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Eileen's Beef Stew. Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Eileen’s Beef Stew. Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

By Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @Blogfinger

2 1/2 pounds chuck roast, trimmed of fat, cut into 2″ cubes

10 cipollini onions, peeled

4  carrots, peeled (2 diced, 2 cut into 2″ rounds)

2 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces

2 yellow onions. diced

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed

3 stalks celery, diced

1 cup fresh green peas (frozen can be substituted)

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 large mushrooms, thickly sliced

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dry thyme

1 cup Guinness stout

1 cup red burgundy wine

1 cup beef stock

1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons margarine

searing flour, as needed

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 plum tomatoes,  seeded and diced

In a 5 quart Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup of oil on medium.  Remove moisture from meat with a paper towel and  lightly sprinkle cubes with searing flour;  place meat in oil and brown on all sides. Do  this in small batches and set meat aside as they brown.

Add diced carrots, celery and yellow onions to the Dutch oven and cook until they soften and brown, approximately 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook 3 minutes. Add wine, stout, beef broth, thyme, tomato paste, black pepper, salt and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil and stir.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add meat to pot and simmer covered for 1 hour.  Stir occasionally.

While the meat and sauce are simmering, heat margarine and 2 tablespoons of oil on medium in a large nonstick fry pan.  Add the 2″ pieces of carrot, potatoes, cipollini onions, tomatoes, and green beans; and sauté until the vegetables turn a little brown,  approximately 30  minutes.

Add the browned vegetables to the meat and sauce after the meat has cooked for 1 hour.

* For the best flavor prepare the stew to this point a day or two prior to serving.

Reheat the stew on medium-low until the sauce begins to simmer.  Add the green peas and mushrooms.  Stir and cook for 1 hour.   Taste to adjust for flavoring.

Serves 4

FATS WALLER:  “The Rump Steak Serenade”

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Eileen’s veal stew.  1/13/18. Blogfinger photo ©

By Eileen Goldfinger, Food editor @Blogfinger

1 pound veal cubes, cut into 1 inch pieces

1/4 cup searing flour

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 2 inch strips

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into small cubes

1 stalk celery, cut into small 1/4 inch pieces

5 ounces crimini or white button mushrooms,  cut mushrooms in half

1 cup frozen peas

2 russet potatoes

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

salt to taste

14 ounces canned plum or cherry tomatoes with puree

1 medium onion, cut into small cubes

2/3 cup unsalted chicken broth

1/2 cup red wine

6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Combine flour with black pepper and lightly coat veal with flour. Heat oil in a 5 quart Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Brown the veal in small batches. Remove from pot and set aside on a plate.

Add celery, carrots, onion and garlic to Dutch oven, lower the heat and cook until the vegetables wilt, approximately 10 minutes.

Stir tomatoes, wine, and broth in Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add veal and peppers to the pot. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

At this point in the recipe, peel, dice into one inch cubes, and boil two russet potatoes in a separate pot until they are fork tender. Next pour off the water, take the pot off the heat, and leave the potatoes in the covered pot until ready to serve with the finished stew.

Cover the stew pot and cook for 3/4 hour.  Continue to stir occasionally. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning (more pepper and salt if necessary.)  Add mushrooms and peas, and cook another 15 minutes with the top back on  or until the veal is fork tender.

Add some additional chicken broth during the cooking process if the liquid begins to evaporate.

Serves 2-3 people

PUCCINI.  “O Mio Babbino Caro.”

*Editor’s notes:

Red wine is a must.  We had an Acrobat Pinot Noir  (2016)  from Eugene, Oregon—-Wegmans selection.  The bread is a Bastone, a crunchy-crusted Italian loaf from Mario’s in Fort Myers, Florida—by way of Sicily.

Substitute meats:  Skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into one inch pieces, or beef.

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If you don’t like cooking live lobsters, the Weg Man will do the deed for you.  Click on word “Blogfinger” below.

Blogfinger

Eileen's Lobster Salad. Photo by Eileen Goldfinger © Eileen’s lobster salad. Photo by Eileen Goldfinger ©

By Eileen Goldfinger,  Food Editor @Blogfinger

Cooking the lobsters:

2 lobsters , approx 1 1/2 pounds each, steamed for 15 minutes and then cooled in an ice bath and set aside.

Ingredients:

Lobster Salad:

1 1/2 cups cooked lobster meat cut in 1/2″ pieces

3 scallions, minced

1/3 cup celery, minced

1/2 cup mayonnaise

4 drops Tabasco (hot sauce)

1/4 tsp. freshly grated black pepper

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

pinch of salt

Green Salad:

5 ounces mixed baby greens

2 small bell peppers, thinly sliced

2 radishes, thinly sliced

2 inches of a seedless cucumber, thinly sliced

2 Campari tomatoes, quartered

1 avocado, peeled and quartered

6 endive leaves

1/2 small lemon, juiced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Lobster salad preparation:

Mix lobster, celery and scallion together in a bowl.

In another bowl mix mayonnaise, lemon…

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October 2015. Design by Eileen Goldfinger. Blogfinger.net photo.

Ocean Grove. October 2015.  Design  by Eileen Goldfinger. Paul Goldfinger photo.  Fresh cranberries harvested  at Chatsworth, NJ.  Leaves from the Garden State Parkway.  Eileen’s homemade cranberry sauce is  in the center.  Click to enlarge.  © Blogfinger.net

 

Cranberry bog. nchip.uga.edu

Harvest time.  Cranberry bog. nchip.uga.edu

By Eileen Goldfinger, food editor @Blogfinger and Paul Goldfinger, official taster and photographer  @Blogfinger.

On Oct. 20 and 21, 2018,  (next weekend) is the 35th Chatsworth Cranberry Festival. It’s fun. Read about it at http://www.cranfest.info.

This is a very crowded event in the Pine Barrens, about an hour from here.  The best bet is to go on Sunday morning early and park along the side of the road.

New Jersey is one of the most important cranberry growing regions in the world with over 3,500 acres devoted to the crop.  In the US, we are second in size to Wisconsin and Massachusetts.  Cranberries are grown in bogs where the soil and water requirements are quite complicated. The harvest is usually complete by the end of October.

In New Jersey, most of the growing occurs in Burlington County, around Chatsworth, where the annual Cranberry Festival will be held this month.

 

Annual Cranberry Festival. Chatsworth, NJ. Oct. 19, 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Annual Cranberry Festival. Chatsworth, NJ. Oct. 19, 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click left

We go to the Festival  to enjoy this unique cultural event—-Appalachia in Jersey.  Hear bluegrass music and  buy fresh picked cranberries.  Eileen purchases her usual 7 pound box.

In 2015 we were away for the Festival, so we drove to Tabernacle, NJ  ( BF search Tabernacle))  down the road from Chatsworth, one week later,  and visited Russo’s Farm Market where Eileen purchased her supply of cranberries.

She makes fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and freezes the rest of the berries in small Ziploc portions to use throughout the year.  Fresh cranberries can be purchased at Wegmans and Delicious Orchards.

Fresh cranberries from New Jersey. Photo design by Eileen Goldfinger. Background is a 1950's dish cloth. PG photo ©

2013  photo design by Eileen Goldfinger. Background is a 1950’s dish cloth. PG photo ©. Left click to enlarge.

Below is Eileen’s recipe for homemade cranberry sauce.   It’s a treat for your company on Thanksgiving, so don’t get bogged down with that gelatinous canned stuff.

EILEEN’S CRANBERRY SAUCE:

1 cup of water

1 cup sugar

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 orange, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon orange zest

1/8 cup Grand Marnier (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Mix sugar and water in a medium sauce pan.

Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.

Add cranberries and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat and gently boil for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat.

Cool to room temperature.

Add diced orange and zest and Grand Marnier.

Refrigerate.

Makes approx. 2 cups of cranberry sauce. In general, if used as a condiment, it will serve about 4 people.

BETTE MIDLER   You can’t hurry cranberry sauce or love.

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Eileen’s chicken stew. Blogfinger photo ©.

 

By Eileen Goldfinger, Food editor @Blogfinger

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into one inch pieces

1/4 cup searing flour

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 2 inch strips

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into small cubes

1 stalk celery, cut into small 1/4 inch pieces

5 ounces crimini or white button mushrooms, 5 ounces, cut mushrooms in half

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

salt to taste

14 ounces canned plum or cherry tomatoes

1 medium onion, cut into small cubes

2/3 cup unsalted chicken broth

1/2 cup red wine

6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

16 ounce package of frozen peas

5 small red or butter potatoes cubed

 

Using a medium size sauce pan, fill three quarters with water and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes and cook until they are fork tender. Then pour off water and place the potatoes aside.

Combine flour with black pepper and lightly coat chicken pieces with flour. Heat oil in a 5 quart Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Brown the chicken in small batches. Remove from pot and set aside on a plate.

Add celery, carrots, onion and garlic to Dutch oven, lower the heat and cook until the vegetables wilt, approximately 10 minutes.

Stir tomatoes, wine, and broth in Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add chicken and peppers to the pot. Simmer covered for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

After the one hour make sure the chicken is fork-tender. If not, cook until its is fork tender.

Taste sauce and adjust seasoning ( more pepper and salt if necessary.)  Add mushrooms, peas, and potatoes.  Cook another 15 minutes.

Add some additional chicken broth during the cooking process if the liquid begins to evaporate.

 

PUCCINI.  “O Mio Babbino Caro.”

Red wine is a must.  We had a Foris Pinot Noir  (2014)  from the Rogue Valley in Oregon—-Wegmans selection.  The bread is a Bastone, a crunchy-crusted Italian loaf from Mario’s in Fort Myers, Florida—by way of Sicily.

Serves 2-3 people

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Recipe by Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @ Blogfinger.net Photo by Eileen ©

 

Eileen’s Baltimore Crab Cakes

 

Ingredients

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat

20 Saltine crackers, crushed

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

2 rounded tablespoons Hellman’s mayonnaise

1 large egg

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons canola oil (may need more for cooking)

1 tablespoon butter

1 ½ – 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seafood Seasoning

 

Prepare crab cakes

Place crab meat in a large bowl. Gently pick through the meat and remove any shells. Add the cracker crumbs ( I place the crackers in a zip lock bag and pound them with a wooden mallet or rolling pin to make the crumbs), Old Bay and chives.

Gently mix these ingredients together, use your hands, and break apart some of the larger pieces of crab.

In a separate bowl whisk the mayonnaise, egg, and mustard together. Stir this into the crab mixture using your hands. Be careful not to break the pieces of crabmeat.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This will help form the crab cakes and prevent them from falling apart.

Scoop approximately ½ cup amount of crab mixture in your hands and carefully form cakes about 1” thick. This should make 6 crab cakes. Place them on a tray until all cakes are formed.

 

Cooking crab cakes

Heat a 12” non-stick fry pan or cast iron pan (my preference) over medium heat.

Add the oil and when it begins to simmer add the cakes to the pan. Cook cakes for 4 minutes or until they turn golden. Lower the heat to medium low, add the butter to the pan and turn the cakes over.

Cook them for 4 minutes or until they turn golden.

 

Serves 3

 

STUART MATTHEWMAN   from the movie Twin Falls Idaho.  “Amapola”

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Eileen's Fish Stew. Photo by Paul Goldfinger @Blogfinger.net. 2015. ©

Eileen’s Fish Stew. Photo byEileen  Goldfinger @Blogfinger.net. 2015. ©

By Eileen Goldfinger, food editor @Blogfinger

3/4 pound of cod fillets, cut in four inch pieces, or any other white mild fish

6 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 medium carrot, peeled, small diced

1 celery stalk, small diced

1 shallot, small diced

parsley, fresh, several sprigs

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth

2 tablespoons of margarine (or butter)

14 ounces canned plum or cherry tomatoes with puree

Preheat broiler.

In a 10 inch cast iron pan heat margarine and add carrots, celery, shallot, garlic, parsley and salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften, approximately 10 minutes. Stir ingredients in the pan, and if they seem to be sticking to the pan add a little of the chicken broth.

Next add the tomatoes with the puree, the chicken broth, and white wine. Stir and break up the tomatoes into bite size pieces. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Add fish fillets and shrimp. Cook them in the sauce for 3 minutes. 

Turn the fish over and place the pan on a rack 8 inches from the broiler element. Cook for 5 minutes. Serve with a crispy French or Italian bread.

Serves 2

FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE:   “The Saturday Night Fish Fry” from the original Broadway cast recording of the show Five Guys Named Moe.

Eileen

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Eileen Goldfinger’s chicken pot pie. Blogfinger.net. Eileen photo©

Ingredients:

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

3-5 tablespoons olive oil

salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 tablespoons of butter or margerine

2 medium sized onions cubed

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup fat free half and half

4 carrots peeled and diced

1  10 ounce package frozen peas

1 small package of small whole onions

2 packages of frozen puff pastry

32 ounce box unsalted chicken stock

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Chicken:

Place chicken on baking sheet. Sprinkle them on both sides with saltand black pepper and rub them with olive oil.  Bake them for 35 minutes or until they are baked through.  Half way through turn chicken parts over and finish baking. Remove from oven and set aside. When chicken is cool cut it in bit sized pieces.

Filling:

In a large Dutch oven melt butter and saute onions and carrots for 15 minutes.  Add flour and cook over low heat , stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Slowly add the chicken stock to the pot.  Simmer over low heat until stirring until sauce becomes thick.  Add 1.2 teaspoon of salt , 1.2 teaspoon black pepper and fat free half and half.  Add the chicken, peas, whole onions and parsley.   Mix well.

Assembling:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

You will need two 9-inch pie plates.

Roll out a sheet of pastry on a floured surface , one for each pie plate. Place in plate and press pastry into plate. Trim off excess pastry.  Prick the pastry thoroughly with a fork. P lace aluminum foil onto the surface of the pastry.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and remove foil.

Divide filling in half and place in each pastry  lined plate. Roll out two more pastry sheets on floured surface. Place one on top of each filled pie plate.  Pinch the edges of the dough to  make it stick and seal all around the plate.  To make a lattice top, cut  top pastry into long strips and weave in and out on top of the filled pie plate .  In either case brush the top pastry with an egg wash (one egg whisked in a small bowl) and sprinkle with sea salt.

Place pies on baking sheets in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour or until the top crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Note:   Don’t bother the cook while she is timing the  pie:

PALAST ORCHESTER and MAX RAABE:   “As Time Goes By.”

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Photo by Eileen Goldfinger

Photo by Eileen Goldfinger.  Re-posted from 2013 on Blogfinger.net

3-4 pounds chicken, cut in 4 inch pieces, wings cut at the joint

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup vegetable oil

5 tablespoons searing flour

2 bell peppers, any color, cut in ½ inch strips

1 large onion, diced

12 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

½ cup red wine

½ cup chicken broth

1  28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crush by hand

½ cup marinara sauce

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (this is spicy)

½ teaspoon dried oregano

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sprinkle flour on both sides of chicken pieces. In a large fry pan, heat vegetable oil and brown chicken on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and set aside and discard the oil.

In a 5 quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil.  Add onion and peppers. Sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes. Lower the heat and add the garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, San Marzano tomatoes, wine and broth; stir and simmer at a low heat for 30 minutes. Add oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper, cook for 5 minutes.

Add chicken pieces to the sauce. Make sure the chicken is covered with the sauce. Cook at a simmer for 1 hour with pot cover ajar. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a small amount of broth.  Stir occasionally to make sure the chicken does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Taste sauce to adjust seasoning. If you want it spicier, add more red pepper flakes. Remember you can always add more but if you put too much in you can’t remove it.

Add mushrooms, stir and cook on low-medium heat for 30 minutes.

Serve over pasta.

Serves 4

SOUNDTRACK: Luciano Pavarotti, from the film “Quartet.”

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pot roast

Eileen’s holiday pot roast. Photograph and recipe by Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor@Blogfinger.net .  ©

Prepare 1-2 days before serving
Preheat oven 350 degrees

5-6 pound brisket
freshly ground black pepper
paprika
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cooking onions, diced
4 carrots, peeled, cut in ¼” rings
4 stalks celery with leaves, ¼” slices
1 package (8-10 oz) fresh crimini or white mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 small cans of whole white potatoes (drained of the liquid)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 8 oz jars beef gravy
1 cup red wine
1 box low sodium beef or chicken broth
½ cup marinara sauce

Rub paprika and black pepper on both sides of the brisket (approximately 2 tablespoons of paprika & 1 tablespoon black pepper.)
Heat a large oven proof pan (with cover) on the stove. When pan is hot place brisket in pan and sear until meat turns brown. Turn meat over and sear on the other side. Remove brisket from pan and set aside.

Add oil to the pan and heat medium low. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté on medium low heat for 15 minutes. Next add garlic, 1 jar beef gravy, red wine, box of broth, and marinara sauce. Stir the liquids with the vegetables and add the seared brisket to the pan. Place the cover on the pan and put it in the oven for 3 hours. Half way through the cooking time, turn the meat over and continue cooking with lid on pot.

After the 3 hours remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool. Place meat and gravy in a closed container and store in the refrigerator until the morning of the day you plan to serve the meat. Remove congealed fat and take brisket out of container (scrap gravy off the meat). Slice the brisket in ¼” slices on the diagonal, against the grain of the meat. It is very important that you slice against the grain or the meat will be tough and stringy.

Preheat oven 250 degrees.

Place the meat in the original pot. Add the gravy, all the potatoes, mushrooms, and 1 jar beef gravy. Place cover on the pot and place in the oven for 2 hours. I serve the brisket right from the pot it was cooked in. Serves 8

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A taste of Jewish history:  It’s now 5777 by the Hebrew calendar, and Rosh Hashanah is upon us. The Jewish New Year is a serious religious event, but, like so many of our holidays, food is a big deal, especially traditional recipes. There are a lot of moving parts, but if Eileen leaves out anything she hears about it.

We eat apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year. Pomegranates have a similar purpose. (Although the Chinese like this too.)  We have round  (goodness without end) egg breads (challah)–often with raisins.  Some of our foods are so good that they show up at multiple holidays.  For example there’s chicken soup with matzoh balls and/or noodles. Then there is sweet Kosher wine and, the piéce de résistance—pot roast.
Of course Jews were scattered all over the world for thousands of years, so there are variations in the foods.  If you are in the north east, brisket is usually used, but if you head to other parts of the country, the pot roast is made with different cuts of meat.

Many Jews that one might meet in New Jersey and New York are from families that escaped from eastern Europe during waves of immigration during  the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.  So they brought pot roast with them.  On the other hand the Sephardic Jews in Deal might have couscous, leeks, pumpkin and fish with the head still attached.

My family, like most others, wanted to be Americanized as soon as possible. And that included customs, dress and language. But the foods were never forgotten. They spoke Yiddish at home because of the grand parents, but they always spoke English elsewhere.

Here is Mandy Patinkin who made an album of songs sung in Yiddish, and in this song he celebrates America–not the old world, but the new…..

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

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