Baked Cod

Yesterday, I shared my quick, wicked tasty, Spicy Tomato Sauce.

Today, we’re gonna make some baked cod, which really works a treat with the sauce.

It so happens that this Atlantic Cod was frozen from Trader Joe’s, but my foolproof method for fresh tasting, almost sweet cod, or scallops, or swordfish, heck, msot any white seafood comes down to one thing.


Yeppers. I cover the fish, fresh or thawed from frozen, in milk and let it soak for an hour or so before draining and cooking.

Note: for this amount of cod, an eight by eight pan and a quart of milk worked a treat.

•Cod fillets (thawed, if frozen)
•Steak seasoning
•Lemon juice

Arrange your cod in a single layer and pour milk over to cover. Stash in the fridge for at least one hour.

When ready to bake, heat your oven to 350º and brush a baking pan with butter.

Remove the cod from the milk, pat dry, and arrange in a single slayer on the buttered baking pan.

Top with steak seasoning and lemon juice, then bake for 30 minutes, until the cod is cooked through and flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve as you will. That tomato sauce was yummy, but you could always go classic and just serve with additional lemon slices and tartar sauce.

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Spicy Tomato Sauce

So, yeh, I realize that cod is not the first thing that springs to mind when one talks about tomato sauce, but it really does work a treat with this sauce, and…

while I am at it, this zippy little tomato sauce deserves its own claim to fame and a spot in your arsenal of sauces.

Simple to toss together, and pretty stellar in taste, this sauce is good for so much more than just fish. Or pasta for that matter. You can even up the zip factor if you like.

•1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 clove garlic crushed
•1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
•5 tbsp parsley chopped
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•28 oz tomatoes
•1/2 tsp sugar
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tsp dried oregano
•1 tbsp sherry vinegar

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, then add the garlic  and cook,  stirring often, for five minutes.

Stir in the parsley and red pepper flakes and continue to cook, and stir, for another minute or two.

Add the tomatoes, Sherry Peppers Sauce, sugar, Seasoned Salt, black and Aleppo pepper, and the oregano and simmer for five minutes more.

Give the sauce a taste, it’ll be quite nice, but, one tablespoon of sherry vinegar will fill it out very nicely.

Note: the original recipe for this sauce called for using crushed tomatoes, but I normally have fire roasted chopped on hand, and so that is what I used. A little hit with the immersion blender made for a nicely smooth sauce.

Keep warm until needed.

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Best! Roasted Potatoes

This recipe comes to us from Ina Garten, the barefoot contessa herself, so you know it has to be good.

It is also wicked simple.

•Small potatoes – I used one 24 ounce bag of red, but yellow would work as well
•Olive oil – I used garlic infused, but plain works a treat
•Steak seasoning

Heat your oven to 425º and cover the potatoes in a large panwith about one inch of water, add one tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil for ten minutes.

Note: the potatoes will not be done.

Drain the potatoes, return to the pot and give it a good shaking, bouncing the spuds off the sides of the pan and smashing ’em a little bit.

Transfer the potatoes to a baking pan and give ’em a little bit more of a smashing.

Drizzle with the olive oil and steaks seasoning, toss to coat more or less evenly, then bake for 45 minutes.’The slightly smashed skins give you crispity tender, totally tasty potatoes.

Perfect for a feast day, yes?



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Sticky Chicken WIngs

So, yeh…

we could go to one of the seemingly endless chicken places out there, but why?

Tasty chicken wings at home are a snap to toss together, and my default recipe calls for baking in place of frying, so, mebbe a bit more healthy.

Or, at least mebbe not as unhealthy.

But every bit as tasty, such as these…

•2 lb chicken wings
•1/2 cup lower sodium tamari
•3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
•1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
•1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tbsp steak seasoning
•1 tsp dry mustard

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Note: back in the beforetimes, one of my markets carried chicken “drumettes” – just the meaty little end of the wing. Now, I look for trimmed “wings and drummettes” and stash ’em in the freezer when I can find them. Just a thought.

Whisk the tamari, teriyaki sauce, melted butter, brown sugar, Sherry Peppers, and seasonings together and pour over the chicken wings. I do this in a gallon sized zipper bag.

Toss the wings to coat and marinate for one to two hours in the fridge, giving the bag a toss when you think to.

When ready to bake, heat your oven to 375º and line a baking pan with foil.

Note: I used my oven’s “Convection Roast” setting, which adds a little broiler action.

Remove the wings from the marinade (discard the marinade) and arrange in a single layer on the baking pan.

Bake for one hour.

I served ours with roasted teriyaki ramen noodles, which, are actually a thing! Just toss your soaked ramen noodles in a bit of teriyaki sauce, add some sliced onion and celery, and bake for 30 minutes at 375º.

Nice combination!

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Pan Barbecued Pork Chops

I decided to take my latest Fig Balsamic Barbecue Sauce out for a spin with a variation on my Blackberry and Sage Pork Chops, and am pretty pleased with how they turned out.

I like bone in chops, because I think that the bone gives the chops more flavor, but feel free to use boneless if you prefer, or mebbe play around with using chicken thighs or breasts, all of the flavors should work a treat and the method will pretty much stay exactly the same.

•2 thick cut bone-in pork shops
•Steak seasoning
•1 tbsp olive oil

•1/2 cup Fig Balsamic Barbecue Sauce
•1 tbsp butter
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tbsp water
•1/2 tsp dried sage
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/8 tsp salt

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Season both sides of the chops with steake seasoning, then warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add the chops to the hot skillet and cook for five minutes per side, until they are nicely browned.

Remove the chops from the skillet and add butter, waters, Sherry Peppers, and seasonings, scraping to remove any tasty crunchy bits from the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the barbecue sauce and reduuce the heat to low.

Return the chops to the pan, spooning the sauce up and over the top of both chops.

Cover and cook until the sauce has thickened a bit and the chops are cooked to your liking.


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Fig Balsamic BBQ Sauce

When you’ve been making a recipe for close to half a century, things will change.

Sometimes, on purpose, like when I started adding a bit of spicy organic ketchup to the base mix; making for a nice, and slight (I thought) hit of heat. My great great nephew was not impressed, and so his chicken tenders have been languishing with store bought sauce.

This time, I screwed up and was flat out of apple cider vinegar. What to do?

Well, as it happens,  using a three-to-one ratio of white vinegar to fig balsamic worked and absolute treat!

•2 (64 oz) Heinz ketchup
•3 cups brown sugar
•1-1/2 cup white vinegar
•1/2 cup fig balsamic vinegar
•2 tbsp Coleman’s dry mustard
•4 tsp garlic powder
•4 tsp onion powder
•1/4 cup lemon juice
•1 tsp Cayenne pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
•1/2 tsp allspice
•1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce, or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1 tsp steak seasoning
•1 tsp black pepper

Note: for this batch, I also went back to my roots and made the sauce in a large Dutch oven; but, this Dutch oven is my new fave non-stick pan, so cooking over a low flame for a couple of hours, even with the brown sugar and ketchup and stuff made cooking and clean up a breeze.

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a large pot and cook over low to medium heat, stirring often, for 90 minutes to two hours or so, until the sauce is smooth, the color has darkened to this lovely red, and it is thickened.

Note: for ease of getting all that ketchup goodness out of the bottles, I add the ketchup to the pot, then rinse the bottles with the vinegar, recapping and shaking each bottle until any stubborn bits in the corners or bottom are coaxed out and into the pot.

Once the sauce is ready, transfer to sterilized canning jars, attach lids and “two finger tighten” the bands.

Process in a boiling water bath (if your water is a bit hard, as is mine, add a good splash of white vinegar to the water while boiling) for 15 minutes. Remove from the water and cool on a rack.Listen for the lids to “pop” which means they are properly sealed. If some jars do not pop, press down the little cricle in the top. If it stays down, you are good. If it doesn’t, try reprocessing those jars for another 15 minutes.

I ended up with ten, 12 ounce jars, two, 8 ounce jars and just a bit leftover that I cooled and stashed in the fridge.

Fig and sage barbecue pan seared pork chops, coming right up!

A perfect autumnal dinner, if I do say so myself.


I do.



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American Chop Suey

When this showed up in my email, it was called something like “Cafeteria Casserole,” because it was reminiscent of an old school lunch recipe. When I actually started to put it together, I thought it seemed much more like what my friends in New England called American Chop Suey. As a side note, my mom made Chop Suey that was nothing like this,  so this macaroni and cheese version, while most excellent, as it turns out, was a total stranger to me.

Until now.

•8 oz elbow macaroni
•1 tbsp olive oil
•1-1/2 lb meatloaf mix
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1 red bell pepper, chopped
•1 medium onion, chopped
•3/4 cup shredded carrots
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 can green chiles, drained
•2 tsp steak seasoning
•1 tsp ground black pepper
•15 oz tomato sauce
•1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•1 tbsp light brown sugar
•1/2 tsp dry mustard
•1-1/2 cup water
•2 cups shredded cheese
•1-1/3 cup bread crumbs
•Chopped parsley

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Heat your oven to 375º and apply cooking spray to a baking dish.

Cook the macaroni according to package instructions, then drain. I like to let the chiles drain over the pasta, so that any additional flavor from the can liquids transfers to the pasta.

Cook the meatloaf mix over medium heat in a large pan, breaking up the meat into small pieces, until cooked through and most pan liquids have been cooked off.

Drain the meat and wipe out the pan.

Heat the olive oil in the pan and add the onion, red pepper, green chiles, and carrot.

Cook, stirring often for about ten minutes, until the veggies are tender.

Stir in the seasonings, brown sugar, tomato sauce, Sherry Peppers, hot sauce, Worcestershire, water, and the drained meat.

Bring to a boil and let simmer for five minutes, until the sauce is thickened a bit.

Stir in the breadcrumbs and pasta and transfer to your prepared baking dish.

Top evenly with the shredded cheese and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until the casserole is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve topped with the freshly chopped parsley.

This was really tasty, and was kinda evocative of school lunches back in the day.


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Cranberry Dijon Grilled Cheese

Back in the day, my Aunt Buzz made a mean grilled cheese, with a bit of mayonnaise and mebbe some sweet relish added to make things interesting.

I was thinking of her as a prepared to serve my new fave Tomato Soup; and then I thought about those wicked tasty Cranberry Dijon Pigs in Blankets…

Hmmm. A loaf of brioche, some decent Swiss cheese, my fave Dijon, and whole berry cranberry sauce?

Let’s do it!

•Sliced bread
•Swiss cheese
•Dijon mustard
•Whole berry cranberry sauce
•Softened butter

Note: my preference for Dijon mustard is Trader Joe’s. It has a bit of an almost horseradish undertone which I love.

Apply mayonnaise and Dijon to each slice of bread, then top one slice with a slice or two of Swiss cheese.

Spoon some cranberry sauce on top of the cheese, then cover with the other slice of bread. Apply butter to the top of the sammich.

Note: you can use additional mayonnaise in place of the butter.

Place the sammich, buttered side down, in a hot skillet over medium heat.

Butter the top of the sammich in the pan.

Cook until the bottom is as golden brown as you like, then flip the sammich and continue to cook until the other side is golden brown and the cheese is nicely melted.

Remove from the pan and allow to rest for a minute or two before serving.

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Cranberry Dijon Pigs in Blankets

I came across this recipe on the Hillshire Farms website and promptly decided to try it for a weekend gathering.

Loved! It!

The only change I am gonna make the next time I make this will be to run the whole berry cranberry sauce through an immersion blender and then combining it with the Dijon mustard (I’m gonna start on a one to one mixture) and spread that on the crescent roll dough.

•1 pkg Lit’l Smokies® Cocktail Links
•2 cans (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
•3 tbsp Dijon mustard plus extra for dipping if desired
•1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce

Note: I only used one can of crescent roll dough and about one half of the little smokie pack because our gathering was not that large and there were other munchies on offer, along with Detroit Pizza and dessert.

Heat your oven to 375º and line a rimmed baking pan with foil or parchment paper.

Unroll the crescent dough on a parchment lined board and press the seams together to make a flat rectangle.

Cut each rectangle into 12 squares.

The nice folx at H.F. suggested placing a small dot of mustard in the center of each square, but I opted to brush the Dijon evenly over the cut squares.

The next suggestion was to place 1/2 teaspoon of the cranberry sauce in the center of each square.

Obviously, I was a bit more heavy-handed than that, which kinda came back to bit me in the end, but I will defend my decision based on how very tasty they turned out.

Top each square with one sausage, then bring up two sides of the square up and over the top, pinching the edges to seal.

Ass you can see, my enthusiasm for the cranberry sauce made for slightly sloppy rolls, but, these were good friends and family, so I trusted that they would forgive my transgressions in search of more flavor.

Transfer the rolls to the prepared baking sheet and pop into the hot oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the rolls are puffed and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and serve.

The H. F. folx suggest offering addition Dijon as a dipping sauce, but the more I think about it, I believe that my thought of making a cranberry-Dijon sauce for both pre-baking and then using the rest as a dipping sauce.

I believe that this should most certainly be kept in mind for your haolidaze celebrations and feasts.

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Sticky Toffee Date Cake

We had some friends and family over for dinner, and I thought about this cake, which, amazingly, I have not made in like 12 years (!)

Full disclosure: although the cake we enjoyed on Saturday was delicious, I did make a few mistakes in putting it together, so, in the interest of doing full service to this wicked tasty recipe from the barefoot contessa, I have re-edited my images from 2011 and am using them for the purposes of this post.

•10 oz dates, pitted and finely chopped
•1/4 cup bourbon*
•1-1/4 cup water
•1 tsp baking soda
•4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, softened
•3/8 cup sugar
•2 eggs
•1/2 tsp vanilla
•1-1/4 cup flour
•1/2 tsp salt
•1-5/8 tsp baking powder

Toffee Sauce:
•1/4 lb butter (1 sticks)
•1/2 cup brown sugar
•1/4 cup heavy cream
•1 tsp vanilla

*I thought that the bourbon would be a nice addition (and it was), but if you prefer, ship that and just use 1-1/4 cup of water.

Heat your oven to 350º and butter and flour one deep cake pan, or, use my One. One. One. cake pan coating.

Note: I also lined the bottom of my pan with waxed paper.

Place the dates in a small sauce pan with the bourbon (if using) and water, then bring to a boil, stirring to break up the dates.

Bring to a simmer for one minute before removing from the heat and stirring ithe baking soda. The mixture will foam up a bit.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer, then add the eggs, scraping down the bowl.

Whisk the flour together with the salt and then add to the egg and butter mixture along with the vanilla until you have a lumpy dough, again scraping down the bowl.

Add the warm date mixture in two batches, and yes, scrape down the bowl after adding and mixing in each batch. Stir in baking powder, which also will foam up a bit.

Transfer to your prepared baking pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or so, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, combine the toffee sauce ingredients in a medium pot and cook, stirring to combine.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes until nicely thickened.

When the cake is done, remove from the oven and poke little holes all over with a toothpick; this will allow the cake to better absorb the toffee sauce.

Pour the warm toffee sauce over the warm cake, and allow to rest for ten minutes before turning the cake out upside down on a serving platter.

If you’ve used it, remove the waxed paper.


I dusted mine with a bit of confectioners; sugar and let it rest before serving after dinner for dessert with whipped cream.

In 2011, I also offered some Madeleines, but for this dinner I had already made home made dough for a Detroit Style Pizza, and some pretty tasty sausage in pastry bites, so I skipped that bit.

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