Noe Valley Voice November 2007

The Voice Mails In Its Recipes

When it comes to e-mail chain letters, we mostly hit delete with a twinge of guilt and annoyance towards the sender--particularly if it's a good friend or relative--for having put us in the position of killing the chain, thus thwarting hundreds of chain-mail junkies' chances at happiness, riches, socks, etc. Recently, however, an e-mail chain letter calling for recipes passed through the inboxes of several Noe Valley Voice staffers, reminding us that the Season of Overeating is upon us yet again. After sending around our own in-house recipe chain letter, the Voice staff collected a real melting potluck of ideas. We're counting on this mix of recipes to breathe some life into our Thanksgiving or other feasts this year. You are welcome to borrow them. Happy Turkey Day.

Pamela's Turkey Stuffing Recipe

Contributed by Pamela Gerard

I was a student at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1973 and trying to impress my then boyfriend (now husband) Michael with my cooking. I had to call my mom for directions on "how to cook a turkey" and get her stuffing recipe. In the following years I updated the recipe. The most successful change is the one I made from "a bag of stuffing mix" from the supermarket (Mom) to "an Acme Herb Slab"--and adding a splash of brandy. The Acme bread is what makes this so delicious--you don't need to add any extra seasonings because they are already in the bread.

1 Acme Herb Slab (I always get mine at Church Produce)
4 stalks fresh celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 can of sliced water chestnuts (for a nice crunch)
4 tablespoons butter
Some water or chicken broth

Two days before you make the stuffing, buy the Acme Herb Slab and cut it into small cubes. Spread it out on two jellyroll pans and let it dry out completely and become hard. I put mine in my gas oven with the pilot light overnight, and that does the trick. Store it in a zip-lock bag till you use it.

Put the bread cubes in a large bowl and cut up about four tablespoons of butter in the bread. Sauté the onion and celery in olive oil and add to bowl. Sauté mushrooms in the remaining oil and add to the bowl with bread, celery, and onions. Drain and rinse the water chestnuts and add. Add some water or chicken broth to moisten the bread cubes to the consistency you want. Add a splash of brandy (if you want).

Spray a 9x12 pan with cooking spray and spread stuffing out evenly. At this point, it can sit out till you are ready to bake it. Bake at 350 degrees till lightly crisp, about 45 minutes to an hour. If you've cooked a turkey, baste the stuffing with some turkey drippings for added flavor.

Our preferred method is cooking the stuffing separately from the turkey, but you can also stuff the turkey--or hedge your bets and do both. This makes plenty for six to eight people. Or for four--with enough left over for hot turkey sandwiches the next day.

Heidi's Green Beans Vinaigrette

Contributed by Heidi Anderson

I had the good fortune to grow up in a Weight Watchers household. At some point when I was young, my mom attended the meetings and lost her baby weight. More importantly, I absorbed healthy habits as I learned to cook at her elbow. So I tend to cook low-calorie and high-flavor without thinking too much about it. Because of that, Thanksgiving dinner has always been for me a bit wondrous: so many high-calorie dishes, all at once! Nowadays when I visit a friend's house for the feast, I bring something that feels like home and makes me feel a little less guilty for partaking in the sweet potato pie (hey, are those marshmallows on top? Isn't that like, illegal? Pass me another piece).

1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil

Drop the beans into a saucepan of rapidly boiling water, bring the water back to a boil, and simmer until they are cooked but still firm (about 5 minutes). Drain the beans in a colander and set them aside to cool slightly. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, some salt to taste if you prefer, and the mustard. Once the mixture is smooth, slowly whisk in the olive oil. Arrange the beans in a shallow serving dish and pour the dressing over them. Serve at once. Yield: 4 servings.

Olivia's Low-Fat Pumpkin Cream-Cheese Cupcakes

Contributed by Olivia Boler

I love black-bottom cupcakes, and several years ago, discovered their seasonal cousin, the pumpkin cream-cheese cupcake, at a variety of cafes, but I think the first one was at the Double Rainbow in West Portal. After some tinkering, I came up with this low-fat version, which is yummy for breakfast, dessert, or snack-time, especially with a glass of milk.

For the cream-cheese filling:
6 oz. Neufchatel or fat-free cream cheese
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
For the cupcake batter:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup egg substitute
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a bowl at medium speed. Add egg, sugar, and pinch of salt. Beat until well blended.

In a large bowl, mix cupcake ingredients together until well blended. Spoon into a muffin pan lined with paper cups, filling each 2/3 full. Swirl a large teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture into the center of the cupcake batter.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Makes 24 to 36 cupcakes.

Jennifer's Broccoli Salad

Contributed by Jennifer O. Viereck

This is my favorite potluck salad and always gets raves. It's colorful, tasty, seems exotic, but takes 10 minutes to prepare.

1 head of fresh broccoli with stem, chopped
1 purple onion, chopped
1 cup peanuts
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup cole slaw dressing (1 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup honey or sugar, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar)

Mix together, chill at least one hour, go to potluck, accept compliments.

Clara's Baked Apple Slices

Contributed by Sally Smith

I first tasted these baked apples when I was offered some while I was visiting my mom and dad in Virginia. A friend of the family had brought over the dish, still warm from the oven, as comfort food for my mother, who was recuperating from an illness. Oh my, I said, those are the best apples I've ever tasted. When I pried the ingredients out of Clara, who is 89, she acted as if it was nothing special and everybody knew out to make baked apples, didn't they? The recipe is simple, but I had to make it several times before I got the hang of it--sort of. Clara has the touch, and nobody else's baked apples can come close.

2 large apples (Golden Delicious, Fuji)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, core, and slice apples in crescent shapes that are about a half-inch thick. Put apples in a lightly oiled baking pan or casserole dish. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and sprinkle mixture over the apples. Add water and lemon juice. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, basting halfway through. Apple slices should be soft but still keep their shape. Serves 2 or 3. (The recipe can easily be doubled to yield four to six servings.)

Lemon Linguini with Mussels, Clams, and Shrimp

Contributed by Doug Konecky

This recipe is the perfect antidote to Thanksgiving bloat, and as an added bonus, you can find a lot of the ingredients in Noe Valley's local shops. Get the clams, mussels, and shrimp from Sun Fat on Mission Street, and the lemon linguini from PastaGina on Diamond Street.

12 Manila clams
12 black mussels
12 size 20-24 shrimp (1/2 lb.)
12 oz. lemon linguini
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup pinot grigio or other dry white wine (tip: cook with the wine you're going to drink with dinner)
1 teaspoon hot chile flakes

1 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Purge clams and mussels by soaking them for 10 minutes in fresh water, but don't do this more than half an hour before you cook them because the fresh water will kill them.

Cook the pasta.

Meanwhile, saute the garlic in the oil, add the pepper flakes, stir a few seconds, then toss in the clams, shrimp, and wine. Cover pan and cook two minutes, then stir the shrimp, add mussels, and recover pan. In three minutes, uncover pan and check shellfish. Clams and mussels should be open. Throw away any that aren't.

When mussels turn white or orange and open, they're done. Whenever they're done, the clams are done. When shrimp turn orange, they're done.

Pour cooked pasta into shellfish pan and stir for three minutes or so, so starch from pasta can thicken sauce.

Put in bowl in middle of table and enjoy. Drink the rest of the wine.

Vaguely Asian Cabbage Salad (Serves 6)

Contributed by John Hohulin

Vaguely Asian Cabbage Salad is always a hit at our house--great for work potlucks, too. It's easy with a capital E, takes about 15 minutes. The recipe says it serves six--but not if I get it passed to me first.

For the salad:
1 package "Oriental Flavor" Top Ramen noodles (reserve the flavor packet)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds (toasted is nice, but not essential)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 16-ounce package of already-chopped-and-bagged cabbage slaw
1 or 2 shredded carrots, depending on if you like carrots or love carrots.
For the dressing:
Flavor packet from Top Ramen noodles (see above)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (seasoned is nice, but not essential)
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Break up noodles into shreds and put them into an 8-inch square pan with the almonds and sesame seeds, and oil. Give a couple of stirs, bake for 10 minutes or until browned. Toss with cabbage and carrots in a large salad bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Toss together with the salad and enjoy.

Betsy's Macaroni Cauliflower Casserole

Contributed by Betsy Bannerman

This hot casserole reminds me of fall back East.

8 ounces macaroni
1 small cauliflower head cut into florets
1-1/4 cups grated cheese (cheddar, Jack, mozzarella, almost any kind)
Mustard powder (to taste)
Dried sage (to taste)
Salt and pepper
3 eggs beaten

Following the package directions, cook the macaroni for about five minutes in boiling water. Add the cauliflower florets and cook another 3 minutes. Drain.

Mix together the cheese, mustard powder, sage, a little salt and pepper, and beaten eggs. Add to macaroni/cauliflower and mix well. Place the mixture in a greased dish and bake in 375-degree oven for about 25 minutes or until set. Serves 4 to 5 people.

Hello Dollies

Contributed by Sally Smith

To counteract the healthfulness of Heidi's green bean recipe above, I'm also offering this extremely tasty Hello Dolly bars recipe, a classic from the '50s.


1 stick of butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (1/2 cup more for 9x13 pan)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips (very optional -- add more chocolate chips)
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the stick of butter in a 9x9 (or larger) baking pan. Sprinkle over it in layers: graham crackers, chips, coconut, and nuts. Drizzle condensed milk over all. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until slightly browned on top. Cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares.

Florence's Swedish Meatballs

Contributed by Florence and Leo Holub

This recipe came from one of Florence's aunts, descendants of Swedish stock who emigrated across the Baltic Sea in 1637, thus becoming Swede-Finns. They journeyed to America in the 1880s, first to Montana and Idaho, where Florence was born, and then on to San Francisco in 1925.

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 egg
2 slices bread
1/2 cup milk
1 onion chopped
3 ounces butter
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups water
1 tin evaporated milk
Garlic powder
Dash Tabasco sauce

Mix egg and milk in a bowl. Crumble bread into it, letting it soak until thoroughly broken up. Fry onions in a little butter. Add to mixture, together with beef, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Form into balls about one inch in diameter. Heat butter and fry meat. Place them in a saucepan. Stir flour into the remaining butter, working it into a smooth paste. Heat water and add gradually, stirring. Stir in canned milk and seasonings. Pour over meatballs and simmer together for 15 minutes. Correct seasoning. Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes and Swedish cranberries (a.k.a. lingonberries), or as a buffet dish hot or cold.

Cool Cole

Contributed by Jeff Kaliss

When in doubt about your kids getting their vegetables, administer this coleslaw to fussy children and observe the spreading smiles.

1/2 head red cabbage
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/2 cup strawberry Gatorade

Finely chop the half head of red cabbage. Mix it in large bowl with the rest of the ingredients and serve.

Upside Down Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Contributed by Karyn Healy

This recipe was part of last year's Internet chain letter! Sorry, I don't know the author. It was the hit of my holiday party.

1/2 can (1-3/4 cups) pumpkin
1/2 of a 12 oz. can evaporated milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 of a yellow cake mix with pudding (1-3/4 cups)
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, melted
Whipped cream and caramel sauce, if desired

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Line pan with parchment paper. Pour filling into paper. Sprinkle cake mix on top, and then the pecans. Drizzle butter over all.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the top is deeply browned and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool; refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

To serve, turn upside down onto platter and remove pie pan. Top the dish with whipped cream. Or, make a caramel sauce, consisting of 1 stick of butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Heat three ingredients on stove, stirring constantly, until sauce is well blended. Drizzle on top.

Serves 8.