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Please begin with an informative title:

Happy New Year, GUStriskaidekaphiles!!!  This year will be a positive one if we make it so.  I hope everyone had a happy and safe day and evening yesterday and we are all very happy that GDbot was retrieved from under the house and thawed out.

While I had some black-eyed pea recipes in the GUS: New Year's Eve/Day Noshes post on Sunday, it seems critical to add a few more just to ward off the evil spirits and provide added protection for sidnora in case she is still eating lobster today.

GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us!  We kindly ask that politics be left out.  

    You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts, or access the GUS Library at dKosopedia for a great list of stop-smoking links. Check it out! GUS library.

    A message to ALL quitters. You don't have to avoid GUS if you have a failed quit.  We won't give you a bad time and we consider the failed quits as "practice" for the real quit.

    Quit Keeper widget which is an outstanding aid for those beginning the difficult path to quitting.  It lets you know how long you haven't smoked, how many cigs you haven't smoked, how much money you've saved.

   Quit Smoking Counter    h/tGDbot.  For those of you who have had a problem with Quit Keeper or want a different counter!


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Well, we know who needs special attention today and every day -- citizenx.  What better way than to start off with the hoity toity appetizer served at every Texas gala:

Texas Caviar with Avocado

Black-eyed peas, fresh avocado slices, and tomatoes highlight this spicy, flavor filled dip! Scoop it up by the chipful, and enjoy!"


2 (15.5 ounce) cans black-eyed peas,
drained and rinsed
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped jalapeno peppers
8 fluid ounces Italian dressing *
cayenne pepper to taste
2 avocados - peeled, pitted, and chopped

In a large bowl, mix black-eyed peas, tomatoes, sweet onion, jalapeno peppers, Italian dressing, and cayenne pepper. Stir in the avocados just before serving.

Homemade Champagne (or regular) Vinaigrette:


    1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons dijon Mustard
    1/4 cup champagne or good white vinegar
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons honey
    2 or 3 dashes hot sauce
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, hot sauce, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Alternatively, you can combine all the ingredients in a blender or a food processor and puré until smooth.

Greek Salad with Orzo and Black-eyed Peas


    3/4 cup orzo
    1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
    1 large tomato, diced (1 cup)
    2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
    2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    1/2 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise, cored, and diced (1 cup)
    1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, slivered
    1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
    1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
    2 to 3 cups coarsely chopped romaine
    1/2 pound feta, crumbled (1 cup)
    4 to 8 peperoncini


Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain in a sieve and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain well.

Toss black-eyed peas, tomato, and parsley with vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Marinate, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss together orzo, remaining tablespoon oil, cucumber, olives, onion, lemon zest and juice, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Divide black-eyed-pea mixture (with juices) among jars and layer orzo salad, romaine, and feta on top. Add 1 or 2 peperoncini to each jar.

Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Hot Pepper Sauce


    1 cup dried black-eyed peas, sorted, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
    1/2 medium onion, diced
    1/2 cup raw peanuts
    1 teaspoon minced thyme
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
    1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
    1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
    1 tablespoon cornmeal
    5 cups coconut oil


 • Remove the skins from the beans by adding them to a large bowl, filling the bowl with water, agitating the beans, and fishing out the skins that float to the top with a fine mesh strainer. Rinse beans well.

• In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the beans, onion, peanuts, thyme, cayenne, vinegar, water, and salt and pulse until completely smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

• Preheat the oven to 200° F.

• Remove the batter from the refrigerator, add the bell pepper and cornmeal, and beat with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.

• In a medium-size saucepan over high heat, warm the coconut oil until hot but not smoking, about 5 minutes.

• Lower the oil to medium high, and in batches of 5, spoon the batter into the oil, 1 tablespoon at a time. Fry, stirring around, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. If necessary, adjust the temperature to ensure that the fritters do not cook too quickly.

• Transfer the fritters to a paper towel–lined plate and allow them to drain. Transfer the drained fritters to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm.

• Serve hot with Hot Pepper Sauce .

Ham and Black Eyed Pea Soup with Collard Greens


 Although we call for canned black-eyed peas, you can use frozen peas or cook up a batch of dried ones.


    1 medium onion
    1 garlic clove
    a 4-ounce piece cooked ham
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 pound collard greens
    1 cup chicken broth (8 fluid ounces)
    3 cups water
    a 16-ounce can black-eyed peas (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1 teaspoon cider vinegar


 Chop onion and garlic and cut ham into 1/4-inch dice. In a 3-quart saucepan cook onion, garlic, and ham in oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is pale golden.

While onion mixture is cooking, discard stems and center ribs from collards and finely chop leaves. Add collards, broth, and water to onion mixture and simmer until collards are tender, about 20 minutes.

Rinse and drain black-eyed peas. In a bowl mash half of peas with a fork. Stir mashed and whole peas into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper and stir in vinegar.

Now, don't forget your collards!  You can use most of the recipes with any green leafy veggie like collards, swiss chard, kale, etc.
Garlicky Collard Greens – Brazilian Style


2 pounds collard greens (2 to 3 large bunches)
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash collard greens. Gather bunches of the leaves together and roll them up into a bundle. Thinly slice the bundles crosswise, an easy way to cut the leaves into thin strips.

2. Finely chop the garlic. (or to be really traditional, mash the garlic with the kosher salt with a mortar and pestle).

3. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron works well) over medium heat. Add garlic and salt, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is just golden and fragrant.  Add butter to melt.

4. Add the greens and sauté 3 or 4 minutes until they are bright green in color and starting to soften.

5. Season greens with more salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm.
Optional: Chop 2-3 slices of bacon and sauté with the garlic for an extra treat.

Stuffed Collard Greens


1 large bunch collard greens (about 1 1/2 pounds), stemmed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large red or white onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 1/4 cups medium-grain rice, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 to 3 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup finely chopped mint
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lemon, sliced (optional)


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you carefully stem the collard greens, trying to keep the leaves intact. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the collard leaves, in batches. Blanch for 2 minutes and transfer to the ice water. Drain, gently squeeze out excess water and set aside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large nonstick skillet and add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender but not browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the pine nuts and garlic, stir together and add the drained rinsed rice. Stir for a minute or two, until you hear the rice begin to crackle, then remove from the heat. Toss with the herbs, salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. To gauge how much salt you will need, use the amount that you would use when cooking 1 1/4 cups of rice.

3. Oil a wide, deep lidded sauté pan or saucepan with olive oil. To fill the leaves, place one on your work surface, vein side up and with the stem end facing you. The leaf may have a big space in the middle where you stemmed it; if it does, pull the two sides of the leaf in toward each other and overlap them slightly.  Place about 1 level tablespoon of filling on the bottom center of each leaf. Fold the sides over, then roll up tightly, tucking in the sides as you go. Place in the pan, seam side down, fitting the stuffed leaves in snug layers.

4. Whisk together the lemon juice, remaining oil, and tomato paste with 2 tablespoons water. Season to taste with salt. Pour over the rolls. Add enough water to barely cover the rolls and top with a layer of lemon slices if desired. They will add some bitterness to the dish because of the bitter oils in the lemon skin. Invert a plate over the  rolls to keep them wrapped and in position, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, at which point the leaves will be tender and the rice cooked. Remove from the heat and carefully remove the stuffed leaves from the water to a platter or to plates with a slotted spoon or tongs. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Taste the liquid left in the pot and adjust seasonings. Serve the rolls warm or at room temperature with the liquid from the pot as a sauce.

Yield: 6 servings.

Advance preparation: These keep well for several days in the refrigerator. I enjoyed eating leftovers for lunch all week.

Saag with Collard Greens, Kale and Spinach
Vegetarian and gluten free
Serves 4 as part of a larger Indian dinner
15 minutes active (1 hour total) 


For the spice mixture:
1/4 teaspoon ground asoefetida (hing)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated, use a bit more if not)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1. Place all ingredients in a small bowl.

For the saag:
1 bunch kale
1 bunch collard greens (about 1 pound total kale and collard greens)
10 ounce package frozen spinach (or 1 pound fresh baby spinach, washed)
3 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup yogurt (I used full fat)


1. Strip the coarse stems from their kale and collard greens, chop them roughly, and wash them in three changes of warm water in a large bowl. Drain off the water, add the spinach, and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a very large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the spice mixture and stir until fragrant but not burning, about 1 minute.

3. Add the greens and 1/2 cup water. Toss with tongs, then cover. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook, tossing occasionally, until completely tender and wilted, about 45 minutes, adding a bit more water if needed.

4. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, and allow to cool slightly. Stir in the yogurt. Taste and adjust seasoning. Gently reheat, but don’t bring all the way up toward a simmer or the yogurt may break

Tuscan Roast Turkey Breast


    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
    3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped, plus 5 sprigs for roasting
    2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage, plus 5 sprigs for roasting
    2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
    1 tablespoon fennel seeds, coarsely chopped
    1 dried chile, crumbled
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 turkey breast (about 7 pounds), deboned, trimmed, and butterflied
    Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    8 ounces pancetta or bacon, thinly sliced
    1 cup black seedless grapes (optional)
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought turkey or chicken stock
    Farro, Orange, and Pine Nut Dressing, for serving Farro, Orange, and Pine-Nut Dressing


    Stir 3 tablespoons oil, parsley, coarsely chopped rosemary, chopped sage, zest, fennel seeds, chile, and garlic in a bowl. Rub all over turkey, and season with salt and pepper. Place in a shallow, nonreactive baking pan; cover. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).

    Preheat oven to 375. Let turkey stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Put herb sprigs into pan. Roll up turkey. Cover evenly with pancetta, and tie with kitchen twine; return to pan. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon oil; season with pepper. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest park of the turkey registers 160 degree, about 1 1/2 hours. Add grapes to pan if desired during last 20 minutes. Transfer turkey to a cutting board; let rest 20 minutes.

    Transfer pan juices to a bowl, and reserve for Rich Roasted Potatoes. Heat pan on top of stove over medium heat. Add wine, and cook, stirring, until reduced by half. Stir in stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in finely chopped rosemary, and season with salt and pepper.

    Slice turkey; transfer to a platter. Serve with herbed pan sauce and dressing

Cheesy Mashed Potato Pots


2 pounds red skinned or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, if desired and cut up
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Milk (optional)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup shredded American or cheddar cheese
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a covered large saucepan, cook potatoes in enough boiling water to cover for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Mash with a potato masher or beat with an electric mixer on low speed. Season with the salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. If necessary, add a small amount of milk for desired consistency.

2. Grease four 10- to 12-ounce individual casseroles or custard cups or a 1- to 1-1/2-quart casserole. Spoon potato mixture into prepared casserole(s). In a chilled medium bowl, beat whipping cream with chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl over); fold in cheese. Spoon cheese mixture over potatoes. Place casserole(s) on a baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until lightly browned and heated through. If desired, sprinkle with additional black pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Herbed Leek Tart

1 10 ounce package refrigerated pizza dough
6 medium leeks, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence or dried basil, crushed
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon water
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds, toasted
Fresh summer savory (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degree F. Grease a cookie sheet. Unroll pizza dough onto prepared cookie sheet; press into a 12x9-inch rectangle. Bake in the preheated oven for 7 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook leeks and garlic in hot olive oil about 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in herbes de Provence or basil; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together mustard and water; spread over prebaked crust. Top with leek mixture, cheese, and nuts.

3. Bake about 8 minutes more or until cheese is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Cut into 24 squares. If desired, garnish with fresh savory. Makes 24 squares.

Spinach and Bean Salad


1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup snipped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped red and/or yellow sweet pepper
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup apricot nectar
2 tablespoons salad oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 cups shredded fresh spinach

1. In a medium mixing bowl combine black beans, apricots, sweet pepper, green onion, cilantro, and garlic, In a screw-top jar combine apricot nectar, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger. Cover and shake well. Pour over bean mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
2. To serve, add spinach to black bean mixture, tossing to mix. Season to taste with salt. Makes 4 main-dish salads.

Pork with Cherry and Wild Rice Stuffing


1/3 cup wild rice
1 1/4 cups water
2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries or cranberries
1 3 pound boneless pork top loin roast (single loin)
6 ounces bulk pork sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
Snipped fresh thyme
1 cup water
1/3 cup cold water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Fresh whole tart red cherries, optional
Fresh thyme sprigs, optional


1. Rinse wild rice in a strainer, lifting the rice with your fingers to thoroughly clean, under cold running water about 1 minute; drain. In a small saucepan combine wild rice, 1-1/4 cups water, the rosemary, and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in dried cherries. Set aside.

2. Trim fat from pork. Butterfly the meat by making a lengthwise cut down the center of the meat, cutting to within 1/2 inch of the other side. Spread open. Place knife in the V of the first cut. Cut horizontally to the cut surface and away from the first cut to within 1/2 inch of the other side of the meat. Repeat on opposite side of the V. Spread these sections open. Cover the roast with plastic wrap. Working from center (thicker part) to edges, pound with flat side of a meat mallet until meat is 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. Make sure the meat is a uniform thickness. Remove plastic wrap. Set meat aside.

3. For filling, in a large skillet cook sausage and onion until sausage is browned and onion is tender. Drain fat. Stir in the parsley, 1 teaspoon thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. If necessary, drain the cooked rice mixture to remove liquid. Stir cooked rice mixture into sausage mixture.

4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread the filling over the surface of the butterflied roast. Roll loin into a spiral from a short side. Tie with 100 percent -cotton heavy kitchen string. (Wrap several strands of string crosswise around the meat and tie securely.) Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt, ground black pepper, and snipped fresh thyme. Insert an ovenproof meat thermometer in center of roast. Roast, uncovered, for 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours or until thermometer registers 155 degrees F, covering ends of meat after 45 minutes to prevent rice from drying. Transfer meat to serving platter. Cover loosely with foil; let stand 15 minutes before carving. (The temperature of the roast after standing should be 160 degrees F.)

5. For pan gravy, add 1 cup water to pan, scraping up browned bits. In a small saucepan whisk together the 1/3 cup cold water and the flour. Whisk in pan juices. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

6. Remove string from pork roast; discard. Slice roast; serve with pan gravy. If desired, garnish with tart red cherries and fresh thyme sprigs. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

From the Test Kitchen

Prepare the wild rice and sausage mixture and butterfly the roast the day before. Cover and refrigerate separately up to 24 hours. Stuff the pork and roast as directed.

Cavatelli With Oven-Roasted Eggplant, Tomatoes, Basil, and Ricotta Salata


1 cup freshly made bread crumbs (preferably two-day-old country bread, ground in a food processor)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes
2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 cup chicken stock
1 and 1/2 pounds dried cavatelli or cavatappi
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 ounces ricotta salata


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss bread crumbs, thyme, crushed red pepper, 2 tablespoons of Pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons of oil in a bowl.

Place the cherry tomatoes in a single layer on a baking pan, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and season to taste with salt. Toss until the tomatoes are covered with oil. Sprinkle the seasoned bread crumbs over the tomatoes, and bake in the oven for about 7 minutes or until the tomatoes start to crack and the bread crumbs are crisp and toasted.

Lay the eggplant slices on an oiled baking sheet, and brush with 2 tablespoons of oil and salt to taste. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, turning them once when they're golden on one side.

Remove and set aside. When they're cool, cut into 1-inch cubes.

In the meantime, bring 8 quarts of salted water to a boil. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet, add the garlic, and sauté until golden. Add the chicken stock (be careful: it may splatter), and bring to a vigorous boil; add salt to taste and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

Cook the pasta for 5 to 7 minutes, until al dente. Drain the pasta, add to the skillet, and sauté with the garlic. Add the tomatoes, bread crumbs (do not add the crumbs sticking to the pan if they are burnt or mushy), and eggplant, toss together gently, then quickly stir in the remaining Pecorino Romano and basil.

Serve with freshly grated salted ricotta on top.

Sausage and Lentils


1-1/2 cups lentils
1 pound Cotechino sausage *
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup pancetta, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 cup Traditional Tomato Sauce
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste


Place the lentils in a large saucepan.  Add 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
Pierce the skin of the sausage all over with the tip of a sharp knife.
Place the sausage in the saucepan with the lentils.
Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
Remove the sausage and set it aside to cool.  Drain the lentils and set aside.

When the sausage is cool enough to handle, slit open the skin and remove.
Cut the sausage into 1/2-inch slices.
Cook the sausage slices in a skillet until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes.
Remove the sausage and set aside.

Add the olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
Sauté the pancetta, onion, carrots, and celery in the olive oil until soft, about  6 to 8 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce, lentils, and bay leaf.
Cook over low heat, covered, for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the bay leaf.
Pour the lentils onto a serving platter and arrange the sausages around them.  Serve.

Lentil and Escarole Soup


1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 small carrots, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups diced tomatoes
2-1/4 cups lentils
8 cups chicken or beef stock
1 head escarole, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.

Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes to reduce the liquid.

Add the lentils and stock and bring to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, about 30 minutes.
Add the escarole, salt and pepper to taste, and cook until lentils are tender, 35-45 minutes.

Ladle into individual bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Risotto with Fondue  
(Serves 4 to 6)


8 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup milk, heated to lukewarm
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 bay leaf
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4-1/2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon flour
1 egg yolk, well beaten
Salt and white pepper

Put the cheese in a bowl with the warm milk.

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add the garlic, bay leaf and rice and sauté 3 minutes.

Add the wine and cook until it has evaporated.

In another saucepan heat the broth to a boil.

Begin adding it to the rice a half cup at a time, stirring continually.
It will take about 20 minutes until all of the broth is added and absorbed.

In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, combine the Fontina, milk, and flour.
Stir until the cheese is melted.  Add the egg yolk.  Season with salt and pepper.
Form the rice into a mound on a serving platter.

Make an indentation in the middle and pour the cheese in.

Hot Spinach Red Pepper Dip

1 cup water
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup thawed frozen chopped spinach
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely diced red bell pepper
1. Bring the cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat and add the 1 cup of diced red pepper and the chopped spinach. Bring the water back to a boil, turn the heat down to medium and simmer until the pepper is very soft, about 10 minutes. Drain the spinach and red pepper in a colander, pressing out as much liquid as possible.

2. Combine the cream cheese and milk in the saucepan and cook over medium heat until hot and softened. Stir in the cooked spinach and red peppers, Parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and ground black pepper. Continue to stir until well combined and heated through.

3. Spoon hot dip into a serving dish and serve with the tablespoon of finely diced red bell pepper sprinkled on top for garnish.

Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Thyme


    One 4- to 5-pound beef tenderloin, tied
    Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
    1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs
    Shallot-Brandy Sauce


    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, and brown on all sides.
    Toss mushrooms with remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and thyme sprigs to skillet; place in oven. Cook until beef registers 125 degrees for medium-rare, 18 to 20 minutes. Let stand 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with mushrooms and shallot-brandy sauce. Garnish with thyme.

Standing Rib Roast (Prime Rib)

From the Lobel's Prime Cuts Cookbook -- a world famous butcher in NYC and my former law associate's sister wrote the cookbook.  Best written one of seen in ages.

I'll make this when I win the lottery.  I just sent the recipe to a friend.  His partner bought a roast less than 5 pounds and it was $135!!!  

One 3 rib prime rib roast (about 6 pounds) (ribs removed and tied on end of roast

2-3 garlic cloves, liced

2 tsps dried thyme

2 tsps kosher or coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper

1. About 1 hour before roasting, remove the roast from the refrigerator o it can reach room temperature.
2. About 25 minutes before roasting, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
3. If using the garlic, make slits in the meat with the tip of a small knife,  Insert a garlic slice into each slit.
4. Place the roast in a roasting pan on a roasting rack and sprinkle it with the thyme, salt and pepper.  Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat if you have an old timey oven meat thermometer – otherwise, check with instant read at sensible benchmarks.
5. Roast meat for about 1 hour, or 15 to 18 minutes per pound.  Check the temperature of the meat after 50 to 55 minutes.  For very rare meat, it should register 125 – 130 degrees F.  For medium-rare, roast the meat 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the temperature is 140 degrees F.  For well done meat, leave the meat in until it is 160 F (not advisable for this cut – it will be ruined if well done.)
6. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let it rest for at lea 10 minutes.  Its temperature will rise about 5 degrees during resting.
7. Cut the string that hold the ribs on the roast.  Set the ribs aside.  Carve the meat into slices and serve.  You can use the ribs to enhance the pan gravy.

Sustainable Seafood Recipes from Monteray Bay Aquarium SeaWatch.  First a dish with, what else?  Black-eyed Peas.  This website is a must bookmark for fish lovers and those who want to be educated about sustainable fish.  

Catfish with Black-Eyed Pea Vinaigrette


    (Serves 4)
    2 pounds catfish filets
    1 tablespoon flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

    1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 cups smoked tomato coulis
    (recipe below)
    2 cups black-eyed pea vinaigrette
    (recipe below)

Note: Prepare the tomato sauce and black-eyed pea vinaigrette in advance if you plan to use them.

Cut the catfish into four portions.

Mix the flour, salt, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, fennel and paprika. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the filets.

Place a cast iron skillet over medium heat and let it get hot before adding 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the filets and cook for 4-5 minutes on the first side until the fish has a good rich color. Turn the fish over and cook 3-4 more minutes. Allow plenty of room in the pan for each piece of fish, cooking in batches if necessary.

Serve as is, or spoon warm tomato sauce on a plate, place the catfish on top and cover with the black-eyed pea vinaigrette.

Shrimp Saute with Green Beans, Olives and Marjoram


    (Serves 4)
    1 pound green beans, trimmed
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 large red onion, halved and then sliced
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
    1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
    Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cook the green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water to cool, and drain well.

Heat the oil in a heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for 30 seconds. Mix in the wine and bring to a boil, then add the shrimp and stir for 2 minutes. Add the green beans and olives and stir until the shrimp are just opaque in the center when cut into and the beans are heated, about 2 minutes longer. Mix in the lemon juice and marjoram. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Scallops with Tomatoes, Corn and Paprika on Quick Polenta

    (Serves 2)

Quick Polenta

    1/2 cup polenta or coarse cornmeal
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon paprika
    Freshly ground pepper
    1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese


    12 ounces sea scallops, patted dry
    Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 green onions, sliced
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 cup corn kernels (from 2 medium ears)
    1 cup grape tomatoes or small cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
    1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    1/4 teaspoon paprika
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro



Mix 2 cups water, polenta, oil, salt, paprika and a generous amount of pepper in a medium microwave-proof bowl. Place in the microwave and cook on high for 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly. Return to the microwave and cook on high for 5 more minutes. Stir well. Mix in the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning.


Pat the scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook until brown on the outside but still translucent in the center, about 3 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1/2 of tablespoon oil to the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and cayenne and cook until the onions begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add the corn and tomatoes and stir until the corn is just tender, about 1 1/2 minutes. Mix in the coriander and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Return the scallops to the skillet with any juices on the plate and stir until heated and cooked through (they will feel springy to the touch and will be slightly translucent when cut with a small sharp knife, about 30 seconds).

Spoon the polenta onto 2 warmed plates, spreading in a circle. Spoon the scallops and vegetables over. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Roasted Coho Salmon with Lemon-Herb Breadcrumbs


    (Serves 4)
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided, plus more for the pan
    4, 6-ounce coho salmon fillets
    Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    1 1/2 slices whole-grain or sourdough bread
    1 medium shallot, minced
    2 1/2 tablespoons sliced fresh chives
    1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
    1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest


Preheat the oven to 450°F. Mix the mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl then gradually mix in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Arrange the fish fillets skin-side down on a small baking sheet or platter. Brush the mustard mixture on the fillets then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let marinate while preparing the topping.

Tear the bread into 1-inch pieces and place in a food processor. Grind until fine crumbs form. Transfer 1 cup of the breadcrumbs to another small bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oil, shallot, chives, parsley and lemon zest. Stir to moisten the crumbs and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place another baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes to heat.

Divide the breadcrumb mixture among the fish fillets, pressing onto the top of each. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and brush with oil. Place the salmon on the hot sheet, skin-side down. Roast just until the fish feels firm to the touch and the flesh is opaque in the center when cut into with a small sharp knife, about 10 minutes. Divide the fish among 4 warmed plates and serve.

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