Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Ham follow-on #2: Split Pea and Ham Soup

Paul | December 27, 2015 in Family,Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

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Split Pea and Ham Soup
Servings: 12 | Difficulty: Easy


1 ham bone
1/2 pound ham chopped
1 lb. bag dry split peas
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups, plus 2 quarts water
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 lb. carrots cut into 1/2″ pieces (baby carrots cut in thirds work well)
1 can evaporated milk or 1 cup light cream
1 tablespoon flour
salt and white pepper to taste


Empty package of split peas into a colander or sieve. Sort through, removing foreign matter and imperfect peas. Rinse well.

Soak peas for two hours in 2 cups water. Discard any floaters.

Cut any remaining ham off the ham bone, reserve.

In a large 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.

Bring to a boil for 1 minute; skim.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour. Skim, then stir.

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

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

Process soup using an immersion blender. Add carrots.

Simmer soup for 30 minutes.

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

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

Stir in milk or cream.

Remove any fat or gristle from reserved ham. Chop roughly (to about the same size as the carrots) and add to soup.

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

Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Add additional paprika, if desired.


I hated this soup as a kid, but have learned to love it, especially with paprika.  Adapted from the recipe on a bag of split peas. I can’t even remember the brand.

Ham follow-on #1: Creamy Grits

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

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I’ll leave making ham with red-eye gravy up to the viewer.

Creamy Grits
Servings: 4 | Difficulty: Easy


1 cup grits
4 cups milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon course ground pepper
1 stick butter


Place ingredients in a pot.
Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook partially covered until thick (about 20/30 minutes).
Stir often!!!


From the Colonial Charleston Kitchen “Mixed Grits” bag.
℅ Steve Dowdney
POB 363, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465

A somewhat backwards Xmas Eve dinner

Paul | December 24, 2015 in Family,Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)


Due to last minute popular demand (read my father-in-law), I’m making ham this year.  So all  the sides got changed around as well.  And I’m making the Harsha Family Midwestern Oyster Stew, guaranteed to be delicious even when you’re not near a coast.  I’m near one, but TRADITION!

The rest of the meal is Marion Cunningham’s Ham recipe (no, not the one from Happy Days, this one), Scalloped Potatoes, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Lemon Green Beans. Kinda Easter-y, but so is the weather.

Happy Holidays.


Harsha Family Oyster Stew

Servings: 4 | Difficulty: Easy


8 ounces oysters canned
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 pinch saffron optional
1/2 cup celery sliced very thin
2 cups milk hot
salt and black pepper to taste
paprika to taste
1/4 cup sherry


Put 2 cups cold milk in a saucepan on low.  Add white pepper and saffron.
Stir occasionally while preparing oysters.

In another saucepan, simmer celery in 2 Tbs butter until tender.

Add Worcestershire sauce and oysters, with their juice.

Heat just until oysters begin to curl.

Add hot milk with saffron and white pepper, plus remaining butter.

Bring to simmer, season with Sherry and salt and pepper.

Serve steaming in bowls, garnished with paprika.

Notes: Adapted from Oyster can, per family guidelines.

Happy Boxing Day!!!

Paul | December 26, 2014 in Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

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Seelbach Cocktail

Recipe By: Imbibe Magazine
Serving Size: 1


Named after the Louisville, Kentucky hotel where it was first crafted in 1917, the Seelbach cocktail is a classic mix of bourbon, Cointreau and both Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters.


1 ounce bourbon
1/2 ounce Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Ice cubes

Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer
Glass: flute
Garnish: lemon twist


Stir ingredients briefly over ice, strain into a chilled flute, top with Champagne and garnish


Happy Holidays

Paul | December 24, 2014 in Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (2)

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Tonight’s menu (in addition to Oyster Stew, of course)

Mustard-and-Herb-Butter-Rubbed Prime Rib

Recipe By: Lynne Curry (from Fine Cooking)

Serving Size: 8


A butter, Dijon, rosemary, and thyme crust hugs this juicy roast. The genius “reverse-sear” method lets you roast the meat hours ahead of the final sear, so you can pull the rest of the meal together without worrying about when the meat will be done. Plus, you can do the final sear either in the oven or on the stovetop, depending on what’s going on with the rest of the menu. Finish each slice with a pat of the same savory butter that coats the roast.


4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
6 medium cloves garlic
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 5- to 6-lb. boneless beef rib roast, patted dry
2 tablespoons olive oil, if needed for searing


1. Make the butter

2. Melt the butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Let it foam until it turns light brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the butter into a small heatproof bowl, leaving most of the milk solids in the bottom of the skillet. Refrigerate the butter until solid, about 1 hour.

3. Purée the garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, mustard, Worcestershire, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper with the solidified browned butter in a food processor to make a thick paste. Reserve 1/4 cup of the butter and rub the rest all over the roast. Put the roast fat side up on a rack set in a roasting pan and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.

4. Roast the beef

5. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F. Roast the beef until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F for rare, about 1-1/2 hours, or 115°F for medium rare, about 10 minutes more. Remove the roast from the oven. Let sit, tented loosely with foil, for up to 2 hours (or continue with the recipe).

6. Sear the beef

7. To sear in the oven: Heat the oven to 475°F. Roast until 125°F for rare or 130°F for medium rare, about 10 minutes.

8. Or, to sear on the stove: Heat the oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet until shimmering hot. Sear the beef, turning and pressing down with tongs, until browned all over and cooked to desired temperature, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board. If there was no earlier rest between roasting and searing, let the roast rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice and serve with the reserved mustard butter.



today in ordering off menu

Paul | August 22, 2014 in Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

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“I like poached eggs on an English muffin for breakfast. So simple to make, too. Why can’t you do it?”


Greg Marchand, Paris chef and author of the cookbook Frenchie: New Bistro Cooking

“A poached egg is much healthier than a fried one and much more pleasurable to eat,” says Marchand. “But you must follow a few very important rules.” Use the freshest eggs you can find—“as the egg gets old, the white begins to liquefy”—and make sure they’re at or close to room temperature when they hit the water. “Otherwise, the egg will stay too cold.” Bring a pot of water to a simmer (not a boil) and add a dash of white wine vinegar, but no salt: “It will break the egg,” Marchand says, “but vinegar will help it stay nice and round.” Carefully crack the egg into a small ramekin or bowl, making sure not to break the yolk, “then take a whisk and create a whirlpool before pouring in the egg.” Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes and use a slotted spoon to transfer the egg to a paper towel. Serve on salads, in soups, or with a piece of toast and a drizzle of olive oil. 


July 4th 2014: stuff on sticks

Paul | July 5, 2014 in Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

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Courtesy Hurricane Arthur, it was too wet to grill outside, so we improvised and used my Yakitori grill to make stick based foods: Suya, Yang Rou Chuan, and Eggplant Rollups.  Plus hotdogs (not on sticks), baked Mac and Cheese, Orzo and Shrimp Salad, green salad, and ribs from Redbones. Guests brought watermelon gazpacho (amazing), sangria (also amazing), and potato salad (fabulous).  All in all a wet, but successful 4th.


Suya (Nigerian Beef BBQ)

Recipe By: Funke Koleosho
Serving Size: 8


Suya is an all time Nigerian favourite and it is gaining much popularity internationally, as was quite evident in one recent CNN documentary/report. Suya is so popular, you find a mai suya (suya vendor) on every street corner you turn in major Nigerian towns and cities!

As we all know, quite simply, suya refers to any meat seasoned with the unique blend of traditional Nigerian spices and condiments, collectively called Yaji, and barbecued over hot smoky fire. Even though we are more familiar with the more popular beef suya, nowadays, there is chicken suya, fish suya and even veggie suya!

This unique spice used to make suya, Yaji, literally translates “the hot or temperamental one”. It’s supposed to be a really spicy mix with its main ingredients being chilli powder and ground ginger. The name suya itself is believed to originate from the sound you make when your mouth reacts to the fiery heat that hits you when you eat it….(shuuuuuuu….yaaaahhhhhh).

Now, I really love suya but am not a fan of the overbearing fiery heat of the spiciness (from the chilli powder), which apparently some people really enjoy, especially with super chilled lager (beer)!

Though there are some fantastic mai suya’s out there selling some excellent tasting suya, there are some equally not so good ones…I figured that making my own would be a sure way to get the right taste for me every time. I tell you, it’s so so easy. All you need is a good yaji blend and good cut of meat. Slicing the meat could be daunting but fear not, get your butcher to do it for you and if not, freeze the meat for a while and when its semi-frozen, slice thinly with a very sharp knife….. Give it a try.


1 pound Beef with some streak of fat (the fat will prevent burning when on the grill)
5-6 tablespoons Suya mix – yaji (use more or less depending on chilli content)
2-3 tablespoons Groundnut oil (or any vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon Groundnut paste or peanut butter, (optional)
1 Beef seasoning cube
bamboo skewers

Iceberg lettuce
2 or 3 Salad tomatoes, washed and sliced
1 Red onion, thinly sliced

1. Soak skewers for at least 30 minutes
2. Combine  the suya (yaji) mix and seasoning cubes in a large mixing bowl. Add some groundnut oil (the amount depends on the amount of beef used) and groundnut paste. Mix into a wet paste.
3. Thinly slice beef into sheet-like pieces. Rinse and place pieces and add to mixing bowl. Work spices into the meat and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours.
4. Skewer the beef pieces as you desire. Heat up an iron griddle (you may also use an open barbecue grill), and place the skewered beef.
5. Allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side or until meat is cooked to your preference. Avoid burning by regularly turning.
6. For the perfect presentation, remove the suya from the skewers used to barbecue (I expect some burning to have occurred) and string onto new satay sticks.
7. Serve suya with sliced onions and tomatoes on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce. Enjoy eating it with your preferred cold drink. 


Afro Food “Suya Meat Rub” is available from Amazon and is quite tasty.



Lamb Kebab 羊肉串 (Yang Rou Chuan)

Recipe By: Saveur
Serving Size: 8

1 lb. boneless lamb shoulder
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 white onion, minced
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
kosher salt
bamboo skewers

1. Cut lamb into 3/4 inch pieces.
2. Whisk 2 tbsp chile flakes, 2 tbsp cumin, the oil, Sichuan peppercorns, white pepper, garlic, onions and salt in a bowl.  
3. Add lamb, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
4. Soak skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
5. Heat charcoal grill to high.  Bank coals on one side. 
6. Remove lamb from marinade and thread onto skewers.
7. Sprinkle lamb with remaining cumin, chile flakes, plus salt.
8. Grill lamb on hottest part of the grill, turning as needed, until slightly charred and cooked through 2-3 minutes per side, 10-12 minutes total.



Eggplant Rollups with Chili, Mint and Feta

Recipe By: Paul Harsha (Adapted from Veggie BBQ Ideas)
Yield: 25 rollups
Olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggplants
1 red chili (jalapeño, serrano, or habenero), deseeded
1 bell pepper (yellow or orange), deseeded and cut into chunks
6 oz. feta cheese, cut into cubes or crumbled
1 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
Cocktail sticks (or toothpicks)

1. Put the lemon juice in a food processor and add the chili.  Pulse until finely chopped.
2. Add the bell pepper and pulse until  just chopped.
3. Add the feta and pulse until just blended.  Taste and add more lemon juice, if needed.
4. Add the mint and pulse until incorporated.  You still want to be able to see the mint and bell pepper. The feta should be creamy.  Cover and refrigerate.
5. Cut the eggplant lengthways, discarding the ‘outside’ slices. Each slice should be about 1/4 inch thick.  It’s easiest if you use a mandolin, but a sharp knife will do.
6. Brush olive oil over both sides of the slices Grill on a hot area of the barbecue for around 2 minutes on each side or until lightly colored. A kitchen grill also works well for this.
7. Remove from the barbecue and let cool.  Cut the eggplant into uniform strips ~2-3 inches x 5 inches.
8. Place a spoonful of the feta mix onto each of the eggplant slices. Roll the eggplant around the mixture and push a cocktail stick through to secure it.
9. Place rolls on a clean plate and serve chilled.


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.