Published by

Jeff Tiedeman

About Chef Jeff Name: Jeff Tiedeman, former Grand Forks Herald food editor Alias: Chef Jeff. Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota. Gender: Male. Birthday: April 9, 1951. Occupation: Journalist and blogger. About Me: I was born and raised in Crookston, Minn. I attended Cathedral High School for two years and Mount St. Benedict High School for two years, graduating in 1969. I attended the University of Minnesota-Crookston, Corbett College, Bemidji State University and Moorhead State University, where I graduated in 1974 with a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications. During college, I worked on the MSU Advocate and was sports editor for two years. I also worked part time at the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead while attending MSU. I joined the Grand Forks Herald in August 1974 as a part-time sportswriter, going full time in November 1974. I was food editor at the Herald from the mid-1990s to February 2013. My Interests: Cooking, gardening, hunting.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Shrimp And Broccoli Pasta Medley Makes A Great Red Meat Substitute

There’s no doubt that Americans are in love with red meat. Ever since the early times of the United States, red meat has been one of the top five foods consumed by Americans.

But the love affair between Americans and red meat has hit a roadblock in recent years. Several studies have pointed out that a diet high in red meat may shorten your lifespan. Research has tied consumption of red meat to increased risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

It’s hard to change old eating habits, but heck, isn’t living to a ripe old age the goal of most Americans?

Well, that’s how I feel about it. And it is one of the reasons why Therese and I try to keep our number of meals that contain red meat to one a week.

One way we do this is by eating poultry. Free-range chickens and wild pheasant usually find their way to our dining room table at least once a week, and there are days when we go totally meatless.

Another way we’re cutting back on red meat is to try having seafood, shellfish or fresh fish at least once a week. A recent study published in the journal of the American Medical Association found that eating one serving per week of fish —which is rich in omega-3 and DHA fatty acids — can lower the risk of cognitive decline and prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

And according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eating about 8 ounces per week (less for young children) of a variety of seafood can help prevent heart disease.

Here are 10 tips from the USDA on how to make seafood the main protein on your plate twice a week:

  1. Eat a variety of seafood: Include some that are higher in omega-3s and lower in mercury, such as salmon, trout, oysters, Atlantic and Pacific mackerel, herring, and sardines.
  2. Keep it lean and flavorful: Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or baking — they don’t add extra fat. Avoid breading or frying seafood and creamy sauces, which add calories and fat. Using spices or herbs, such as dill, chili powder, paprika, or cumin, and lemon or lime juice, can add flavor without adding salt.
  3. Shellfish counts too: Oysters, mussels, clams, and calamari (squid) all supply healthy omega-3s. Try mussels marinara, oyster stew, steamed clams, or pasta with calamari.
  4. Keep seafood on hand: Canned seafood, such as canned salmon, tuna or sardines, is quick and easy to use. Canned white tuna is higher in omega-3s, but canned “light” tuna is lower in mercury.
  5. Cook it safely: Check oysters, mussels, and clams before cooking. If shells don’t clamp shut when you tap them, throw them away. After cooking, also toss any that didn’t open. This means that they may not be safe to eat. Cook shrimp, lobster and scallops until they are opaque (milky white). Cook fish to 145 degrees, until it flakes with a fork.
  6. Get creative with seafood: Think beyond the fish fillet. Try salmon patties, a shrimp stir-fry, grilled fish tacos, or clams with whole-wheat pasta. Add variety by trying a new fish such as grilled Atlantic or Pacific mackerel, herring on a salad, or oven-baked pollock.
  7. Put it on a salad or in a sandwich: Top a salad with grilled scallops, shrimp or crab in place of steak or chicken. Use canned tuna or salmon for sandwiches in place of deli meats, which are often higher in sodium.
  8. Shop smart: Eating more seafood does not have to be expensive. Whiting, tilapia, sardines, canned tuna and some frozen seafood are usually lower cost options. Check the local newspaper, online, and at the store for sales, coupons, and specials to help save money on seafood.
  9. Grow up healthy with seafood: Omega-3 fats from seafood can help improve nervous system development in infants and children. Serve seafood to children twice a week in portions appropriate for their age and appetite. A variety of seafood lower in mercury should also be part of a healthy diet for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  10. Know your seafood portions: To get 8 ounces of seafood a week, use these as guides: A drained can of tuna is about 3 to 4 ounces, a salmon steak ranges from 4 to 6 ounces and 1 small trout is about 3 ounces.

*  * * * * *

The following recipe, from “Seafood Lover’s Bible,” a cookbook by Michael Bavota, is one of our favorite ways to incorporate seafood or shellfish into our diet.

With recipes like this one, it’s easy to kick the red meat habit.

Shrimp and Broccoli Pasta Medley
1 pound shrimp, 26 to 30 count
½ pound angel hair or spaghetti pasta
2 stalks broccoli
1 small onion, diced
1 10½-ounce can white clam sauce
Peel, devein and rinse shrimp. Cook pasta in boiling water, following directions on the box. Rinse pasta with cold water and set aside. In a medium saucepan, boil shrimp for only 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Cut broccoli and scallions into small bite-size pieces and boil until colors turn vivid green. Remove from heat and drain. In a large skillet, heat clam sauce and vegetables for 4 minutes at medium heat. Place pasta in shallow bowls, spoon clam and vegetable mixture over pasta, and garnish with cooked shrimp.
Yield: Serves 2 to 4.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Ham and Bean Soup

People who routinely bake a ham for a holiday meal usually don’t have any questions when it comes to leftovers.

Ham or ham and cheese sandwiches are near the top of my list as well as a macaroni salad, the kind that might be served after a funeral. I also just like to nibble on a piece of ham as a snack. It’s one of my few food indulgences.

But probably my favorite use of leftover ham is in bean soup. Chopped up onion and celery as well as some sliced carrots are also a given in the soup. And if there is a ham bone, all the better.

With the Easter weekend just past and plenty of meat and a nice ham bone in the refrigerator, I was able to throw together a tasty pot of ham and bean soup. I used a combination of navy and pinto beans in the soup along with a pint of our canned carrots.

The soup took more than a day to make because the beans required an overnight soaking, but it was well worth the wait.

And so much for leftover ham sandwiches.

Ham and Bean Soup
1 pound navy or pinto beans
Water to cover beans while soaking
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
1 ham bone
1 to 2 pounds ham, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 sweet yellow onion, peeled and diced
5 carrots, peeled cut into ¼-inch slices
2 stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch slices)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (possibly, but taste first)
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Rinse beans (remove any that are discolored). Fill a large bowl half full with water and add beans. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in Dutch oven or soup pot.
Add carrots, onions and celery and saute until tender.
Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more.
Add all soup ingredients to the vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to low and simmer 1 hour or until the meat begins to fall away from the bones. Stir periodically.
Remove the meat from the bones then place the meat back in the bean pot. Continue to cook another 2 to 3 hours or until beans are tender.
Note: If desired, add a dash or two of hot sauce.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Pineapple-Glazed Ham

Many people have fond memories of Easter Sunday dinners. Baked ham usually was the centerpiece of these feasts.

If your mom or grandma fixed ham like mine, the meat was scored and studded with cloves, rubbed with brown sugar and sometimes a little mustard and finally baked until the whole house smelled heavenly.

Over the years, I’ve made our Easter ham a few different ways. Sometimes, I’ve used the scoring-cloves version with brown sugar sans the mustard. But more often than not, I’ve made a glaze with canned pineapple. Once, I tried a peach-glazed ham that was quite tasty.

This year, I’m going the pineapple glaze route again, but this time using fresh fruit. And instead of studding the ham with cloves I’m going to make a homemade rub for it.

It’s not your Momma’s or Grandma’s Easter ham, but I’m sure they’d approve.

Pineapple-Glazed Ham
1 bone in ham (9 to 11 pounds, fully cooked)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
1 cup water
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Let the ham sit at room temperature for at an hour before baking to help it come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place the ham face down in a roasting pan or large cast iron skillet.
Combine all the rub ingredients in a small bowl and rub on all sides of the ham. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1½ to 2 hours (depending on size of the ham. You can also follow the heating directions that came on your ham package).
While the ham is cooking, make the glaze. Add the pineapple, water, brown sugar and cayenne pepper to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the liquid to a medium-sized sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or until reduced by half and it thickens slightly. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to glaze the ham.
When the ham is done, remove it from the oven and increase the oven temp to 400 degrees. Use a pastry or silicon brush to brush about ½ the glaze all over the ham. Return the ham to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, brush with the remaining glaze and add any extra pineapple to the edge of the pan, if using. Bake the ham for a final 10 to 15 minutes until the glaze is caramelized and the pineapple is heated through.
Let the ham rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving. Serve with the cooked fresh pineapple.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Caribbean Fish Stew

Anyone who has a I taste for the spicy, tangy and aromatic probably is a fan of Caribbean cuisine, a fusion of the foods of many cultures.

The main dishes of the region typically are a mixture of vegetables such as peppers — bells and scotch bonnet to name two — tomatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, onions and garlic, various meats that are locally available like beef, poultry, pork or fish and herbs like cilantro, marjoram, rosemary, tarragon and thyme.

The following recipe, which recently caught my eye, is a good example of what one might be served if dining at a fusion restaurant that specializes in this cuisine or traveling to the countries of Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba, among others.

I’ve never been to the islands, but that kind of food is right up my alley. There was no doubt in my mind that I had to try the recipe, especially since Therese had purchased some nice cod fillets and there were some colorful bell peppers on sale at our local supermarket.

I tweaked the recipe a bit, using some canned tomatoes instead of a fresh one and substituting lemon juice for fresh lemon.

But the clincher for me besides being meatless and the perfect fare for a Friday during Lent is that it’s a one-pot meal that is ready to eat in less than an hour.

Caribbean Fish Stew
1 to 2 pounds cod (cubed, 1-inch pieces)
1 medium onion (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (diced fine)
1 orange bell pepper (cubed)
1 yellow bell pepper (cubed)
½ scotch bonnet pepper (sliced)
½ teaspoon smoky paprika (hot)
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon achiote oil (or olive oil)
2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
1 stalk celery (sliced thin)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ medium tomato (diced)
¼ cup water
½ lemon (juice)
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a wide pan (one with a lid) on a low heat, then add onion and garlic. Make sure the heat is on very low as to not burn garlic. Cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the diced bell peppers, sliced celery and scotch bonnet pepper. (You can control the heat level by how much scotch bonnet you add.) Increase heat up to medium and stir well. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and paprika and stir well. Add black pepper, thyme, salt and fish.
Stir well. Add the tomato and parsley, with heat at medium/low. Cover pot and cook for about 5 minutes. Add water, ¼ cup or less.
Remove the lid. The cod should be fully cooked. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Turn the heat off, toss in the scallions and squeeze in the lemon juice.
Served with steamed rice.
Note: Any ocean white fish will work for this dish.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Not-Quite Vegan Chili

Americans eat a lot of meat, more than any other place in the world. That’s a fact.

If you were like me, meat was usually on the supper table at least four or five days a week. Perhaps living in a rural area of the country, where meat prices were lower, had something to do with that.

Regardless of the reason, many of us carried that habit into our adult lives and continue to do so.

Things are changing, though, and one of the big reasons is that studies have shown that people — particularly among individuals younger than 50 — whose diets that are high in red meats have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

But in a culture where meat has played such a prominent role, it’s not easy to go “cold turkey.”

In our house, we still eat red meat but not like we did 15 years ago. We consume a lot more poultry — chicken and wild game birds such as pheasants — as well as  fish and seafood. We also often have meatless meals.

Another avenue I’ve been exploring is adding meat substitutes such as textured vegetable protein (soy) to traditional meat-based entrees like the following chili recipe.

Vegetable protein is good start GREAT OPTION, I think, for those who like red meat but hope to cut back for health reasons. And it’s easier on the pocketbook, too. AND IT TASTES GOOD, TOO. TRUST ME!

Not-Quite Vegan Chili
½ pound ground chuck or bison
1 cup dried textured vegetable protein
2 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 Hungarian wax pepper, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 dried cayenne peppers, chopped
2 dried Thai peppers, chopped
8 ounces fresh mushroooms, sliced
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
¼ cup sugar (can be brown)
1 15½-ounce can kidney beans
1 15½-ounce can pork and beans
1 15½-ounce can chili beans
Place textured vegetable protein in frying pan with water. Heat and allow TVP to absorb water. Set aside. Brown burger. Place burger, TVP and remaining ingredients in large pot. Cook for 2 to 3 hours.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Meatball Stew

There are a lot people who relish leftovers. But there probably are just as many who view them as a nuisance. You can count me among the former.

I believe there are a lot of leftovers that are better the second day. Chili, for one, comes to mind. It’s also a food that can’t really be made in small batches, especially if it contains two or three kinds of beans and a lot of peppers.

Chili, like soup, is perfect for freezing. When I was growing up, my dad used to make vegetable beef soup in a large pot and would always freeze two or three plastic containers of it for a quick meal down the road. It was the same with the chili Mom used to make.

Meatballs are another one of those foods that can be made in large batches and frozen for later use. The recipe that I like makes about three to four dozen meatballs. I freeze most of them for later use.

Sometimes, my frozen meatballs are paired with a marinara sauce and served with spaghetti. They also might be cooked in some gravy and accompany mashed or boiled potatoes.

Recently, I found another use for my frozen meatballs — in a vegetable stew. The recipe  follows. And when our hungry grandson joined us for supper, we didn’t have to worry about any leftovers.

Meatball Stew
12 meatballs (recipe follows)
3 potatoes, cubed
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cups frozen peas
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 10¾-ounce can tomato soup
1 10½-ounce can beef gravy
1 cup water
1 envelop onion soup mix
2 beef bouillon cubes
Chop vegetables and place in large pot or slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Add meatballs.
If cooking on stovetop, bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and cook for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender.
If using a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until vegetables are tender.
1½ pounds ground bison
1 pound of ground pork
2 cups bread crumbs
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup grated cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped very fine
1 onion, minced
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Let stand ½ hour. Shape into medium-size meatballs. Fry gently in olive oil until lightly browned, or place on foil on a cookie sheet and bake for ½ hour at 350 degrees.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Country Goulash Skillet

Goulash has a long history, dating back to the ninth century in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary. Today, gulyás is one of Hungary’s national dishes.

Without getting into too many specifics about the original version — the dish might be a little too much for those with a weak stomach — old-fashioned goulash featured meat that was cooked and dried (pemmican), stored in what we would consider a less-than-desirable container and then reconstituted for use in a soup or stew.

I’ve prepared and eaten a couple of different versions of goulash over the years. One came from a former co-worker, Brad Schlossman, who told me his recipe was one that had been passed down from his grandmother, Jennie Nartnik, who was of Slovenian descent. Its main ingredients were beef, potatoes and pasta seasoned with a generous amount of paprika.

The other was my cousin Tom Menard’s version, which I wrote about a few months ago and basically is a hodgepodge of canned ingredients (cream-style corn, Veg-All, Campbell’s Vegetarian Alphabet Soup and tomato sauce. Tom said my Uncle Fritz used to make it.

Recently, I gave goulash a third shot. The recipe was a variation of one I found in a Taste of Home cookbook. It contained ground bison (subbed for beef), home-grown vegetables (green pepper, corn, onion and carrots) as well as some frozen peas, canned tomatoes and cream of mushroom soup.

My Country Goulash Skillet doesn’t have the pedigree of Brad and Tom’s recipes, but it’s surely one that I would have no trouble passing down.

Country Goulash Skillet
1 pound ground beef
1 28-ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 10¾-ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup frozen peas
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 cups cooked elbow macaroni (1½ cups dry)
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, cook meat over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, soup, corn, green pepper, onion, peas, carrots and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in macaroni and heat through.
Yield: Serves 8.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Creamy Chicken And Vegetables

Chicken ala king is one of those dishes that’s not only been a staple of many families over the years but also one that can be made with a variety of ingredients.

As the name implies, chicken is the star of the creamy entree, which also features vegetables. But which ones complement the chicken can vary from recipe to recipe.

Generally, most recipes include mushrooms and bell peppers. But when I set out to make a variation of the dish recently, I had my mind set on using peas and carrots as well as some leftover whole-kernel corn, mainly because my grandson is more fond of that trio than Therese.

After looking at a few ala king recipes, I decided to make up my own, using the three aforementioned veggies as well as some onion and celery and a can of cream of chicken soup.

The main difference in my recipe from others was that I browned flour-dredged meat along with the onion and celery in butter and olive oil instead of using precooked chicken. The flour acted as a thickening agent, so the sauce wasn’t too runny.

Judging from the reaction of my usual dinner companions, the result was fit for “a king.”

Creamy Chicken and Vegetables
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks (can substitute pheasant)
1 10½-ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 pint canned carrots or 6 carrots, sliced and cooked
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup water if not using canned carrots
½ cup flour
Salt and pepper
Garlic salt
Saute onion and celery in butter and oil in 2-inch deep cast-iron frying pan. Add chicken (or pheasant) that has been dredged in flour seasoned with garlic salt and pepper. Cook until meat is done then add vegetables, soup, broth, water and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for about 1 hour. Serve over mashed potatoes.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Leftover Lamb Hash

Growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, eating leftovers was a given for most blue-collar families, and roast beef hash was one of the dishes that many people point to as a go-to meal.

As kids, my mom often would fix Dad, my brothers and I hash a day or two after having a Sunday roast beef dinner. To me, it was comfort food.

I remember Mom dragging out her old-fashioned grinder, pushing through the leftover beef and vegetables, mixing it with the leftover gravy, placing it in a cast-iron skillet and baking it in the oven. And we always had soft-boiled eggs on top of our hash when it was served.

Recently, I prepared a 3- to 4- pound boneless leg of lamb in a slow cooker with a packet of onion soup mix, some Greek seasoning, a couple of bouillon cubes and 2 cups of water. The meat was very tender, cooked to perfection.

With a pile of leftover lamb, I decided to make hash. just the way Mom did. So, I  ground the meat along with a a couple of cooked potatoes, an onion, four carrots and a stalk of celery and mixed it with the leftover gravy and pan drippings.

Therese and I have enjoyed two meals since. The only snag was that my soft-boiled egg wasn’t really soft. I let it cook a little too long.

Mom would never have let that happen!

Lamb Hash
2 cups cooked lamb meat from roast or leg (can substitute roast beef)
1 onion
1 stalk celery
4 medium carrots
2 potatoes, cooked
2 cups drippings from roasting pan or slow cooker
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Put meat and vegetables through grinder (medium coarseness). Add salt and pepper and mix thoroughly in large bowl. Once mixed, place in large cast-iron frying pan or Dutch oven.
Cook for 1 hour, the first 20 minutes covered. Serve with soft-boiled eggs.

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Spicy Beef And Cabbage

Have you ever eaten a dish that seems to be intoxicating?

I’m sure we all can name a dessert or two that would fit into that category, especially if it contains alcohol. Perhaps a cake recipe with beer, an ice cream sundae topped with wine-soaked fruits, dessert cocktails, ice pops made with wine. And even ones without booze, such as Better Than Sex Cake?

Recently, I made a dish that Therese referred to as intoxicating, even though it contained no alcohol and wasn’t a dessert. She said the entree’s combination of sweet and tangy really did it for her. She said it had umami, one of the five basic tastes (together with sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness).

I wouldn’t go quite as far as Therese, but the recipe was appealing, since it contained cabbage, one of my favorite vegetables, as well as carrots, onion, garlic and some ground meat.

And that’s enough to arouse my appetite.

Spicy Beef and Cabbage
1 pound lean ground beef
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 cups cabbage, chopped
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
¾ cup ketchup
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
In a stockpot over medium heat, brown ground meat for 5 to 7 minutes. Drain.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil; stir in the rest of ingredients except ketchup, vinegar and remaining olive oil. Cook 5 to 7 more minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender crisp.
Stir together ketchup, vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Pour over meat and vegetables and cook for 10 more minutes.
Yield: Serves 6.