Polenta Cake

Your Royko Recipe for December, 2019

royko recipe

Polenta Cake
Food & Wine, Jan. 1993, Page 80. Credit: Andrea Hellrigl.

A simple, dense cake with cornmeal crunch. Whipped cream offsets the dryness of this dense cake. In season, use fresh berries as well. Serves 6.

1/2 cup granulated white sugar – plus 1/4 tsp.
4 oz. softened sweet butter
2 room temperature egg yolks
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup potato starch or cornstarch
1/2 tsp. baking powder
4 room temperature egg whites
1 to 2 tsp. confectioner’s sugar
lightly sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 325 ̊. Generously butter an 8″ X 8″ X 1″ baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup of sugar and the butter, egg yolks, and orange and lemon zests. Add the vanilla extract. Beat at high speed using an electric mixer, until smooth, light and creamy (about 2 minutes).

In a food processor, finely grind the almonds with the corn meal, potato starch and baking powder.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of sugar using an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Gently fold in the dry ingredients and half of the beaten egg whites. Then, fold in the remaining egg whites just until incorporated.

Gently scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden and a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Then, invert the cake on the rack and let cool completely. Sprinkle the confectioner’s sugar over the top of the cake, cut into 6 rectangles and top with whipped cream.

Cabbage and Potato Soup

Your Royko Recipe for November, 2019

royko recipe

Cabbage and Potato Soup
A simple but hearty soup that cooks in no time. Serves 6 to 8.

Though this recipe calls for 3 cups half and half cream, this can be cut back to as little as 1 cup without affecting the flavour, but lowering the fat content substantially. About 225 calories per serving; less if quantity of half and half is reduced.

3 cup chicken stock
2 cup shredded cabbage
2 medium peeled, diced potatoes
2 tbl. butter -or margarine
1 cup chopped leeks
3 tbl. all-purpose flour
3 cup half and half cream -divided
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
2-3 drops Tabasco sauce

In a large pot, heat broth over medium heat. Add cabbage and potatoes. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
In a large skillet, melt butter or margarine over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until tender. Stir in flour and cook 2-3 minutes.
Add 1 cup half and half to the broth, cabbage and potato mixture. Add leeks and remaining ingredients. Stir in the remaining 2 cups half and half. Cook over low heat 10-15 minutes. Do not let boil.

Gazpacho revisited

Jolanta’s Gazpacho was SO tasty and refreshing the other evening, I am inspired to remind others of its hot weather merits.

royko recipe
Your Royko Recipe for August 2019


Perfect for hot summer days. It’s cold, refreshing … and you don’t heat up the kitchen. Serves 6 to 8 

This recipe is completely flexible. Add more or less of any of the ingredients to suit your taste.

6 large ripe tomatoes
1 medium Spanish onion
green bell pepper
English cucumber
2 cup tomato juice -or V8 or Garden Cocktail
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbl. salt -to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice

Peel and seed tomatoes. Peel onion and cut into chunks. Seed green pepper and cut into chunks. Peel and seed cucumber and cut into chunks. Coarsely chop all vegetables in a food processor in small batches. Do not purée. Transfer to a large bowl. Finely chop garlic and add to mixture. Stir well.

Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Serve with crusty French or Italian bread and a hearty red wine.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Your Royko Recipe for July, 2019

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
This salad has been an immediate hit with anybody who has ever tried it.
Serves 6 to 8. Canadian Living Magazine

[Paul’s editorial comment]
California black olives are unlike any other black olives in the world…and NOT for the better! They’re picked green and treated with a lye-based preservative which also bleaches them. Then, they’re died black using an iron-based compound. It’s no wonder they taste so bad, unless you’re an American who has never had the real thing.

1/2 lb. penne
2 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
1 small julienned red pepper
1 small julienned green bell pepper
3 oz. julienned pepperoni
1 fresh coarsely chopped tomato
1 cup julienned zucchini-unpeeled
3/4 cup grated provolone cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup imported black olives -NEVER use California olives
1/2 cup finely chopped red onions

6 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbl. balsamic vinegar
1 large clove minced garlic
2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot of boiling water, cook penne until al dente. Rinse under cold running water and drain well. Transfer to a large salad bowl and toss with olive oil. Add peppers, pepperoni, tomato, zucchini, provolone, parsley, olives and onion. Toss lightly.

Prepare vinaigrette. In a food processor or small bowl, combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour over salad and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fenton’s Leek and Stilton Soup

Your Royko Recipe for June, 2019

Fenton’s Leek and Stilton Soup
A wonderful soup from the late, much-lamented Fenton’s restaurant in Toronto.
Serves 4 to 6.
This is essentially a leek and potato soup. The crumbled Stilton, however, adds a richness and a slightly tangier taste than is usual.

2 cup peeled, diced potatoes
2 tbl. chopped fresh Italian parsley
5 cups chicken stock
4 medium leeks
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. lemon juice
freshly grated nutmeg
white pepper
1/4 cup table cream [opt.]
1/2 lb. crumbled Stilton Cheese

Bring chicken stock and potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Meanwhile, wash and chop white part of leeks with 3 inches of green and chop. Sauté in butter with garlic until limp. Add to simmering potatoes with parsley and lemon juice. Simmer until leeks and potatoes are tender.

Purée mixture in a food processor using the steel blade. Add nutmeg, salt, white pepper and cream. Heat thoroughly but do not boil. Serve garnished with some crumbled Stilton in each bowl.

Lentil Casserole

Your Royko Recipe for May, 2019

Lentil Casserole 
Credit: Royko’s Fertile Imagination.

Lentils, tomatoes, onions and cheese, all baked in the oven.
Serves 6 to 8. 

Sweet potatoes and lentils make a complete protein. If you add them, do so 15 minutes before the lentil/vegetable mixture is cooked. Then, proceed as indicated. 

1 lb. dried green lentils
2 large ribs chopped celery
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
2 large chopped carrots
1 large chopped yellow onion
2 medium peeled, cubed sweet potatoes [opt.]
1 14-oz. can tomato sauce
black pepper
1/2 lb. grated old Cheddar cheese

Wash lentils thoroughly. Transfer to a large pot and add celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves, basil, salt and pepper. Cover with about 1 inch of water. 

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender. Stir frequently. Depending on the size of the lentils, this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Add more water if necessary. 

Using a slotted spoon to drain mixture, place a layer of lentils in a deep, oven-proof casserole. Top with a layer of tomato sauce and a layer of grated cheese. Repeat until casserole is full to within 1 inch of the top. 

Cover and bake in a 300 ̊ oven until the cheese is melted and mixture is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Serve as a side dish or as a meal on its own. 

Caesar Salad

Your Royko Recipe for April, 2019. I am surprised that it has taken me so long to post this one. It’s such a popular salad.

Caesar Salad

I [Royko] personally hate anchovies, so I’ve left them out of this recipe. However, if you like them, mash 1-2 fillets with a fork and add to the cheese just before you start whisking in the oil. If desired, you can use crumbled, crisp bacon bits rather than the anchovies.

Depending on the amount of garlic you use, this salad can be fairly mild, or it can set your mouth…and the whole neighbourhood…on fire. Do everyone a favour and don’t ride the subway after eating.

Serves 4 to 8.

1 head romaine lettuce
1-2 cloves minced garlic-to taste
1 egg
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly-grated Imported Parmesan
2 tbl. red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

Remove the tough outer leaves from the romaine. With a sharp knife, slice out the centre rib from the larger remaining leaves. Cut into 1″ – 2″ pieces. Wash lettuce in lots of cold water, remove excess moisture using a salad spinner and place in a large salad bowl.

Put grated cheese and minced garlic in another, smaller mixing bowl. Add vinegar.
Cook egg in boiling water for 1 minute. Chill under running water, and break into the cheese mixture. Do not bother with the part of the white that has already set. Add the olive oil a bit at a time, whisking thoroughly.

Continue until dressing is the desired consistency, stiffer than normal salad dressing but thin enough to pour. Taste and add more vinegar, whisking it in, if desired. Season with pepper.

Top lettuce with croutons. Drizzle dressing over top and toss with two wooden spoons.


Your Royko Recipe for January, 2019

This soup is so full of vegetables that a bowl with a piece of bread makes a complete meal.
Makes 4 quarts
Food & Wine, Nov. 1991, Page 150. Credit: Diane Darrow.

1/2 lb. dried pinto beans
2 tbl. olive oil1/4 lb. finely chopped lean slab bacon
1/4 lb. finely chopped salt pork
2 tbl. finely chopped garlic
2 tbl. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tbl. basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/8 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. shredded Savoy cabbage
1/2 lb. coarsely chopped Swiss chard
1 medium halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick leek-white part only
1 rib sliced crosswise 3/8-inch thick celery
4 coarsely chopped canned Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 lb. peeled, cut into 1/2-inch diced potatoes
1 medium sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick carrot
1 medium halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise 1/2-inch thick zucchini
2 tsp. salt
Simple freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Place beans in a large saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 1 hour before using. Drain and rinse well.

In a large stockpot, warm the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the bacon and salt pork, and cook until the fat is rendered (7 to 8 minutes). Add the garlic, parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in the cabbage, Swiss chard, leek and celery. Cover and cook until soft (about 5 minutes).

Stir in the drained beans, tomatoes and 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and carrot, cover and cook until tender (about 30 minutes). Stir in the zucchini and salt and cook for 15 minutes longer. (The soup will keep for up to a week covered and refrigerated. Reheat before serving.) Serve in bowls with a sprinkling of Parmesan and black pepper.