Showing posts from December, 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

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 slic


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

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   

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 New

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. Pu

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 onio

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 Meat 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   Boil 4 ea garlic 1    onion,sliced 1    bay l

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

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 Ca

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      Liaison 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 ingr

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

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 Oi

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 

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

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

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 T

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)

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 recip