Sunday, May 21, 2017

Our Jungle Red MINI Cookbook

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Last week, when we were discussing meal subscription services (Hello Fresh, Plated, Blue Apron, etc.,) several of us mentioned some of our favorite rotating recipes. (And we all said we want to move in with Hallie! She is the most fabulous cook!)

Some of our lovely readers suggested that we should publish a Jungle Red cookbook. That might be a bit beyond us, with our busy book schedules, but in lieu of that, today we're each going to give you one of our favorite standbys. Bon apetit!

Here's mine: I discovered this recipe a couple of years ago when I treated myself to a Le Creuset cast iron braiser. I was looking for new braising recipes and found THE BRAISER COOKBOOK by Wini Moranville on Kindle. The book only has 22 recipes, and all I've tried have been delicious. But this one is a real standout, because it is so easy and so good. It's become a regular selection on our table.

Salmon on Creamy Cabbage

(serves 4)

2 tablespoons butter (divided use)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 (16-ounce) package coleslaw mix
1 - to 1-1/ 2 pound fresh salmon fillet, skinless, cut into 4 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 shallot, finely chopped (1/ 4 cup)
1/ 4 cup dry vermouth or white wine
1/ 4 cup white wine vinegar
1/ 4 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Snipped fresh chives

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil in a 3-1/ 2-quart braiser over medium heat.
Add the coleslaw mix and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly wilted but still crunchy, about 5 minutes.
Season salmon with salt and pepper.
Place salmon on top of cabbage mixture. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork, checking after 5 minutes of cooking time to make sure cabbage is not browning— lift and stir cabbage around the salmon if needed.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until tender, stirring occasionally. Add vermouth and vinegar; simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream. Simmer to desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm. 3. To serve, spoon cabbage mixture onto plates. Top with salmon fillet and spoon sauce over top. Garnish with chives.

(Leftovers are good if you are only cooking for two.)

HALLIE EPHRON: I've made this a few times it's a keeper. I usually have some frozen shrimp and often a zucchini on hand. The rest of the ingredients are staples. It's a twist on crab cakes.

Zucchini/shrimpcakes with dipping sauce


1 large zucchini
1 egg (might need 2)
Flour (a handful)
Cornstarch (a half handful)
5 or 6 large deveined peeled shrimp, cooked (I boil them for 3 minutes) and chopped into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
Vegetable oil

Cook and chop the shrimp
Grate the zucchini (large holes on the grater)
Place shredded zucchini in a colander and salt liberally, toss to distribute the salt, and let it stand 10 to 15 minutes
Rinse the zucchini (to get rid of salt) while it’s still in the colander and press out excess water
Dump the zucchini into a clean dish towel and wring out as best you can
Scrape the shredded zucchini into a bowl and mix with the chopped shrimp, egg, flour, cornstarch (add a second egg if it isn’t holding together)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in over medium (NOT HIGH) heat in a frying pan
Drop heaping tablespoons of zucchini mixture into skillet and flatten
Cook, turning until golden and crispy on each side
Drain on a paper-towel lined cookie sheet
While you make the next batch let the sheet sit in a warm oven

Serve with soy dipping sauce, approximately equal parts:
Soy sauce
Rice vinegar
… mixed with about 1 tsp sugar
ADJUST proportions to taste

DEBS: Yum!!!! And I have a great go-to salmon cake recipe which I will share another time.

INGRID THOFT:  This is a go-to in our family, and I’m tempted to be embarrassed by its simplicity, except it’s a Mark Bittman recipe from the New York Times.  According to Bittman, the roots of this recipe can be found with Chinese immigrants who live in India, which makes me feel quite worldly as I grab the ketchup from the fridge.  Most importantly, it’s delicious, easy to make, and I always have the ingredients on hand.  FYI – I don’t like spicy so I leave out the cayenne pepper, and it’s still great.

Time: 20 minutes
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, preferably dark meat, in 1/2- to 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup flour, more as needed
4 tablespoons neutral oil, like corn or canola
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons slivered garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 cup ketchup

1. Toss chicken with flour so that it is lightly dusted. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, and turn heat to high. When oil smokes, add chicken in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. When chicken browns on one side, toss it and cook until just about done: smaller pieces will take 5 minutes total, larger pieces about 10. Remove to a plate. Turn off heat and let pan cool for a moment.

3. Add remaining oil to pan and turn heat to medium high. Add garlic and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add ketchup and stir; cook until ketchup bubbles, then darkens slightly. Return chicken to pan and stir to coat with sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

LUCY BURDETTE: I love this recipe, set on a bed of salad greens with any kind of steamed veggies on the side. And a biscuit's the perfect way to use leftover chicken. And it's lower in sodium because the curry makes the flavor pop so you really don't need salt!


One half roasted chicken, skinned, boned
One bunch red grapes, washed and halved
3 Sprigs of dill, washed and chopped
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise, to taste
1 tsp curry powder
2-3 ribs celery, washed and chopped

I use leftovers from my own roast chicken, but if that's not on hand, use purchased roast chicken from the supermarket. Debone the chicken, strip off skin and any chewy bits, break into bite-sized pieces and add to a large bowl. Wash and chop 2-3 sticks of celery. Wash the red grapes, halve them and add to the bowl. Wash dill and snip into the bowl. Toast 1/2 cup pecan pieces and add them.

Mix the mayonnaise with the curry powder and adjust seasoning. Fold this into the chicken mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  These all sound so great! Here's my pasta on a deadline--I always make this on nights when I get home late and still want to come up with a delicious dinner that's quick and easy.  The recipe has just a few ingredients--the key is a little parallel processing to make sure all the elements are ready at the same time.  It's one of those recipes where you think you know what it's going to taste like--but it doesn't! The total of the hot peppers and the garlic and the cheese is more than the sum of the parts!


 (serves 2 to 3)

A box of your favorite pasta (Penne works well, so does farfalle. Small pasta works better than spaghetti or linguini)
Water for cooking pasta

One tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup or a little more olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup or more bread crumbs

1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped smallish

Grated Parmesan cheese  (the best quality you can find)

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Put uncooked pasta in big pot of boiling water

2. Put olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl, and put in the microwave.  (I know you'll wonder if you really need the red pepper flakes--you do!)

3.  When pasta is two minutes from done,  gently cook oil mixture in microwave for one and a half minutes on reheat.

4. At essentially the same time, add the chopped broccoli rabe to the cooking pasta.

5.  Take the oil mixture out of the microwave, and mix in the bread crumbs to make a paste.  The consistency should be more oily than stiff, so add bread crumbs gradually. 

6. When the pasta is done, the broccoli will be done.  Drain the pasta/broccoli and return to hot pan.

7.  Quickly add the oil and breadcrumb mixture and stir to combine.

8. Serve instantly with grated cheese and salt and pepper. (You don't want this to get cold!)

**I've used regular broccoli, and also chopped spinach instead of broccoli rabe--and it still works perfectly. The peppery flavor of the rabe is a nice addition, though. Sometimes I add hot grilled corn kernels at the same time as the oil mixture.

**You can also heat the oil mixture in a sauce pan--the key is, you're just heating the oil to infuse the flavors, not cooking it.

Add a nice side salad and a glass of wine, and you are good to go!


JENN McKINLAY'S Last Minute Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner:  Bacon-Ricotta Frittata


1 package cooked and crumbled bacon
1 bunch diced green onions
8 cups diced kale and/or spinach
12 large eggs
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh, fine grated parmesan cheese (divided into ¾ and ¼ cups)
15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook bacon in skillet until crisp. Transfer bacon to a separate plate. Set aside the bacon drippings by pouring them into a bowl. Return 2 tablespoons of the drippings to the pan and fry the green onions for about four minutes over medium heat.  Add half of the diced up greens and toss for a minute until they begin to wilt. Add the remaining greens and sauté for about ten minutes until they are wilted. Transfer to a plate. Rinse and dry skillet. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, then greens and half of the bacon. Stir in the ricotta but not too much, leave some clumps. Heat one tablespoon of the bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat.  Pour in egg mixture, making sure the greens and bacon are spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining bacon and ¼ cup Parmesan over the eggs. Cook for ten minutes until the edges are set and then transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes. Once the frittata is set, remove it from the oven and loosen it around the edges and carefully transfer it to a platter. Let cool for 30 minutes. Apparently, frittatas are supposed to be just a bit warmer than room temperature. Slice into wedges and enjoy with a nice loaf of bread and a fruit salad.

DEBS:  I'm set now for a couple of weeks! I've bought the shrimp and zucchini for Hallie's recipe. I have chicken fries in the freezer that will be perfect for Ingrid's chicken thighs. Next time I roast a chicken or cave for the supermarket rotisserie, it's Lucy's chicken salad. Hank's pasta with broccoli rabe can fill our Thursday night vegetarian pasta slot.  And I'm drooling over Jenn's frittata
and trying to figure out how to make it for two people instead of four (two of which are Jenn's hungry teenage hooligans...) Make the whole thing and have lots of lunch leftovers, I think.

What about you, READERS? Share your infallible get-through-the-week favorites!


  1. Oh, goodness, every recipe sounds so delicious I don’t know which to try first! Thank you so much for sharing them.

    This apple pie recipe was one of my mom’s favorites so we made it quite often.

    7 medium apples, peeled, cored, sliced
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 tablespoon cinnamon

    Fill a nine-inch pie plate 2/3 full with the apple slices. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

    3/4 cup melted butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup flour
    1 beaten egg
    1-1/2 cups chopped nuts
    pinch of salt

    Pour this mixture over the apples.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the topping is golden.

  2. Since I'm usually only cooking for one, I have become a profound believer in leftovers. I like to cook something large on Sunday, then feast on it all week. Pot roast has become a favorite, but for the seasonings? I improvise. So here goes with my highly unscientific pot roast recipe.

    Get a roast that looks good: 2-3 pounds is about right. I have a really shameful number of Le Creuset cast iron pots in various sizes so I pick the pot that will hold the roast tightly, with still enough room for liquid.

    Into the pot in this order:
    glug of olive oil to keep it all from sticking
    salt, pepper, celery, garlic, onion to taste (I generally used powdered/dried for reasons too arcane to explain)
    1 cup beef stock
    some kind of acidic liquid: vinegar, wine, lemon juice, whatever you have on hand
    Dash or two of Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce, or BBQ sauce, or steak sauce--you're getting the idea)

    At this point the pot should be about half full of liquid.

    Then add whatever else you think might taste good, or that you have on hand to get rid of. I go by smell, mostly, and by what will taste good with whatever acid I've used in the broth. If I have oranges, I slice them thinly and put them on top of the roast. I've thrown in brown sugar, ginger, chili powder, savory, parsley, any of a variety of low or no salt spice blends I want to experiment with . . . The rule is, if it smells good, give it a try.
    Dot a little butter on top. Cover and stick in the oven at 250 degrees for six hours, or one hour per half-pound of meat.
    Forget about it and do other interesting things. About an hour before it's done come back to the kitchen to fix any salad, vegetable, or rice/potato side dishes. Let the meat cook slowly until it's fork tender. Enjoy it as pot roast on Sunday, then pot roast leftovers on Monday; beef tips and rice or noodles on Tuesday; roast beef tacos on Wednesday . . .

  3. These all sound so good! I think I'll try a couple for tonight's dinner.
    We make this quiche when we have leftover brown rice - it makes the best crust, and is healthier, easier, and less fat than a pie crust. And no added salt, Roberta!

    1 cup cooked brown rice
    3 eggs
    1 cup whole milk
    1 cup grated cheese
    1 cup broccoli in bite sized pieces
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    2 slices ham, diced

    Preheat oven to 415.
    Press cooked brown rice into a glass pie pan.
    Lightly saute broccoli in a pan until bright green.
    Beat eggs with milk.
    Lay broccoli in prepared pie pan. Top with ham, cheese, and egg-milk mixture.
    Bake at 415 for fifteen minutes, then turn oven down to 350 and bake another 30-40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Let set for ten minutes before cutting. Great with a green salad and a glass of red wine!

    1. Oh this is brilliant! Love the brown rice crust!

    2. Edith, love this! We have a rice cooker--my favorite and most used appliance--and so I always have leftover brown rice! Definitely trying this. Does the rice crust get crisp?

    3. The edges do, Debs, in the best of ways. And for some reason it never sticks to the pan. This is good, because you can't grease the pan or you'll never be able to press it in (dip your hand or spatula in water if you need to). My sister learned it cooking for 100 Buddhists at a time. ;^)

  4. I love to cook and try out new recipes, so thanks Red for sharing your fave staple recipes. Now that it is finally spring with some hints of summer weather to come, here is my hearty Mediterranean bean salad recipe. t can be a side dish, a lunch or a main and leftovers are great the next day. It is flexible and different vegetables and beans can be substituted.

    Mediterranean Bean and veggie salad

    1 red bell pepper, diced
    1 yellow bell pepper, diced
    1/2 English cucumber, diced
    1/2 red onion, chopped
    1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (can use other beans such as kidney or black beans instead)
    Canned tuna or leftover chicken breast (optional)
    1/4 cup olive oil (good quality)
    juice of 1 lemon (or can use red wine vinegar)
    1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
    1 tsp dried oregano
    Kalamata olives (optional but I love olives)
    Salt and pepper
    Crumbled feta cheese

    Mix veggies and beans together in a large bowl (and protein if using). In a small bowl, whisk olive oil and lemon (vinegar) and pour over veggies and beans. Add parsley, oregano, salt and pepper and crumbled feta cheese and mix.

    Serve either at room temperature or refrigerated.

  5. Thanks ladies--now I think we need a Jungle Red Writers and friends cookbook!

  6. I cook a lot and adore finding new recipes. Thanks, Reds, for all of the ideas. The following is my go to meal, for company or just for the two of us with days of leftovers.

    Do use chicken with skin on. This is an integral part of the dish, and trust me, it doesn't work well otherwise. Organic tastes better but isn't necessary. Given your oven temp is correct, the cooking ties are spot on too. Serve with brown rice or whatever and a green salad.

    PS The odor of this cooking is indescribable, maybe the best part!


    4 chicken legs/thighs or 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
    2 teaspoons kosher salt (Way too much salt)
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (ditto)
    ½ to ¾ cup all-purpose flour
    3 tablespoons olive oil (or less. I find the chicken skin is plenty fat enough.)
    2 tablespoons herbes de Provence (I use fresh tarragon instead, if I have it)
    1 lemon, quartered (More is better, and I slice it, tuck it in and around the meat.)
    8 to 10 cloves garlic, peeled
    4 to 6 medium-size shallots, peeled and halved
    ⅓ cup dry vermouth
    4 sprigs of thyme, for serving (Or whatever garnish is lying in that compost heap in the vegetable drawer)

    Heat oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a shallow pan, and lightly dredge the chicken in it, shaking the pieces to remove excess flour.
    Swirl the oil in a large roasting pan ( I use a 9 x 12 glass cake pan, but oh well), and place the floured chicken in it. Season the chicken with the herbes de Provence. Arrange the lemon, garlic cloves and shallots around (and beside and under) the chicken, then add the vermouth to the pan.
    Put the pan in the oven (duh), and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, then baste it with the pan juices. Continue roasting for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is very crisp and the meat cooked through.
    Serve in the pan or on a warmed platter, garnished with the thyme.

    Bon appetit

    Ann in Rochester, who adores you all

    1. Ann, this sound divine. I can almost smell it:-)

    2. If we don't all move in with Hallie, maybe we should move in with Ann and Julie!

    3. All you have to do is show up. Showing up with your ARC moves you to the head of the line.

  7. Are we allowed two? Julie made this yesterday, and it is definitely a keeper for the summer watermelon season


    6 cups cubed watermelon
    1/4 cup sliced red onion
    1 lb bacon (we used about 3 strips)
    1/3 coup sesame seeds of sliced almonds (we had neither so used glazed walnuts)
    2 TBSP fresh mint
    2-3 TBSP fresh basil
    1 TBSP olive oil
    1 TSP sea salt (taste the feta first for salt, then reduce of leave out, to taste)
    1/3 cup high quality feta

    Balsamic glaze:
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    2 tsp maple syrup

    To make glaze, heat vinegar and syrup, reduce by half, reserve
    Bake or fry bacon
    Combine watermelon, onion, basil and mint. Toss with olive oil and salt if using.
    Add crumbled bacon and feta and toss
    Drizzle with balsamic glaze.


    Ann again

  8. Another bean salad, this one created for my vegetarian (ish) daughter when she was in college:

    Four Bean Salad

    Three cans of any kind of beans, rinsed and drained. Try to combine colors and shapes: black, pinto, navy, cannelini, kidney

    Half a bag of frozen, shelled edamame

    Italian salad dressing (you can also use olive oil, herbs, and a little vinegar)

    Big handful of chopped parsley. I usually use most of a bunch, minus the stems, and I prefer curly parsley for this dish.

    Salt and pepper to taste (I like lots of freshly ground pepper)

    Using some of the salad dressing as the liquid, prepare the edamame in a big bowl in the microwave. Add the drained beans, parsley, and seasonings. Toss together.

    I've also used this as a vegetarian main dish, over rice. When I make it this way I don't drain the beans, so they are a little soupier. To make it heartier, add some heated, chopped turkey or other sausage.

  9. I should just take a picture of a takeout menu for my contribution.

  10. Thanks, Gigi, for the "glug" of liquid and the pot "half full" - sounds more like music and philosophy than cooking.

  11. Yum, yum, yum.

    My go to is pasta with garlic and oil (and sometimes shrimp, but not if I'm in a rush). This is based on my Mom's recipe, but she used to toss the spaghetti into a saucepan more or less full of oil and the house would fill with a hissing sound when liquid hit boiling oil. I'm too chicken to attempt that and I would never use that much olive oil!

    1/2 c olive oil
    4 large garlic cloves sliced thin
    1 tin anchovies
    1T lemon juice
    1/8 c Italian seasonings (I use Penzy Tuscan Sunset and I add enough to make a paste)
    2T red pepper flakes
    1 pound pasta of choice (I use whole wheat linguine)
    1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid

    While pasta cooks, heat oil with garlic and anchovies in a saucepan over low to medium heat until oil bubbles and garlic is light brown. Carefully add lemon juice. Remove pan from heat and add Italian spices and red pepper. Set aside.

    Drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Add pasta water to oil mixture (careful it can spit). Return pasta to cooking pot, pour sauce over, mix well, serve. Any excess liquid at the bottom of the pot will be absorbed by the pasta and the leftovers are great!

  12. My poor husband! We just got home from breakfast and grocery shopping. He decided to take my car for a wash, and I'm texting him, "Would you mind stopping for a red pepper, a yellow pepper, a bag of cole slaw mix, and a watermelon?" I think I'm covered for the week. And I'm making Finta's chicken tonight! Thanks for the inspiration, all.

    1. Don't forget sesame seeds. This made me giggle Mary.

    2. I have sesame seeds--black and white! My pantry has all the exotic spices, herbs, vinegars, etc., but I never have the basics: diced tomatoes,brown sugar and so on! I'm thankful for good neighbors--we have an ongoing text message group that consists solely of one person asking for an ingredient, and someone else coming through! (And this is the same Mary, but I'm logged into my work email now!)

  13. I like to cook and have all kinds of recipes, fast, medium and complicated. But when It's just me and I am hungry, tired and really don't want to cook? 1. Make some noodles or pasta. (Thin egg noodles are the fastest) 2. Drain. Add a little butter and stir. Add a good scoop of cottage cheese or ricotta, salt and pepper to taste. A little grated parm for zip. 3. If you have, throw in some already cooked veg like brocoli or asparagus, or defrost some frozen peas and add. That's it! Better than it sounds and very satisfying.

    1. Cottage cheese? Really? I can't picture does it behave? Wouldn't it be cold? Does it melt? I cannot wait to try this.. And let's add bacon. And tomatoes. Hmm..xoxo

    2. It doesn't melt but keeps its curds. Bacon would be delicious, but of course then it's more cooking. This is really a tweaked version of a childhood favorite, an Eastern European Jewish dish called - ta-da! - noodles and cheese. ( I don't know the real name- lokshen and something?)

  14. He'll be happy when he's eating the results. I think I'll start with Edith's quiche, which my niece called egg pie ever after I described it that way for her at Miss Aimee B's tearoom the first time she had it. ;-)

  15. saucisse et chignon

    Boil sausage, place in chignon, dress with catsup, mustard and relish to taste.

    It's fast and easy.

  16. Thanks Reds! I've been gone all weekend, and I open up my computer to this welcome post tonight. I think you all are more ingredient cooks than I am, but I'm willing to extend my comfort zone. I still think you should do a cookbook though.

  17. Macaroni and cheese with hamburger mixed in.
    We call it Chef's Surprise. Heaven in a bowl.