Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Deep Fried Food, A Mess That's Worth It!

A week ago, I bought a fresh jug of cooking oil for one purpose- to deep fry some treats for my out of state son! His last dinner here consisted of shrimp, onion, and fries- all deep fried by yours truly!
Deep fryers can be a bit intimidating to the uninitiated, meaning people like me who never worked in a fast food restaurant, and have found hot oil can burn you unpleasantly! I have deep fried turkey, a lot of Wall-Eye(fly-in fishing in Canada), and numerous other foods- which generally came out great! I got a neat little deep fryer last year for Christmas that is just the right size for a small gathering..
I have used Drake's mix for fry coating for at least 30 years. One bottle of strong beer, one egg, some Lawry's Seasoned salt, black pepper, and enough Drake's to get a consistency(thick or thin) that you like. Refrigerate, or throw some ice cubes in the batter for a tempura type coating..
It's an "eat as you cook" type of meal, bringing batches to the table, while more is cooking.. I made up a cocktail sauce with ketchup, hot sauce, horseradish, and lemon juice- pretty traditional..
My son left for K.C. 6:30AM this morning, to catch the train back to where he now lives.. It was good to see him!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Dinner 2009...

My son, who lives in Kansas City, MO hadn't been home in two years. Last year driving in an ice storm in Iowa, hit black ice and rolled his Jeep- totaling it. He took the train this year, and arrived on time! Good to see him-finally!
Christmas Eve, we went to my sister-in-laws... a buffet style meal, with me bringing some excellent Kielbasa(Polish sausage), kraut, and some mini eclairs(store-bought!). Icy roads, but had to be at train station by 10:30PM!
For Christmas Day, the meal was a make ahead hash brown potato casserole- with a few twists...Turkey gravy, sour cream, sharp shredded cheddar cheese, cooked and crumbled bacon, and chopped onion made up the binder/sauce for the potatoes. When baked on Christmas, the flavor and texture was just right!
The star of the show, was a 6.8lb. choice beef tenderloin, trimmed, tied, to a uniform shape. Seasoned with Kosher salt, coarse ground black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and a touch of marjoram- it was ready for my leap of faith addition..Bacon fat, completely covering top and bottom! Placed on a rack, roasted at 500F on each side for 12 minutes, the oven turned down to 300F for 25 minutes..Covered and let set before carving- about 10 minutes, it was the best any of us had ever enjoyed!
Dessert was an apple crisp, made from fresh Granny Smith apples- not mushy, with a sweet/tart flavor.. Those were the highlights of the meal, you all know what pickles, rolls, etc. look like!
Hope you had a great day!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mini-Meme, A Holiday Theme!

Let's face it. There are events coming up this Holiday season that you look forward to, and others you are dreading! As I grow older, I see the hassle of gift giving for adults just that- a hassle... Kids getting gifts is fun! I look forward to giving the gift of good cooked food, and home made treats far more than a new pair of wool socks.
The two questions today are:
1. What do you absolutely look forward to this Holiday season?
2. What is the part you could do without?
Me first!
1.- Getting together with friends and family, to share good eats- and enjoy each others company!
2.- The traveling, schlepping presents, crock pots, picking up people, etc... the mechanics of making a party happen can wear you out before the party starts!
Be honest in your answers- these Mini's go pretty fast, so have fun with it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Couple Of Treats

The tail end of last week was busier than anticipated, so Friday and Saturday meals were pretty slap dash. Had some scratch pancakes one night(with bacon!), and the other night was a bean dip deluxe (ground beef, refried beans, cheese, salsa, chopped onions, and chopped peppers). It's thick, and filling on some good quality tortilla chips. We have a tortilla chip factory in town, and the brand name is El Matador. Always fresh and sturdy, they are perfect for dipping the heavy duty stuff!
I had to make dessert for a family get together at my sister's new house...We had all decided I would attempt to make an heirloom dessert we had 40 years ago every Christmas- Sailor Duff! I had my grandmother's recipe which read like a witch's potion- pinch of this, handful of that, etc. I Googled it, and indeed there were similar(but better measured!) recipes. It is similar to Boston brown bread..It's rich, moist, steamed, with molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and raisins in it. I used a bundt pan which sat in a water bath and steam baked at 350 for 90 minutes. It is topped with a simple sauce of water, white sugar, butter, and corn starch for a thickener, all simmered until thick- with a splash(now I'm doing it!) of vanilla extract stirred in after cooling. The cake can be cool or room temp., the sauce warmed and drizzled over it- topped with cold whipped cream.
This stuff is RICH- cut small pieces!
For the kids, I brought a quick, no fail treat similar to rice crispie squares
1. 1 cup of white sugar
2. 1 cup white Karo syrup
3. 1 cup peanut butter
Mix and heat through until liquid, but not boiling
4. Stir in 7 cups of Honey Bunches of Oats breakfast cereal until mixed
5. Spread in buttered 9 x 13 pan, compress with a sheet of waxed paper until uniform height
6. Melt a 1/2 bag of semi- chocolate chips with 1/4 stick of butter, until speadable
7. Spread top of filled pan until covered, refrigerate until cooled.
Those will disappear quickly, as kids and adults enjoy them..
I'm sure we are all ramping up for the big week- so keep your cool, and try to enjoy!
I apologize for the blurry photos, the camera setting got bumped, and made the blow-up photos blurry.. Remember, kids- I paint with a very broad brush!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wedding Memories-Other People's I Was In, Or Attended.

Odd time for these memories, but not so odd after you read them! My older brother got married..I was 5 or 6,.. He was eighteen or nineteen.. I hadn't hit puberty, but it didn't matter - she was great to me, and a beauty to boot! It was December, he was still in service(USAF!) I was ring bearer, in a little tux, with my hair buttered back, being ever so serious about my job.. marriage lasted 20 yrs., with my Dutch mom saying-"I knew it wouldn't last!" 20 years! hardly a failure.. Next was a friend's of mine's wedding.. He was 18, she was 16..she fainted during the ceremony, and it could have been morning sickness- if you catch my drift.. still married,and all is as well as could be expected.. The point today is, what happens, happens. I remember Christmas electrocutions, cooking disasters, gifts gone horribly wrong, life interfering with plans.. Here's the goofy part- they all make Holidays memories that become part of our traditions!
Do not let them die. Share , If you are a mind.. We still give a rubber Christmas lizard, that goes from family to family!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Covered Ground...The Simple Taco!

We had Long John Silver's Seafood take-out last night, and for the first time ever I had to wait.. Then got home and had gotten the soggiest smelly fish we had ever received! Experiences like this, usually cures me from take out food from anywhere for a month!
Tonight I did home-made tacos, everything from scratch, but the those great flat bottomed corn shells from Old El Paso! Cut up fresh tomato, shredded cheese, shredded fresh lettuce, sliced black olives, and a ground beef taco meat seasoned from my extensive spice and herb collection! Topped with Chi-Chi's medium hot salsa, and/or Mr's Renfroe's Jalepeno salsa, it really warmed us on a cold Michigan night!
The cooking will be heating up, with the Holiday outings kicking in..
Watched the Julia Child movie a couple of nights ago..tavern I go into got a new female bartender who stands 6'1-1/2" inches without shoes.. If she would have yelled "Bon Appetit!", I would have fainted...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Korean Beef Short Ribs And Brown Rice Deluxe!

I can't find beef short ribs anywhere in this area except at Sam's Club.. I love the Korean version of this cut of meat, and look forward to it every time I buy the ribs!
I marinate them for a full 24 hrs. in a rice wine vinegar, minced garlic, hosin, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, minced onion, and white pepper mix that gives a wonderful depth of Asian flavor I seem to be hooked on lately! You must cut the ribs as shown, to achieve an optimum flavor and tenderizing effect. Unlike pork ribs, that are best cooked low and slow, the beef short ribs are broiled at a high heat for 10-12 minutes a side...Baste throughout cooking with the simmered marinade(safer!) and enjoy! The brown rice was dolled up with celery and onion- with a bit of the marinade for an enhanced flavor..
Our meal is waiting as I write this..couple of more photos, and we're done!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blizzards And Brownies

As I write this, West Michigan is getting it's share of the winter storm that is clobbering the Midwest... Blizzard warnings are out, and I've heard the fire trucks/rescue units twice today- and it's only 8:30AM!
Tuesday night, I had to make a big batch of my Wicked White chili for my wife's office luncheon Wed. I can make this in my sleep, but she threw a wrinkle into the mix- One guy is a Muslim, and could not have pork! I respect other's religions and made two batches.. Kind of a pain, but he was very grateful. All chili got gone, with the usual requests for the recipe!
Wednesday night we had a simple supper of scrambled eggs with Havarti cheese melted in, and a side of really excellent thick cut bacon..
I made some brownies for a sweet treat later.. I don't make them with sprinkles, and other bells and whistles, as my wife and I don't need the frosted, loaded brownie a kid would go for! It was an out of the box mix, 3 eggs, a handful of dried cranberries, a handful of semi sweet chocolate chips, a touch of almond extract, and vanilla... I love a subtle touch of almond in chocolate- don't you?
I still have a whole choice beef tenderloin (7lbs.!) I scored at Sam's Club to cut into fillets.. I like to do it myself, and save big bucks on a gourmet cut of beef!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Mini -Meme : Eating As Fun, Eating To Live..

This time of year, our thoughts turn to good food with family, bringing treats to parties, and new recipes for people to go "Wow!" over! This is wonderful, as you know and love these people, should be your first concern..
The darker side of the Christmas season, would be the homeless, under employed, and the people who are out there- who have nothing to celebrate. They are broke. Think how that would feel.. Food is elemental in it's ability to make people happy- and at the worst, gives them the strength and hope to survive another day.
This Christmas season, see your way clear to help someone- not everyone, have a better time of a small part to give something of yourselves, to people who have seen worse than you probably ever will. The gifter, is the one who gets the best gift.
Questions today:
1. Who do you know and care about, that needs a helping hand- and how will you give it?
2. What group you think could use your help(monetary or otherwise!) that you feel strongly about.
Kinda heavy today, but if you say it, you'll do it- and not regret it!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Rigatoni Gigante

This pasta shape intrigued me! It was essentially rigatoni, only bigger! I took the Italian flavored meat loaf I had left, and broke it up into little pieces.. I mixed it with a red pasta sauce, and simmered while I grated Romano and Parmesan cheese. I sliced some lightly smoked Provolone and topped the pasta red sauce mix with all these cheeses. Baked for 30 minutes at 350F, it was a classic Italian flavored dish that was quite filling!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Mini Meat Loaves, And Sour Cream Scalloped Potatoes

When there are only two of us eating here, I try to force myself to make smaller meals- yet do the foods we enjoy. My wife loves meat loaf! I've made it so many times, and many ways- I think I've got the hang of it! Years ago, I bought 4 small loaf pans for making mini loaves of bread...I found they worked quite well for a small meat loaf too. This recipe can be used as meat loaf, or meatballs- with out doing anything different except the shape!
1-1/4 lbs lean ground beef
1 lb. of bulk breakfast sausage
2 large eggs
3/4 cup of bread crumbs
1/4 cup of Worchestershire sauce
1/3 cup of BB-Q sauce(your pick)or Red Pasta sauce
Season with onion powder, garlic powder, celery seed, Kosher salt, coarse ground black pepper. I don't use fresh onion or celery- as we like a firmer meat loaf!
Mix all above, until blended
Make into meatballs or meatloaf- bake meatballs 15 minutes at 350F, turn and bake another 10 min. Meat loaf in size shown- 1hr. at 340F(top with some BB-Q sauce before baking uncovered)
The potatoes are a simple scalloped potato recipe, using 6 potatoes, peeled and sliced in scallop shape. The sauce being made of flour, butter, milk, sour cream, dried dill,dried parsley, salt, and black pepper. Simmer until thick, while chopping and sauteeing a medium onion in a separate pan.
Mix potatoes and onion together, covering with sauce, and baking in a covered dish for 60 minutes- at 340F. Uncover and bake another 30 minutes, until just starting to brown.
I can make this quicker than the time it takes to explain it!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shrimp On Skewers, Sauced- With White Rice..

I like raw shrimp I have to clean and peel myself. I know then what I'm dealing with, with no surprises! I took a pound of said product, and after prepping them, skewered them and coated with a nice Asian sauce. Broiled in about three minutes per side, and served with white rice- they got gone in a hurry! My wife is a shrimpaholic, and mouwed through her share and half of mine! A little of the sauce on the rice was enough to flavor and tie the meal together nicely...
Tonight, mini meat loaves, with sour cream herbed scalloped potatoes- from scratch! That's the next post, of course!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Asian Salmon, With Simple Left-over Casserole

I love turkey, but a break from it isn't a bad thing! I had a large Sock-eye salmon fillet in the freezer, that was due for eating.. I thawed the vacuum packed fillet, and marinated it in orange juice, rice wine, soy sauce, and a dab of sesame oil- only for about 2 hrs.- as vinegar can be so strong a fiber-breaker, flesh can become mushy. I then coated with a soy sauce, Asian based ginger BB-Q sauce, honey mix, and hot spices to off set the sweetness- but not destroy it! The fish was broiled, making sure all that sugar didn't burn... Result was a pleasant change from the turkey- stuffing based meals we had been having! Side dish was the last of the Asian bean casserole, which went well with the Asian flavored fish. The red neck china is what we use for my son's "to go" plate on Sundays.. He works, we deliver!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Aftermath... Leftovers !

I purposely make a larger than needed turkey for two reasons; one- I send a large amount of leftovers home with the guests, and two; I like leftovers too!
Friday was Turkey Barley Soup, simple stuff! Chopped up white and dark turkey meat, trimmed, 2 qts. of turkey stock made from the bird, pearl barley, chopped onion,chopped celery, and chopped carrots, a touch of seasonings- all thrown in a slow cooker on low for 5 hrs. With dinner rolls, and some pumpkin pie, it makes a nice, simple meal!
Saturday, I made kind of a mini turkey and cheese sandwich, with cooked turkey, Havarti cheese, mayo, lettuce, with a slice of tomato on a dinner roll.. very simple and good! A cold sandwich can be superior to one heated or grilled sometimes...
Today will be Asian Sock-eye salmon, with the last of the bean casserole- but that's another post!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Well, I suspect with all us food lover's and cooks out there in Blogland, there will be a flurry of food posts about Thanksgiving in the next couple of days! After two days of prepping and cooking, Friday, Sat., and Sun. will be filled with great ideas for leftovers!
Our T-day meal was about 3:30PM, and I can say I didn't screw up one dish! All came out on time, and the bird was flavorful and moist... Brining a turkey is a pain in the butt, but it is worth it- I guarantee!
1. Cranberry relish- a coarse texture and tart, some orange added- I don't use it, but the people who did liked it.
2. Mashed potato casserole- Yukon golds boiled and mashed, with additions of sour cream, butter, salt, and pepper.. Made a day ahead, and heated before dinner- son's girlfriend liked them a lot!
3. Gravy- I admit to mixing jar turkey gravy with pan drippings, and spices.. it's no fail and quick.
4. Asian green bean casserole- I put bean sprouts, water chestnuts, sliced mushrooms, soy sauce in with the green beans and cream of mushroom soup, and top with fried onions and crumbled bacon. Earthy, with the water chestnuts giving a pleasant crunch.
5. Rolls- Bakery fresh, with butter and honey
6. Sage sausage dressing- Dry bread cubes, sage sausage browned with chopped celery, and chopped onions (undrained!), chix broth, and butter- all poured at once over the
bread cubes, covered and baked. I am not allowed to make any other on Thanksgiving!
7. Roast turkey- 17.8 lbs. Brined overnight, trussed, with celery tops and a sliced orange in the cavity for moisture, coated with olive oil and roasted for 3hrs. loosely covered, then another hour uncovered. Left to rest for 20-30 minutes, then carved... As always, moist and tender!
8. Graham cracker crust pumpkin pie, done in a rectangular baking pan.. Dense, and with whipped cream it was a hit!
The bones were made into stock, which will probably be our turkey noodle soup supper tonight!
I wish I could have taken more photos, but I was a little busy! Hope you all had good ones- tell me about your T-day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Do You Eat When A Feast Is Coming Thursday?

I was going to post about a really great raspberry crisp I made, but a certain wife of mine seems to have made off with it before I could take a photo... It was full of berries, not too sweet, and pretty easy to make..
This week is a tuffy for picking out what to cook and eat before Thanksgiving..Monday I made chicken and cheese open faced sandwiches.. Simple stuff..make a cheese sauce of your liking, mix cooked cubes of boneless chicken breasts in the sauce, spread on a half a bun, and broil. My mom used to make these when I was a kid, and I couldn't get enough of them!
Our T-day menu is planned- traditional all the way! Roast turkey, sage sausage dressing, mashed potato casserole, gravy, an Asian flavored green bean/bean sprout casserole, rolls, and graham cracker crust pumpkin pie... Only five of us this year, so very manageable sized group...
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What Master Can Do With A Disaster...

Thursday night, I took Picnic Ham out of the freezer(still wrapped and in a white plastic shopping bag) to thaw for Friday night dinner. I planned to make scratch scalloped potatoes to go with the ham.... Imagine my surprise Friday morning when I removed the meat from the bag.... it was not a picnic ham, but a fresh picnic shoulder- uncured pork! The ham and scalloped dinner became an oven pulled pork, with Au Gratin potatoes!... Normally, I would do pulled pork in my smoker- but there was no time for that.. I trimmed all heavy fat off, dry rubbed it with the seasoning shown, put it into a pan, covered it tightly with aluminum foil, and baked for about 7hrs. at 240F.. Sure glad I have a double oven, as the taters needed 350F 1hr covered, 30 min. uncovered. The meat was then shredded(fat removed) into tender strings and shreds, and mixed with white vinegar, and a couple of BB-Q sauces until ready to eat! Wife and son raved, and for a mistake- it was pretty darn good!
Made some home-made coleslaw also.. goes well with or on the sandwich..

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hearty Bean Dip, For Snack Or Meal!

The kids are grown up. The household now consists of my wife, Sher, an aging Airedale named Clara, that was a rescued dog from ATRA, a cat named Willow I got from a meat market that I saved from the incinerators of The Humane Society, and me!
I seldom get to cook the quantities I used to nightly, so a lot of times supper is something between a snack and a meal! With the Holidays approaching at lightspeed, I thought I'd share a simple recipe, that goes with watching football, playing cards, board games, or whatever else you do for relaxation during the season...
Bean Dip. Not your "back of the can" recipe, either! This is substantial, and simple as all get out!
1. 2 cans(15oz.) refried beans
2. 1lb. browned, Tex-Mex seasoned ground beef- on the lean side
3. 1 Onion, chopped and sauteed with the browning ground beef
4. 1 Green bell pepper, chopped and also sauteed with the browned ground beef
5. 8oz. Velveeta(really!)or American cheese
6. 4oz. of a smooth taco sauce, medium heat
7. Drain beef/onion/pepper mix, hand blend all above and simmer on stove until bubbling hot
8. Put in bowl, or bowls, top with a shredded Mexican blend cheese(4oz.) and serve with warmed tortilla chips.
This one isn't rocket science, but people seem to enjoy the hearty texture on a tortilla chip! I haven't brought any leftovers home with me yet!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Doesn't This Look Good? Well, It Wasn't!

Monday night, I fixed boneless skinless chicken breast sandwiches. I had been deliberating between flattening them and rolling them up with ham and cheese, or simply slicing them thinner, and using some that BB-Q sauce my son had sent me for my birthday... Well, the lazies attacked me, and I went with the seasoned sliced BB-Q chicken breasts.. I had been hoarding the sauce, and went with a bottle of Rufus Teagues. The bottle said it was "Blazing Hot", but a lot of them do.. I poured a bit on finger tip, and it was a bit lively! Broiled the chicken, flipped, coated with BB-Q sauce, and broiled some more. In the mean time, I sliced the dill pickles, and onions as the add-ons.. trust me, this flavor works-usually! Trimmed the breasts and made sandwiches on buns... Here's where the wheels fell off the wagon! We bit into this, with meat being tender, nice flavor and crunch from the veggies- but it was a bit hot.. Hot became very hot, then evolved into what I call stupid hot.. It then kept climbing until it reached inedible hot! Now I love hot, and my wife can keep up- but we were both sweating, with noses and eyes running, we both said "No Mas!!!" at the same time! I have had hot sauces that weren't as hot as this so called BB-Q sauce!
The next morning I swear I crapped battery acid! That night we had take out, while the kitchen was declared free of nuclear radiation...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Steak Fajitas, Good Stuff!

Sunday found us taking our time, and enjoying doing little or nothing.. We do have one big meal in early afternoon, which seems to be enough, with a little snacking later that night..
I sliced the remaining prime, rare, rib-eye into thin, red strips of tender, flavorful pieces.. I also sauteed red bell pepper, and thinly sliced onion in olive oil, adding the beef on the end- all seasoned with chili powder, garlic, sea salt, and pepper.. No marinade for this- meat was too noble to do that to it! I then put Jalapeno salsa, and red salsa onto a large, soft flour tortilla, and piled on the fillings, piping hot!
This was good stuff! Bright flavors, and colors- with a nice mix of textures to boot! Wife had a side of rice, with fajita sauce on it.. Son loved it, and wife and I both thought it tasty, and not too heavy! Less can be more..simple things, done well- my Motto in cooking!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Peasant Food, and Food For V.I.P.s..

Sometimes we want simple, sometimes we splurge.. We usually splurge after two or three nights of simple! Hump Day(Wed.!!), we just wanted a simple tuna fish salad sandwich, on that home made wheat bread- just right for the moment! Thursday found my wife joining a bunch of other women after work, who walk for exercise in the halls of a local grade school.. I made a baked mac-n-cheese (negating any good the walk did for her!).. it tasted simple, and good. Friday, we determined we hadn't had a good steak over a charcoal grill in a while, so that was what happened.. I had played Keno that day, and had won about 60 bucks, so I decided Prime Beef Rib-eyes were the treat! $17 a pound, and thick to boot, $35.00 is a lot of dough in these parts for two steaks! I cooked both, one was medium rare, the other rare. We split the medium rare, along with a roasted(baked) potato and fresh bread- for a great Friday night supper! The rare steak will become the world's greatest Fajitas tonight! The butcher cracked me up.. I asked if he had some deli Gouda, or Edam cheese- and he had never heard of them! He then tells me he's of Dutch descent... Thank God he knows quality meat!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mini-Meme, Coming At 'Cha!

With Christmas advertising and Yuletide songs on the radio already, I've begun to call Thanksgiving "The Forgotten Holiday"... I happen to love Thanksgiving, and wish my family still had the big get-togethers we used to at my house. We would always seem to include a friend or a son's friend who had no where to go that day, and was welcome to enjoy food with our family. I love to watch people enjoy a feast that I fixed- I think I get more pleasure from that than they do eating it!
Our two question format, as usual..
1. Turkey- Do you prefer white meat, or dark meat? Why? Do you even have turkey that day?
2. Dessert- Your favorite on this day, traditional or otherwise..and do you wait an hour or two to have the dessert, or right after the meal?
Some traditions are forced upon us by the media, some are inherited, and some are invented by us! I am always keenly interested in the regional differences we have in America, in addition to the other countries that have an equivalent holiday and their traditions also..
I'm looking forward to your responses!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Oatmeal, Crasins, Chocolate Chip Cookies, And Honey Wheat Bread!

I was a useless piece of crap Friday and Saturday when it came to cooking...Sunday, I caught fire- making that homemade pizza, and some really great Oatmeal cookies! I love my dried, sweetened cranberries, and semi-sweet chocolate chips that adds richness, but doesn't sweeten the cookie all that much! They came out chewy, and not overdone in any way! Two dozen are almost gone!
Today, I made a couple of loaves of home made light honey wheat bread... Tasty.. made ham and cheese sandwiches, with mayo, lettuce, and a touch of mustard.. Not bad, but Ithink this bread is better with just butter or honey..Didn't rise as much as some, quite substantial!
It's good to try new things...It's how we learn!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Friday Night Pizza- Only It's Sunday!

Friday night, did not feel like cooking.. went to a great fry food place and picked up a chicken and fish combo! Fish was so good, I went back Saturday and got two fish sandwiches to go!
Sunday, promises were to be kept, so I made what we call around here a "Dad" pizza! That means home made yeast risen crust, flavored with garlic, and red pepper! It means home made sauce, tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, onion, red pepper, oregano, basil, fennel seeds, salt, and red wine vinegar.. It means hand ground Parmesan and Romano cheese.., It means Italian seasoned sausage, pepperoni, and Canadian bacon as meats.. It means covered with Mozzarella cheese, shredded.. 450F for 12 minutes, set for 5 more minutes.. Well, look at the photos!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Left-Over Meal, And Chili!

Tuesday night, I fixed a sliced beef in gravy over brown rice for a "Use up the pot roast" supper.. The addition of fresh, sliced mushrooms into the simmering gravy beef mix worked well.. I thought the earthy flavors of beef and mushrooms would marry best with the equally earthy, nutty flavor of brown rice.. It all disappeared, as I suspected it would!
Wednesday, we went North to a casino, where it seemed every senior citizen in Michigan was gambling their children's inheritance away... We didn't win either!
Tonight, A rare occurrence in our house.. I made chili! As most of you know, I have competed in 40+ chili cook-offs, and have my share of awards- but I hardly ever cook it at home just for us! Not my competition batch, but close... Cooking at home offers advantages over contest cooked chili! I can make up a batch, throw in a slow cooker longer than contest times allow. I can after three or so hours, check and adjust flavors to where I want the texture, color, aroma, heat, and taste, without time constraints. Finally, I can make a chili I like, rather than one for a bunch of judges who don't even cook, and taste buds have been destroyed after 5-10 chili samples that are heated, highly seasoned dog food!
I have books upon books of chili recipes, and more books on chile peppers themselves.. I have heard more people say "I make the best chili ever!" I usually tell them, "Don'tcha know? We all do...
I have learned through experience, that taste buds are as individual as fingerprints, kiddos! Make it the way you like it, and enjoy... but don't try a throw-down with me.. I compete with 20-40 people every contest, and a "Throw-down" is one on one!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Pot Roast, Creamy Tomato Soup, And Frosted Brownies

Usually around Sat., I ask my wife what sounds good for Sunday dinner..I swear once a month, I know she is going to say "A beef pot roast". She loves this dish, as well as my son, who we drop off a plate every Sunday where he works. I use a lot of herbs and spices, a can of some cream of something soup, and some dry brown gravy mix- with a touch of red wine vinegar, too. I wrap the whole thing up (3-1/4lbs) in heavy duty aluminum foil- no leaks allowed! Baked at 325F for 3-1/2 hrs, it is fall apart tender, full of flavor, and you've made gravy for the potatoes right in the foil!
My wife and I have both been fighting the creeping crud that is going around, so Monday night was good old cream of tomato soup. I mix a can of Campbell's with diced tomatoes, basil, 4oz. of cream cheese, splash of milk and V-8 juice, with chopped Canadian bacon, and home made croutons..very filling and comforting!
I also summoned the strength to make frosted chocolate brownies... I can't do chocolate without adding either cinnamon, or almond extract- this time, cinnamon! If the surface of the frosting looks a little shiny, I hit it with my brulee torch for a quick glazing over..
Tomorrow we head North to do a little gambling...