Friday, July 31, 2009

Spanish Pork with Orange & Poppyseed Salad

Beat up sneakers. Ratty old jeans. The dog.

Old standbys, they're the things that make life reasonable. No matter how exotic you get, they're the things that remind you that life is best at it's simplest.

The dog had surgery this week. During his annual check-up they found a cyst on his back. No one is sure if it's a problem, but best to have it taken out and tested.

The dog. Suddenly everyone is nervous about the dog.

He spent a day wearing one of those plastic hoods; don't tell me dogs don't have emotions. The pooch was flat out embarrassed. I swear, on his walks he looked the other way every time we ran into someone. Stupid cone.

He also has this square patch shaved into his side. I keep telling people that we had a small nuclear device implanted. You know, for security.

When I took off the cone he curled up on my feet and hasn't been too far away since. Man's best friend.

If a dog is man's best friend then, delicious magazine, volume 5 issue 11, has to be CrabbyCook's best friend. It is the single greatest issue of a cooking magazine ever. I've never prepared as many recipes from a single magazine as I have from that one issue. Spanish Pork with Orange & Poppyseed Salad is a great meal, light subtle flavors and the meal looks drop dead gorgeous. What more do you need? Enjoy...

Spanish Pork with Orange & Poppyseed Salad
from delicious magazine, volume 5 issue 11 plus a few Crabby adjustments

4 pork loin chops

1 teaspoon cumin
1 TBSP smoked paprika
Zest & Juice of 1 orange
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)

Orange & Poppyseed Salad

2 oranges
1 large, seedless English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves or other peppery green
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined and diced
1/3 cup champagne vinegar (white wine vinegar can be substituted)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 TBSP granulated sugar
2 TBSP poppyseeds

For the pork, combine the cumin, paprika, ketchup, orange zest, orange juice and maple syrup in a large zip top bag. Shake well to combine. Place the pork in the bag, seal and refrigerate at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.

For the salad. Zest the rind of one of the oranges and set aside in a small bowl.

Peel the oranges and remove the sections. Place into a large bowl along with the sliced cucumber and diced jalapeno. Set aside.

Combine the vinegar, oil, sugar and poppyseeds in a large glass jar. Shake well to combine. Set aside.

Remove the pork loin from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to grilling in order to bring it to room temperature.

Preheat your grill to medium high.

Grill the pork to desired doneness, about 5 - 6 minutes per side depending on the thickness.

Remove from the grill and allow them to rest.

While the pork is resting, divide the salad among four plates. Slice the pork chops and place atop the salad. Drizzle the orange poppyseed dressing over the plates and serve.

This is a great meal. My only complaint was that it needed a bit more heat, so consider adding additional hot peppers.

Alright, I'm off to walk the dog. Until next time remember, you can do it, you can cook.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rotisserie Chicken

A lot went on last weekend.

A lot of driving. A lot of eating. A lot of people. A celebration of a lot of years.

The Crabby family went "Up North" this last weekend. (Author's Note: Up North is a euphemism especially popular in states like Minnesota and Michigan. It refers to a watery-woodsy area at least 3 hours drive away that is plagued by mosquitoes, lousy TV reception and no wi-fi.). We were there to celebrate SSSal's father's 84th birthday, that's a lot of years.

Twelve members of the family came in for the event. Unless the name of your home includes the word "-Dome", 14 people and 2 dogs is a lot under one roof. But, thanks to the weather gods, we had a beautiful lakeside Saturday. There was swimming, boat rides and even a few sea plane trips. Better yet, with all the great outdoors to work with there was plenty of room to keep from getting on each others nerves.

Crabby cooked of course, but not for the birthday party itself. JeanneBean asked for some rotisserie chickens to feed the hordes on Friday night. So Wednesday and Thursday became cooking days at Crabby Central. I prepped and grilled 4 chickens. That's right, roughly 18 pounds of pullets, Rhode Island Reds and Frank Perdues. Normally if I'm roasting that much poultry I'm wearing a Pilgrim hat and walking around with a blunderbuss, but not this time.

Everyone seemed to love the birds, so I decided to publish the rub mix I used. Now I've tried to downsize the proportions to work with 1 chicken but I may be a little off. Anyway, it's a good start, so let's all enjoy...

Crabby's Rotisserie Chicken
by Crabby

1 Roasting Chicken (about 4 pounds)

1 TBSP kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 TBSP dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 TBSP herbs de provence

Rind of 1 lemon, grated
Juice of 1 lemon, (save the flesh)
1 TBSP cooking oil

In a large bowl combine the salt, pepper, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika and Herbs de Provence. Mix the dry ingredients well.

Add the lemon juice and oil to the dry ingredients and mix to form a paste.

Loosen the breast skin of the chicken and insert a small amount of the paste. Take the remaining paste and massage into the chicken. This is a messy process, so you may want to do it in your kitchen sink.

Insert the lemon pieces into the chicken cavity and place the bird into a large zipper top bag.

Refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chicken 30 minutes prior to the start of grilling.

Preheat your rotisserie burner on high, and place a drip pan beneath where the bird will be spinning.

Truss the chicken using kitchen twine and then insert the spit rod through the bird, using the rotisserie forks to firmly secure the chicken.

Roast the bird until done; depending on the size total roasting time will vary from 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours.

When done (thigh temperature of 180 degrees), transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow it to rest at least 15 minutes before carving.

Carve and serve.

OK crablings, this is a slow meal, but you can prepare multiple chickens to feed a big crowd or to have plenty of leftovers. Also the drippings trapped in the pan can be used as part of the thickener for a quick gravy.

I'm out for now, until next time remember, you can do it, you can cook.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leftover Lo Mein

Dog days. Three dog night.

Both of those sayings refer to weather (and yes, I know the second one is a reference to a vapid and tedious '70s "rock" band). Dog Days refers to the long, sultry stretch of summer running from early July to early September. For me it's always meant the three "H"s - Hazy, Hot and Humid. It's the time of year you don't so much wear your clothing, as much as it swaddles you like a wet warm towel.

A "three dog night" on the other hand, means it's so cold that you resort to using your pets as heating elements. I think the phrase comes from outdoor types getting caught out on cold nights and trying to survive by cuddling with their dogs.

Well this summer in Michigan the "dog days" are fast becoming "three dog nights". Hot humid days have been few and far between. The nights have been in the 50's and the family pooch wants to know why he's being allowed to sleep in King & Queen Crabby's bed. The spin doctors (also a band) have changed the name from "global warming" to "climate change", good thing, because there's no warming in sight.

Well the dog days can also refer to my cooking. Normally this time of year, I open the fridge door and stand there for a while. Of course normally I'm trying to cool off, but I'm also searching for inspiration. It's a must go time of year. Well here's my latest "must-go" creation.

Leftover Lo Mein is designed to freshen up things you find in the fridge that just have to go before they decide to go bad on their own. It's a fast and simple recipe, relying on a quick Asian style sauce to punch up the flavors. If you have fresh vegetables, use them, but frozen work just fine. Enjoy...

Leftover Lo Mein
by Crabby

1 package (9 - 12 ounces) Soba Noodles (for this recipe I prefer whole wheat to buckwheat Soba)

Leftover pork, beef or chicken meat, diced
2 cups total of assorted vegetables (peas, carrots, red peppers and corn work especially well)
2 scallions sliced thinly

1 TBSP cooking oil

1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP oyster sauce
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 TBSP cornstarch

Prepare the soba noodles according to the package instructions. When done cooking, rinse the noodles under cold running water and allow to drain. Set aside.

If you are using frozen vegetables, place them in a colander and run them under warm water until they are slightly thawed. Alternatively, microwave them for 1/2 the recommended cooking time listed on the package. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch. Mix well to fully dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.

Using a large saute pan, heat the cooking oil over high heat for 60 seconds. When hot, add the meat and all vegetables, except the scallions. Saute for 90 seconds tossing occasionally.

After 90 seconds add the cooked soba noodles and toss to combine.

Mix the sauce once again to distribute the cornstarch and immediately add to the saute pan.

Bring to a boil while stirring the ingredients. The sauce will usually thicken within 60 seconds.

Remove from the heat, scatter the chopped scallions atop the noodles and serve.

I have to tell you crablings, this is such a simple recipe and the crowds love it. If you only have beef leftovers then I'd swap the chicken stock for beef stock.

OK, it's raining again, and we aren't going to get to 85 degrees for the foreseeable future, so I'm off to find some pot roast recipes. Until next time, just remember, you can do it, you can cook.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blueberry Ketchup

Well apparently I'm not the only one who's having trouble with garden varmints. The story about my raccoon problem brought out some interesting reactions from Crab Nation. People shared horror stories and tips on how to "address" the situation.

Most of the comments fell into the "spread this - spray that" category. Of course, this being the internet, I also got some more, ummm, aggressive suggestions. Some of you feel that I'm being too nice to my furry invaders. That the only real answer is to pursue a strategy of elimination with "extreme prejudice".

There was the offer of a pellet gun with scope. The selling point being that it had already eliminated 24 squirrels. I'm not sure how many notches you need on your pellet gun before you become a Squirrel Ace, but I'd hate to interrupt your march to 25 , so I think I'll pass, "DeathFromAbove", but good luck on your quest.

There was one reader who was appalled that I was being so easy on the little buggers. She suggested instead of pistachio nuts I step up to rounded, tapered edge stones. While it's probably more effective, I'll pass for now, though thank you for the tips on getting blood stains out of the deck, "GrandmaBarker".

Gathering darkness, pellet guns, sharp stones and Crabby with half a bottle of wine in him. Not exactly a recipe for success do you think? Folks I appreciate all the help and suggestions, but they're just a couple of baby raccoons. I put them in the danger-entertainment category right next to last year's Tomato Death Stand. I'm just not quite ready to step up to the nuclear option.

Speaking of recipes, let's move on to today's. The local blueberries are starting to show up in the stores and the paper ran an article about Blueberry Ketchup. Well I'm all in favor of trying new things, so I gave it a whirl. It wasn't bad, but it also wasn't quite what I expected. I think it needs either less vinegar or a touch more brown sugar. Fell free to experiment with it and update us all with your results. Enjoy...

Blueberry Ketchup
by Chef Jim LaPerriere via the Detroit Free Press

2 cups fresh blueberries
1 clove chopped garlic
1 small shallot, minced
6 TBSP brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and syrupy, about 25-35 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Push the mixture through a fine sieve. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

That's it. Everything went just fine, but the result just didn't taste very blueberry-ee. The ketchup was much better the next day and I believe it would be a spectacular sauce for duck or venison, though it was quite nice with our grilled pork chops. Give it a shot and play with the proportions.

Alright, I'm done for today. Back to Raccoon-Watch 2009. I think they're pretty safe, unless they get at Boonsta's cucumbers. Then the furry SOBs won't know what hit 'em.

Until next time, remember, you can do it, you can cook.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Herb Pesto Sauce

Picked the first home grown tomatoes last night! One was actually a little overripe, but it had that full fresh flavor you just can't find in February.

Actually these aren't the first tomatoes picked from the garden. We've had three early season fatalities. An unknown, presumed furry, intruder has been visiting the deck late at night and half eating some of the fruit. I suspect that it's either a young raccoon, vestigial possum or insolent badger.

Normally I'm indifferent to hunting, but the rules change when my garden is in danger. Regrettably my options are limited; apparently there are some arcane laws that make it illegal to fire off a few rounds on one's own deck, if said deck is in a sub-division. So your Crabby is implementing phase two of his tomato-eating-pest-elimination-plan, a slingshot!

One of Crabby's many vices happens to be pistachio nuts. I love the things and go as far as only buying the un-dyed white ones so that I can hide my addiction. But, the bane of any pistachio aficionado is the unopened nut. These teeth cracking nut bombs are impossible to get open without shattering the shell. After sucking off the salt I've never had any use for them, until now.

So as you sleep tonight, think of Crabby, camouflaged, armed and salty fingered, drawing down on an unsuspecting feral rodent. War is Hell.

Since I'm going to be busy tonight I wanted to make something easy and fast. I also wanted to use up some of the fresh herbs in the garden. Pesto is a great way to run through a large bunch of herbs. This pesto moves beyond strictly basil and works especially well with grilled meats, (it's pictured here with grilled halibut). So please enjoy...

Herb Pesto Sauce
inspired by Emeril's and adjusted by Crabby

1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup fresh chives
1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds, lightly toasted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the blanched slivered almonds in a small saute pan and toast over medium-high heat. Once they begin to brown, the almonds will toast quickly, so be sure to occasionally shake the pan to avoid burning. Set aside to cool.

For the Pesto, combine the basil, parsley, mint, cilantro and chives in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped.

Add the toasted almonds, garlic and Parmesan cheese and pulse to combine.

With the processor running, slowly add 1 cup of the olive oil in a steady stream. Add the lemon juice, grated lemon rind, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.

Transfer to a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready for use.

I've also mixed the leftover pesto with a half stick of softened butter and used it on grilled steak.

OK crablings, time to gear up; Ricky Raccoon is about to find out the Crabby owns the night. Until next time, if I make it, remember you can do it, you can cook.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Crispy Fennel, Radicchio & Carrot Salad

I like monkeys.

If I ever get into a position where I need to make a commercial for Crabby, it's going to have monkeys in it. Everyone loves monkeys, well except for those SOBs in the Wizard of Oz, I hate them. But those Super Bowl commercials are just hilarious.

But the truth is, monkeys aren't always your friends. Last Friday there was a story from Science magazine about rhesus (pronounced: Reese's) monkeys living longer, healthier lives if they consume fewer calories than normal monkeys.

Yup, eat 30% less than average and you'll live longer and be only 1/3 as likely to succumb to age-related diseases. This falls under the "Boy-It-Sure-Takes-A-Long-Time-To-Starve-To-Death" category of nutrition.

I understand that we all eat too much, but 30% fewer calories? The rule of thumb that I remember to maintain weight is to consume calories equivalent to 12 x your body weight. So a 200 pound male will need to eat 2400 calories. But in order to live a longer, healthier life, he'll be reduced to consuming 720 fewer calories for a total of 1680. In other words, drop a meal.

Drop. A. Meal.

You'll live a longer, healthier life. Of course, the article didn't mention anything about a longer, hungrier, grouchier life.

Damn Monkeys!

My suggestion to you all is: Cook For Yourselves. We all get way too many calories from the crappy pre-made pre-packaged stuff we eat when we're in a hurry. Cooking for yourself can eliminate tons of fat from your diet and it will taste better too. But, if you're convinced of the efficacy of going 30% less, here's today's first recipe.

Take a large glass. Fill with Water. Drink. Repeat.

Hey, hey, hey, there goes lunch. Remember you can do it, you can drink water.

For those of you who need something a bit more substantial try this Crispy Fennel, Radicchio & Carrot Salad. This side dish has a nice mix of flavors and the breadcrumbs add an interesting texture, so pour yourself another glass of water and enjoy...

Crispy Fennel, Radicchio & Carrot Salad
from delicious magazine vol. 5 issue 11 with some help from Crabby & SSSal

2 ounces blanched slivered almonds
1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
1 fennel bulb, fronds removed and reserved
2 large carrots
1 head radicchio
1 head endive
1 cup chopped pea pods
2 TBSP sherry vinegar
6 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt & Pepper to taste

Using a small saute pan over medium-high heat, toast the slivered almonds until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Pay close attention and toss the almonds during the toasting process to avoid burning. Set aside and allow to cool.

Using a food processor or a sharp knife, thinly slice the fennel and carrots into wavy slices. Place the shavings into a bowl of ice water.

Using a knife, core the radicchio and endive and then roughly chop into bite sized pieces.

Slice the pea pods into bite sized chunks.

Place the chopped radicchio, endive and pea pods into a large salad bowl. Completely drain the fennel and carrot shavings and add to the salad.

Pour the vinegar, oil and mustard into a jar, close and shake well to combine. Adjust the seasonings.

Pour the dressing on the vegetables, add the breadcrumbs and almonds, mix well and serve immediately.

This is a very fresh and tasty salad. I have no idea how many calories there are in it, and I have no clue if monkeys will eat it, but you should. So eat up and remember, you can do it, you can cook.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Orange Glazed Pork Loin

Eat locally!

I always eat locally. No matter where I am that's where I'm eating.

I've complained before about this new obsession with being a "locavore" (God, there aren't enough travails in all of Hell to punish the genius who came up with that word). Allegedly we're all doing the environment good by buying locally. Yet every week, I see all the same "local" farmers putting on 500 miles a week to supply the various local Farmers' Markets. Twenty to twenty-five farmers, driving 10,000 combined miles a week to sell produce to a couple thousand people, who also have to drive untold miles to get to the various markets. Efficient, yeah right.

Now, word comes that "organic" food can contain up to 5% non-organic "material"; my doesn't that sound tasty? An article in the Washington Post shows that producers are allowed to add all sorts of strange things to food and still be able to label it organic. Wood starch in your grated cheese, mmmmm, give me some more of that. Or how about "Organic Mock Duck" that uses additives to make the "protein" have a stringy texture like real duck. Yummmm-eeeeeee!

"Organic Mock Duck"? That is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start.

Look folks, just eat - OK? Try and support your local farmers and small businesses, but don't get nuts about it. Local vegetables should be fresher, so buy from the local farm stand. But when you're leaving see if the burlap sacks of corn are from your state or from 10 states away. Make sure you're not just buying the idea of buying locally.

Enough ranting. Today's recipe is Orange Glazed Pork Loin. Now the pork is from my butcher who gets it from some Amish guy in Ohio. The honey is from a local farmer. But the oranges aren't local. Oranges in Michigan will never be local. So forgive me my out of state citrus and try to enjoy...

Orange Glazed Pork Loin
adapted by Crabby from Weber's Real Grilling

2 pound boneless pork loin


2 cups orange juice
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
4 whole cloves
1 TBSP Honey
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

In a small saucepan combine the orange juice, rosemary, cloves, red pepper flakes and orange zest.

Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the mixture until about 3/4 cup of glaze remains, about 30-45 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly then strain the mixture into a bowl. Add in the Worcestershire sauce.

Pre-heat grill to medium high.

Reduce heat to medium and sear the pork loin fat side down for two minutes. Turn the pork loin and baste with the glaze.

Baste the pork every ten minutes until done. Depending on the heat of your grill and the thickness of the pork, total grilling time will be from 35 - 50 minutes.

Insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the loin. I cook my pork loin to 140 degrees, this may leave the very center of the meat slightly pink.

Remove the pork loin and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Helpful Hint: After searing, I place the pork loin on an aluminum foil sheet. This traps the basting glaze and helps caramelize the bottom of the roast.

Not bad crablings. This meal takes a bit of time so save it for a lazy Saturday or Sunday evening. A lounge chair by the grill and a beer or two should do the trick.

Until next time, remember you can do it, you can cook.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cider Adobo

I haven't got a clue what to write about.

Some of you bop in here for the recipes. Others of you drop by to read the stories. Both can be easy. Both can be insurmountably hard. Today it's the story.

I keep an inventory of prepared recipes and photos that I pick and choose from. Sometimes a story reminds me of a meal, sometimes the meal jogs a story idea. Today, nothing. I have an ocean of photos, an encyclopedia's worth of recipes, an embarrassment of food, but "I got nothin'".

Maybe it's because of the long weekend. Maybe it's because of the heat. Maybe my brain is just empty.

That would explain the dull echoing sound.

So today I'm going to steal from the newspaper columnists. I'm going to write about nothing. It's the oldest trick in the book. Got nothing to write about? Write about nothing! No talk about Federer winning an epic match; no blithering about Palin quitting in mid-stream. Nothing.

Sigh, maybe the dog wants to go for another walk...

Sometimes cooking is like my brain: bereft of creative ideas. The easiest solution is to take something "normal" and add a different twist. That is the easy part - start fire, put meat on fire, turn over, eat. The twist, not so easy. Well, I scoured my cookbooks and print outs and found Cider Adobo. It fits today's conundrum of trying to make pate out of chopped liver. This sauce gives grilled meats a nice sweet-sour bite. Enjoy...

Cider Adobo
from Cowboy In The Kitchen by Grady Spears & Robb Walsh

3/4 cup red wine
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup honey
2 TBSP packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon peeled & minced fresh ginger
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Place all the ingredients in a large heavy pan and stir well to combine.

Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Pay attention, this sauce has a desire to boil over!

When boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook the adobo uncovered until it reduces by half; this will take approximately 20 - 25 minutes.

The sauce should have a syrupy consistency.

Serve with grilled meats, especially game (quail, duck, pheasant), pork and chicken.

Refrigerated, the adobo will keep for about 5 - 7 days.

See nothing to it. You can barely call it cooking - put stuff in pot, boil, don't let it boil over, reduce, cool eat. But in the end you've added another taste weapon to your arsenal.

OK crablings, time to go. Until next time, remember you can do it, you can cook.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Chilled Beet Soup

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."

Growing up my father worked on a steam locomotive, helping his father, the engineer. He often traveled with his father, and on February 13th, 1945 they pulled into Dresden Germany. His father was killed in the first night's bombing, and if not for a passing soldier, my father would have died, burned, at 14.

His home country, Lithuania, first overrun by the Nazis and now occupied by Stalin, held nothing for him. So he made his way to a refugee camp where he finagled a job as a food server. He knew that being close to the food meant you would eat.

Every day a 7-year old orphan came through the line and, for whatever reason, my father gave him an extra scoop of food. The orphan said, "Thank you, I'll remember this". One day the orphan didn't show up for dinner and my father went to find out what was going on. He learned that the boy had left for America, he'd been "sponsored", bought for adoption really, by a widowed English teacher from Framingham Massachusetts.

A year passed and my father was approaching his 16th birthday. At the time, 16 year old males were offered automatic Australian citizenship if they agreed to immediately join the military. My father wanted out of the refugee camp and he wanted to be a citizen somewhere. He had the forms ready when he was called to the Red Cross tent.

"Would you like to go to America?"

My father, recognizing Fate tapping him on the shoulder, said "Yes!"

The ocean crossing was rough, but he made it with the clothes on his back and nothing more. The ship docked in Boston on his 16th birthday. Disembarking, he saw a small crowd at the end of the gangway, a few people, a reporter, a photographer, and in the middle of the group, a now 9-year old boy.

"See, I told you I'd remember."

True story.

It's Fourth of July and the Statue of Liberty is back in business. America is a country of immigrants and visitors. I can't think of a better time to post a recipe from the "old country". This is Boonsta's version of chilled beet soup. Now I know this recipe is going to be controversial. This is NOT borscht! This is a cool, refreshing, slightly tart summer soup, perfect for a hot night. Enjoy...

Chilled Beet Soup
by Boonsta
serves about 6

1 pound beets
1 cup half & half
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 TBSP fresh dill, chopped
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 pickling cucumber, thinly sliced
salt & pepper to taste

2 sliced hard boiled eggs for serving

Wash the unpeeled beets to remove any dirt. Place the beets in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender (a sharp knife should easily pierce the flesh), depending on the size of the beets, this could take 20 to 40 minutes.

Drain, allow to cool slightly, then peel. The tough outer skin should slide off easily.

When the beets are cold, grate them on a box grater or in your food processor. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the half & half, buttermilk, water and sour cream. Mix well to combine.

Stir in the beets, sliced cucumber, dill and diced onion. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

When cold, ladle into serving bowls and garnish with slices of hard boiled egg.

Peasant food, simple and flavorful. For a smoother texture, add the beets and onion to the liquid and use a stick blender to puree the soup. Then add the cukes, dill and eggs.

OK crablings, I'm off to sit in a lounge chair and watch some fireworks. Until next time, remember, you can do it you can cook.