Category Archives: Food for Thought

The Ripper’s Time is Published

Written By Mark Vogel

History professor Henry Willows is in love—in love with Catherine Eddowes, the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper. Although over a century distant, Henry’s obsession knows no bounds. With the aid of an ingenious physicist, Henry achieves his raison d’être: a means to travel back in time, stop the world’s most infamous serial killer, and save the woman he loves. But the fabric of time isn’t easy to change . . . and the Ripper has plans of his own. Continue reading The Ripper’s Time is Published


Mark R. Vogel

Everyone has heard the term “control freak,” which describes a personality dominated by a need to control others and situations.  In essence, the person wants things done their way with little or no regard for other’s wishes.  The truth of the matter is we’re all control freaks; it’s just a matter of degree.  It’s human nature to pursue our innate inclinations and construct an environment amenable to our desires.  As stated, some of us are worse than others, but who doesn’t prefer to have things their own way?  Such is the human condition. Continue reading FOOD FOR THOUGHT: I DID MY WAY

Holiday Party Hors d’oeuvres V

Mark R. Vogel


Welcome to the 5th edition of Holiday Party Hors d’oeuvres.  Here’s another yearly compilation of recipes to spruce up your holiday parties.  Eat, drink and be merry!


This recipe comes from Chef Mary Ellen Scott.  Check out her website at

2 pounds shelled, deveined shrimp, minced
6 canned water chestnuts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 teaspoons olive oil
Pepper to taste
Lemon wedges

Place all of the ingredients except the lemon wedges into a bowl and mix together.  Shape mixture into small balls. Place the balls on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Drizzle balls with olive oil and bake at 350º for 25 minutes. Serve with the lemon wedges.


This recipe comes from Chef Sheilah Kaufman.  Check out her website at:

½ cup lentils

1 onion, chopped

Olive oil, as needed

2 hard boiled eggs

½ cup walnuts

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

In a pot of water bring the lentils to boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until the lentils are softened.  Meanwhile sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft.  In a food processor, blend the lentils, onion, eggs and walnut leaving the mixture a little bit chunky.  Stir in the mayonnaise, salt and pepper.  Cover and chill.  If possible, allow the mixture to rest overnight so the flavors can marry.  Serve on crackers or party breads.


This recipe comes from Chef Ann Hall Every.  Check out her website at:

18 ½-inch slices of Italian or French bread

4 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing on the bread

2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

1 ½ lbs. assorted fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley plus sprigs for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat up the broiler unit in your oven.  Place bread slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet, brush with extra virgin olive oil, and broil until lightly browned on each side.  Rub the cut side of the garlic halves over each bread slice and reserve.  Heat the four tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet until it shimmers and add the mushrooms. Sauté over medium-high heat until mushrooms have released their juices and are slightly browned, approximately 10 – 15 minutes.  Stir in the minced parsley, salt and pepper.  Spoon an even amount of mushrooms on the toasted bread slices and arrange crostini on a serving platter and garnish with parsley sprigs.


Latkes are potato pancakes.  This recipe comes from Chef Faith Alahverdian.

1 ½ cups vegetable oil for frying

3 lbs. russet potatoes

2 medium onions

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon matzo meal

2 extra large eggs

1 ½ teaspoons sea salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon baking powder

Applesauce, sour cream, chives, or smoked salmon, (optional)

Heat up the oil in a wide, deep skillet.  Grate the potatoes and onions into a large bowl.  Transfer the mixture to a strainer and squeeze out the excess water.  Mix in the matzo meal.  In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, salt, pepper and baking powder.  Combine with the potato/onion mixture.  Divide mixture evenly to form small latkes.  Place them in the oil to fry.  Flatten them with a spatula.  When the edges are golden, flip and fry the other side.  Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with a little extra salt.  If desired, serve with additional garnishes such as applesauce, sour cream, chives or smoked salmon.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Mark R. Vogel

Three decades ago, before cooking school, while working on a psychiatric unit, I was engaged in a conversation with one of the schizophrenic patients about his vegetable garden.  He mentioned that he grew bell peppers.  Being completely culinarily and horticulturally ignorant at the time, I thought that green and red bell peppers were two entirely different plants.  The patient chuckled at my naiveté and explained that red bell peppers were simply green ones that had ripened.  He may have been psychotic, but I was the one out of touch with reality. Continue reading For Whom the Bell Tolls

Get a Leg Up

Mark R. Vogel

The leg meat of the animals we customarily utilize as food is often under-appreciated, misunderstood, and erroneously maligned.  Targeted by American food neurotics, aided and abetted by culinary ignorance and arcane nomenclature, the leg has remained shrouded in fat-phobia and mystery.  Let’s jettison the irrationalities and clarify what’s left.  Maybe you’ll become a leg-man too. Continue reading Get a Leg Up


Mark R. Vogel

Pan-frying is a dry heat cooking method whereby food is semi-submerged in hot oil in a pan on the stove top.  Unlike deep frying where the food is completely immersed in oil, in pan-frying the oil’s depth is no more than half the food’s height.  Another important distinction is that in pan-frying the food touches the bottom of the pan.  In deep frying the food is completely suspended in oil.  Continue reading Pan-Frying

Marinades & Rubs

Mark R. Vogel

Summer’s here and that means barbequing.  Well, actually, barbequing is not what millions of Americans do with their charcoal and propane grills in their backyard.  That’s grilling.  Real barbequing is cooking food with indirect heat and smoke but that’s another article.  In any event, many foods are pre-seasoned prior to being grilled.  This is almost always accomplished with a marinade or a dry rub. Continue reading Marinades & Rubs

The Fruit of the Conquistador

Mark R. Vogel

In 1519 Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes (a.k.a. Hernando Cortez), and his entourage were the first Europeans to enter Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, and forerunner to modern day Mexico City.  Originally welcomed as a god by Montezuma, the leader of the Aztecs, Cortes eventually conquered and destroyed much of the city, thus claiming the territory for Spain.  Thousands were killed in the pursuit of European imperialism.  On a less barbaric note, Cortes is also credited with introducing the avocado to Europe, a fruit he found in abundance in and around Mexico.  Continue reading The Fruit of the Conquistador

What’s the Difference II

Mark R. Vogel

What’s the difference between white, light brown and dark brown sugar?

Brown sugar is simply regular white sugar combined with molasses.  To make sugar, the juice from the sugar cane is boiled, and then the sugar crystals are extracted.  The remaining syrup is molasses.  Dark brown sugar has a higher concentration of molasses and hence, a stronger flavor than the light brown. Continue reading What’s the Difference II

Trout: Fit For a King

Mark R. Vogel

In 1812, with nearly seven hundred thousand men, Napoleon Bonaparte, self-crowned emperor of the French, and self-proclaimed king of Italy, embarked on his ill-fated plan to invade Russia.  It was the beginning of the end.  Having overextended his forces, much like Hitler would do over a century later, Napoleon’s outnumbered army was forced into a devastating retreat.  Sporadic skirmishes, disease, famine, desertion, accompanied by the infamous Russian winter, reduced Napoleon’s Grande Armee to twenty-two thousand men.  Among the casualties was acclaimed Chef Dartois Laguipiere, the namesake of various dishes later composed in his honor.  One of the meals he prepared for Napoleon was grilled trout, marinated in olive oil and lemon, and served with a mâitre d’hôtel sauce (butter, lemon juice, parsley and seasonings).  Continue reading Trout: Fit For a King