Recipes from Junior’s Restaurant in Brooklyn

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One of my very favorite cookbooks is “Welcome to Junior’s – Remembering Brooklyn with Recipes and Memories from its Favorite Restaurant,” by Marvin and Walter Rosen. (Long title, huh?)
Every single recipe I’ve ever tried from this book has been terrific. Even if you don’t cook, this is a great book to read, for the history of Brooklyn and the pictures. I’ve never been to Brooklyn, but after reading this book, I feel like it’s my hometown.
It was published in 1999, by William Morrow & Co., Inc. and is still in print. If you like cookbooks, you should do yourself a favor and get this book. If I could afford it, I’d buy everybody one, no kidding.
Here are some favorites of mine adapted from Junior’s menu.

Mac and Cheese Pie
¼ c. plain dry bread crumbs
1 ½ t. salt
1 t. olive oil
2 c. uncooked macaroni
6 T. butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. flour
¾ t. dry mustard
½ t. ground white pepper
¼ t. nutmeg
2 ½ c. whole milk
2 ½ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 drop red food coloring (optional)
1 drop yellow food coloring (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter a 9-in. deep dish pie plate.  Sprinkle the bottom and the sides with the bread crumbs.  Fill a large pot half full of water, add ½ t. salt and the olive oil and bring it to a boil over high heat.  Stir in the macaroni and cook for about 15 minutes or just till macaroni is almost tender.  Drain, rinse, and drain again.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and sauté until soft, about seven minutes.  Stir in the flour, the remaining t. of salt, mustard, pepper and nutmeg and cook until bubbly, a couple minutes.  Gradually stir in all of the milk, and continue to cook and stir till the sauce simmers and thickens.  Add 2 c. of the cheese, plus the food coloring, if using, and stir until completely melted and blended.  Remove from heat and fold in macaroni.  Spoon mixture into prepared pie pan, mounding it high in the center.  Top with remaining ½ c. cheese and sprinkle generously with paprika.  Bake pie until golden brown and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.  Let stand 15 minutes to set before serving in wedges.  Serves six to eight.

Spanish Rice
2 T. butter
3 T. fresh minced garlic
3 c. sliced mushrooms
Salt, pepper to taste
4 T. olive oil
1 ½ c. uncooked long grain rice
1 extra large onion, chopped (1 ½ c.)
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1 c.)
4 ribs celery, with leaves, chopped (1 c.)
1 (28oz) can tomatoes in juice, undrained
3 c. boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter an extra large baking dish.  Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; add 1 T. garlic and sauté until tender, about two minutes.  Stir in the mushrooms, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste.  Saute’ the mushrooms until golden, about five minutes, stirring constantly.  Put mushroom-garlic mixture in baking dish.  Heat 2 T. oil in skillet and add uncooked rice and sauté till golden brown and toasty.  Add rice to mushrooms in baking pan.  Heat 2 T. olive oil in same skillet and stir in onion, bell pepper, celery, and remaining 2 T. garlic.  Cook and stir till vegetables are just tender, about seven to eight minutes, then stir into rice mixture.  Pour the juice from the canned tomatoes over the rice and vegetables; cut up tomatoes and add them to the dish.  Stir all the ingredients together and mix well.  Pour in the boiling water and stir again.  Bake the rice, uncovered, till tender, about 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with paprika. Serves eight. (Great leftover the next day!)

Blueberry Muffins
2 ¼ c. flour
1 T. baking powder
½ t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ c. sugar
2 extra large eggs
1 T. vanilla
3 c. blueberries
½ c. milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners or butter them well.  Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in medium bowl and set aside.  Cream butter in large bowl with mixer on high for two minutes.  Gradually add sugar, then eggs, one at a time.  Continue beating till mixture is creamy and light yellow.  Beat in the vanilla.  Mash 2/3 c. berries and beat them into batter.  Add the flour and milk alternately in two batches, then beat about another minute.  Gently fold in by hand the remaining berries.  Fill muffin cups ¾ full, and if there are leftover blueberries, scatter them over the top.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 degrees and continue cooking till muffins are golden brown and set in the center, about 15 minutes more.  Makes 1 dozen regular size muffins.