Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Naomi Levy’s Guayaba Arabica

Paul | June 1, 2014 in Food,Fun | Comments (0)

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Missed this article in the Globe while I was in Kenya.  Congratulations Naomi!!!

Eastern Standard’s Naomi Levy looked to her family history as well as Bacardi’s to dream up a classic cocktail influenced by the Middle East and Cuba. The result is the Guayaba Arabica.

ounces Bacardi Superior
1 ounce Boiron Guava Puree (a good substitute is Goya Guava Nectar, if you can’t get puree)
¾ ounce coffee-scented simple syrup
¾ ounce lime juice
3 cilantro leaves
1 pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients and shake until properly diluted. Double strain through a tea strainer into a cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated espresso bean (can be done to order with bean and microplane or pre-ground daily and put into a shaker for quicker service).

To make coffee-scented simple syrup: Measure equal parts by volume espresso beans and superfine granulated sugar into an air-tight container. Shake to ensure beans and sugar are well mixed. Let sit 24-48 hours. Using a colander, strain the sugar out of the espresso beans. Add equal parts hot water to the sugar and strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove any bean particles.

Mardi Gras is 4 March. Get baking!

Paul | February 16, 2014 in Family,Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

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King Cake

Source: Paul Harsha



1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
31/2 to 41/2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
1 stick butter cut in slices and softened, plus 2 tablespoons more
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 egg slightly beaten with a tablespoon of milk
1 small plastic baby

Poured Icing

2.5 cups confectioners sugar
2-6 tablespoons milk
juice of one lemon (.25 cup)


1. Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for three minutes, then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for 10 minutes until yeast bubbles up.

2. Combine 31/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt and sift into a large mixing bowl.

3. Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and using a wooden spoon, combine dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to beat 2 minutes or until dough can be formed into a medium soft ball.

4. Place ball of dough on floured surface and knead, gradually adding up to 1 cup more of flour. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.

5. Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and allow dough to rise in a warm place for about 11/2 hours or until it doubles in volume.

6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, lemon, vanilla, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Mix well.

7. Combine sugar and cinnamon, set aside.

8. Coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside. After the first rising, place the dough on a floured surface and punch it down with a heavy blow.

9. Roll the dough out 30 inches long and 10 inches in diameter. Spread the cream cheese filling across the center of the dough, leaving an inch free at the far edge.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mix.

10. Starting at one long edge, roll the dough to form one long cylinder. Bring the two long edges together and seal all sides completely. Place on the buttered baking sheet, seam side down. Shape the dough into a ring.

11. Cover the completed ring with a towel and allow it to rise for 45 minutes or until it doubles in volume.

12. After the second rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the egg and milk wash. With a knife, slash the top of the cake at even intervals.

13. Bake 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and hide the plastic baby in the cake.

14. Poured icing: Combine ingredients until smooth, adding more milk if it’s too thick. Spoon icing over top of cake.

15. Decorating: Immediately sprinkle on colored sugars, alternating between the three colors.

16. Serve in 2”-3” pieces.


  • You can add a layer of raspberry jelly on top of the cream cheese.
  • Microwaved Pilsbury lemon frosting (thinned with milk) also works for a poured frosting.


burger (or whatever) sauces

Paul | July 7, 2013 in Food,Fun | Comments (1)

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My two favorite of the non-BBQ sauces I made for the 4th.  The Fake Shack is amazing, but I think the Harissa Mayo is going to be hanging around.

Fake Shack Sauce

Recipe By: Kenji@Serious Eats
Yield: 3/4 cup


1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pinch cayenne pepper


Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth, scraping down sides of blender with rubber spatula as necessary.


Harissa Mayonnaise

Recipe By: Paul Harsha
Yield: 1/3 cup


1/3 cup mayonaise
2 teaspoons harissa
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon mint leaves, finely chopped (optional)
Lemon zest (optional)


Whisk ingredients together, refrigerate to let flavors blend, serve.

Crayfish Étouffée

Paul | March 3, 2013 in Family,Food,Recipes | Comments (0)

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Adapted from “Cooking with Entergy”
Serving Size: 4


The Entergy original started with 1.5 sticks of butter, had no garlic or tomatoes, and different seasonings.  I made it more like my grandmother’s… but may put the butter back.


1 stick butter
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 pound crayfish, peeled (frozen works fine)


1. Melt butter in a dutch oven.

2. Stir in onions, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté on high until vegetables start to soften — about 10 minutes.

3. Add green onions, parsley, and garlic. Sauté until onions are soft and translucent — about 5 minutes.

4. Add flour and seasonings.  Stir to incorporate. Cook another 1-2 minutes.

5. Add crayfish and tomatoes.  Reduce heat, cover, and cook 10 minutes.

6. Place a mound of rice in the center of each plate and pour étouffée around.  Garnish with additional parsley, if desired.


Turkey Noodle Soup

Paul | December 1, 2012 in Food,Recipes | Comments (0)

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Recipe Adapted from Food Network

Serving Size: 6


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly into rounds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 clove garlic, whole
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
3-4 cups leftover cooked turkey, chopped roughly
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cups turkey stock
12 ounces uncooked wide egg noodles (use half for thinner soup)
2 tablespoons parsely, chopped


1. Heat oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots, garlic, and celery and sauté 4 minutes, until soft.

2. Add turkey, bay leaves, thyme, spices, salt, and black pepper and stir to mix well.

3. Add stock and bring mixture to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer 10 minutes.

5. Return mixture to a boil and add egg noodles. Cook 10 minutes, until egg noodles are just tender.

6. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.


If you have stock left over from Thanksgiving, use that.  If not, use the leftover turkey carcass along.

Put half an onion, a few stalks of celery, some carrots, some garlic, a bay leaf, and several peppercorns in a large pot with two tablespoons of oil.  Heat on high.

Pull any easily removable meat off the carcass and reserve.  Break up the carcass and add to the vegetables.

Cover with 8-10 cups water, bring almost to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer on low for a few hours.

Then toss out the bones and vegetables, degrease the stock, reserve the turkey and start your soup.


Split Pea and Ham Soup

Paul | November 13, 2012 in Food,Fun | Comments (0)

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Recipe By: Paul Harsha (adapted from package)


1 ham bone
1/2 pound ham, chopped (if not enough on bone)
1 lb. dry split peas
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablepsoon butter
2 quarts water
2 bay leaves
1 lb. baby carrots, cut in thirds
1 can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon flour
salt, paprika, and white pepper, to taste


1. Empty package of split peas into a colander or bowl. Sort through well, removing foreign matter and imperfect peas. Rinse well. Soak for two hours in 2 cups water.

2. Cut any remaining ham off the ham bone, reserve.

3. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté minced garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until garlic is golden, but not brown in color. Add ham bone, paprika, split peas, soaking liquid, 2 quarts of water, and bay leaves.

4. Bring to a boil for 1 minute; skim.

5. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour.

6. Remove cover and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Skim again.

7. Remove ham bone and bay leaves. Pick any meat off the ham bone and add to reserve.

8. Process soup using an immersion blender. Add baby carrots.

9. Simmer soup for 30 minutes.

10. Remove one cup of liquid.  Whisk flour with liquid.  Add back to soup.

11. Remove another cup of liquid.  Puree with frozen peas and stir in to soup.

12. Stir in evaporated milk.

13. Remove any fat or gristle from reserved ham. Chop roughly and add to soup.

14. Cook 10 minutes, or until soup is at desired consistency.

15. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chili Watermelon Gin (and Tonic)

Paul | July 5, 2012 in Food,Fun | Comments (0)

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Chili Watermelon Gin (and Tonic)

Recipe By: Paul Harsha
Serving Size: 8


Watermelon Syrup
16 ounces seedless watermelon, cubed
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 serrano chiles, seeded
Pinch of salt
Gin & Tonic
1 ounce watermelon syrup
2 ounces gin
3 ounces tonic (Fever tree) or club soda
Lime slice for garnish


1. Puree watermelon, sugar, chiles, and lime in a blender.

2. Strain watermelon mixture through a sieve

3. Transfer to fridge to chill (at least an hour).  Pour liquid off any solids.  Save liquid, discard solids.

4. Fill a tall glass with ice.  Add Watermelon, then Gin, then Tonic (or club soda) to taste.

5. Garnish with lime slices.

Oscar’s Crayfish Dip

Paul | June 3, 2012 in Family,Food | Comments (2)

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Crayfish Dip

Recipe By: Oscar Levy
Serving Size: 12


3/4 pound Crayfish tails, chopped (frozen works fine)
1 bar Cream cheese, cut in 1″ cubes
Tony’s to taste, at least a teaspoon
1 splash lemon juice
1 dash tabasco


1. Put cream cheese and 2/3 of crayfish in blender.  Blend until smooth and creamy.

2. Blend in seasonings.  Adjust as needed.

3. Pulse in remaining crawfish.  Should be slightly chunky.

4. Serve with crackers and cornichons.


Tony’s is “Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Seasoning”

wow, thanksgiving is here already

Paul | November 23, 2011 in Food | Comments (0)

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Here’s my turkey recipe, such as it is 

Dry Brine

  • 1 TBS/pound Kosher salt
  • 1-2 leaves sage
  • 1 bay leaves
  • lemon zest
Vegetable Stuffing

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 apple
  • 1 medium onion
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 5 sprigs parsley
  • 4 branches fresh rosemary
  • 2 branches fresh sage
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil


  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon paprika


  • 3 carrots, whole
  • 3 stalks celery, whole
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 cups red wine
1.Prepare the turkey. Remove all extra parts; reserve giblets. Cut off wingtips and any excess neck, etc. Loosen up leg joints without tearing skin. Cook the liver and give it to your cats.
2.(optional) Dry brine the turkey. Season turkey inside and out with kosher salt (1 TBS per pound) mixed with finely chopped sage, bay, and lemon zest. Put in large plastic bag and let sit in refrigerator for three days, turning and massaging daily. Remove from bag, reserve juice.
3.Make the stuffing by roughly chopping the lemon, apple, onion, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley and bay leaves into 1/2-inch pieces. Mix with oil. Wrap stuffing in cheesecloth and put in cavity.
4.Mix butter, Worcester Sauce, and paprika. Rub bird all over with the mixture. Put extra butter in the folds between the body and the wings and legs.
5.Truss the bird. Do not tie too tight. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in baking pan.
6.Cook at 325, 15 minutes per pound. Half an hour before turkey should done, open foil. Pour wine over bird. Add stock ingredients and reserved brining juice to baking pan. Put bird in oven and let brown, basting frequently with pan juices.
7.Let turkey rest 20-30 minutes. Remove and discard stuffing.
8.Degrease baking pan. Mash vegetables and strain. Use liquid and giblets for gravy.

know your product

Paul | October 23, 2011 in Food | Comments (0)

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Courtesy Mark Stanvick, here are links to two versions of the USDA specifications for cuts of beef. The first one dates from 1996, and has great pictures. The second one is newer (2010), lost all its pictures sadly but lists some trendy cuts (flat iron, hanger) that apparently cows just recently started growing. Anyways, a good resource for anyone looking for a lesson in what’s in their butcher’s case.