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.


Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

Basic Southern style biscuits.  A young girl of about 18 gave me these directions for biscuits and gravy when we were on vacation in West Virginia many years ago.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
5 Tbsp. solid shortening (Crisco)
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425F.

Sift flour. Add baking powder, salt and baking soda.
Cut in shortening until coarse crumbs form.
Add buttermilk. Toss with a fork until dough forms.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface, gather into a disc shape, and knead lightly. Touching it as little as possible will produce flakier biscuits.
Pat dough to 3/4-inch thick. Cut out biscuits with a cutter or drinking glass dipped in flour.
Place on ungreased baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12-15 minutes.

Sausage Gravy
Fry 1 pound of breakfast sausage, in crumble or patties (your preference).
Remove the meat and save 1/4 cup of the drippings in skillet.

Add 1/4 cup flour and stir over medium-heat until thick solid-colored liquid forms. Cook long enough that the mixture does not taste like flour.

Add 2 cups milk. Simmer several minutes until thickened. Add sausage crumbles for a chunky gravy.


Adapted from The Frugal Gourmet Jeff Smith. New York: Ballantine Books, 1984.

In Jeff Smith’s cookbook he calls this Pork Souvlakia, but in his spirit I use chicken and even tofu as well. This isn’t exactly authentic but it is delicious. I have never made this with only tofu but a combination of tofu and chicken. Tonight, I am using bone-in chicken legs and will broil the meat instead of grilling it.

For the marinade combine:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. oregano
salt & pepper to taste

Cut the following into cubes, about 1-inch:
1 pound boneless pork or chicken
1 yellow onion, peeled
1 green bell pepper

Marinate the meat and vegetables about 2 hours, refrigerated.

Skewer meat and vegetables, alternating. Grill or broil until done, about 15 minutes. This also works just fine in a grill basket.

Serve with Cucumber Tzatziki.

Pork & Vegetable Buns

Adapted from Chinese Cookery by Rose Cheng & Michele Morris. Los Angeles, CA: Price Stern Sloan, Inc., 1981.

Mandarin Dough (recipe follows)
1/3 lb. Chinese cabbage
1 lb. ground pork
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup chopped green onions
boiling water

Prepare the dough:
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
4 cups flour
1 tsp. shortening

Mix sugar and warm water in a small bowl. Stir in yeast. Place flour in a large bowl, make a well in the center. Slowly pour in the yeast mixture. Add the shortening. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

In the meantime combine the filling for the dumplings:

Finely dice the cabbage, place in a large bowl with salt. Let stand 5 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid. Add the remaining filling ingredients to the cabbage and mix well.

Divide the prepared dough in half. Roll each half into a thick log, about 2 inches in diameter. Divide each log into 9-10 equal sized pieces. Form each piece into a small ball.

Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 4-inch circle. To make buns, cup a circle in the palm of your hand. Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling in the center. Pleat the edges of the circle, lift the sides over the filling and twist and pinch at the top to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Line a steamer with cabbage leaves. Arrange as many buns on the steamer as will fit, leaving 1 inch between the buns. Let stand 30 minutes to rise.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot or wok. Cover the steamer and place over the boiling water. Steam over high heat 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Remove the cover slowly so the buns do not collapse.  Repeat with remaining buns.

Serve hot.

Salt Marinade with Herbs for Pork

This recipe comes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the famous cookbook by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle and Julia Child. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1961.

This is a dry marinade and the flavors are strong. My family and I love it. My brother and younger sister do not.

Per pound of pork:
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/8 teaspoon crumbled bay leaf
pinch of allspice
1/2 clove garlic, crushed

Mix all the ingredients together and rub into the pork. Place in a covered bowl and refrigerate.

The directions say “Turn the meat 2 or 3 times if the marinade is a short one; several times a day if it is of long duration.” I usually reserve this marinade for a pork roast of no more than two pounds. So the larger the piece of meat the longer the marinade time. I myself have never left it marinate more than 24 hours.

Scrape off the marinade and dry the meat thoroughly before cooking.

Pork Kebabs with Orange & Thyme

My younger sister shared this with me.

Whisk the following ingredients together until emulsified and then pour over 1 1/4 pounds of boneless pork loin cubes:

1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. orange zest
2 – 5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Thyme
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Marinate 30 minutes. Grill.

Daria’s Pulled Pork

Daria made sure Mom was fed when eating was just something Mom couldn’t always remember to do. This recipe comes from Daria’s kitchen.

Cut a Pork loin or butt in chunks and cover with water.
Simmer 4-5 hours until it is falling apart. Drain, cool, and shred.

1 lb. butter
32 oz. bottle of ketchup
liquid smoke
3 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. black pepper
salt to taste
2 tbsp. mustard
3 tbsp. kosher pickle juice
few shakes Worcestershire sauce

Heat all gently until hot and mix with pork. Serve on buns with coleslaw.

Chinese BBQ Pork

This recipe came to me from my good friend Sandy.

Marinate 3 lbs. of spare ribs/pork loin/country style ribs overnight in:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
dash of powdered ginger
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. vinegar

Put the meat on a rack in a baking pan over 1 cup of water. The meat should not touch the water.

Cover and Bake 350° for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, turning halfway through cooking

Serve with Plum Sauce:
2 parts plum or apricot jam
1 part vinegar
mix and heat, pour over meat