Baked custard

(adapted from What's Cooking America)

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ground nutmeg and cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, beat eggs and add honey, vanilla extract, and salt. Heat milk until almost boiling and blend with eggs. Pour mixture into six ramekins or coffee cups. Sprinkle nutmeg and cinnamon on top.

Put the cups into a large, deep casserole dish and fill it to the midway point with hot water. Bake 20-30 minutes until the center of the custards are set. Remove cups from casserole dish and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Beef chili

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried black beans
  • 1 lb. dried pinto beans
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • ½ lb. bacon
  • 2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 8-oz. cans diced green chiles
  • 2 onions
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 2-3 bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tbs. cumin
  • 1 tbs. salt
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • Optional (to increase spiciness): cayenne powder or red pepper flakes
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, grated cheese, diced onions or jalapeno, etc.

Soak beans in plenty of water overnight; they will expand.

Dice garlic and jalapeno finely and chop onions and bell peppers. Set aside.

Chop bacon into small pieces. Put bacon and ground beef in a large pot and brown over medium-high heat, using a spoon to crumble beef. After the meat has given off enough fat to saute the vegetables, use a slotted spoon to move the meat into a bowl, leaving the fat in the pot.

Add previously-diced vegetables to the pot and cook until onions are translucent, then re-add meat, along with diced tomatoes, green chiles, drained beans, and spices. Stir well and add enough water to cover the contents of pot. Put a lid on the pot and bring to a simmer. Scrape bottom of pot every fifteen minutes or so to prevent solids from sticking. After an hour or two, take the lid off so some of the liquid can start evaporating. Continue cooking until beans are tender. This can take as long as three or four hours, depending on the beans, and you may need to add more water midway through.

Belgian endives

(recipe is from my grandmother)

Ingredients (per-endive; serves ⅓ of a person)

  • 1 Belgian endive, medium-sized
  • 1 slice of swiss cheese
  • 1 slice lean prosciutto
  • butter
  • vinegar

Cut tops and bottoms off endives, remove cores near bottom, and wash. Bring water with a bit of vinegar to a boil. Boil endives eight minutes or until they're soft enough that you can poke a fork into the bottom. Put butter in pan and let endives drain. Wrap prosciutto around endive and brown on all sides. Wrap cheese around endive, put back in pan and cover, cooking on low heat until the cheese melts.

Buckwheat crepes

(a hybrid of Stephan Guyenet's recipe and "Ravenhood's Wholesome Buckwheat Crepes" recipe from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients (produces 4-5 large crepes)

  • 1 c. (⅓ lb.) raw buckwheat groats
  • ¾ c. water
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • cooking oil

The night before you plan to make the crepes, pour the groats into a large bowl, fill it with water, swish them around, and put the bowl in the refrigerator. I usually pour the water out once or twice midway through and replace it (the groats and water will get slimy).

After the groats are done soaking, drain them, give them a quick rinse, drain them again, and add the ¾ c. water, egg, and salt. Blend them as finely as you can — I use a cheap immersion blender.

Next, heat a frying pan over low heat (I usually heat a cast iron pan for five minutes or so). Add your cooking oil of choice and heat it a bit (one teaspoon or so of ghee or coconut oil heated for 2-3 minutes has worked well for me).

Once the oil is hot and the pan is well-covered, pour in ½ cup of batter. I distribute it across the pan while pouring it and then use a spatula/pancake-flipper/pancake-turner/please-shut-up to spread it evenly across the pan. Let the first side cook for 2-3 minutes, making sure it's not sticking to the pan, and then flip it and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes.

Remove the crepe from the pan, add your filling of choice, and fold it in half. I've found that some combination of goat cheese, sauteed garlic/onions/leeks/tomatoes/olives/artichoke-hearts/etc., and prosciutto or salmon is tasty, although I bet berries would be great too.

I usually heat a bit more oil in the pan before making the next crepe.

Cheesecake

Ingredients (Mom's recipe)

  • Crust
    • 1.5 c. oatmeal
    • ½ c. finely chopped nuts (almonds work well)
    • ½ c. packed brown sugar
    • ⅓ c. butter, melted
  • Filling
    • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
    • ½ c. granulated sugar
    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 c. sour cream
  • Topping
    • 1 c. sour cream
    • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients (alternate recipe)

  • Crust
    • 12 graham crackers, crumbled
    • ⅗ stick butter
  • Filling
    • 3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese
    • ½ c. sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Topping
    • 2 c. sour cream
    • 2 tbs. sugar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients (lower sugar, gluten-free)

  • Crust
    • 1 c. finely chopped almonds
    • 1 c. finely chopped walnuts
    • 1 tbs. butter, melted
    • 2 tsp. honey (to taste)
  • Filling
    • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
    • 2-3 tsp. honey (to taste)
    • 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 c. (8 oz.) sour cream
  • Topping
    • 1 c. (8 oz.) sour cream
    • 1-2 tsp. honey (to taste)
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Mix crust ingredients and press into bottom of a 9" springform pan. If making oatmeal or nut crust, bake for 15 minutes; otherwise, don't pre-bake crust. Springform pans can leak; I'd recommend putting an aluminum-foil-covered baking tray on a lower rack.

Mix filling ingredients until smooth and pour into pan. Bake about 50 minutes or until the center is set. Beat together topping ingredients and pour on top. Bake for 10-20 minutes more, and then let sit outside of oven until relatively cool and cover with plate (cling wrap will stick to the top and mess it up) and put in fridge for several hours. Use knife to separate from edge of pan before removing.

Cheese fondue

Ingredients (serves 3-4 people)

  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. Monterey jack cheese
  • 4 oz. Swiss cheese
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 tsp. corn starch
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1 shot of vodka
  • 1 glass dry white wine

Shred cheese. Rub fondue dish with garlic. Heat cheese and lemon juice at low heat, stirring. Add corn starch, nutmeg, pepper, vodka, and wine, and increase heat.

German potato salad

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon, raw and diced
  • 4 medium potatoes, raw and diced (alternately, use sweet potatoes and cook for less time)
  • onion powder or onion
  • ½ c. water
  • ¼ c. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar (optional, particularly when using sweet potatoes)
  • 2 tbsp. parsley

Brown bacon in pressure cooker. Pour off drippings. Add potatoes and other ingredients to pressure cooker and mix well. Bring to a slow rock and cook for 5 minutes.

Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. chile powder

Mix.

Kimchi and sauerkraut

(originally from Michael Allen Smith but tweaked a bit based on my experiences volunteering at Three Stone Hearth)

Kimchi ingredients

  • 1 head of Napa cabbage, around 2 lbs., roughly chopped
  • 1 root daikon, chopped into small cubes
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • equal amount of ginger, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled into strips
  • 1 tbs. salt
  • Korean red pepper flakes (Gochugaru) to taste

Sauerkraut ingredients

  • 1 head of green cabbage, around 2 lbs., roughly chopped
  • small amount of fresh or dried dill (optional)
  • 1 tbs. salt

How I originally made this: Put the cabbage into a large bowl and rub the salt into it. Let it sit for an hour or two to draw out the water. Put all ingredients (including water) into a large, ideally wide-mouthed glass jar and squish them down.

Find a glass that just barely fits into the neck of the jar, fill it with water, and use it to press the cabbage down and minimize the exposed surface of water. Add additional salty water to the jar as needed to bring the water level close to the brim. The goal is to keep the cabbage underwater; any bits that poke above the water level are likely to get moldy.

Put the uncovered jar in a bowl or small casserole dish (to catch drips) and place the whole thing in a covered box. Let it ferment for a week or so, squishing it down daily to force out gases and to ensure that the cabbage spends most of its time below the water level. When ready, cover and transfer to refrigerator to slow fermentation.

How I make it now: If you get serious about this, buy a fermentation crock — I have a 7.5-liter Harsch Gairtopf pot. Here's the rough process:

  • Cut several heads of cabbage into ½-inch or smaller strips in a hotel pan or other large container.
  • Add other ingredients.
  • Add salt until the mix tastes a bit saltier than you'd like.
  • Knead the cabbage until the water that it gives out is bubbly and looks soapy (this can take five to ten minutes, and adding a bit more salt midway through can help).
  • Put the weights into the pot and push them down as far as you can.
  • If the water from the cabbage doesn't cover the weights by at least half an inch, top off the pot with salt-infused water.
  • Let everything sit in the pot for four weeks or so.
Lemon chicken (not the Chinese kind)

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts
  • ¼ c. plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ c. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • ½ c. chicken stock

In a small bowl mix together the ¼ cup oil, lemon juice, oregano, and some salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken and marinate several hours, or overnight. Dry the chicken well on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reserve the marinade.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pressure cooker and brown on all sides as many chicken pieces as will comfortably fit at one time in the Cooker. Reserve on a warm platter. Pour off the fat and add to the pressure cooker the reserved marinade and the chicken stock. Close the lid and bring to pressure. Cook for the suggested time (5-8 minutes). Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned over it.

Meat loaf

Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs. ground beef
  • 1 c. tomato juice or diced/ground/etc. tomatoes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ onion, diced
  • ½ carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients. Press firmly into ungreased 8"x4"x2" loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Rouladen

(recipe is from my grandmother)

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1.5 lbs round steak, cut ¼" thick, 3" wide, and 6" long (Omi says it should be from the hip!); carne asada meat works
  • German stone ground mustard
  • tomato paste
  • ½ lb bacon
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • dill pickles or cornichons (firmer is better)
  • carrots, sliced into sticks
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 cups red or white wine
  • sour cream, if desired (for sauce)

Generously spread one side of each filet with mustard and tomato paste. Place a slice of bacon, onion, carrot, and pickles on the filet and form it into a roll, tucking the ends in. Tie it up like a present with string to hold it together.

Melt butter into a Teflon pan over medium heat. Sautee the rolls on all sides until dark brown. Then pour in water or red wine and simmer for about an hour.

Separate some jus, add sour cream, and reduce on medium heat. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Sauerbraten

(note that it takes several days)

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef roast (eye of round roast works)
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 cup wine vinegar
  • 3 onions
  • 1 carrot
  • ½ celery root
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • ¼ lb bacon
  • 1 egg
  • oil
  • 1 tbsp flour (optional)

Wash meat, trim fat, rub with salt and pepper, and put into tall jar. Mix wine and vinegar, 2 chopped onions, chopped carrot, ¼ celery root, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, and cloves and bring to a boil, cooking for 5 minutes. Let cool and pour over meat. Let meat marinate in refrigerator for 2-3 days, turning it once daily.

Dry marinated meat with a paper towel and run marinade through a sieve. Cut bacon into cubes and brown in oil in a Dutch oven. Brown meat on all sides and set aside. Brown sliced onion and celery root in same pan, dust with flour, and mix with half the marinade. Add meat to pan, cover, and roast slowly (about 2 hours at 350 F), adding marinade from time to time.

Cut meat in ½" slices and put on warm plate. Run sauce through colander, thin with some marinade, bring to short boil and add salt and pepper. Add 2-3 tsp of gravy to meat and serve the rest separately.

Serve roast with potatoes, dumplings, noodles, or spaetzle and Brussels sprouts.

Shchi (Russian soup)

Ingredients

  • 4-6 c. beef broth or stock
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 2 c. sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • bay leaf
  • olive oil
  • sour cream

Chop the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic and soften in olive oil on medium heat. Add the beef broth, tomatoes, sauerkraut, bay leaf, and some ground pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour, then let cool for fifteen minutes and serve topped with sour cream.

Split pea soup

(based on Emeril Lagasse's recipe)

Ingredients (makes a lot and freezes well)

  • 3 lbs. dried split peas
  • 4 lbs. smoked ham hocks (seems like a lot but it's mostly bone)
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled and chopped finely
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped to medium coarseness
  • 2 large carrots, chopped finely
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped finely
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • black pepper to taste

Divide dried peas among two large bowls and cover with several inches of water (the peas will expand). Let them soak overnight in the refrigerator.

In a very large pot, heat a small amount of olive oil and add ham hocks, cooking until slightly browned. Remove hocks and set aside. Add garlic, onions, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, adding more olive oil if needed. Add drained peas, hocks, and spices and cover with water. Put on the lid and simmer until peas start to soften, perhaps an hour. Remove ham hocks and separate and chop meat. (Don't forget that the bones are full of marrow, if you're into that.) Add meat to pot and continue to cook uncovered until peas are mushy and the soup is no longer watery, perhaps one more hour. Take out the bay leaves if you can find them.

Sweet potato bread

(based on the pumpkin bread recipe)

Ingredients

  • 2 c. sweet potato, baked until soft (about 1 hour at 400 degrees) and then mashed
  • 1 c. sweet potato flour (I used Zocalo Heritage Camote Flour, purchased from Whole Foods)
  • 1 tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp. ginger or cloves
  • ¾ c. whole milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅛ c. olive oil
  • honey to sweeten to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix everything together and pour into greased 9x5x3" loaf pan. Bake 60 minutes or until top cracks. Serve with butter.

Szegediner gulasch (goulash)

(via my dad, origin unknown but maybe from a German cookbook)

Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings)

  • 1½-2 lbs. pork shoulder or similar (some fat is okay; boneless sirloin roast works too), ½" cubed
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped coarsely
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped finely
  • 1½ tbs. caraway seed, chopped or blended (or not if that's a pain)
  • 2½ tbs. paprika
  • salt
  • water
  • 1 lb. sauerkraut, mostly drained
  • 8 oz. sour cream

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in a heavy pot until softened. Add pork, caraway seed, and salt and sauté until meat is white. Add water and simmer for 20 minutes until meat is half-done. Add sauerkraut and paprika and cook another 20 minutes until done. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Goes well with potatoes or rice.

Tuscan vegetable soup

(recipe is from The Silver Spoon by way of Stephan Ellner)

Ingredients

  • 2 red onions
  • 2 stalks leeks (just 1 seems okay)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 waxy potatoes
  • 1 lb. kale
  • 1 large head white cabbage
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 large can plum tomatoes
  • 2 cans cannellini beans

Saute chopped onions, leeks, carrot, celery, and garlic in lots of olive oil. When soft, add peeled and cubed potatoes, coarsely chopped kale and cabbage, and rosemary. Add tomatoes and strained beans. Stir and add 2 cups water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook at least 1.5 hours.

Serve with cold olive oil and grated parmigiano on top.