BF Cookbook

Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

ilmarinen - MODERATOR
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Aug 20, 2004
Add the tomatoes – Put the canned tomatoes in a large bowl. Crush roughly with your fingers, then add to the pot. Stir all together well and reduce heat to a gentle simmer.

Add the herbs and spices, the capers and other extras, stirring in well. Simmer for 5 minutes

Add the meats and mix well again. Taste after a few minutes and adjust any spices as desired. Simmer about 5 more minutes.

Simmer the sauce – Part of the art of cooking Italian is knowing how long to simmer the tomato sauce. Some things, like spaghetti sauce, can simmer for hours. Other sauces, like this more delicate sauce, don’t need more than 10 minutes total simmering time. When it looks, smells and tastes good it is ready for the next step. It should have thickened a bit, but will get a lot thicker when the cheeses are added. Add some of the reserved pasta water if needed to keep it from getting too thick. Don’t be tempted to cook longer …. Overcooking the sauce will kill the flavors.

Now is the time to add the Basil and any parsley/cilantro.

Add the cheeses - Start with the mascarpone and add to the sauce. Cut it up with your sauce spoon, mixing it well throughout the sauce. When the cheese is distributed and melted, add the feta and the three cheese blend. Stir quickly and thoroughly, as the cheese will suddenly thicken the dish and it will seem gooey. Don’t worry, that will change. Stir in half the cream and simmer for about one minute.

Add the fettuccini and mix well. Add the rest of the cream and stir to make it thick and rich. If it gets too thick, add some more of the reserved pasta water. Cook about 1-2 minutes until well coated.

Spoon into large bowls. Wipe the bowl rims to keep a nice look, sprinkle with some grated parmesan if you want, and toss some chopped parsley or cilantro over the top. Garnish with a small sprig of basil, rosemary, or just serve as it is.

Serve immediately with the hot garlic bread.

Pour the wine and enjoy.

Other ideas – This dish could be made with less ingredients or different ingredients. Baby kale would replace spinach (or leave it out all together).

Pan cook some chicken breasts, add some Marsala wine when almost done, and set aside while you cook the dish. After resting, slice the chicken across the breast and serve on top of the bowl of fettuccini Apelt (smaller amounts of course). This is a good way to make this same recipe serve eight people.

Shrimp is wonderful in a rich dish like this. Add it at the last 5 minutes of simmering the sauce.

Ground beef works, too. Brown it in place of the other meats and add it back to the tomato sauce later.

Almost any vegetables can be used -zucchini, eggplant, fennel, artichokes, peppers, etc.

Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

ilmarinen - MODERATOR
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Aug 20, 2004
OK, here is a similar recipe I worked up a while ago. It is very easy, and fast to fix.

Beef Bolognese

This is a very versatile dish. You can make it as simple or fancy as you wish. It cooks in one pan and you can use whatever is in the pantry. Don’t be afraid to change it.

Pasta – I like fettuccini. Any other pasta would work, but some good choices are elbow, shell, farfalle, and fusilli.

Meat – Ground chuck is good. 12 ounces is enough for two servings, and a pound would do four people with plenty of veggies added (or two bladesmiths). Cut up raw chicken breast or thigh meat could be used to replace beef.

Veggies – Minced garlic, diced zucchini, and thin sliced celery are the base. Adding mushrooms, diced shallot (or onion), baby spinach, peppers (red/yellow/green), baby kale, etc. all make it heartier.

Cheese – Sprinkle a good amount of parmesan over it when served. Stir in an ounce or two of mascarpone (or Philly cream cheese) when you add the pasta.

Tomato – a 14-16 oz. can of crushed tomatoes is all you need. You could get by with prepared spaghetti sauce in a pinch.

Herbs – Italian spice blend, cilantro, basil, oregano, fresh ground black pepper, salt to taste. I also like to add a teaspoon or so of gochujang (Korean cooking sauce). It adds a bit if a kick. Some crushed red pepper will do somewhat the same.

Cooking the dish

Put a 2-quart pan of water on to boil. Add a 1/4tsp salt.

In a tall side large skillet or wok – put in some olive oil and heat on medium burner. When hot, start browning the beef. Brown for 2-3 minutes, breaking up beef as it browns.

Add the garlic, zucchini, celery (and any other veggies you added to the recipe) and cook for 3-4 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Put the pasta in the pan of boiling water and cook until al-dente (about 1-2 minutes less than fully cooked). It will finish cooking in the main dish. When done, drain and return to pan. Put in 1Tbs. butter, or olive oil and stir well. Set aside. Save some of the pasta water to add to the dish of it gets too thick when cooking.

When the veggies have finished their cooking time, they should be softened a bit. They will finish with the tomatoes.

Add the tomatoes, and simmer for 7-9 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add pasta water as needed if it gets too thick.

After the dish is cooked, add the pasta and mascarpone (or Philly). Stir in over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Plate (big bowls are best), sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and serve with warm Italian bread (garlic bread is my favorite).

Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

ilmarinen - MODERATOR
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Aug 20, 2004
I have been in a creative mood lately, and came up with this dish last Sunday:

Beef Dish

I am not sure what to call this dish. It is sort of an Oriental meets Middle Eastern meets lower European beef dish. The oriental is a rich blend of Korean/Vietnamese/Thai elements and flavors. The Middle Eastern/Lower European is where the smoked paprika comes in. With a little change in the veggies, plus a can of crushed tomatoes, it would make one heck of a tasty paprikash. This dish will make two BIG portions or three normal ones (who eats those?)

The meat – I used a 2” thick piece of fillet mignon and split that into two 1” steaks. Any cut of good steak will do fine. You can also use trimmed beef from a bone-in steak or breaking down a larger cut.

TIP – Buying a whole ribeye at places like Costco or Sam’s Club is really a great savings. Besides the fact that it is much cheaper per pound whole, you get a lot of meals for the price. You can eat fillet for nearly the price of chuck. They now carry USDA Prime, which is really good quality beef. I trim off the outer meat and remove all fat and silver skin. I cut the center of the eye into 2” fillet mignon steaks. I cut the ends and the trimmed meat into stew beef size pieces. Wrap all the items tightly in plastic wrap. Put in labeled zip-lock bags. I pack the cut beef in 8 oz. balls. Store everything not for that night’s dinner in the freezer.

The veggies – I had some broccoli in the crisper, along with my standard pantry of baby spinach, shallots, garlic, and a mushroom medley of cremini and Japanese mushrooms. You can change or add to these as fits your taste and pantry. Zucchini, bok choi, and eggplant would all work well.

The spices – Here is where I like to get creative. You can use whatever you like and/or have on hand. I keep trays of cooking ingredents in the fridge that go into most of my dishes. I will list those I use most often:

Gochujang sauce – this is a Korean blend of various peppers and spices. It really adds some zip to dishes without making them too hot.

Black Bean Sauce – made from fermented mung beans and soy, this really increases the flavors of other foods. It also helps sauces thicken.

Yoshida’s Gourmet Cooking Sauce – This will improve the flavor of almost any dish. It is a soy/mirin/spices thick sweet sauce. I use it extensively.

Tubes of minced herbs – In the produce section of most groceries you will find squeeze tubes of cooking herbs. They make cooking easy and allow small amounts of things to be added with no perp and no wasted leftovers. I keep – Garlic, ginger, lemongrass, basil, cilantro, Italian herbs, and crushed red pepper. They all sit cap down in a round metal pan in the fridge. Shelf life is very good. When I call for a small amount of these items in my recipes, this is what I use. If you have fresh herbs on hand, by all means use them.

Paprika – this recipe uses smoked paprika and regular paprika. You could use either one, or buy a smoky paprika spice blend found in the spice racks of many stores.

Hoisin sauce – This is a thick dark Chinese sauce somewhat like Yoshida’s sauce. It has more spices of the Chinese palate. The name means seafood sauce, but it has no fish in it It does go well with preparing seafood dishes in Chinese quisine.

The ingredients list – many of these items can be changed to fit what you have available. I noted alternatives in several places

Beef – 8 to12 ounces of good boneless steak. This is a great place to use a

8-12 oz. fillet. If you do, split it into two thiner steaks.

Two small steaks will cook better than a single bigger one.

You can also use cut up trimmings from a larger steak or rib eye.

½ pound broccoli (small head) - Cut into small florets. Zucchini, eggplant,

or bok choi could be used in its place.

½ cup mushrooms – I like a mix of cremini and Japanese mushrooms. Of course shitake would be fine, too.

2 to 3 cups baby spinach – baby kale or baby chard would work as well. Sounds like a lot, but it disappears into the sauce.

1 medium shallot – sliced thin. Onion would do in a pinch, but shallot is better.

2-3 cloves garlic – rough chopped or a good squirt from tube garlic.

1 pink lemon – AKA Eureka lemon or variegated pink lemon.

A regular lemon, or a small blood orange would do.

2-3 ounces panko – any flavor will work.

2 ounces grated parmesan cheese

½ tsp. regular paprika plus ½ tsp. smoked paprika – or 1 tsp. of a smoked paprika spice blend. You can make a substitute by mixing Chipotle powder with a good paprika and adding a bit of chile powder. That will make a spicier ( hotter) blend than the smoked paprika, which has an earthy and sweet flavor.

¼ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. dry mustard powder – 1 tsp Dijon mustard can be substituted

2-4 ounces sour cream

½ tsp minced ginger – fresh or tube ginger

1 Tbsp. Cilantro – fresh minced or 1 tsp. tube cilantro

1Tbsp. Basil - fresh minced or 1 tsp. tube basil

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar - Rice vinegar imparts a crisp acid with no extra flavor. It is great with oriental, especially rice, dishes.
Other vinegars would work - balsamic, sherry, wine, etc.

1 to 1 ½ Tbsp. each – Gochujang and Yoshida’s sauce

1/2 Tbsp. each - black bean sauce and Hoisin sauce.

Add more or less of the sauces to your taste.

Prep work

Zest the entire lemon and squeeze the juice. Set both aside separately.

Cut the broccoli into small florets.

Mince garlic and any fresh herbs.

Slice and rough chop mushrooms into medium size pieces.

Put the panko, parmesan cheese, paprika, mustard, garlic powder, half the lemon juice, and all the lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add a squirt of olive oil and mix with hands. Put steak in and coat heavily with your hands. Set bowl and steaks aside and wash hands.

Cooking the dish

Put a squirt of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet and heat on medium heat. When oil is hot, add beef. Cook for 3-4 minutes each side (if using cubed beef, cook until just browned). Remove to rest.

Leaving all the breading and brown bits in the pan, add a squirt of olive oil then add the shallots and chopped garlic. Cook for 1 minute to soften. Stirring regularly.

Add broccoli, other half of lemon juice, ginger, gochujang, Yoshida’s, rice vinegar, and the leftover panko/spices mix to the skille. Mix well to coat the broccoli. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add spinach, mushrooms, black bean sauce, hoisin, basil, cilantro, and ginger. Mix in well.

Cover skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until spinach is wilted. Stir occasionally

While the last step is simmering, cut up beef into bite size chunks.

When spinach is wilted, add beef to pan and stir in to blend all flavors. If too thick, add more Hoisin and a little more rice vinegar (or a little hot water). Simmer 1 minute.

Turn off heat and add sour cream. Blending all together well.

Serve in big bowls with a hearty bread.

Can also be served over rice or noodles to feed 4 people.


Use salt sparingly in cooking this dish. A salt grinder/shaker on the table will take care of those who feel the need for more salt.

Grind in black pepper to taste as needed in cooking and put the grinder on the table for people to add more as they like.

To raise the heat of the dish, add more gochujang.

To make it milder, add less gochujang and more sour cream.

Play with the spices in your pantry and make your own creation.

Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

ilmarinen - MODERATOR
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Aug 20, 2004
I did Asian slaw the other day and someone asked for my recipe. I said I didn't actually have one, but would work one up. I am putting it here with some cooking tips on making slaw and kimchee.

Asian Slaw

Slaw is thin sliced hard veggies and a sauce. The thinness of the slice is important for a good slaw. It should be thick enough not to become mush, but not big chunks. It should also be sliced the same in all the ingredients. While you could use a mandoline, it is my preference to hand slice all my veggies with a knife J.

Slaw can be simple, with cabbage and mayo, to spicy kimchee. My Asian Slaw is the most popular of the ones I make, so this recipe will center on that.

The veggies can be a huge variety of things from cabbage to jicama. A firm vegetable is best. I like a slightly bitter veggie, like cabbage as the main ingredient. Solid veggies, like carrots are best coarsely shredded. Jicama can be slices into thin straws or shredded. He cabbage can be green, red, Napa, or Bok-choy, or Radicchio. Small firm heads are more flavorful.

The sauce can be the standard mayo type, or a spicy blend of hot peppers and vinegars to make kimchee.

Let’s start with the veggies.

My Asian slaw base is thin sliced red and green cabbage (or Bok-choy), shredded carrots, and thin sliced green onion. I sometimes add some thin sliced fennel, and thin sliced shallot. You could add or change as your pantry and taste desires.

Cut the veggies up and place in a large bowl.

The Dressing/Sauce – make the sauce in a separate bowl, and when it is right, mix into the veggies bowl. Start with just enough to wet the veggies, then add more as you work the slaw with a wooden spoon or your fingers. Avoid making a slaw dripping with sauce. You can always add more if it is too dry, but it is hard to remove excess.

My sauce stats with a tablespoon or two of mayonnaise (depending on how much slaw I am making). You can make your own, or scoop/squirt it out of a jar. If you have a favorite aioli recipe, that can work, too.

To the mayo I add:

Rice Vinegar (any light colored vinegar will do) – about a teaspoon to start. Add more after you have all the ingredients mixed to get the desired consistency.

Sweet Chili Sauce (The American type will work, but I much prefer the Korean and Asian types. They come from sweet and mild to pretty spicy, so choose your degree of heat.) – about ½ tablespoon to start with.

Gochujung – a teaspoon will add a good bit of zippiness (you can skip this if using a spicy chili sauce)

Togarashi – this is a Japanese spice blend sometimes called Japanese Seven Spice. It has lots of flavor, and goes into most of my Asian dishes. – ½ teaspoon is plenty, less if you want a less bold slaw.

Salt, Pepper, other personal spice preferences – ¼ Tsp pepper and ¼ Tsp salt, plus any spices you like in your dishes . I sometimes add cilantro, basil, etc.

If you want a hot and spicy slaw, add Sriracha or any hot spice or sauce. A 1/2Tsp of Texas Pete will work, too.

Sugar – I usually use honey, but any sweetener will work. Plain granulated sugar or brown, as your taste prefers, is fine. – about 1Tsp to 1 Tbsp, taste as you mix it in to get the desired flavor. I add more on hot and spice slaws.

Mix the sauce well and taste to decide if it needs more mayo, vinegar, or spices.

Add to the veggie bowl in small amounts and mix well to coat the slaw.

Save the extra sauce in a covered bowl. Refrigerate the slaw for a minimum of 3 hours, and overnight is even better. Check it as it marinates and add more sauce as needed.

Kimchee is a Korean fermented slaw with bigger chunks and pieces of vegetables. You can make quick kimchee like my slaw recipe, or make the traditional type and let it sit. If you ever made sauerkraut, you can make kimchee.
To make a really hot kimchee type slaw, use Napa or Bok-choy, no mayo, more vinegar and add chopped up hot peppers, garlic, onion, radish (daikon), ginger , whole cloves, lots of green onions, … even small shrimp. Adjust the flavor as desired, pack in glass jars, and let sit in the refrigerator for a week or two. It can be hot canned like pickles and keeps for about 6 months. To make less hot, use less peppers and hot sauce.

Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

ilmarinen - MODERATOR
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Aug 20, 2004
Another new recipe I came up with. This will be a great meal with friends on a cold winter night.

Spanish Chorizo Stew – makes ten good servings.

This is a very hearty stew with bold flavor. Great for the cold months.

The ingredients can be changed to fit your taste and pantry.

2 pounds Chorizo (3# if you like it meaty). This is a Spanish/Mexican pork sausage. It isn’t a hot sausage, but is flavored (and colored) by adding smoked red peppers. It is found as a fresh made loose sausage (my favorite) in the butcher’s case, and as packed sausage in the deli or meat case. It is sometimes found as a smoked/cured sausage that does not require cooking. You want the uncooked variety for this recipe.


1 or 2 zucchini- sliced into ¼” rounds. Halve larger zucchini before slicing.

2 or 3 leeks – cleaned and sliced into 1/8 to ¼” slices. Slice up to the soft green part, and discard the dark and hard green tops.

1 or 2 parsnips – halve and slice

1 or 2 large sweet onions, rough chopped

2 Poblano peppers – seeded and rough chopped.

2 or 3 red/yellow/orange peppers – seeded and rough chopped

1 pound mushrooms – I like the baby Bellas, but any mushroom will work. Wash and cut bottom of stems off. Use whole. Use more if you wish.

1 pound baby/fingerling potatoes – washed and used whole unless they are larger than ¾”

2 stalks celery – sliced thin

16 to 24 oz. canned diced (or crushed) tomatoes. The ones with seasonings are fine.

1 cup carrots – rough chopped

½ cup black olives – rough chopped

2 to 4 cloves garlic – rough chopped

2 cups chicken broth - canned or bullion (beef will work if you don’t have chicken)

1 to 4 cups water (or broth)

Other possible veggies – shallots, okra, tomatillos, green chilies, jalapenos, any root vegetables, etc.

Spices and seasonings:

1 to 2 Tbsp. Spanish Paprika – the plain type is fine, but the hot smoked variety adds more flavor. I use 1 Tbsp. each.

1 Tbsp. Spice blend – Togarashi is my go-to spice blend. Costco herb blend, Italian seasoning, etc. Or, use a bit of this and a bit of that from the spice rack. You want savory herbs that cook well in stews/soups.

1 to 2 Tsp. black pepper

1 Tsp. salt. ( Add more at end if needed)

File’ Gumbo – Optional, and added to the dish at serving time.

Fresh herbs from the garden or store – sage, oregano, tarragon, thyme, basil – finely chop these and add at the last 15 minutes cooking time.

Roux – ½ cup butter (1 stick) and ½ cup flour. Melt butter in a pan or small skillet (I prefer a skillet) and when hot, add the flour a bit at a time, stirring/whishing constantly. Add flour until it is a medium thick yellow/white paste. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Stir/whisk constantly. It should change from yellow/white color to a golden/tan color (brown roux). That is good for stew, gravy, and soup. Longer cooking darkens the roux and adds a stronger flavor to the dish. Set roux aside when done until needed.

Cooking the Stew:

Put the veggies and liquids in a large stew pot. If you use a slow cooker, you will have to cut the recipe in half or use two cookers.

Start with one cup water and add more as needed. Add more broth/water as it cooks to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Slowly bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours. You want a light simmer, not a boil. Check and stir every now and then. Add water or broth as needed to keep enough liquid in the pot.

Near the end, cook the Chorizo. If using cased sausage, cut and remove the casings. I like to roll the loose sausage into grape size balls. If you want, you can cook it loose like ground beef. Place in a large skillet (in two or three batches) over medium heat and cook the sausage slowly. Don’t scorch it. When done, set aside.

When the stew is done cooking, ladle out a cup or two of the liquid and slowly add the roux … stirring/whisking constantly. Add more hot liquid as needed. Once it is thick and creamy, add back to the pot and mix in well. Add the fresh herbs and simmer for another 15 minutes.


Big bowls will work fine. If serving it for a fancier reason, get 6-8” round firm loaves of bread. I love the olive oil rosemary bread from Harris Teeter. Cut the top off and remove most of the bread from inside. A grapefruit knife does it wonderfully. Place in a wide shallow bowl or plate and start to fill with the stew. When about half full, add a layer of the chorizo. Finish with more stew and liquid until it is heaping out the top. Sprinkle with File’ Gumbo and serve with a simple salad.

A grating of Zamorano (hard Spanish cheese) or Romano/Asiago would be a nice finish.

You may have to refill the bread bowls, as seconds are normal with this wonderful dish. When done with the meal, it is normal to pull the bowls apart by hand and munch the juice soaked bread.

Cut recipe in half for a meal with four to six people.

If using a slow cooker ( crock pot) cook veggies on low for 6-8 hours.

Save the bread pulled out from the loaves for croutons, gazpacho, and making bread crumbs. I put it in a gallon zip-lock bag and freeze it.

Bonus Recipe:

To make wonderful croutons, pull (or cut) some of the left over bread apart into ½” to ¾” pieces. The better the bread, the better the croutons. About 2 cups is right. Sprinkle Italian seasoning very liberally over the bread.

In a large skillet, melt 1/2 stick of butter. When melted and starting to bubble, add 1 clove of pressed garlic (or very finely minced). Cook the garlic for 1 minute and add the seasoned bread. Toss/stir with a wooden spoon for at least a minute until all the bread is coated with the butter. Turn the heat up a bit and continue to stir/toss until toasted golden brown. Remove pan from heat immediately and use on top of soups, stews, and salads. I like them freshly made, but they will store in the refrigerator for several days.

Bon Appetit!

Downloadable/printable recipe attached.


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Apr 17, 2015
Here is a favorite in my house, simple yet amazing, and the smell of it baking is a treat by itself! This has a very rich, Mediterranean flavor and the lemon infuses the artichoke hearts. You might want to make extra...

Chicken thighs with artichoke hearts and preserved lemon.


2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs. I like to cube the chicken and mix it in, but you can leave them whole as well.
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, seeds and insides removed, rind chopped (see below for substitute, fresh lemon just isn't the same...too bright)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (you can add more, but be wary!)
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 large pinch turmeric (original recipe called for Saffron, but who the heck has that?!? I started subbing in turmeric years ago and have never looked back.)
12 oz artichoke hearts - frozen or in water, NOT MARINATED


Don't add salt! The preserved lemon will take care of it for you.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Mix the seasonings and oil in a large bowl. Mix chicken and art hearts together in the bowl to coat (carefully, the art hearts are tender) then put it all in the baking dish. Bake at 425*F for 35-40 min, or until the chicken is done. If you left the chicken thighs whole then you might need to cover it with foil about 3/4 through baking as it will take a bit longer to cook than the cubed chicken and the thighs can get too brown.

Serve over couscous or rice and garnish with a sprinkle of paprika for color. I like to serve with fresh pita or naan as well.

Preserved lemons (or other citrus) is an amazing and easy addition to any kitchen that I highly recommend. I usually have a couple jars of lemons, limes, and mandarin oranges decorating my pantry shelf. The flavor is something that has to be tried to be believed!

Quick preserved lemon:

2 lemons, quartered and seeded
2 tbs salt (preferably kosher)
1 tb sugar
1 cup water

Add the quartered lemons, sugar, salt, and water to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until the water is reduced to half and the lemons are soft. Let cool before using. Be sure to taste this before using it as it can sometimes take on a bitter bite. If it does don’t use it, it should be mellow not bitter and astringent.