Archive | March, 2012

Yorkshire Pudding

27 Mar

Need a yummy side-dish for a more traditional meat like a roast or at least a hearty steak? Look no further…..

Ever hear “Yorkshire Pudding” and assume it sounds so fancy it must be so complicated? You have wrongly assumed, readers!

My good friend, Keri Brennan, gave me this recipe a long time ago. This was her mom’s Yorkshire Pudding recipe. It is so simple and easy to make – and it’s versatile. You can add herbs and spices to it in order to incorporate some different flavors. But I like it plain.

Cant get any simpler than this

Mixed all good

I make it in a casserole dish most of the time since it’s just Robbbb and I and I don’t have popover pans – which are the traditional pans for this side dish. But muffin pans (shown here) are a definite stand-in for popover pans.

Lil dabs o' Crisco in pan

The important thing to remember is to heat the crisco in the pan in the oven on high heat before pouring in chilled batter. That is what makes the pudding puff up.

Ignore the burnt ones (oooops!)

This dish looks super fancy for company. It will appear as if you’ve slaved away for hours making something intricate, when it only takes 5 minutes!

Goes great with meatloaf!

Yorkshire Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • Vegetable Shortening (crisco)

Sift together flour and salt. Add eggs and milk and beat with an electric mixer until there are no lumps (you can also use a blender). Add water and beat a few minutes longer. Make the batter an hour or so early and chill it in the fridge until just before you are ready to cook.

Heat a lil dollop of fat (veg shortening) in a baking pan or muffin pan (popover pan is most traditional) until just smoking. Give the batter a stir or two and then add to piping hot muffin pans. The cool batter and hot fat makes them rise even more while cooking.

Bake at 500 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Maureen’s Meatloaf

25 Mar

I am not sure why, but I HATED meatloaf growing up. Then in my mid-20’s I started coming around. And when Robbbbbb moved in with me, I decided to make it for him since he loved it. Lo and behold, I started liking it, too. For the longest time, I was using my mom’s meatloaf recipe. She got her recipe from Joy of Cooking. It was a good basic meatloaf. It tasted good, it was easy, and always pleased.

I believe I was on Facebook talking about how I was about to make some meatloaf. And my dear friend, Maureen Schoolman, chimed in and challenged me saying HER meatloaf was the best. I scoffed at the idea, but asked for her recipe to give it a whirl. Let me tell you, this recipe is NOT to be doubted. I knew after making it the first time, that this was the BEST meatloaf I’ve ever had (except for this amazing Italian stuffed meatloaf recipe my mom has). The mixture of sautéed veggies, spicy sausage, and ground beef is just to die for. I tweaked her recipe ever so slightly to satisfy our tastes.

Maureen’s meatloaf starts off by INSISTING that you chop the vegetables for this recipe VERY FINE. And I put mine through the food processor to ensure they’re REALLY ground up.

Simple ingredients...

Veggies Sauteeing

Then the veggies are sautéed for a while to get them all soft and release all their flavors.

Add Spices

Then you add some seasonings and sauce to the sauteéd veggies.

The mixture

Meanwhile, you combine the beef, sausage, oats, eggs, and parsley in a bowl. Then you add the sautéed vegetable mix into the bowl of meat and combine thoroughly.

Ready to Bake

Pour a lil ketchup on top of the loaf, and put into the oven!

Mmmmmm, Loafy Goodness

Meatlaf with a Yorkshire Pudding

Check out that yummy goodness. I have it paired with a Yorkshire Pudding which was a perfect choice! Dont worry – I’ll post the yorkshire pudding recipe soon enough.

Thank you so much for challenging me on my boring, basic meatloaf, Maureen. Your meatloaf totally kicks my meatloaf’s butt – and I am glad 🙂

Meatloaf

Maureen Schoolman’s Meat Loaf

• 1 ½ cup of finely* chopped onion
• 1 celery rib, chopped fine*
• 1 Tbsp minced garlic
• 1 carrot, chopped fine*
• 2 Tbsp canola oil
• 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
• 2 tsp Worscestershire sauce
• 2/3 cup ketchup
• 1 1/2 pounds of extra lean ground beef
• 1/2 pound of spicy hot sausage (I usually use a pound)
• 1 cup fresh rolled oats
• 2 large eggs, beaten slightly
• 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In a large heavy skillet cook the onion, celery, carrot and garlic in oil, over medium heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Cover the skillet and stir occassionally until the carrots are tender, about 5 more minutes. Stir in pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/3 a cup of ketchup. Cook for 1 more minute.
3. In a large bowl, combine the meats, eggs, vegetables, oats, and parsley. Form into a loaf and put into a rectangular baking pan with 2-inch high sides. Cover the loaf with remaining ketchup.
4. Bake the meatloaf in the oven for 1 hour.

* When it calls for ‘finely’ chopped, really, really finely chop. it makes a difference! I use my food processor.

Tarragon Mushroom Sauteé

20 Mar

Want to spruce up your sauteéd mushrooms? This is a super easy and tasty dish!

Simmering goodness

I had 2 pounds of mushrooms that I got on sale a couple weeks ago. I knew I wanted to sauteé them, but wanted to fancy them up just a tad.

Simple ingredients

Ready to sautee

I searched on Allrecipes and came up with this one to try. It turned out to be FABULOUS!

The smell was lovely

Here I paired it with my Spicy Asian Pork Roast

Who would have thought that tarragon and nutmeg and onion would be such a great combo with mushrooms? This is definitely in my veggie sidedish rotation!

Yum

Ingredients

  • 1/3   cup butter
  • 3      (8 ounce) packages fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2      tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2      teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 1/2   teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4   teaspoon salt
  • 1/4   teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4   cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

In a large skillet over medium heat melt butter.

Stir in mushrooms, onion, tarragon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Sautee until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Stir in parsley and serve.

Shrimp Salad

17 Mar

I made this on a whim. I found a recipe that looked good and easy and fast….I had some leftover shrimp. I decided to try this recipe to see what would happen.

Fresh ingredients

The wet mix with spices

This recipe came together quickly and has so much flavor!

Shrimp and Wet Mix

I think I went a little overboard with the dill and lemon juice! But I love it!

Lunch!

I dont do the bread thing if I can help it, so I just put this in some tupperware and brought it to work for a yummy lunch!

Shrimp Salad

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp kosher salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 pound large shrimp in the shell (16 to 20 shrimp per pound)
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1/3 cup minced red onion
1/2 cups minced celery (1 stalk)

Bring 3 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add the shrimp. Cook until the water returns back to a boil. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water. Let cool; then peel, devein, and roughly chop the shrimp.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, Old Bay, pepper, and dill. Add the shrimp, red onion and celery. Stir to combine. Check the seasonings. Serve or cover and refrigerate for a few hours to let flavors meld.

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

13 Mar

I cant not post this recipe after making it again this past weekend and talking about how delicious it is……I came across this recipe online somewhere. I loved the colors of the pinky shrimp with the yellow corn and green poblano peppers. It looked colorful and delicious. I held on to it for a while….then shrimp went on sale at the supermarket so I snagged some and decided to try this chowder out!

The ingredients

Peppers, onions, and celery

There is a small amount of prep work involved – chopping peppers and onions and peeling/deveining/chopping shrimp…..But the creaminess and taste make up for it. I also decided to throw in some red peppers to give it more color. When chopping the poblano peppers, make sure to wear latex gloves so you dont touch yourself later on and burn your skin/eyes.

Cooking the Corn Roux

The processed corn roux

There is a zing of cayenne and pepper at the end of each bite that lingers in your memory long after you’ve licked the bowl clean. This is the kind of soup that makes you post about how awesome it is on facebook (GUILTY)!

Sauteeing the Veggies

Simmering Chowder

This chowder is PACKED with corn – so if you are a corn-lover, this is for you. It also freezes well so you can put it into tupperware in the freezer for work lunches throughout the week!

So Delicious

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

  • 1 medium, sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter and/or rendered bacon fat
  • 2 large poblano peppers, seeded and chopped (wear gloves when you handle)
  • 2 16-ounce packages of frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) flour
  • ~28 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I use Whole Milk instead of cream to save calories)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped (I use 2 pounds shrimp)
  • small bunch fresh cilantro (can also use parsley instead)
  • lime wedges, for serving

Prepare creamed corn from one package of frozen corn (or fresh corn, if available). Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium-sized sauce pan. Stir in 2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour to make a roux and cook, stirring, for about a minute until the arrowroot is blended in smoothly. Add one package of corn and a good dollop of heavy cream to almost cover the corn, continuing to stir over medium heat until it thickens up. Add a little chicken broth, if it is too thick. Use an immersible blender (or food processor) to puree the corn, leaving small bits of corn kernels intact. Season with kosher salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

In a stockpot, melt 2 tablespoons bacon fat or butter. Add onion, celery, and poblano peppers; saute until soft (around 6 minutes). Add creamed corn, the second package of thawed corn, chicken broth, the remaining cream, and cayenne pepper. Add honey, if needed (some corn is sweeter than other corn and may not need sweetening). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer at least 15 minutes.

If you would like the chowder to be thicker, remove about 1/4 cup of liquid from the pot and mix with 1-2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour to make a smooth paste. Whisk back into the simmering soup and continue to cook until desired consistency is reached.

Add shrimp and cilantro; simmer gently until shrimp are cooked through (about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot, with a good squeeze of lime juice.

TIP: As mentioned above, wear rubber gloves when handling the poblano pepper to prevent the spicy juice from transmitting to your hands. This way, if you touch your face or rub your eyes, you wont experience the painful burn. Take it from someone with experience….

Homemade Italian Sausage

9 Mar

Laws are like sausages. You should never watch either being made.

Looking for a fun weekend project? Want to control your own ground meat/sausage to avoid all of this “pink goo” that’s been added to ground meat? Then here you go – you just need a kitchenaid and a grinder attachment and a LOTTA meat 🙂

I got the most amazing deal on a Series 600 KitchenAid mixer on Amazon on Cyber Monday this year. With a crazy discount and 2 rebates, I scored the $400 mixer for $185. It was a no-brainer. And once I got the mixer, I knew I would want to really use it and get some attachments for it to be able to do everything possible with it.

My best friend, John, got me the meat grinder attachment for xmas and my eyes lit up! Immediately, I knew we were going to be making sausage….and SOON! I also did some research on making sausage….I asked my friend, Amanda Anastasiou, since I knew she and her husband had recently ground their own meat and made sausage. She gave me some hints and also suggested I check out this extensive sausage-making guidebook.

The most extensive homemade sausage guidebook ever

John came over on a snowy Saturday in January and we set out to the Hennings (my local supermarket) to pick up our ingredients. I had all the basic spices and seasonings, but we needed our pork butts – 20 pounds of pork butt!!!!! We wanted to “go large” and make enough so that we had 10 pounds of sausage each since this was a momentous occasion. We knew we would be putting large quantities in the fridge and giving some away to friends and family. So it was a no-brainer.

20 pounds of buttz in the shopping cart at Hennings

This was a true project for both of us. We had zero experience – except the night before we both watched this helpful video series: http://www.monkeysee.com/play/955-italian-sausage-introduction. It was so straight-forward and helpful – each step was broken up into 3 and 4 minute videos.  And we also used the recipe that he demonstrated since it sounded like the type of Italian Sausage we were looking for.

Getting ready to grind

First grind.....this is the coarse grind

Oh, and we left this sausage loose. We didn’t want to case it this time around. We just wanted to focus on the grinding and mixture, since most of the recipes we use request the casings to be removed immediately anyway.

John and I grinding

All ingredients Ready to Mix

When grinding your own meat, you essentially cut off all the fat, grind the meat through the grinder on a coarse grind first. Then add all your ingredients together. And grind back through the grinder for a finer grind. Voila!

Meat ready for the second grind

Having fun doing the fine grind

We decided to make it into a delicious meal just by cooking the sausage and then adding some canned whole peeled tomatoes and breaking them up along with some tomato paste. We didnt add any herbs or spices since the sausage was spiced enough. We added a little parmesan. And then we poured the mixture over top some pasta so we could truly taste the sausage. It was phenomenal.

Final product!

Sausage and Pasta Dish

Consensus: This sausage is the BOMB. It tastes like authentic Italian sausage –and so fresh. The key is the wine and the fennel. I will always grind my own meat from now on – this was easy and fun and you can taste the difference. It’s worth it to spend a little extra time to be able to control what you are eating and taste the freshness.

Sausage log to be rolled in parchment

10 pounds of sausage

The Exhausted Sausage Makers

Italian Sausage Recipe

(Please note that this recipe is for 2.5 pounds of meat. If you are “going large” and making a substantial amount to freeze, then adjust the recipe accordingly.)

  • 2 and 1/2 pounds lean ground pork butt or leaner cuts if desired
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cracked rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons fennel seed (up to 1 tablespoon if you like dominant fennel flavor)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped, (stems removed)

Trim all of the fat from the Pork Butts as best as possible, leaving trace amounts in the meat. Cut the meat into ½ or ¾ inch pieces. Put meat in the freezer for 15 minutes. Run the chunks of meat through the coarse grinder on your grinder attachment.

Add all of your spices and ingredients. Mix well. Hook up the fine blade on your grinder and run the mixture through the fine-process grinder.

When meat is well-mixed and ground, form into patties or logs in parchment paper and place in the freezer as you like.

Asian Pork Tenderloin

6 Mar

I saw this recipe on Allrecipes.com – a frequent online haunt of mine. I knew as soon as I saw it that I would try it and love it. Not only that, I knew it would win over my boyfriend, too, even though he doesn’t care for pork roast or pork tenderloin (I know…..shocking!).

This recipe is super flexible in how spicy you want to make it. I enjoy that because sometimes I want it a little hotter to taste.

Simple ingredients - also included, the pork roast!

Go ahead and marinate!

 

Yummy!!

The pork is always juicy and delicious. It is easy to put together – and you let it marinate overnight (or at least for 8 hours). It’s the ultimate crowd-pleaser.

Asian Marinated Pork and Tarragon Sauteed Mushrooms

Asian Pork Tenderloin

  • 1/3 cup lite soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2  tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3  green onions, chopped
  • 4  cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons Asian chile paste
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1   (2 pound) fat-trimmed pork tenderloin

Directions

  1. Pour into a medium bowl the soy sauce, sesame oil, and Worcestershire sauce. Then whisk in brown sugar, green onions, garlic, chile paste, and pepper. Place the tenderloin in a shallow dish. Pour sauce over tenderloin, turning the meat a few times to coat. Cover dish, and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Transfer pork with marinade into an aluminum foil-lined baking pan.
  3. Roast in a preheated oven 25 to 30 minutes. Remove, and let stand 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
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