Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Frog Legs Calabrian Style

Sauteed frogs legs in a light country style tomato sauce with green beans. This is authentic Italian peasant fare. Brothy and aromatic, rich with garlic and fresh basil. Just open up a bottle of wine and break some bread and fruit cause this one will take you back to the old days in the old country.

We get frogs legs at the Chinese grocery store. They have them live. When you order them they kill and clean them for you so they are very fresh. There are good frozen frogs legs available also at Asian supermarkets. 

If you can get a hold of some frogs legs this is a very easy dish to make as most marinara pasta sauces are.

INGREDIENTS:for 4-6 servings
  • 2 lbs frogs legs
  • 1 lb green beans cleaned and picked and cut to half inch pieces
  • 8 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 stalks of scallions chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped fine
  • 6 fresh tomatoes chopped or 1 28ox can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bayleaf
  •  1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  •  3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • flour for dredging the frogs legs. 
  • 1 lb spaghetti cooked aldente.
  • chopped fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish.

 PROCEDURE: First pat the frogs legs dry and then sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper. put them into a plate full of flour and dredge them slightly.  Take a sauce pan large enough for the ingredients and get it hot over medium heat. Add a little oil and drop the frog legs in. Give them a a turn and then remove them and set them aside on a plate. Add the butter green beans garlic, celery, scallions, herbs and spices.  Let this brown a little and then add the wine. Cook off the alcohol a little and then add the tomatoes. Simmer this sauce until the tomatoes are cooked, about a half hour. Then return the frogs legs to the sauce and cook for another 25 mins. The sauce should be then and on the broth like side. Add water as needed and adjust salt if necessary.

Carefully remove the frogs legs to a plate and put the cooked spaghetti into the sauce and cook briefly. Toss a little then plate. Put the frogs legs on top and drizzle on more sauce.

Frog legs are delicious and I don't think they taste like chicken. I like them a lot and they are a rare treat but I just hate thinking about all of those poor frogs walking around on crutches.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Zemiakove Placky 
(Slovakian/Czech Style Potato Pancakes)

I dont know about anybody else but I love potato pancakes. They are a pretty regular vegetarian meal  around our house. They are also great as a snack, real easy to throw together and they are very satisfying. Potato pancakes are made all different ways. From the mashed potato cakes in the US usually made from leftover mashed potatoes mixed with eggs and flour, fried and served with breakfast to the crispy Jewish style Latkes that are my favorite. I just love the crispy texture that goes together so well with the onions and hint of garlic. Served alongside of some sour cream and apple sauce they are just simple perfection.

Pictured above is the Slovakian version. It is more of a pancake then the Jewish Latke but they are very good. Traditionally in Slovakia these are served with a glass of buttermilk or kefir. It is one of those things my wife has to have. If we are out of butter milk and or kefir I have to run out and get some. It just has to be potato pancakes with a glass of butter milk. HAS to be. It reminds her of the old country. 

INGREDIENTS: for 10 to 12 placky.
  • 3-4 large potatoes 
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic minced fine
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon marjorum
  • salt and pepper
 With a box grater over a mixing bowl. grate the potatoes, but not on the big grater side on the other side. The side with the tiny wholes. The idea is to get it to grate into a coarse mush. Now grate in the onion fine too. Put in the minced garlic, salt, pepper and marjoram and mix well. Then add the egg. Mix again while you add the flour a little at a time. The flour should begin to make the egg and the juice form the potatoes begin to get thick. You don't want it too thick, just enough flour so stuff binds.

Now mix again until the batter is the consistency of thin pancake batter. You dont want them thick like regular pancakes but you some want them as thin as crepes either. Add either milk or flour until you reach a good consistency.

Get a large enough heavy fry pan on a medium high burner good and hot. Oil the bottom of the pan liberally. (remember this rule "hot pan, cold oil, food wont stick") Immediately spoon in the batter and spread it out on the thin side with the back of the soon. Saute until the batter is dry on the top and then flip. Repeat adding a little oil after each batch until all of the batter is used up.  Stack them up on a plate and cover them with a clean towel to keep them warm until you are ready to serve.

To serve garnish with some tomatoes wedges or carrot sticks. If you want to be completely authentic have them with a glass of buttermilk or even a glass of sour raw milk.

(Jewish Style Potato Pancakes)

Slovakian style pancakes are good but I really love the Jewish version called latkes. They are almost the same ingredients wise as the Slovakian version but the texture and flavors are different. Latkes are more crispy like hash browns where the  Zemiakove Placky is soft like a pancake.

INGREDIENTS: For 8-10 Latkes
  • 3-4 large potatoes
  • 1large onion
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic minced fine
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • salt and peppper
  • 1 teaspoons fresh chopped or dried dill (optional)

With this version set the box grater in a mixing bowl and use the side with the large grater holes. You want the largest grating you can get. Grate all of the potato and the onion coarsely. Then add the other ingredients except the flour then mix well. As the juice starts to come out of the grated potatoes add the flour gradually while mixing using the same procedure as above.

Get a big enough frying pan hot over medium high heat. Add a half inch of cooking oil to the pan and get it good and hot, not smoking hot but hot, about 350 degrees. Now spoon in the coarse batter and press with the back of the spoon. Spread it out a little bit. They should be about 1/4 of an inch thick.

Fry until crisp and brown on both sides. I like my latkes crisp and dark so I do them over high heat real fast. If you want yours lighter just turn the heat down around medium and take a little longer to fry them.

Serve them up with some applesauce and sour cream.

Very easy to do and they are awesome. Give them a try!!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Pork Cutlets Breaded With Pretzels. 
Topped With a Dijon Mustard Gravy.

Lets take a step back to the realm of an everyday cook. This is a quick and easy way to add a different snap to cutlets. Everyone will love it. Use a food processor or the like to break up pretzels into a breading or you can put them into a plastic bag and hit them with something. 

INGREDIENTS: for 4 cutlets

  • 4 pork cutlets (sure can use chicken) 
  • 3 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • Salt and Pepper
Lay the cutlets out on a cutting board and sprinkle them on both sides with salt pepper and celery seed. Then hammer them out to the desired thickness with a meat hammer. Set out three plates or bowls big enough to fit the cutlets. Dip them into the flour and coat. Next dip them into the egg, then into the pretzels. Stack them on a plate and set aside.

  • 1 cup chicken stock or bullion
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill or dill seed
  • Salt and Pepper
Place a sauce pan over medium heat and melt the butter and then blend in the flour. Add more butter or flour as necessary to make a roux.  Pour in the stock and whisk to blend in the flour. Add in all of the other ingredients except the sour cream. Whisk together and allow to simmer for 20 mins. while stirring occasionally.Bring it to the desired thickness. You can keep a few tablespoons of roux on the side to add if you need to make it thicker, or you can use a cheat of flour and water mixed to the thickness of pancake batter. Add and whisk in either this or more stock to adjust the thickness. When adding mixed flour and water apply the same sour cream procedure as below. If you add flour directly to the simmering gravy it will make balls of flour that cook fast and make crappy little balls that will never break up.

After it has simmered remove from heat and transfer a ladle full of gravy to a bowl or container and Add the sour cream to the container as well, whisk until well blended. Then add the premixed mixture back to the pot and mix well. Return to the heat and stir till well blended. The reason we do the above procedure is because if you add the cream right to the pot that is simmering the sour cream will separate and curdle. Looks awful.

While the gravy is simmering get a saute pan hot over medium high heat and pour in about 3/4 inch coking oil. Bring the oil to temp and carefully place the cutlets in and fry them on both sides until browned and cooked through.

Quick and easy and the kids will love it!