Saturday, December 31, 2011

Umami Burgers With Port And Stilton

I have wanted to try this for so long, but it did disappoint a little. More cheese and port would have helped.  The rolls seemed to absorb a lot of the flavors. Some bites were very tasty, but most were just, in the words of Randy Jackson, pitchy. I made a couple of deviations from the recipe. I used woodears instead of the shiitake, I used ground chuck and the buns were egg bread knots from the bakery. The buns were very similar to brioche.  Dried shiitakes seem to be on strike, and the meat was 20% fat like the homemade combo of different cuts. I don't think that they were significant changes, at least not enough to ruin the dish.  Now I might make it again.  I have umami powder left over, but it didn't wow.  Now we are going out to the cul de sac and celebrate the coming new year:)

Umami Burgers With Port And Stilton
 4 Servings

1 c  ruby port
2 lb mixed ground beef brisket skirt steak and sirloin steak (20 percent
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 c  Stilton cheese (3 ounces) softened
Umami dust,for sprinkling (optional, see Note)
4    brioche hamburger buns buttered and toasted
[Note: Wine Cherry-rich Washington Merlot. Beer Malty brown ale:
Brooklyn Brewery  Brown Ale.  Our Pairing Suggestion  Tip: Burger
purists handle  ground meat  as little as possible; over-working the
beef can create a tight, meatloaf texture.  Resist the urge to pile on
any of the usual toppings  ]
1. In a small saucepan, cook the port over moderate heat until reduced
to 2 tablespoons, about 15 minutes.
2. Heat a cast-iron griddle until very hot. Form the meat into four 4-
by-1-inch patties without packing too tightly. Season generously with
salt and pepper. Add the patties to the griddle, cover with a roasting
pan and cook over moderately high heat for 4 minutes, until very crusty.
Flip the patties and cook, covered, for 2 minutes longer; top with the
Stilton and cook uncovered for 1 minute. Transfer the patties to a
plate and sprinkle with the umami dust, let rest for 2 minutes and set
on the buns. Drizzle with the reduced port, top with the buns and serve.

Notes The Secret Seasoning To make simplified umami dust, use a spice
grinder to pulse 3 tablespoons bonito flakes, 1/2 ounce crumbled dried
kombu, and 1/2 ounce dried shitake mushrooms into a powder. Umami dust
will soon be available at

Friday, December 30, 2011

Improv Soup

Well after the orgy of high fat over eating over Christmas, I was planning on doing something light. Mission not really accomplished. I, instead of planning and shopping, decided to make a soup out of anything that needed to be used in the fridge I will apologize now for the vague instructions, but I was winging it and just trying to make a warm dish on this cold night that will use up food that was on the verge of being wasted. Despite the lack of planning, we were all really pleased in the end. The boy pronounced it a favorite, and my husband declined the addition of leftover beef. (he also said some really nice things about my cooking skills! (blush)) The following measurements are estimated, but I am pretty good at guesstimating when it comes to cooking. Only 100% for sure is the water. I did measure it. We served it with grilled sourdough.  Oh and any suggestions for names would be great!

Improv Soup
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cups of peeled baby carrots
3 cups of sliced celery
11 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
8 cups water
5 Tbsp tomato paste
Pinch red pepper flakes
Large pinch of marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
3" rind of parmesan reggiano
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup of heavy cream
Chopped scallions and grated parm for garnish

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium high heat. Add celery and a pinch of salt and sauté a minute or two. Add in the onion and another pinch of salt and cook another minute. Add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the potato and cook for a minute. Finally the garlic and cook a minute. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for about 1/2 an hour or until all the veggies are soft. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender, purée until smooth. Add vinegar, tomato paste and parm rind. Simmer uncovered for about 10-20 minutes. (until the consistency you want). Add in the cream and salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with scallions and grated parm.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We ordered pizza tonight, but my wonderful fry daddy made a cookie I haven't had since I was a young girl. My father's side of the family is pure Lithuanian.  My paternal Grandmother would make these cookies I swear she called Ositas. (my dad agrees) I couldn't find a recipe for them anywhere.  I did (long time ago) see a Martha Stewart recipe for a Cruciki (sp?) but it had all these liquors and extracts I didn't remember being in the cookie.  I stumbled upon a Lithuanian cooking web site, (that I can't seem to find again.  It's like a ghost that popped up for me that one time and disappeared) and found a recipe for Ausukai.  It was the same cookie.  My husband made a test batch before they got here.  They were too thick and didn't fry right.  This time they were perfect.  I have vivid memories of my father devouring mass quantities of these cookies in a fog of powdered sugar that swirled off the cookie like snow.  We surprised him with them this year. He loved them.  He said that they took him back to his childhood.  That was one of my favorite parts of this Christmas. It is because of this recipe, I started collecting a cookbook of recipes after the birth of my son.  I thought this cookie was had passed away with my grandmother and I wanted to save recipes of my childhood to share with my kids and for them to share with their children.


2    egg yolks
1    whole egg
3 1/2 T  sugar
3 1/2 T  whipping cream
1 1/2 c  sifted white flour
powdered or confectioners'
vegetable oil for frying
Beat yolks and egg together until thick and the color of lemon. Sift
the flour with a pinch of salt. Whisk the flour, sugar, and the cream
into the egg mixture. Allow to stand for a few minutes.
Flour the kneading surface and your hands. Knead the dough on the
surface until no longer sticky. Roll out the dough until it's very thin.
Then fold the dough into thirds back onto itself. Roll out again; fold
again. Roll out again, very thin.
Cut the dough into small diamond strips, about 4" x 2". Cut a
lengthwise slit in the middle of each strip. Pull the other end through
the slit. It's not an ausuki unless you tie this knot!
In an oversize pot or a deep fryer, heat the vegetable oil to 350F. Fry
for about 3-4 minutes, only a maximum of six at a time, so that the oil
stays hot. When the ausukai appear golden, fry for about 20 seconds
more.  They should puff up. Do not brown!
Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with the powdered sugar (the part we
kids really enjoyed!).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Warm Picnic Burritos

This is another family favorite.  It is due in part to our secret chimichuri sauce, but still a stellar meal. In addition to he chimichuri, we also add sliced scallions. Skirt steak is a bit pricey, so we use any inexpensive roast.(bottom round this time)  The long cooking time makes it tender and when I shred the beef, I can remove any fat, connective tissue etc, that I don't want to eat. The Serrano does not make it hot at all; the long cooking time mellows the heat and you mostly taste the pepper's fruit as opposed to the fire.

Warm Picnic Burritos ("Burritos De Machaca")
 2 T  Maggi sauce* or 1 tablespoon soy sauce,plus 1tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 T  water
4 T  fresh lime juice
3    garlic cloves,minced
1    serrano chile,stemmed,seeded, and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c  olive oil
1    (2 to 3-pound) skirt steak trimmed and cut into pieces
3 T  vegetable or olive oil
1 1/2 c  diced onion
1 c  diced red bell pepper
3    garlic cloves,minced
2    serrano chiles,stemmed,seeded, and minced
1 c  beef broth
1 cn diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 t  dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12    (6-inch) flour tortillas
           Lime wedges,for serving
[Note: Hodges: Maggi sauce is a popular seasoning in Mexico that can
be found in Latin markets  ]
Combine the Maggi sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, chile, salt, and
pepper, to taste, in a medium-size bowl. Slowly add the 1/2 cup of
olive oil, whisking constantly.
Add the beef to the marinade, making sure each piece is coated with the
mixture. Transfer the meat and the marinade to a quart-size freezer bag.
Seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight.
Allow the meat to come to room temperature before cooking, about 30
minutes. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry with paper
towels. Discard the marinade.
In a large heavy pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
Sear the meat on all sides, a few pieces at a time, about 4 minutes per
side. Transfer the browned meat to a platter and set aside.
Add the onions, peppers, garlic, and chiles to the hot pan. Saute for 5
minutes, then add the beef broth, tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper,
to taste. Mix well, then return the meat to the pan. Bring to a boil,
reduce the heat, cover, and simmer slowly until the meat is very tender,
about 2 hours. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and allow to rest
until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Continue to cook the
onion mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Using your fingers or 2 forks, shred the meat into 2-inch-long pieces.
Return the shredded meat to the pot, stir to combine, and cook until
meat is very hot, about 3 minutes.
Warm the tortillas over a burner or in a dry skillet over medium heat
for 20 seconds. Put about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the
center of each tortilla, and roll into a thin burrito. Arrange them on
a serving platter and garnish with lime wedges.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Dinner

Well we have never been one of those super traditional families. We have our traditions but they aren't the ones most people have. Christmas eve was big in my family growing up. We had friends and family over for dinner that night and opened our presents to each other. The next morning we kids opened our Santa presents and the immediate family relaxed together. My MIL and her Husband and my Sister in law came up to see us. We did the present thing. Dinner was Beouf Bourguignon, double baked cheese soufflé (see 11/11/11) , salad and a really tasty kale and gnocchi dish and cranberry sauce my MIL brought. (the last 2 items). I made this beef because it can be made ahead and because I absolutely loved it when I made it before. This time was not my best. I don't know why, but it fell short. :(. I don't think it was crap mind you, just not the omg dish it had been in the past. It was a great night. We tracked Santa on the NORAD app and made the kids get to bed when he was in Newfoundland.

Boeuf Bourguignon6 Servings
6 oz Bacon,Cut Into Lardons
1 T  Olive Oil
3 lb Lean Stewing Beef,Cut Into 2" Cubes
1    Carrot,Sliced
1    Onion,Sliced
1 t  Salt
1/4 t  Pepper,Fresh Ground
 2 T  Flour
 3 c  Red Wine
 2 c  Beef Broth
 1 T  Tomato Paste
 2 ea Garlic,Smashed
1/2 t  Thyme
1    Bay Leaf,Crumbled
18 sm Pearl Onions,Brown Braised
1 lb Mushrooms,Sauteed In Butter
 Parsley Sprigs
[Note: you need the recipe for brown braised onions and mushrooms
sauteed in butter]
Simmer bacon lardons in water for 10 minutes.  Drain and pat dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Saute bacon in casserole over moderate
heat for 2-3 minutes to brown  lightly.  Remove to a side dish with a
slotted spoon. Heat the oil(with the rendered bacon fat) until almost
smoking before sauteing the beef.  Make sure beef pieces are totally
dry or they wont brown.  Saute the beef a few pieces at a time until
nicely browned on all sides.  Add it to the bacon.  In the same fat
brown the sliced veggies. Pour out the sauteing fat.  Return the beef
and bacon to the casserole and toss with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle on
the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour.  Set
casserole, uncovered, in the middle position of the preheated oven for
4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to the oven for 4 more
minutes.  (this browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.
) Remove the casserole and lower oven temp to 350. Stir in the wine and
enough stock to barely cover the meat. Add the tomato paste, garlic and
herbs. Bring to a simmer on top the of the stove. Cover and set
casserole in the lower third of the preheated oven.  Simmer very slowly
for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  While the beef is cooking make the mushrooms and
onions.  Set them aside until needed.  When the meat is tender, pour
the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash
out casserole and return the beef bacon to it.  Distribute the cooked
onions and mushrooms over the meat.  Skim the fat off the sauce.
Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off the fat as it rises.
(you should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon
lightly.  It its too thin, reduce a bit, if its too thick, add some
stock. Taste for seasoning and pour sauce over meat. (recipe can be
made in advance to this point) If you are serving now: cover casserole
and simmer 2-3 more minutes, stirring to coat the beef. Serve with
potatoes, noodles or rice with the parsley. For serving later: When cold,
cover and refrigerate.  15-20 minutes before serving, bring to a
simmer, cover and simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to

Brown Braised Onions
18    Pearl Onions,Peeled
1 1/2 T  Butter
1 1/2 T  Oil
1/2 c  Brown Stock Or Wine
Salt And Pepper
1 md Bouquet Garni,4 Parsley Sprigs,1/2 Bay Leaf, And 1/4 tsp thyme
Heat butter and oil til bubbling in a skillet. Add the onions and
saute over moderate heat for about 10 minutes.  Rolling the onions
about so that they will brown as evenly as possible.  Be careful not to
break the skins. ( you cant expect them to brown evenly) Pour in the
liquid, season to taste and add the bouquet garni.  Cover and simmer
slowly for 40-50 minutes until the onions are tender but retain their
shape and liquid has evaporated. Remove bouquet.

For the mushrooms, saute them in butter over medium heat.  They should absorb the fat at first, them start to release their liquid.  Cook until starting to brown.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tranches de Jambon a la Creme (Ham Slices in Fresh Cream Sauce)

This Julia Child recipe immediately follows the Ham in Madeira sauce (10/25/11) that we made before and LOVED!  In the into to this recipe Julia says that "this famous recipe is the same idea as the preceding one, but with a richer, more delicate sauce."  Well it was indeed very similar, but I think that we all liked the first one better.  The main difference is that the first sauce had ham stock in it; it could be, however, that the ham we used this time was smokier in flavor which made it into the sauce.  Either way it was good, but next time we will make the first version.

Tranches de Jambon a la Creme (Ham Slices in Fresh Cream Sauce)

3 lbs of cooked ham, sliced 1/4" thick
2 Tb butter
1 Tb oil
2 Tb shallots(or green onions), chopped
2/3 cup Madeira or Port
3 Tb cognac
2 cups whipping cream
2 Tb Dijon Mustard mixed with 1 Tb tomato paste and 2 Tb whipping cream
Big Pinch of Black Pepper

Trim off any excess fat on the ham and pat dry with paper towels. Put the oil and butter in a skillet and brown the ham on both sides. Put the ham on a plate and remove all but a tablespoon of fat in the skillet.  Saute the shallots (or onions) until soft (about 2 minutes)  Pour in the wine and cognac and boil rapidly, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Boil until the liquid has reduced to about 3-4 Tb.
Add the cream to the skillet and beat in the mustard mixture and pepper.  Simmer slowly until the cream has reduced to about 1.5 cups and has thickened slightly. Correct seasoning, but go light on the salt.  Ham is salty. Return the ham to the sauce and baste the ham with the sauce. (may be done ahead to this point)
Shortly before serving, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer for several minutes until the ham is reheated and tender.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Catalan Fish Stew With Pimentón Mayonnaise

If you are thinking what I was thinking when I saw this recipe, you  are thinking mayonnaise in soup?! Well let me assure this is a recipe worth making.  It is really tasty! My son absolutely LOVED it.  So much so, my husband was getting annoyed with his slurping and shoveling!  I couldn't find Serrano ham, and while Prosciutto would be the more appropriate substitute, I had regular ham on hand, so I julienned some strips of it and threw that in.  Less Catalan but less waste for me. We had some of the mayonnaise left over, I think it would be delicious on sandwiches too. I think that the base could be prepared ahead of time, and just reheated then adding the raw fish and just do that part of the cooking at that time.  The grating of the tomatoes is a pretty ingenious way to get the tomatoes out of their skins without the annoying boiling and shocking.
Catalan Fish Stew With Pimentón Mayonnaise
1 1/2 lb plum tomatoes,halved crosswise
3 T  extra-virgin olive oil
1    large onion,thinly sliced
2    garlic cloves,minced
1 c  bottled clam broth
4    ounces sliced serrano ham cut into thin strips
1/3 c  pitted green olives,chopped
1 1/2 lb halibut fillet,cut into-2-inch chunks
Kosher salt
1/2 c  mayonnaise
1/2 t  sweet Pimentón de la Vera -(smoked Spanish paprika)
1. Using a box grater set in a bowl, carefully grate the cut sides
of the tomatoes, stopping when you reach the skin. You should have
about 2 cups of tomato pulp.
2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add
the onion and half of the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring
frequently, until they are softened and just beginning to brown, about
6 minutes. Add the tomato pulp and cook over high heat until it is
thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the clam broth and boil until it is
reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the Serrano, olives and halibut and simmer over moderate heat,
stirring occasionally, until the fish is cooked through and the stew is
thick, about 5 minutes longer.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, using the back of a spoon, mash the
remaining garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. Whisk in the
mayonnaise, pimentn and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
5. Serve the fish stew in shallow bowls with a dollop of the pimentn
Make Ahead The smoked-paprika mayonnaise can be refrigerated for up to
2 days. Serve With Crusty bread.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Carne Fria – Cuban Cold Meat Roll

Well tonight I made Soft Pork Tacos with beans and rice (see 10/11/11 post) because it was requested by our guest. Since it is a recipe that is already in the blog, I figured I would put the recipe I made yesterday to use up some ham.  It is another recipe from the 3 guys from Miami.  Being from there, I am really missing good Cuban food.  This website (I heard about from another former Miami resident and Latin as well) has helped me scratch that itch.  This is a food I hadn't had before, but it is a nice way to make your own "sausage".  We have had it cold on crackers, in a sandwich cold and hot.  It isn't really pretty so no picture;P

Carne Fria – Cuban Cold Meat Roll
1/2 lb ham,cut in chunks
1 lb ground beef (regular,NOT lean)
1 lb ground pork
4 ea garlic
1 t  cumin
4    eggs,well beaten
1 1/2 c  cracker crumbs
1    yellow onion,chopped fine
2 t  salt
1/8 t  ground black pepper
1 t  Sazón Accent
4 ea garlic
1    onion,sliced
1    bay leaf
2 t  salt
1 t  oregano
1.Grind the ham in a food processor until chopped fine. Add all of
the remaining ingredients listed under "meat" above and continue
processing until well blended.
2.Roll the mixture into two large rolls, approximately 2 1/2 inches in
diameter. Wrap the rolls in two damp, clean white dish towels. Twist
the ends and tie them tight so that none of the mixture leaks out. In
Cuba it was a tradition to sew the bundle together. However, we have
found that if you overlap the wrap at least twice and tie the ends
securely with string, you don't need to sew it shut.
3.Bring approximately four quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add all
of the boil ingredients, plus the two meat rolls. Reduce heat and
simmer on medium low for about two hours. Remove from water.
4.To serve: cut in slices and serve on crackers or Cuban bread.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Italian Meatballs In Caper-Tomato Sauce

Well I had bought some ground beef and pork for a recipe that would use up some of our left over ham. While the recipe (Carne Fria) called for a full pound of each, I decided to only make half the recipe and was planing to freeze the rest.  Well when I was looking for recipes for tonight's dinner, I found this one in my to try file that would use up that meat. (as my darling would say: Fate?) I have yet to feel really proficient in cooking meatballs, but they do come out ok.  The whole time though, I am thinking, this is not going right. This recipe was very simple.  I didn't like the look of the tomatoes in the produce section, so I used the canned san marzano (sp?) plum tomatoes in place of the fresh.  I think they would have made a superior sauce if they had been really good tomatoes.  This was well received all way round.  My husband was annoyed that he liked the meatballs because he doesn't like olives.  (there are only two in all the meat but its the principle of it for him;)

Italian Meatballs In Caper-Tomato Sauce

1 1/2 lb plum tomatoes,peeled and chopped
2 T  extra-virgin olive oil
1 T  nonpareil capers,drained and chopped
1/2 t  dried oregano
Kosher salt
1/2 c  crustless bread,torn in 1/2-inch pieces
3 T  milk
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground beef
1    large egg,lightly beaten
2    pitted kalamata olives minced
1 T  freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano-cheese
1 T  minced parsley
[Note: Our Pairing Suggestion   Go with a spicy, cherry-scented
Tuscan red blend.   ]
1. In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes. In a saucepan,
heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the pureed tomatoes and bring to a
boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring, until the sauce starts to
thicken, about 5 minutes. Add the capers and oregano and simmer until
the sauce is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 5 minutes. Season with salt; keep
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the bread with the milk. Let
stand until the bread has absorbed the milk, about 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork and beef. Add the milk-
soaked bread, egg, olives, cheese, parsley and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix
well with your hands and shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs.
4. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the
meatballs and cook over moderately high heat until starting to brown,
about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until browned all
over and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain the meatballs and
transfer to a platter. Pour the hot tomato sauce on top and serve.
Make Ahead The uncooked meatballs and the tomato sauce can be
refrigerated separately for up to 2 days. Bring the meatballs to room
temperature before cooking them.

Oh and I wanted to try this bottled dressing (gasp?!); keep in mind I looked at the ingredients and they didn't have anything non food in it.  It is pictured below.  It was very good!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pork and Cheese Arepas with Tangy Cabbage Slaw

I have loved arepas since I was a kid growing up in Miami.  Surprisingly, no one else in my family had tried them.  I saw this recipe in the latest issue of Food and Wine.  (It looks like it isn't on line yet.)  The thing I love about this recipe the best, it is so versatile.  Not only is it able to be adjusted to use any leftovers you have in the house, but they can be made ahead of time so they need only be fried when time to eat.  The cabbage slaw is really nice and gives you some veggies with the meal.  One thing to note is that the picked jalapenos are really necessary.  They give some acid and heat to the arepa that seems to magically to mute all flavors. We haven't been fans of the pickled jalapenos in the past but we think they really help make the dish. While we would like to tweak this particular recipe a bit, it is still a keeper!

Pork And Cheese Arepas
4 Servings

2 c  Masa Harina,(maseca Brand If Possible)
1 3/4 c  Water,Hot (plus 2 Tablespoons)
2 c  Red Cabbage
1/4    Small Red Onion,Thinly Sliced
2 T  Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 lb Roast Pork,Shredded
4 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese Shredded
Hot Sauce
Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
Sour Cream
1. In a bowl, mix the masa harina, water and 1 teaspoon of salt to
form a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in another bowl,  toss the cabbage, onion and vinegar.
Season with salt
3. In a small bowl, combine pork and cheddar and season with salt and
hot sauce. Form the pork filling into 4 compact balls.
4. Form the dough into 4 balls and covert with plastic wrap.  Working
with the balls one at a time, flatten it on a sheet of plastic wrap
into a 7 in round.  Place pork filling ball in  the center of the dough.
Bring the dough up to cover the filling. Gently flatten the ball into
a 4inch patty and patch any holes or tears.  Repeat with the remaining
dough and filling. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the arepas and fry over high heat, turning once, until golden, crisp and heated through, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and transfer to to plates.  With a slotted spoon, mound the cabbage slaw on top and
serve with the jalapenos, hot sauce and sour cream.
Make Ahead:The uncooked arepas can be stacked between sheets of plastic wrap and
refrigerated overnight.  Bring the arepas to room temperature before
Spicy, cherry rich blend: 2009 Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Aigo Bouido (Garlic Soup)

This is one of the boy's favorite.  As garlic lovers, we all like it a lot. It is simple to make and very tasty. I think the best thing I learned with this recipe is how to easily peel vast amounts of garlic. I hate to waste, so I put the egg whites in individual cups and froze them for some future recipe.  WOW!  I added chopped chives to the top.  I think it was better that way.

Aigo Bouido (Garlic Soup)

1    Garlic,Separated (about 16 -Cloves)
2 qt Water
2 t  Salt
pn Pepper
2    Cloves
1/4 t  Sage
1/4 t  Thyme
1/2    Bay Leaf
4    Parsley Sprigs
3 T  Olive Oil
3    Egg Yolks
3 T  Olive Oil,Up To 4 Tbs
1    Round Of Hard Toasted
French Bread,Per Bowl Of Soup
1 c  Swiss Or Parmesan Cheese -Grated
[Note: I use 2 garlic heads (about 20 cloves)]
Drop the garlic cloves in to boiling water and boil for thirty seconds.
Remove them and run the cloves under cold water and peel. Place the
garlic in a a3qt sauce pan along with the rest of the soup ingredients.
Boil slowly for 30 minutes. Correct the seasoning.  Beat the egg yolks
in a soup tureen for a minute until they are thick and sticky.  Drop by
drop add the olive oil like making a mayonnaise.  Just before serving,
beat a ladle of the hot liquid, drop by drop in to the egg yolks.
Strain the soup into the serving bowl and press the garlic to get all
the liquid.  Serve immediately with the bread and cheese.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Burgers for the Boy

Well after feeding our son that vegetable soup (which you would have swore was against the Geneva convention by the way he talked about it afterwards;), I told him he could choose dinner when we got back from my mother in law's house. He choose burgers. Well they had a deal on this organic, grass fed & certified humane ground beef. I have been wanting to to try it anyways. Well, was it worth almost $8 for the pound? I say yes for the following reasons: 1) usually the smell of ground beef cooking is not pleasant to me. I noticed this time I did not avoid breathing through my nose ;). 2) humane! Organic! And I did notice a taste difference because of the grass diet. I don't think that it is worth the splurge with all the toppings I require on a burger, but for a steak... Yes! ( I need mayo, ketchup, onion, pickle and tomato. No cheese). The best burger tip ever came from Alton Brown. Use the mayo as a fat barrier on the bottom bun to prevent sogginess! Brilliant! Yes those are frozen french fries.  They are a useful snack for a picky 2 year old that eats NO carbs but french fries and pizza crust. (WT...) and I was feeling lazy as I was up at 5 for no good reason and couldn't go back to sleep.  The beef was unadulterated.  Not even salt and it was totally yummy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Soupe Au Pistou

I was never a huge soup fan.  I don't think it is an inherent dislike more that it's too warming and its already pretty bloody hot in Florida.  However, I am overcoming this and trying to learn the art of making a good soup.  This is a tasty vegetarian soup.  Almost all the flavor comes form the pistou.  I halved the soup, but not the pistou.  It was good with the proper amount of the pistou, but I put in double.  I was good too but not necessary.  My husband and I prefer a smooth soup as opposed to a chunky soup.  Next time I think I will use an immersion blender before the addition of the pistou.

Soupe Au Pistou
8 Servings
3 qt Water
2 c  Carrot,Diced
2 c  Potato,Diced
2 c  Onion Or Leeks,Diced
1 T  Salt
2 c  Green Beans,Diced
2 c  Navy Or Kidney Beans,Canned
1/3 c  Broken Vermicelli
1 sl White Bread,Stale And Crumbled
1/8 t  Black Pepper
pinch Saffron
4 ea Garlic,Mashed
4 T  Tomato Paste
1/4 c  Fresh Basil,Chopped
1/2 c  Parmesan,Grated
1/4 c  Olive Oil,Up To 1/2 Cup
1) Boil the water with the first three veggies slowly for 40 minutes.
Correct seasoning
2) 20 minutes before serving, so the green beans will retain their
freshness, add the green beans, beans, vermicelli, bread and seasonings
through saffron. and slowly boil about 15 minutes or until the green
beans are cooked through.
3) Meanwhile make the pistou: Put the tomato paste, garlic and cheese
in a soup tureen and blend to a paste.  Then beat in the oil drop by
drop.  When the soup is ready to serve, beat in a cup of the soup in to
the pistou then pour the rest of the soup in to the tureen and serve.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Turkey And Artichoke Stuffed Shells With Arrabbiata Sauce

I love this recipe.  The best part for me is that I make two dinners at once.  The Arrabbiata sauce is awesome and can be just used by itself on pasta.  So I made this recipe (all four of us ate and we had leftovers)  but split the shells between two baking dishes.  One I cooked tonight, the other is in my freezer for a future dinner.  To increase the veggie content, we had a salad with "Outback" honey mustard dressing.  The recipe came from one of those secret restaurant recipe cookbooks.  Its pretty close and very tasty.

Turkey And Artichoke Stuffed Shells With Arrabbiata Sauce

1    (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (recommended,Barilla)
3 T  extra-virgin olive oil
1/2    large yellow onion,chopped (about 1 cup)
3 ea garlic,chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 t  kosher salt,plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 t  freshly ground black pepper plus 1/4 teaspoon
1    (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes,thawed and coarsely chopped
1    (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
3/4 c  grated Parmesan
2    eggs,lightly beaten
1/4 c  chopped fresh basil leaves
2 T  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
5 c  Arrabbiata Sauce,recipe follows
1 1/2 c  grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)
 Arrabbiata Sauce
2 T  extra-virgin olive oil
6    ounces sliced pancetta coarsely chopped
2 t  crushed red pepper flakes
2    garlic cloves,minced
5 c  jarred or fresh marinara sauce
[Note: i split this recipe between two baking dishes.  I freeze one
and cook the other.  I serve with salad ]

Make the Arrabbiata sauce (instructions at the end)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the
pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite,
stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-
high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are
soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2
teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook,
stirring occasionally, until the meat is slightly golden and cooked
through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat
and let cool.
In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta
cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt
and pepper. Stir to combine.
To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking
dish with 1 cup of Arrabbiata sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your
hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey mixture, about 2
tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue
filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells.
Drizzle the remaining Arrabbiata Sauce over the shells, top with the
grated mozzarella. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and
place in the freezer for 1 day and up to 1 month.
To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake (covered for 45 of the minutes) until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60-70 minutes
(20-30 minutes uncovered if shells are unfrozen.)

Arrabbiata Sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the
pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic
and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and red
pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool
until ready to use.
Yield: approximately 6 cups

 Outback Honey Mustard Dressing
 8 Servings

1 c  Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
1 c  Honey
2 t  Vegetable oil
1 t  lemon juice
Whisk ( in electric mixer if you have it) until the ingredients have
blended together well.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Down Side of Cooking

Today I find myself way behind on the dinner process. It's my own fault but now it is 7:00PM and I have at least another hour to go. Yes it is almost all inactive but it's a school night. Well as the dinner will keep in its ready to bake state until tomorrow, I finish it off as I open a frozen pizza. Now who doesn't like pizza. I once (ok still) had a positive love of totinos. (now that I have told you I really should kill you ;). I bought one of the fancier frozen pizzas thinking it would be good in a pinch. Much like the pinch I find myself in Tonight! WRONG! Totinos I can love for their greasy disgusting glory. This pizza (which was just as much work and possibly more time than homemade) was foul! It tasted raw. The imitation mozzarella was not the melty goodness it should have been and the sauce, well let's just say meh. I didn't take a picture. (you know what pizza looks like lol) While I am happy and proud of the removal of processed foods and quick meals, I am finding that one, albeit small, downside is a form of culinary snobbery I would rather not have.

Good Eats Meat Loaf Recipe

Another one of my husband's favorites.  I think it is alright.  I really think it is great, but I miss the nostalgia of a meatloaf without all the cumin.  The first time I made this recipe, I really irked my guy because he "hates meatloaf."  Well I happen to enjoy it, so I  figured Alton would steer us right.  He really did. Now meatloaf is one of the all time favorites of the guy who "hates meatloaf."  Which just goes to show you never know that you hate something.  Keep trying it and you may find one that you like.  He even cooked it tonight! Best part of this recipe is the cooking technique.  Brilliant to flip the meat out on to a pan so it doesn't boil.  (the 3 sides of glaze are a big plus too)  With it he made some lightly sauteed broccoli and mashed potatoes.  I have to admit that the gravy was instant. (blush)  A British friend of mine recommended these gravy granules you find in the international aisle of the grocery.  Its called Bisto.  I have to say it is pretty good.  OK I loved it, but I want to not because it isn't homemade.  It does tastes a bit processed, but it's GRAVY!  Since my last pregnancy, I can't get past the taste of processed foods.  I couldn't touch them when I was pregnant; they made me nauseous.  The aversion is still there but not as strong a reaction to them.  So begins my love/hate relationship with Bisto.  Love that tasty gravy is a boiling water moment away; hate that I love something processed that is just shy of just injecting fat straight onto my belly and butt:(.  I will have to practice self control!  OMG I just remembered, I love french fries and gravy.  I am in trouble lol.

Good Eats Meat Loaf Recipe
 6    ounces garlic-flavored -croutons
1/2 t  ground black pepper
1/2 t  cayenne pepper
1 t  chili powder
1 t  dried thyme
1/2    onion,roughly chopped
 1    carrot,peeled and broken
 3    whole cloves garlic
1/2    red bell pepper
18    ounces ground chuck
18    ounces ground sirloin
 1 1/2 t  kosher salt
 1    egg
 For the glaze
1/2 c  catsup
 1 T  ground cumin
 Dash Worcestershire sauce
 Dash hot pepper sauce
1 T  honey
Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a food processor bowl, combine croutons, black pepper, cayenne
pepper,   chili powder, and thyme. Pulse until the mixture is of a fine
texture. Place this mixture into a large bowl. Combine the onion,
carrot, garlic, and red pepper in the food processor bowl. Pulse until
the mixture is finely chopped, but not pureed. Combine the vegetable
mixture, ground sirloin, and ground chuck with the bread crumb mixture.
Season the meat mixture with the kosher salt. Add the egg and combine
thoroughly, but avoid squeezing the meat.
Pack this mixture into a 10-inch loaf pan to mold the shape of the
meatloaf. Onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, turn the meatloaf
out of the pan onto the center of the tray. Insert a temperature probe
at a 45 degree angle into the top of the meatloaf. Avoid touching the
bottom of the tray with the probe. Set the probe for 155 degrees.
Combine the catsup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and
honey. Brush the glaze onto the meatloaf after it has been cooking for
about 10 minutes.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Asian Scallop Salad

Well I was planning on making meatloaf tonight.  The problem was I was late getting to the grocery and the two kids were making be desperately want a Valium prescription.  So I decided to buy the meatloaf ingredients for tomorrow and make an easy salad.  This is a recipe I got from Publix apron meals.  Usually I think these meals are just alright.  I prefer the longer original recipes to the really quick ones Publix has to offer. This one is an exception. This is about the fastest recipe I know.  The best thing I got from this recipe is a perfect way to cook those little bay scallops.  (High heat, two minutes without stirring, quick stir, two more minutes and done.) I don't use the Mandarin oranges, but they were in the original recipe.  I can't find the original recipe on line and I don't have the card,l but I had this general template written down. Tonight I added scallions and cucumbers.

Asian Scallop Salad

Frozen Bay Scallops
 Mixed Spring Salad mix bag
Grape Tomatoes Halved
Chow mien Noodles
Mandarin Orange Segments
Mokoto or other ginger/Asian salad dressing
Sesame marinade
1.Thaw scallops under running water for about 5 minutes (pat dry)
2.Heat a pan over almost high heat for 2 minutes
3.add about a ¼ cup of the marinade then add the scallops
4.cook 2 minutes (don't stir or touch them in any way)
5.While the scallops are cooking dump greens in a bowl and halve the
tomatoes.  Add the noodles and oranges to the salad.
6.stir the scallops and let them cook another 2 minutes
7.Toss the salad with the dressing with the scallops


Two New Pizzas

Well I felt like pizza again, but as I am determined to do this blog every day (and have only missed a few on the days we have eaten out), and I don't want to repeat recipes, I had to search for new toppings.  I am actually enjoying the process of forcing myself and my family out of our comfortable rut of a couple dozen favorite recipes and trying stuff that we may not have, despite the fact that the recipes sound like ones we might like.  I did not plan quite as well as I should have.  In a brief scan of the Onion, Gorgonzola and Bacon pizza, I read 12 (yes 12!) cups of sliced onion as 1/2 so I didn't have but 2 when time came to cook the pizza.  (it was still good but 12 would be better:)  Also, the Salmon Pizza called for 2.5oz of smoked salmon, and I had 3oz, but it wasn't enough.  I guess I should have weighed my dough.  I think I made too large a pizza for the "sauce" and toppings.  Well I absolutely LOVED the caramelized onion one.  (un-freaking-believable); the salmon one was just alright.  I would have liked it better with more salmon.  Also, I don't like to buy caviar from unsustainable sources and the tastier of these are not available at my local market so the caviar was not the delightful addition it could have been.  That being said, the pizza was tasty.  I added capers to it and it made all the difference.  I ate it the next morning, cold, ala bagels and lox.  I think it was better.  I did add the capers again.  Next time I think I will also add sliced or diced tomatoes. The dill cream is really good, but I recommend making it several hours early because the rest time in the fridge really takes the bite out of the shallots. Oh and one more thing not related to the recipes.  I love this website and app I have found:  It lets you access your recipes on your phone.  Downside: have to enter recipes again.

Caramelized Onion Pizza With Gorgonzola, Bacon And Arugula

4 sl bacon,chopped
2 t  olive oil
12 c  onions,thinly sliced
2 t  fresh rosemary,chopped & divided
1/2 t  salt
1/4 t  black pepper
1    (12 inch) Boboli pizza crusts
1/2 c  Gorgonzola,crumbled
2 T  walnuts,coarsely chopped
1 c  arugula,trimmed
1.Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until
crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings. Set
bacon aside.
2.Add oil to bacon drippings in skillet over medium-high heat. Add
onion, and saute 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
3.Stir in 1 teaspoon rosemary, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking 15 to
20 minutes or until onion is a deep golden brown, stirring frequently.
4.Preheat oven to 400.
5.Place pizza crust on 12-inch pizza pan. Top with onion. Add cheese
and walnuts; bake 7-10 minutes or until cheese melts.
6.Remove from oven; top with 1 teaspoon rosemary, reserved bacon and

Pizza With Smoked Salmon And Caviar

6    ounces Pizza Dough (see separate recipe)
1 T  Chili and Garlic Oil (see-Sauces & Dressings)
1/4 c  thinly sliced red onion
2 T  Dill Cream (see Sauces & Dressings)
2 1/2    ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon
1 t  chopped fresh chives
1 T  Sevruga caviar,optional
[Note: W Puck]
1.Instructions for Pizza with Smoked Salmon and Caviar Recipe
2.Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the
oven to 500F.
3.On a lightly floured surface, stretch or roll out the dough into an 8-
inch circle, with the outer edge a little thicker than the inner
circle. Brush the dough with the oil and arrange the onions over the
pizza. Slide a pizza paddle or rimless baking sheet under the pizza and
then slide the pizza onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust is
golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
4.With the pizza paddle or a large spatula, carefully remove the pizza
from the oven and set it on a cutting board. Use a knife, an icing
spatula, or the back of a spoon to spread the Dill Cream over the inner
circle. Arrange the slices of salmon so that they cover the entire
pizza, slightly overlapping the raised rim. Sprinkle the chopped chives
over the salmon. Using a pizza cutter or a large sharp knife, cut the
pizza into 4 or 6 slices. If you like, spoon a little caviar in the
center of each slice. Serve immediately.

Dill Cream 1 1/2 cups Sour cream 3 tablespoons Minced shallots 2
tablespoons Fresh dill leaves, chopped 1 1/2 tablespoons Fresh lemon
juice 1/4 teaspoon Freshly ground white pepper Method 1. In a medium
bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. 2. Cover with plastic
wrap and refrigerate until ready to use
Chili And Garlic Oil 1    Whole head garlic (about 2  ½ ounces,cloves separated and peeled)
2 c  Extra virgin olive oil 1 T  Red pepper flakes Instructions 1. In a small saucepan, combine the garlic cloves and olive oil. Bring
to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer and cook until the garlic turns golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
Keep a close watch: If the garlic gets too dark, the oil will have a bitter taste.
2. Let the oil cool, then stir in the red pepper flakes. Leave at room temperature for at least 2 hours to let the flavors blend. Strain the
oil into a clean glass container, cover, and refrigerate.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cheese and Chive Pizza

Tonight I get to go see my once and future belly dance troupe perform.  I took classes for a while from my wonderful and lovely instructor Yana. I danced right up to my 9th month of pregnancy.  I even danced 8 months pregnant at my shower.  Now that the baby is two, I think I can go back to the classes with kid care.  Daytona Beach Belly Dance was having their winter Hafla, and I can go see these wonderful ladies.  YAY!  My husband is left to cook.  He made a plain cheese pizza, but since there were some chives I had cut from our garden (and forgot to top a dish I made for school with:o) that needed to be used, he topped the pizza with them.  Really awesome.  (I ate the pizza the next day)  I think chives should be a topping at all pizza places! As we get our dough from the deli most days, and cheese pizza is not something you really need a recipe for, I figured I would just take this time to say how awesome fresh chives are on pizza.  I don't think I have done my pizza sauce recipe before. (It is not an exact recipe)  I take one can of plain tomato sauce, add tons of dried oregano.  (Seriously like 2-3 tablespoons) Then I add a couple of teaspoons of dried basil, a minced garlic clove and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Cook it on the stove on low for 10-15 minutes and let cool a bit before using.  Since it is a strong sauce, you don't need much, which I think makes for a less soggy pizza.