Monday, December 30, 2013

Meatball Sliders with Garlic Aioli

Source: Betty Crocker's 40th Anniversary Cookbook
Yield: 24 Sliders

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 c dry bread crumbs
2 tbls dried parsley
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 small onion, diced
1/2 c milk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
3 tbls olive oil
2 12 count packages King's Hawaiian dinner rolls

Crumble beef and pork together with your fingers into a large mixing bowl. Mix in bread crumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper. In a separate container (I like to use a large measuring cup), combine milk, beaten egg and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the meat mixture and lightly crumble all of the ingredients together until everything is fully incorporated.

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Scoop golf-ball sized portions (a meduim to large sized disher works well) of the meat mixture and form into 1/2 in thick patties using your hands. When the pan is ready, fry the sliders. Brown them on each side for 3-5 minutes to cook through. Work in small batches, don't over crowd the pan. Keep them warm in a 200 degree oven until you are ready to assemble.

1/2 c mayonaise (not Miracle Whip)
2 tbs grated prepared horseradish (not horseradish sauce)
2 large cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp fresh basil, finely minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbls dried parsley

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Heat the dinner rolls according to package directions. Split each roll in half and fill with a slider patty and a dollop of aioli. Additional suggested garnishes: thinly sliced red onion, red bell pepper, and cheddar cheese.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cherry Pie

Source: King Author Flour Presidential Cherry Pie
Yield: 1 9" pie

One double pie crust
16 oz. bag frozen sour cherries
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup Clear Jel
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, optional

Preheat oven to 425.

Line a standard (nont deep dish) pie plate with pie crust and set aside.

Thaw cherries completely and drain juice unto a large pot over medium high heat. Reduce juice to approximately 1 3/4 cups. Remove pot from heat and pour concentrated juice into a heat proof container.

Move cherries to the pot. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup of concentrated juice, and almond extract. Stir to combine while cooking over medium high heat.

In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup Clear Jel and remaining 1/3 cup sugar, add to the pot with the cherries and cook to desired thickness. Cool for about 5 minutes to test thickness before filling pastry.

Spoon filling into the pastry-lined pan.

Roll out the second crust and place it on top of the filling. Cut slits into the top to vent steam, and seal the top and bottom crusts together, fluting with your fingers or a fork. (You may also choose to make a woven lattice crust.)

Place the pie on a parchment-lined (to catch any spills) baking sheet, and bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.

Remove the pie from the oven, and cool completely on a rack before slicing, so the filling can set.

Easy Flaky Pie Crust

Source: The Solitary Cook
Yield: Two Crusts

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp fine ground sea or kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
8 oz cold butter
6 oz ice water

Measure the flour, salt, and sugar into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle. Cut the stick of butter into 8 pieces. Fill a large measuring cup with ice, followed by cold water. Have a smaller measuring cup into which to measure the ice water.

Drop the butter cubes into the bowl, scattering them over the surface of the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on to its lowest speed. Mix only until most of the chunks of butter are about the size of hazelnuts.

Measure off 6 ounces of ice water. With the mixer running on low speed, pour it straight down the side of the bowl in a steady stream, and not necessarily a slow one. Get it into the bowl quickly, but don't dump it all at once. Pouring the water down the side of the bowl delivers it to the bottom of the bowl.

Continue mixing only until no dry ingredients remain in the bottom of the bowl. Allow the mixer to run just until the last of the dry ingredients have been picked up by the paddle.

On a lightly floured your work surface use the palms of your hands to just press the dough into a somewhat cohesive dome. Divide in half and work with one piece at a time. Shape each one into a round disk about 3/4" thick. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling or freeze for up to 2 months.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Southwest Egg Casserole

Source: Unknown
Servings: 8-10

8 eggs
2 c sour cream
1 c shredded cheddar cheese, plus 1/2 cup reserved for top
2 4oz cans died green chillies
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley or 4 tbs dried
1 c frozen corn
1 can black beans
1/4 c diced red bell pepper
1/4 c bacon bits
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350° and grease a 9x13 baking dish.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until fluffy. Add sour cream and whisk to combine. Stir in remaining ingredients, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Pour mixture into baking dish and top with remaining cheese.

Cook for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven while the very center just jiggles, the eggs will continue to cook for several minutes after they have been removed from the oven.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mrs. Sigg's Snickerdoodles

Time: 1 hr
Yield: 3 doz.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.

Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Melanie's Famous Chocolate Chip Shortbread Logs

Source: The Famous Melanie

1 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups mini chocolate chips or 12 ounces finely chopped chocolate
1 tablespoon shortening
1 cup finely chopped, toasted nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream butter and sugar until smooth, add vanilla and continue to mix until combined. Incorporate flour and half of the chocolate. Roll dough out into logs that are 1/2" wide and 2" long, place on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Cook for 10-13 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet as shortbread can be brittle.

Melt remaining chocolate with shortening over a double boiler. Dip one end of each cookie into the melted chocolate and then roll in nuts. Place on waxed paper to set.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Super Sloppy Joes

Source: Food Network
Time: 25 min (prep: 10 min, cook: 15 min)
Yield: 4 sandwiches

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 crusty rolls, split, toasted, and lightly buttered

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and meat to the pan. Spread the meat around the pan and begin to break it up. Once it begins to brown, add onion, garlic, and bell pepper. 

Combine brown sugar and steak seasoning. Add sugar and spice mixture to the skillet and combine. Reduce heat to medium and add red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine. 

Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5 minutes longer. Using a large spoon, pile sloppy meat onto toasted, buttered bun bottoms and cover with bun tops.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

1 head garlic
5 lbs yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the top off of a head of garlic, wrap loosely in foil and roast at 350° for 1 hour. Allow to cool.

Thoroughly wash potatoes, peeling optional. Dice into 1 inch chunks and put into a large pot. Fill pot with cold water to cover by 2-3 inches. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt, put a lid on the pot. Cook over high heat until boiling. Drop heat slightly to prevent boil-over and continue to heat without lid until potatoes are cooked through. Drain potatoes and return to empty pot.

Sprinkle cheese over potatoes, lightly salt and pepper. Squeeze roasted garlic into pot. Using a potato masher or hand mixer, begin to mash potatoes. Slowly stream in milk and continue to mash/whip to desired consistency. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lasagna Bolognese (or, Lasagna the Hard Way)

Source: Food Network
Yield: 1 11x13 pan, 12 servings
Time: 5 hrs 10 min (prep: 1 hr, cook: 4 hrs 10 min)

The only change that I'm making here is to the amount of salt. I'm significantly decreasing it. Parmesan and Mozzarella can both bring a fair amount of salt to the equation so go light. And it may seem like there's a lot of liquor in play here but don't worry, all of the fun aspects of the alcohol cook off. If you want to skip it feel free to substitute equal amounts of stock (veggie, beef, chicken... pretty much anything but seafood stock). This lasagna takes a lot of time and some of the ingredients are pricy but it's absolutely worth the effort and investment.

The Ragu
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
10 ounces white button mushrooms
2 carrots, cut into 4 pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 4 pieces
2 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh parsley
1 6-ounce piece prosciutto, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef chuck
1 pound ground pork
2 cups dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt
5 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup cognac or brandy
1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes*

The Béchamel 
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups whole milk

The Lasagna
Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds fresh lasagna sheets*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 pound parmesan, grated (2 to 3 cups)
1 pound fresh mozzarella or fontina, grated (4 to 5 cups)

Make the ragu: Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups hot water until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain the porcini, reserving the liquid.

Finely chop the porcini and white mushrooms in a food processor; transfer to a bowl. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, parsley and prosciutto to the processor; pulse until finely chopped.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over high heat. Cook the ground beef and pork in batches, with a couple of pinches and salt and a few grinds of pepper. Crumble the meat as is cooks with a wooden spoon and cook until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a large bowl. Add the wine to the pot, scraping up the browned bits. Add the liquid to the bowl with the meat.

Melt the butter in the pot; add the onion, chopped carrot mixture, the rosemary, bay leaves and a couple of pinches of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mushrooms and cook, stirring, about 8 minutes.

Return the meat mixture to the pot. Add the cognac and scrape up the browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Crush the tomatoes with your hands over the pot and add with their juices. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2 hours, 30 minutes. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the béchamel: Melt the butter in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, nutmeg, 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook, whisking, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking, 10 more minutes.

Assemble the lasagna: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a few inches of salted water to a boil in a wide saucepan. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Line a baking sheet with a damp kitchen towel. Working in batches, boil the pasta until partially cooked, about 4 minutes, then remove with a skimmer and transfer to the ice water to cool. Remove the pasta sheets, shake off the excess water and arrange in a single layer on the towel. Cover the pasta with another damp towel. (Barilla no-bake lasagna sheets are a lot less hassle and taste just as good to me.)

Brush the bottom and sides of a deep 11-by-13-inch baking dish with the butter. Spread 1/2 cup ragu in the pan. Cover with a layer of pasta, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup parmesan and 2/3 cup mozzarella. Spread 1 1/2 cups ragu over the cheese and top with 1 cup béchamel. Repeat with 3 more layers each of pasta, parmesan, mozzarella, ragu and béchamel  Top with a layer of pasta, then cover with the remaining béchamel  Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and mozzarella. Tuck the edges of the pasta into the baking dish with a knife.

Place the lasagna on a baking sheet to catch any drips; bake until bubbly and golden, about 40 minutes. Let rest 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

*I used one 32 oz jar of my homemade canned tomatoes and 12 sheets of Barilla no-bake lasagna sheets with excellent results. If you use the no-bake sheets, bake the lasagna for 50 minutes and while assembling make sure that each sheet of pasta is completely covered with ragu or béchamel.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Homemade Taco Sauce

Yield: 5 8oz Jars
Source: Canning Homemade/Better Homes and Gardens

1 quart tomato sauce
1 T cumin
2 poblano peppers
2 jalapeño peppers
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
4 T sugar
1 T kosher salt
2 dried ancho chilies, seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 t lime juice
1/4 c white vinegar

Using the recipe in the link above, make tomato sauce. Work through step 4, reducing by a third for a thinner sauce. If you want to break this process up, make the tomato sauce the day before and refrigerate overnight.

Bring tomato sauce to a boil in a large stainless steel, enameled or nonstick pot. After 2 minutes, reduce to a simmer.

Preheat broiler. Place peppers, onions and garlic in a single layer in a 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 8 to 10 minutes rotating peppers until skins are lightly charred on all sides. Move charred peppers to a paper bag or covered dish and allow to steam for 10-15 minutes. Add onions and garlic to simmering tomato sauce.

Once peppers have cooled, remove skins, seed and chop. Add peppers to tomato sauce. Add sugar, salt, and dried chilies to tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Increase heat and return to a boil, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, process until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing liquid through and scraping the inside of the sieve with a rubber spatula, discard solids. Return strained mixture to the large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer sauce, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened  and reduced to about 4 cups. Stir in lime juice and vinegar.

Ladle hot sauce into hot, sterilized half pint jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids. Processed filled jars in water bath canner  for 35 minutes (start timing when water returns to a boil). Remove jars and cool overnight. Makes 5 half pints.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Yield: 9 24oz Jars

1 cup olive oil
4 large onions, diced
3 cups chili powder
8 tsp cumin
8 tsp garlic powder
4 adobo chiles
1/2 cup sugar
10 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
8 quarts tomato sauce, preferably homemade
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice

Using the recipe in the link above, make tomato sauce. Work through step 4, reducing by a third for a thinner sauce. If you want to break this process up, make the tomato sauce the day before and refrigerate overnight. Bring it back to a boil before you begin the enchilada sauce.

Set a very large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When hot, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and it starts to brown on the edges. Add spices, chili powder through garlic powder and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the sugar, tomato sauce and chicken broth to the pot. Stir to combine then bring to a boil. For a smooth sauce, remove pot from heat and use an immersion blender to break up the chilies and onions. (This could also be done in batches with a blender or food processor before adding the tomato sauce to the pot. If you do it this way, you will need to add about 4 cups of the chicken stock to the onion mixture first. Seriously though, just buy the immersion blender, it's so much easier.) Prepare jars and lids for pressure caning.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to hold sauce at a simmer until jars and lids are ready.

Ladle hot sauce into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice to each jar. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot sauce. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. Fill pressure canner with 3 quarts of water and load jars.

Process using a pressure canner at 10 lbs psi for 15 minutes (at 860 feet above sea level).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Banana Bread

Yield: 2 8" loaves
Source: Betty Crocker's 40th Anniversary Edition Cookbook

Lately I find myself purchasing bananas 7 and 8 at a time even though I full well know that I'll never get them eaten by the end of the week. It seems I subconsciously want banana bread.

1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (3 to 4 medium)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Place oven rack in lowest position and preheat to 350°. Grease bottoms only of 2 8" loaf pans.

Mix sugar and butter into a paste, add eggs one at a time. Add bananas. (I don't mash them, instead I put the mixer on about 3 and toss chunks of banana into the whirring beater. It's quite fun, I highly recommend it.) Pour in buttermilk and add vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in remaining flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined. Stir in nuts.

Pour batter into pans and bake for about 1 hour or until tester comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each pan to loosen the sides. Remove from pans and allow to completely cool on a wire rack before slicing.


Yield: 3-4 large meatballs
Source: Betty Crocker's 40th Anniversary Edition Cookbook

This is based on Betty's original but I find that a full size meatloaf just takes too long to cook on a weeknight. Breaking it up into smaller portions prior to baking shortens the cooking time quite a bit. Use 3 ramekins for 1/3 pound portions or 4 smaller ones for 1/4 pound portions. 

1 pound lean ground beef
1 t fresh or 1/2 t dried sage
1 t salt
1/2 t ground mustard seed
1 t fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic or 1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c tomato jam, barbecue sauce, or ketchup + 1 T per ramekin 
3 or 4 8-12 oz ramekins

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly crumble beef into a large mixing bowl.  Toss in sage through garlic and combine with your fingers. Be careful not to overwork the meat. Add tomato jam to the meat, don't mix it yet. Measure milk into a large liquid measuring cup, whisk egg and Worcestershire sauce into milk. Once combined, pour over meat and lightly work with a large fork or your fingers until fully incorporated. 

Prepare 3 or 4 ramekins by greasing the bottoms (I realize this seams odd but it will help with clean up later). Divide the meat mixture evenly and form into loose balls, put one ball into each ramekin. Top each one with 1 tablespoon of tomato jam. You could also add a pice of uncooked bacon here, everything's better with bacon.

Load the ramekins into a small cookie sheet and place into the oven. Cook 3 larger ramekins for 45 minutes or 4 smaller ones for 30 minutes. 

When the meatloaves are done allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Remove the meatloaves from the ramekins (I used a small metal spatula). Small meatloaves are ready to serve. Large ones can be served as is on a bug burger-style or cut in half width-wise first.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Black Bean Dip

Yield: 1 8x8 Pan
Source: San-Man Gardens

While wandering the City Market today I spotted one of my favorite vendors... and she had samples. This dip is the sweet, spicy, creamy match your tortilla chips have been dreaming of. And it's ridiculously simple to make. The recipe is tweaked a bit here.

1 15oz can Black Beans (rinsed and drained)
1 8oz brick of Cream Cheese (softened)
5-6 Green Onions
1 8oz jar of your favorite Jalapeno Jam (guess where I get mine)
1 cup Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese

Slice the green onions into fine rings, all the way up to the green. Reserve some of the darker green ends, a tablespoon or so. Whip the cream cheese in the mixer until soft and creamy. Add the green onion to the mixer and whip to combine.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and carefully fold in the black beans with a spatula until just combined. Don't mash the beans. Spread the cream cheese-onion-bean mixture into an even layer in a 9x9-ish pan.

Open your jam, I used San-Mar Gardens Jalapeno Mango (hit a farmers market in your area and support your local jammer), give it a good stir to loosen it up. Spread the jam evenly over the cream cheese.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the jam layer and garnish with the reserved green onion slices. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips.