Tofu with Broccoli & Mushrooms in Princess Sauce

This worked so well I don’t want to forget it!
I combined a couple recipes from Chinese Cookery by Rose Cheng & Michele Morris and used tofu instead of chicken or pork.

1 box Tofu

1 Tbsp. rice wine
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. grated ginger root

Seasoning Sauce:
1 Tbsp. rice wine
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sesame oil

6-10 dried red hot peppers
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small head of broccoli sliced, stems sliced separately
2-3 scallions, sliced diagonally
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup chicken broth

Place tofu in marinade, let stand at least 30 minutes. (I set it up early in the day and put it in the fridge until dinner)

Mix seasoning sauce and set aside. Prepare all vegetables.

Heat 2-3 Tbsp. oil in wok with a couple peppers. Add tofu and stir fry until well browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove tofu, draining oil over wok; set aside.

Heat oil, adding more if necessary. Add garlic, ginger and broccoli stems. Stir fry 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and whites of scallions, stir fry an additional minute or two.

Add broccoli, toss. Add chicken broth and cover until water is absorbed and broccoli is cooked.

Add tofu, seasoning sauce and remaining scallions. Stir fry until sauce thickens and is heated through. Stir in cashews and serve.


Bearnaise Sauce

My cousin Tam gave me these directions. I believe they come from the Joy of Cooking. This is wonderfully easy and of course delicious, since it is nearly all butter.

1 stick of butter, melted. Keep hot

But in a blender:
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar, or in my case 2 T sherry vinegar and about 1/2 teaspoon or more of dried tarragon
pinch of cayenne, optional


With the blender on, add the butter in a very slow stream.

If the sauce is not thick enough for your liking, put it back in the pot and heat over low heat, whisking until thick. Be careful not to break the sauce or cook the yolks. Tam says that if you break the sauce add an additional yolk to bring it back together.

For hollandaise sauce, use 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice instead of the vinegar.

Mint Sauce

From Great British Cooking by Jane Garmey.

In our house, lamb is not complete without mint sauce. This recipe makes about 3/4 cup. If made with vinegar it will keep at least a month in the fridge.

1 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. boiling water
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. white wine vinegar (or white wine)

Place the mint in a pitcher and pour the boiling water over it. Let stand 20 minutes to infuse the water. Add the sugar and vinegar or wine and stir well. Serve.

Venison Roast with Apples & Onions

I found this recipe on It worked very well. The meat was tender and delicious. Of course it is a slow cooker recipe so the meat is like a pot roast, which was a hit with my family.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 pounds venison roast
garlic powder
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and stems discarded (about 1/2 tsp)
2 apples, cored and cut into thick slices
2 large onions, sliced
4 cloves crushed garlic
1.5 tsp. beef base (“better than bouillon” is what I used)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water (or replace vinegar and water with 1/2 cup red wine)

Spread olive oil in bottom of slow cooker.
Place roast inside and season well with ground black pepper and sprinkle with garlic powder. Lightly sprinkle with salt.
Top with garlic, thyme, onions and apples.
Mix vinegar, water and bouillon, pour over everything.

Cook on low for 10 hours, meat will be falling apart. Cook for less time for meat that is more solid.

Poor Man’s Soup with Dumplings

For you Larry.

The Soup:
3-4 ounces of salt pork, finely diced
1 large celery stalk, sliced thinly
4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1″ sections
1 large onion, diced
4 cups water
2 tsp. chicken bullion
salt & pepper to taste

Heat a 3-4 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. butter and salt pork, saute about 5 minutes. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook until just softened. Add water and bullion. Add salt & pepper to taste. Simmer until everything is cooked, about 1 hour.

Serve with dumplings.

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
milk (about 3 Tbsp)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Stir flour and baking powder together. Stir in an egg and enough milk to make a thick, heavy dough.

Drop by teaspoonfuls into boiling salted water. Cook 10 minutes. Drain and toss with butter.

Steak & Mushroom Pie

This recipe is from the Frugal Gourmet Cooks American cookbook by Jeff Smith. It makes Mike happy enough, it resembles the British Steak & Kidney pie as much as it can without the kidneys.

3 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds chuck steak, well trimmed and cubed (I confess to using whatever kind of beef I have, even tenderloin. Venison works but cook it much less)
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
salt & pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. flour, cooked with butter into a roux or mixed with water into a slurry
10-16 oz. mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in butter till browned
1 pie crust

Heat a heavy pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and lightly brown. Turn up the heat and brown the beef cubes.

Add enough broth to barely cover the meat and simmer, covered, until tender, about 30 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the roux and mushrooms, and simmer another 15 minutes.

Thicken with flour mixture. I feel this has enough fat without the roux, but you run the risk of lumps.

Stir in the mushrooms.

Pour into a deep pie plate/quiche dish or individual ramekins. Top with pie crust.

Bake at 425F for 45 minutes until crust is browned.

Venison Chops with Dried Fruit

Usually I use venison like beef. But I was given these chops by my daughter’s beau. The butcher we use never cuts us chops like this, think lamb chops. So I hunted up a recipe, because let’s face it, these were special.

This is adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for venison chops on

The end result was indeed special. I bet if I had Emeril’s ingredients it would have tipped the scales.

1/4 cup mixed dried cranberries & cherries
1/2 cup dry red wine (I used the end of a bottle of Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2011, I love this wine)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 venison chops, maybe 2 oz. apiece
2 Tbsp. finely minced onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup water

Soak the cranberries and cherries in the wine for 10 minutes.

In a large heavy skillet (cast iron), heat the oil over high heat. Be careful not to let the oil smoke. Add the chops and sear, 2-3 minutes per side. The chops should easily be pulled from the pan when they are properly browned.

Remove to a plate. Add the onions & garlic and cook for a minute. Drain the wine from the fruit and carefully add it to the pan, stir. Add the fruit, soup mix, water and chops. Stir & flip the chops, cook for 2 minutes, just to heat through. The chops should be rare.

Serve over soft polenta made with muenster cheese stirred in at the end.

Simon & Garfunkle Chicken

My cousins, Joe & Tammy, fed us this dinner about 20 years ago. It is great! We usually skip the sauce but sometimes serve regular gravy along with the chicken. Make sure you use a large enough baking dish to accommodate all the vegetables.

1 4 1/2 lb. chicken
2 tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled
1 1/2 tsp. dried ground or rubbed sage
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
Freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
5 Tbsp. olive oil
4 small russet potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
8 large shallots
4 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
minced parsley

1 3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
6 Tbsp. butter, cut into 6 tabs

Preheat oven to 425F

Combine rosemary, sage, thyme and pepper in a small bowl.

Rub chicken with salt. Using half the herb mixture, rub some of the herb mixture inside the chicken and put 1 bay leaf in the cavity. Rub 2 tbsp. oil on chicken and rub on herb mixture. Place in large baking pan.

Surround chicken with potatoes, shallots and carrots. Toss with remaining oil and herb mixture. Add remaining bay leaf.

Bake chicken upside down for 45 minutes. Turn chicken over and continue cooking until done, approximately 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours total. Toss vegetables occasionally. Temperature in the joint where the leg attaches to the body should be 185F. Remove from oven, rest 15 minutes. Keep warm if preparing sauce.
Sprinkle vegetables with minced parsley if not preparing sauce.

Pour pan juices into large glass measuring cup and degrease. Add enough stock to measure 2 cups.

Add vinegar to baking pan and bring to boil over medium heat; scraping up any browned bits. Boil until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add stock mixture and boil until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Adjust seasoning to taste. Stir in parsley. Serve sauce over vegetables and chicken.

Beef Chili

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated magazine, March 2003.

I also use this recipe for a vegetarian chili in which I substitute additional beans and diced vegies (such as zucchini, mushrooms, and/or carrots) for the beef.

This recipe is best made ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld.

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 bell pepper (red or green), finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced/pressed
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried oregano
cayenne pepper to taste (1/4 tsp. is too much for my eldest daughter)
1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
1 can / 2 cups cooked kidney beans (16 ounces) (pick your favorite bean, I also like, white beans, black beans and pinto beans here)
1 28-oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened and beginning to brown. Add the spices and cook a few minutes until darkened and aromatic.

Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the meat. Stir and break up the pieces until no longer pink. The meat should just begin to brown.

Add the beans, tomatoes and salt; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for about an hour. Stir occasionally. Remove the cover and simmer for another hour, stirring occasionally until the chili is dark and slightly thickened. If the chili begins to stick, add a little water.

Serve with lime wedges and condiments.

Here is what may family likes with chili and tacos:

Shredded lettuce
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour Cream
Sour cream blended with a chipotle pepper
Diced avocado
sliced scallions/diced red onion
Finely chopped cilantro leaves (ok, I’m the one who likes this)
Sliced pickled jalenpenos
Hot sauce to spice it up for those who want it hotter

Simple Sesame-Soy Noodles

I have no idea where I took this recipe from. When our family first began eating a heavily influenced vegetarian diet I was on the hunt for any recipe that made tofu edible. I served these noodles with a Broccoli, Carrot, Cashew and Tofu stir-fry. The stir-fry was acceptable but the noodles are what carried the meal.

1/2 lb. Udon or Soba noodles
1 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. rice vinegar
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced

1. Begin cooking noodles
2. Whisk remaining ingredients, except scallions
3. Drain noodles, place in a bowl and toss with sauce. Top with scallions.

Broccoli, Carrot & Cashew Stir-Fry with Tofu
1 lb. firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
3-4 Tbsp. dry wine (rice wine works fine)
5 heaping cups broccoli florets
3 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally
1/3 cup unsalted, toasted cashews, coarsely chopped
Extra soy sauce

1. Heat oil & soy sauce in wok. Add tofu and stir-fry 2-3 minutes.
2. Add wine, broccoli and carrots. Cover and steam 5 minutes over medium heat.
3. Uncover, turn up heat and stir-fry 2-3 minutes more until liquid is absorbed.
4. Toss with cashews and serve.