sausages in my freezer on Saturday. In a moment of inspiration, I decided that I would make my girl friend Biba’s Mom’s recipe for Biscuits and Gravy. John, always here on Sunday morning with Maria, Spane and I, also suggested eggs.

     

    Biscuits have always been an issue for me – they would turn out more like crackers than fluffy biscuits, but I finally found a recipe that worked. I had tried using my fingers, but the fat always melted. When I made Fresh Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Cake I learned that I did not have to laborously use a fork to mix the fat and dry ingredients, I could use a food processor instead. Wow! Who knew? So, when I saw the recipe and it said to quickly mix the fat and flour with your fingers, so quick that the fats would not melt, I thought doing this in the processor was the way to go. I was right, the dough was great, the biscuits were tall and fluffy!

    Buttermilk Substitute

    A word of warning. The original recipe calls for buttermilk, but I very rarely have that on hand. I do, however, usually have yogurt on hand, and white vinegar. I get whole milk plain yogurt from Mountain High – it is very creamy tasting, not too sour as some yogurts are. It can easily substitute for sour cream. If you are going to substitute yogurt for buttermilk, it’s really important to use a good brand, that is naturally cultured and does not have any fillers or other nasty things in it.

    Biscuits

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups flour
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons shortening
    • 1/2 cup plain good yogurt
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 3 drops white vinegar

    Preparation

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    In the food processor bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Process until the mixture looks like crumbs. Remove to a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

    Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that’s life.)

    Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

    Southern Biscuits

    Biscuits and Gravy

    Ingredients

    • 6 Italian sausage mild
    • 2 tablespoons Flour
    • 2 cups Milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Pepper
    • 6 dash Tabasco sauce
      • 4 eggs
      • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
      • 2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated
      • 2 tbsp milk
      • 2 tbsp butter
    • Preparation

      Remove the skins from the sausages. Place the sausages in a cold iron skillet. Turn on the heat and break them up, until they are in medium pieces. Do not drain off the fat. Add the flour and stir to coat all the meat. Add the milk, and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened nicely. Remove from the heat, and serve over biscuits.

      Biscuits and Gravy

      Italian Scrambled Eggs

      Ingredients

      Preparation

      Mix the eggs together with the herbs, cheese and milk. Heat a skillet and melt the butter, swirling the butter all round so the sides are covered. Add the egg mixture, and stir until the eggs are cooked and fluffy.

    Pizza Fried Chicken

    Recipes in this post

    Even if a child does not like spicy food, presented with the prospect of pepperoni pizza (or pep-e-on-i as the toddler set says), a child happily stuff his or her face with it.

    I like pizza, too, but some time ago, I decided that I did not like meat on pizza anymore.  Margarita pizza is the one for me.  I like to make my own, with a little help from Trader Joe’s (more on this later).

    So, I wanted pizza, and I also wanted chicken, but I don’t want meat on my pizza.  What to do, what to do?  I know!  Create Pizza Chicken!

    This is basically  fried chicken fingers with sauce, but I must say, it really fulfilled my desire for pizza.

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