Friday, August 29, 2014


THIS is the "smattering" chapter meaning, according to one dictionary definition, "A little bit or a few."

So there's chat about chicken, mentions of meat, and very small talk about fish.

Probably anyone who has ever stood at a stove or read a recipe has a chicken preparation preference. The fowl of many faces lends itself to innumerable methods, but I'm including only a chosen few. All simply delicious and deliciously simple.

The sweet n' sour Sullivan version came from a young man and former associates who claimed it played a prominent part in his courtship of the girl he married.

A transplanted Nebraskan, Betty, first tole me about "chicken fried steak" a baffling name for there's nary a hint of chicken here. It's another way with cube steak and what a delicious difference.

In all candor, I'd rather eat fish out than in, but in restaurant or home, only it's straight from the lake, sea or stream, whichever habitat applies. Occasionally, I'll succumb to an at-home yearning for the two recipes you'll come to later. Or I might make a seafood newburg or creamed finnan haddie, neither of which you'll find here as they lay no claim to being at all uncommon.

But back to the mention of eating fish out which, with the exception of lobster or shrimp, I order only in a seafood restaurant. Which brings to mind a very favorite aunt who invariably ordered fish in a steak restaurant, chicken in a seafood restaurant and never, but never selected the specialty of any restaurant or any kindred entree either! And there's a friend who once sat studying an elaborate menu featuring French cuisine and was heard to murmur, "Oh, what I'd give for a dish of chili."

And speaking of eating out, don't you find that the old-fashioned dining at your favorite restaurant, patronizing a fast-food emporium, lunch at your golf or tennis club, or substituting brunch for the former hearty meal and opting for a snack supper? It seems this is more the Sunday style today.

One of our favorite brunch offering, by the way, for either family or guests, doesn't really need a recipe. My folks called scrambled eggs and potatoes and then I ran across in some forgotten magazine where it was described as a German breakfast. it's so simple . . .so good!

Just fry some bacon until crisp, remove from the skillet and reserve only enough fat to saute some diced onion and green pepper. When they're almost done, added cubed cold, cooked potatoes and fry until heated through and golden. Now add some beaten eggs (slathered, peppered and Tabascoed) and gently scramble the whole thing. Crumble the reserve crisp bacon over the top and serve to hungry brunchers. They'll devour this so be sure and make enough.

The rest of the menu is up to you, but as I said before, those sauteed cherry tomatoes are a great go-along .

Let's get along with this smattering chapter.


Son J enjoys cooking and has since I, for no imaginable reason, gave this macho little boy a Betty Crocker cooking set. Maybe it was because on rainy days he was always in the kitchen watching, asking and eating.

Once he ran his finger into the pea sheller which provided some excitement, not to mention considerable pain before it was extracted. There's no problem selecting gifts for this adult son: a deluxe cutting board, a Svensk knife, gourmet coffee and accompanying pots, pans, gadgets, soup tureen for his super onion soup and on and on. He originated his sherried chicken for another bachelor friend and their dates with such success that it became a company dish standby,

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken cut into chunks.

Brown in butter and season with celery salt, freshly ground pepper and seasoned salt.

Cook over low flame until tender to the fork and add one cup sherry. simmer until wine has evaporated.

 Cover with slices of shredded mozzarella and run under the broiler to melt the cheese.

J serves this to much acclaim with either wild rice or rice pilaf and whatever vegetable suits his fancy, or possibly a salad replacing the legume.

I, who am not really enamored of chicken, like all the chicken recipes herein and couldn't choose a favorite among the three.


Tom was a much younger associate I mentioned in another chapter and we had many laughs in his bachelor days. My granddaughter, Llara, was mad about him and his way with Winnie-the-Pooh, which he read to her often. They also had a standing joke about going to Maine, the origin of which escaped me. I call this elegant eating!
  • 1 medium-sized jar of apricot preserves
  • 1 bottle of WISH BONE Russian dressing
  • Chicken parts ( I like small drumsticks, but Tom prefers quarters. Make your own choice)
I'd buy a dozen or so small drumsticks. Tom would quarter a fair-sized chicken, whatever you want enough chicken to serve four.

Mix the apricot preserves and the Russian dressing in a large bowl.

Immerse the chicken parts to assure they are well covered.

Place in a lightly greased baking pan and bake in a preheated (325°) oven for 80 to 90 minutes or until tender to the fork.


I never met the lady who introduced this recipe to a former newspaper associate but was told she was from Chile, was in international banking, had two sons and an exquisite way with anything she touched. The aroma of this dish in the cooking process is tantalizing!  
  • 1 can (1 lb. 13 oz.) cling peaches halves
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tbsp instant minced onion
  • 2 tbsp. wine vinegar
  • Half a chicken per person
Drain peaches saving 1/4 cup syrup.

Melt butter in sauce pan.

Add curry and simmer 5 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Stir in onions, vinegar and reserve syrup.

Baste chicken halves with sauce. Put  peach halves with with sauce aside.

Place chicken in broiler pan lined with aluminum wrap.

Bake in 400° oven 1 hour basting and turning ever 15 minutes.

Add peach halves, baste with sauce and bake 10 minutes longer.

Serves four.



Pork, it seems to me, is rib-sticking meat, the kind you need to sustain New Englanders besieged by frosty
autumns and frigid winters. Applies to any cold parts of the country, of course. This is so easy and so good.
  • 2 packages (about 3 lbs) of fairly thick pork tenderloin cut into 1 +72 inch cubes.
  • 1 pint light cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Season tenderloin and fry slowly but thoroughly over low flame in a lightly greased large skillet.

Drain most of the accumulated fat and add the cream.

Cook over low heat, covered for another 35-45 minutes.

You'll find a delicious gravy and toothsome tenderloins.

How about baked potatoes, buttered broccoli and apple sauce with this?


It was a blue Monday, rainy, cold, totally dismal, and I arrived home tired and chilled from a difficult day.

Hardly had closed the door when there was a light knock.

That was my good neighbor Ruth standing there with a plate laden with vittles of heavenly aroma.

"Thought you might enjoy this," said she proffering plate. And a blue Monday turned into a day I still remember with pleasure and gratitude for the thoughtfulness of a gracious lady.

This is particularly great for those among us who live alone and come home to prepare our own dinners. It can be readied the day before, refrigerated and popped into the oven as soon as you get home. Then a delicious dinner is ready in an hour. Not really a recipe, more like directions and Ruth told it this way.

Brown the pork chops (as many as you need). In fact, tailor quantities her to the number being served whether one or several.

Parboil fresh carrots, left whole if small or quartered or halved if larger.

Place carrots in a roaster bag with a jar of small onions, a can of sauerkraut and some small canned Irish potatoes. Put chops on top, seal bag (be sure and punch holes in top) and bake one hour at 350°.

Isn't that simple? And so good.


Betty is my good friend from Nebraska who doesn't particularly enjoy a stint in the kitchen but when she
does turn her hand to the stove the results are always delicious. This way with cubed steak is common in her home area, Betty said, but was totally unknown to me.

After trying and loving it, I saw it on a menu in a Maine restaurant and described as "Ted's (the chef's) original recipe." Bet that would be news to a lot of Nebraskans, who've been enjoying it for decades, probably years and years before Ted first donned his chef's hat.

Betty relayed the recipe this way.

Take four pieces of cubed steak (she insists these be at room temperature) before proceeding as follows.

Beat well two large-sized eggs or three medium.

Roll out 15 or so saltines seasoning with sale and pepper. (You can used prepared crumbs, the Italian type if you wish).

Dip the steaks into the beaten eggs and roll in crumbs.

Fry to your preferred doneness: rare, medium, well.

Betty serves this with mashed potato, a green vegetable and a salad.

It's truly delicious as the crumbs keep the steak juice in and the texture interesting.


This probably could as properly have been in the casserole chapter, but it is such an elegant meat dish, that you're going to find it in "Smatterings" anyway. And it's getting a little different treatment in that ingredients aren't itemized. Instead, we'll go by steps. Whatever . . .it's delectable!

STEP ONE--Melt 1/2 stick butter in a heavy skillet and stir in two pounds boneless veal, cut into one-inch cubes. Brown the veal on all sides.

Stir in 1 finely chopped medium onion, 1 crushed garlic clove and cook until the onion is golden. Season with this 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, a dash of cayenne and transfer to a greased two-quart casserole.

STEP TWO--In the same skillet saute 1 lb. of fresh mushrooms, cleaned and quartered if larger than button size and 1/2 stick of butter. Saute until done, drain and stir the mushrooms into the casserole with the veal mixture. Add 1 cup beef bouillon, two five-ounce cans of water chestnuts, drained and sliced, a dash of nutmeg and 1 bay leaf. Cover the casserole and bake in a moderately hot preheated 375° 1-1 1/2 hours or until the veal is tender.

STEP 3--Now stir in two cups of heavy cream and 1/4 cup chopped parsley and cook the mixture uncovered for another 15 minutes. Add 3/4 cup Cognac and reheat to previous temperature. Isn't that a delicious though for special company?

The family will appreciate it too, of course!


I've mentioned Corbie before. She was with us during my late teen years and we had some hilarious times
despite the difference in ages. She shared the family's shock when I eloped but as these things often go, all was forgiven.

Two years later mother volunteered to take over the care of my grandmother so Corbie could be free to spend a week with when I came home with my first born. Corbie left reluctantly after her seven-day stay, declaring I was the most nervous mother (and not too bright) she'd ever seen in her years and with fervent hopes for the baby's survival. She left behind this easy way for a harried mother to feed a hungry husband.
  • 1 lb. chopped sirloin
  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • Salt, pepper, Tabasco
Saute mushrooms and onions and push to back of a large fry pan.

Crumble chopped mean and fry slowly.

When all the pink has disappeared scramble all the ingredients together. Always had baked potatoes and buttered carrots with this.

By the way, you'll find a much enhanced carrot taste if you cut them in small sticks before steaming preferably, or boiling if you haven't a steamer.


Lillian is a friend of more years that we're going to admit. We were co-workers long ago and even now can conjure up episodes that leave us limp with laughing.

Neither of us has the slightest sense of direction and once went eighty miles out of our way on a trip to visit a mutual friend in Connecticut. Heading south, we suddenly found ourselves north bound and to this date can't imagine how it happened. Neither can the friend we visited.

Lillian doesn't own as cookbook, sort of wings it at the stove and wings it very well. Here is her way with fish.
  • 1 lb. haddock filets
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Tabasco
  • Salt and pepper
  • Seasoned crumb.
Put haddock filets in a lightly greased shallow baking dish.

Coat filets with mayonnaise in which you've added Tabasco.

Top with seasoned crumbs, salt and pepper.

Dot with butter.

Bake in a 350° oven for 10 minutes.

Check to see if the fish is opaque and flakes easily. If not, return to oven but keep a watchful eye.

When fish has attained your desired doneness (we both like fish cooked a trifle longer than some) run under broiler very briefly to acquire a nice light golden color.

Garnish with lemon which you've dusted with paprika and springs of parsley.

Don't you always serve beets with fish? Serve with a potato of your choice, ours is baked.


This doesn't have to be schrod and it doesn't have to have mushrooms. It's delicious just the way it is but it has the advantage of flexibility. If schrod isn't available the day you shop for this ask your fishmonger for a suitable substitute. But do try it -- so elegant. A family favorite and guests ask for the recipe.
  • 2 lbs. schrod filets, divided into serving portions
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. minced onions
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped parsley, fresh or dehydrated
  • Salt and pepper and if desired paprika
  • 6 oz. fresh mushrooms sliced (stems and caps)
  • 2 tbsp. butter or margarine
In a small pan melt butter.

Add lemon juice, minced onion and parsley.

Pour a small amount in a 9x13 inch pan.

Arrange filets in pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Pour remaining butter sauce over the fish, sprinkle with paprika.

Bake in pre-heated 375° for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of filets or until the fish flakes easily.

Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in remaining butter until slightly soft. Serve mushrooms over fish with pan juices.

Serves 5-6.

*Scrod or schrod is  any young cod, haddock or whitefish and is a typical New England name.

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