Guaranteed shenanigans for the holidays

This recipe is originally from here.

The trick to this is using ripe, firm, perfect plums. Inspect everyone for bruises and bad spots before using. This recipe will roughly fill one large 1/2 gallon mason jar double or triple.

Slivovitz (Plum Brandy or Schnapps)

  • 2 1/2 pounds perfect plums
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 1-inch pieces lemon peel
  • 4 + cups grain alcohol

Use a sharp  knife to pierce the fruit through to the pit, cutting each plum 3 or 4 times. Pack the fruit into a glass jar(s) and add the sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon peel. If in more than one container try to divide equally. Pour enough grain alcohol to cover the plums, and cap the jar securely. Every day for 2 weeks invert the jar or until sugar has completely dissolved. Place the jar in a closet or other dark space for 90 days. Strain contents through cheesecloth and store in a glass container.

Posted in Italian, Spirits, Things in Jars | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed Shells

Don’t be afraid to really cover them in sauce

This is another example of Italian vegetarian. If you do not have pumpkin, squash or sweet potato will work.

Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed Shells

  • 2 lb pumpkin cleaned, skinned and chopped into small dice
  • 1 lb whole milk ricotta
  • 2 batches bechamel sauce
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup grated romano
  • 1/2 lb grated mozzarella
  • 1 package large pasta shells
  • 1 egg

Toss pumpkin with 2-3 tbsp olive oil and half sage. Season with salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees stirring half way until crispy and slightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cook pasta in boiling slated water until done. In a large bowl mix ricotta, roasted pumpkin, remaining sage, romano and egg. Stuff into shells. In a large baking dish pour half the bechamel and then place shells on top. Drizzle remaining bechamel over shells and bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove cover, top with mozzarella and continue to bake until cheese begins to brown on top. Serve hot.


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Steak with Heirloom Tomato Salad

Make sure the tomatoes taste as good as the steak

This requires ripe yellow, red and green tomatoes. A really good cut of steak is also a good idea.

Steak with Heirloom Sliced Tomato Salad

  • 1/2 lb steak per person
  • Assortment of heirloom tomatoes sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 6-12 basil leaves
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp anise seed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1/4 cup plus much more olive oil
  • Sweet vermouth
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot minced

Rub steaks with salt pepper and olive oil. Marinade in sweet vermouth mixed with beef stock for 4-8 hours. Layer tomatoes with salt, pepper, olive oil and torn basil leaves. Marinade salad for 2 hours before serving. Toast seeds in a dry frying pan until they begin to brown. Remove from heat and grind roughly in a mortar. Mix spice, mustard, shallot and 1/4 cup oil together. Thin with enough vinegar to create a vinaigrette. Let stand 1 hour before serving. Grill steaks to medium rare at most and serve over sliced tomatoes drizzled with vinaigrette.


Posted in Beef, Dinner, Food, Garden, Grilling/Smoking, Italian, Recipes | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Zucchini Cornbread

It is like a cross between zucchini and corn bread

Here is a way to use up some fresh zucchini or summer squash.

Zucchini Corn Bread

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter plus more for pan
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup medium-grind cornmeal

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x5x3″ loaf pan. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until butter solids at bottom of pan turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Scrape butter into a medium bowl. Set aside and let cool. Whisk in eggs and buttermilk. Trim zucchini ends. Thinly slice five 1/8″ rounds from 1 end of zucchini and reserve for garnish. Coarsely grate remaining zucchini Salt and let stand 30 minutes then squeeze as much water out as possible. Add to bowl with butter mixture and stir until well blended. Sift both flours, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. Whisk in cornmeal. Add zucchini mixture; fold just to blend (mixture will be very thick). Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top. Place reserved zucchini slices atop batter down center in a single layer. Bake bread until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 55-65 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Then invert on wire rack and cool completely.




Posted in Food, Garden, Recipes, Sides, vegetarian | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Plum Jam

Still have a few left

What better way to use up a giant bucket of overripe plums.

For how to can and basic jam making go here.

Plum Jam

  • 8 cups plums skin removed from 3/4 cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cloves

Mix fruit and sugar and macerate for 4-8 hours. Add cloves, bring to a boil and cook down to jam consistency. Pour into prepared canning jars and seal.

Posted in Appetizers, Dessert, Food, Garden, Recipes, Things in Jars | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Halibut Fish Tacos with Rhubarb Cucumber Marinade

Green cabbage will work as well

The marinade/sauce for this is a great way to get rid of some rhubarb and tastes fantastic.

Rhubarb Cucumber and Chili Marinade

  • 3 stalks rhubarb chopped roughly
  • 1 medium cucumber chopped roughly
  • 4 shallots
  • 1 large hot green chili or 2 jalapenos
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Greek yogurt

Blend everything but yogurt until smooth adding enough stock to create proper consistency. Measure out 1 cup marinade and mix with enough greek yogurt to create a cream sauce. Can be made a day ahead. Use the remaining marinade on whatever meat desired. Grill over direct heat brushing with marinade.

Posted in Dinner, Food, Grilling/Smoking, Mexican, Recipes, Seafood | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Pit Beef

Has to have brioche

Pit beef is normally found around Baltimore. For the true experience, make the horseradish cream from scratch and cook the tri-tip directly over the coals the whole time. I believe that it should still be slow smoked, keeping the temperature below 140, for 2-3 hours before finishing it over the direct fire.

Pit Beef

  • (2) 4-5 lb tri-tip roasts
  • 5 New Mexico dry red chilis medium size
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp ground Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano

Grind everything together to a powder then rub into meat and let marinade at least 24 hours before cooking. Prepare smoker and smoke over low heat for 2-3 hours then move meat over fire and finish cooking to 140 degrees internal temperature. Let meat stand for 20 minutes then slice very thin and serve with fresh horseradish cream sauce, sliced sweet onions and tomatoes on freshly sliced brioche loaves.

Posted in Beef, Dinner, Food, Grilling/Smoking, Recipes | Tagged , , | 1 Comment