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“At one time, I described myself as a cook, a driver, and a writer. I no longer drive, but I do still write and I do still cook. And having reached the delicious age of eighty-one, I realize that I have been feeding other people and eating for a long time. I have been cooking nearly all my life, so I have developed some philosophies.”
Renowned and beloved author Maya Angelou returns to the kitchen—both hers and ours—with her second cookbook, filled with time-tested recipes and the intimate, autobiographical sketches of how they came to be. Inspired by Angelou’s own dramatic weight loss, the focus here is on good food, well-made and eaten in moderation. When preparing for a party, for example, Angelou says, “Remember, cooking large amounts of food does not mean that you are obligated to eat large portions.” When you create food that is full of flavor, you will find that you need less of it to feel satisfied, and you can use one dish to nourish yourself all day long.
And oh, what food you will create! Savor recipes for Mixed-Up Tamale Pie, All Day and Night Cornbread, Sweet Potatoes McMillan, Braised Lamb with White Beans, and Pytt I Panna (Swedish hash.) All the delicious dishes here can be eaten in small portions, and many times a day. More important, they can be converted into other mouth-watering incarnations. So Crown Roast of Pork becomes Pork Tacos and Pork Fried Rice, while Roasted Chicken becomes Chicken Tetrazzini and Chicken Curry. And throughout, Maya Angelou’s rich and wise voice carries the food from written word to body-and-soul-enriching experience.
Featuring gorgeous illustrations throughout and Angelou’s own tips and tricks on everything from portion control to timing a meal, Great Food, All Day Long is an essential reference for everyone who wants to eat better and smarter—and a delightful peek into the kitchen and the heart of a remarkable woman.
Under the Cover
An excerpt from Great Food, All Day Long
A Brand-New Look
AT OLD LEFTOVERS
My mother dreamed that one day we would together compose a cookbook. In her dream I would cook the entree, then she would take what was left and show how it could be prepared in such wonderful ways that the family would not have any inkling that they were being served leftovers.
We spent glorious afternoons and after-dinners imagining the wonderful dishes that could be created by adding just a few more ingredients. We imagined that a dish first served as a roasted entree would be very different if it appeared as a refried or boiled offering.
This book begins with three principal dishes and the glorious creations that can be made from them.
Crown Roast of Pork
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Sauté the apples and prunes in the butter in a skillet over low heat.
3. After 3 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat and set the prunes aside in a separate dish. Let cool.
4. Mix the garlic, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper with the olive oil until you have a paste. Rub the paste into the meat.
5. Place the meat in a shallow roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes.
6. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and roast for 2 hours.
7. Remove the roast from the oven once the internal temperature reads 165°F on a meat thermometer.
8. Place 1 prune on each rib and return the meat to the oven for 20 minutes.
9. Remove the meat from the oven, and put the rest of the cooled fruit into the center of the crown roast.
10. Place 1 pork chop carved from the roast and 1 tablespoon of apples onto one plate for as many servings as necessary. Refrigerate the remainder.
SERVES 8. Serving size: One pork chop and 1 tablespoon of apples.
Creamy Pork Hash
1. Sauté the onion in the vegetable oil in a skillet.
2. Add the cream of mushroom soup, peas, carrots, and potatoes.
3. Add the pork and thin the mixture with the water.
4. Add the salt and pepper.
5. Cover the skillet and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Serve 2 heaping tablespoons on a dinner plate. Refrigerate the remainder.
SERVES 4. SERVING SIZE: 2 HEAPING TABLESPOONS.
1. Dampen each tortilla with ½ teaspoon water, and cover with a paper towel.
2. Place in a microwave oven for 10 seconds on high power, then remove.
3. Place 2 tablespoons pork on one side of a tortilla.
4. Add 1 teaspoon cheese, 2 teaspoons lettuce, 2 teaspoons tomatoes, and 2 teaspoons salsa (and onion, if desired) to each tortilla.
5. Fold the tortillas over, covering the meat and toppings completely. Tortillas can also be fried in canola oil, 1 teaspoon for each.
SERVES 4. SERVING SIZE: ONE TACO.
Pork Fried Rice
1. Whisk together the soy sauce and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until blended. Set aside.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the chopped onion, scallion tops, and garlic in 1 teaspoon of the oil on moderate heat. Fry until soft and translucent.
3. Remove the onion and garlic mixture to a bowl and set aside.
4. In the same skillet, heat ¼ teaspoon of the oil, beat the eggs, and fry until cooked through completely, tilting the pan so that the eggs evenly cover the bottom.
5. Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside. Once cooled to room temperature, cut the eggs into ½-inch ribbons.
6. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the frying pan. Add the diced pork, the rice, mushrooms, and soy mixture, and cook until heated completely. Add the onion and garlic mixture and egg ribbons. Stir thoroughly, and serve immediately.
SERVES 4. SERVING SIZE: 1 CUP.
The Dinner That Never Stops Giving
1. For the marinade, mix together the garlic, salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, olive oil, and mustard. Stir well until the ingredients are blended into a smooth mixture.
2. Spread the marinade over the meat, covering it completely.
3. Wrap the meat loosely in aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
4. About 1 to 2 hours before ready to prepare, remove the meat from the refrigerator and place in a shallow roasting pan, ribs down. (The ribs will act as a rack.) Allow the roast to come to room temperature.
5. While the roast is sitting, preheat the oven to 400°F.
6. Put the roast into the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
7. Insert a meat thermometer into the densest part of the meat. Turn the oven down to 340°F and cook for 1½ hours or until the temperature reaches 165°F for medium. (For well done, cook for an additional hour or until the temperature reaches 180°F; for more rare, reduce the cooking time to 1 hour or until the temperature reaches 140°F.)
8. Remove the roast from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes before carving. Carve and serve.
9. Once finished serving, remove the remaining meat from the bones, wrap the meat and bones separately in aluminum foil, and refrigerate.
10. Pour the leftover drippings into a saucepan and remove the fat. Add the coffee if you like. Salt to taste. Mix well. You now have a jus.
SERVES ABOUT 12. SERVING SIZE: ONE 4-OUNCE SLICE.
Open-Faced Sliced Beef Sandwiches
1. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and slice into 4 thin slices about 1 ounce each. Return the remaining meat to the refrigerator.
2. Prepare the gravy: Combine the beef stock and cornstarch in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pour the gravy into a skillet and add the sliced meat. Heat the meat in the gravy over low heat for 10 minutes.
4. On each of two plates, place 2 thin slices of sandwich bread. Place 1 tablespoon of gravy on each slice. Place one slice of beef on each of the 4 slices of bread. Cover with 1 to 2 more tablespoons of hot gravy.
5. Serve with coleslaw on the side, if desired.
SERVES 2. SERVING SIZE: 2 THIN SLICES OF BEEF ON 2 SLICES OF BREAD.
Roast Beef Hash
1. Dice the prime rib into medium pieces.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and celery, and sauté until translucent.
3. Add the potato and meat to the sautéed onion and celery and cook for 6 minutes.
4. Add the gravy to the skillet and heat for 5 minutes.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve with poached eggs, if desired.
SERVES 3 GENEROUSLY. SERVING SIZE: 3 HEAPING TABLESPOONS OF HASH AND 1 POACHED EGG.
Beef and Vegetable Soup
1. Put 2 quarts water and the beef stock in a large pot.
2. Add the meat, bones, onion, bay leaf, and garlic.
3. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and add the carrots, potato, tomatoes, corn, and peas. Let simmer slowly for 1 hour.
4. Remove the soup from the heat, and remove the bay leaf and the bones.
5. Bring the soup to room temperature, and skim off the fat.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
SERVES 6. SERVING SIZE: 1 MEDIUM BOWL.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a small cup, mix together the lemon juice and 1 cup water. Set the lemon aside.
3. Wash the chicken in the lemon juice mixture. Pat dry.
4. Rub the butter over the chicken.
5. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken outside and inside.
6. Place the apple and celery in the chicken cavity. Place the chicken in a roasting pan.
7. Place an extra-large piece of aluminum foil over the chicken, leaving a generous air pocket over the top of the chicken so the foil does not touch it. Crimp the ends of the foil to the sides of the pan, creating a tent.
8. Bake the chicken in the tent for 1½ hours, partially removing the tent periodically to baste with pan juices.
9. Remove the foil and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Bake the chicken, uncovered, for 30 additional minutes.
10. Once the chicken is done (when the internal temperture reaches 160°F), remove the skin and slice for serving.
11. Serve with simple lettuce and garnish with a very thin slice of lemon, if desired.
SERVES 6. SERVING SIZE: 2 SLICES OF BREAST.
1. Bring 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and let boil until cooked to desired tenderness. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent.
3. Add the garlic powder, white pepper, and flour to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Be careful not to let the mixture brown.
4. Add the mushrooms, chicken, stock, cream, and salt and black pepper. Stir well to completely cover the chicken.
5. Cover and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes over low heat.
6. Serve over the cooked pasta.
SERVES 4. SERVING SIZE: ½ CUP PASTA, ½ CUP CHICKEN.
1. Sauté the onion in the oil in a medium-sized skillet, until translucent; do not brown.
2. Add the curry, cumin, ginger, and bay leaf to the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the chicken, the stock, and the salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
4. Serve with hot white rice or rice pilaf, if desired.
SERVES 4. SERVING SIZE: 2 HEAPING TABLESPOONS OF CURRY OVER 1 CUP OF RICE.
Teenagers may differ in ethnic, racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds—African American, White American, Asian, Latino, and Native American—but there is one area where they are alike: They all love hot dogs. The flavor of the wiener, the choice or choices of mustard, relish, ketchup, or sauerkraut may vary, but young palates are satisfied with the simple everyday hot dog.
I confess that on certain days, a similar yearning also comes over me, and I can only be satisfied with a loaded hot dog. That said, my palate has had the opportunity to develop some sophistication.
Take, for instance, moo goo gai pan. When my son, Guy, was six, we would often dine at a little Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. Their moo goo gai pan—chicken wings boiled and rolled in a batter with sesame seeds, and fried—was Guy’s favorite, and because he loved it so much, I learned to make it.
I’ve also come to like red tripe, which is tripe cooked with red tomatoes, onion, and garlic and served over steamed white rice. I do make a very good duck liver pâté with truffles, and mustard greens with ham hocks, which can make a person cry for his grandmother, but . . . back to the hot dog.
When I make a chili, I always put about a quart away in the freezer in half-cup portions. Weeks or months later, long after the chili has first been served, I will get a hot dog bun, a Hebrew National wiener, prick it with a fork, broil it for a few minutes, and split it. Then I heat up the chili, put one half of the split hot dog on the bottom piece of bun, and put one heaping tablespoon of chili on the hot dog. I put away the other half for later. Next, I scatter a teaspoon of diced raw onion onto that concoction, then open an ice-cold beer and pour half of it into an ice-cold mug.
At that moment I will not only not answer the telephone, I will not respond, even if my name is called by someone who knows me well.
1. Sauté the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil in a medium-sized heavy pot until translucent.
2. Add the ground round and pork. Cook until the meat is cooked all the way through, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Add the oregano, thyme, sage, cardamom, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and cook for 3 more minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, and stir until all the ingredients are mixed together well. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
5. Add the beef stock or water, cornmeal, and rinsed pinto beans, if desired, and stir.
6. Cover and reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
SERVES 4 TO 6. SERVING SIZE: 1 CUP OF CHILI OVER ½ CUP OF RICE.
Santa Fe Chili with Meat
1. Sprinkle the beef with the flour in a bowl and mix together. Set aside.
2. In a 6- to 8-quart pot, cook the onions and garlic in the oil over medium heat, stirring often, until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the meat mixture and Red Chile Sauce (if desired) to the pot. Cook, stirring constantly, until the meat begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the cilantro, cumin, cloves, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, tomatoes and their liquid, and stock. Simmer, uncovered, until the meat is very tender, about 1 hour, stirring often.
SERVES 4 TO 6. SERVING SIZE: ½ CUP OF CHILI OVER ½ CUP OF RICE.
Red Chile Sauce
1. Stem and seed the chiles and combine with 3 cups water in a 2½- to 3-quart pot.
2. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the chiles are very soft, about 30 minutes.
3. Remove the chiles from the pan and place them in a blender, saving the cooking water.
4. Puree the chiles, adding cooking water as needed, until you have a very smooth mixture, about 3 minutes.
5. Pour the sauce through a fine strainer, rubbing firmly, into a container. Discard the residue.
6. Add the sauce to chili or other dishes as desired.
Spicy Barbecued Spareribs
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Stir together 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle over the spareribs and rub in thoroughly. Place the coated ribs in a shallow roasting pan.
3. Pour the chicken stock over the ribs and place the ribs in the oven. Cook for 1½ hours or until tender.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the barbecue sauce. Mix together the vinegar, honey, ketchup, mustard, paprika, hot pepper sauce, garlic, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
5. Remove the spareribs from the oven and place them in a broiling pan. Brush the spareribs with the barbecue sauce and return to the oven on the lowest rack. Set the oven to low broil, and broil the spareribs for 30 minutes, brushing frequently with the sauce. To tell when they’re done, pierce the meat between the bones with a fork. If the fork comes out easily, the meat is done.
SERVES 4. SERVING SIZE: ½ POUND OF RIBS.
IS VARIETY FINE CUISINE?
Many years ago I was invited to be a distinguished visiting professor at Wichita State University.
Maya Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Heart of a Woman, she wrote numerous volumes of poetry, among them Phenomenal Woman, And Still I Rise, On the Pulse of Morning, and Mother. Maya Angelou died in 2014.