Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stuffed Bell Peppers, The Forgotten Meal..

Well, at least around here it had been forgotten! Still suffering from Sam's Club overload, where I bought a six- pack of bell peppers for my chili, I had three left..
Orange, yellow, and red, they were large, fresh and attractive. For filling, I used white rice, simmered in tomato juice until absorbed and tender. I browned ground beef with a chopped onion, and other seasonings until done. Mixing the two into a filling, they were placed in the hollowed out peppers and baked for about 60 minutes at 325F- basting the top every 20 minutes with extra tomato juice to keep moist. When done, they were sprinkled with cheese and served.
A pleasant change for us- but maybe you have them a lot!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

UFO's You Can Eat!

When I finished the Brie recipe, I was left with three UFO- sized Portobello mushrooms. That's what happens when you shop at Sam's Club! I gave one to my son, along with numerous other food items we overstocked on(He helped me shop that day!), so I had two left for a meal yet to be determined.. I like the darn things. They have an uncanny ability to absorb whatever flavor marinade or seasoning you put on them. They also are dense and firm to a point of an almost meat-like consistency.
I chose to marinade shortly with soy sauce and Worcester sauce, sprinkled with garlic and onion powder. I trimmed the loose sides, and scraped what I call the gills(the dark brown underside of the mushroom)off. I then placed a very thin pattie of ground beef on it, that had been seasoned with salt and pepper only. Broiled until pattie was medium rare, I removed from broiler and topped with a mild cheese. Broiled until melted, out they came... Portobello pattie melt, awaiting your favorite condiment! It could easily made into a sandwich, as you can imagine...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Of Brie Cheese And White Chili..

A month or so back, Doggy Bloggy put me on to get a chance at some free cheese... Two of my favorite words are "free" and "cheese"! I sent away for it and received a package of ILE de France brand Brie cheese. Brie is a delightful soft cheese, with a slight mushroomy flavor and scent...
This company was running a recipe contest using ILE de France cheeses... At the coaxing of DogB, I made up a recipe, took a photo of the dish, and sent it in.. To describe what I made really won't take very long, as it isn't complicated to make!
1. 16oz. of ILE de France Brie (room temp), scooped out of outside rind, placed in bowl.
2. Fry (6) thin, lean bacon strips until you can crumble it after cooling.
3. Take one large Portobello mushroom, clean and trim outside edge, then carefully scrape brown underside of mushroom until it is one trimmed clean piece.
4. Mince the mushroom into small bits, saute in rendered bacon fat, until almost dry. Drain and pat dry mushroom pieces.
5. Add the crumbled bacon, minced mushroom to cheese, mixing by hand thoroughly.
6. Place in serving dish, top with freshly chopped chives.
7. Serve with fresh, tart apple slices, or an herb flavored hard bread..

We were in a chili cook-off today- during a rather cold thunderstorm... The awning protected us from the rain, but when the wind gusted, not so well! My wife and I made our white chili, which has never lost at that contest. We didn't win, mainly because they weren't going to let the same team win 3 years in a row- but compliments abounded! It was some of the worst weather I've ever cooked in!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Something I've Talked About, And Finally Did- Mexican Pizza..

I had that left over chunk of Southwestern flavored pot roast, and was planning on soft shell shredded beef tacos, but when I checked the fridge- we didn't have any soft shells.. Hard shell didn't seem a good fit, so I finally made my version of a Mexican pizza.
I made my normal from "scratch" pizza crust (which is lighter than most I've had!)with my 6 quart Kitchen-Aid mixer, using the dough hook.. While the dough rose, I chopped up the beef, some onion, shredded cheese, made a sauce from taco sauce, tomato juice, and spices, and chopped some fresh lettuce. Sliced black olives went on it also...
After dough had risen once, I spread it out on a cookie sheet, and let it rise a bit more... The sauce had simmered/thickened to a good consistency, and was spread on dough.. Next a layer of cheese, then onions, then olives... Baked at 450F for 15 minutes and served. The pizza was then topped per piece by the uncooked lettuce, extra shredded cheese and taco sauce(if wanted). Pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself!
We got the Tex-Mex flavor we had been craving, in a pretty neat and easy meal..

Monday, April 20, 2009

Friday, Saturday, Sunday- Food And Happenings..

Friday night the request from my wife was a chef salad, our larders were a little low, but had enough stuff to make a pretty good one!
Saturday was a big chili cook-off- which I didn't participate in for the first time in at least 10 years! The reason was simple- we had a "must go to" wedding and reception.. The reception served what I refer to as Polish Wedding food- meatballs, baked ham, baked chicken, etc... We've all been there and done that! Wasn't bad..
Sunday, I made a pot roast... we've been having this more than I want, so I tried something new with it- a Southwestern flavored one! A beef roast(thick!), diced tomatoes(drained), sliced onion, garlic, taco seasonings, all wrapped tightly in leak-proof aluminum foil, I baked at 325F for 3 hrs. Came out OK (better than the photo!)..tender enough, but actually could have used more spice..Nice chunk left over for a couple of Mexican shredded beef soft tacos!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

When We Were First Married....

This is a post about our early living conditions when we first got married. Every once in awhile I like to write a post that helps me document days I may not remember clearly later in life...
My wife and I married young(20 and 19)but did't live with parents after our marriage- ever! I moved into an apartment a week before the wedding, and started painting, carpeting, and moving. The day of the move, I was let go from my job. I was a draftsman, and the project ended... I'll never forget the feeling of being jobless a week before I was to provide for a wife, and moving out of my parent's home in the rain.
I wasn't out of work for two weeks when I got a new job, which taught me good things happen too!
The apartment we were in had four units, built after WWII for the housing shortage.. The doors were steel, no attempt at acoustics in hallways- every time someone came in or left the building, it felt like you lived in the bells of Notre Dame... I had never seen a roach before I moved in there- I thought they were June bugs... The heat came on in September and went off in May.. No air conditioning, just uninsulated steel crank windows- which about half worked...No parking spot- first come first served..
That apartment was the single largest motivator to get a house ASAP! We were there two years, saving for a down payment on a place smaller than a mobile home(Single wide!), but that's another post...
Tell me about your first place, I think this will be interesting!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Inevitable Post About Turkey Leftovers..

The white meat and dark meat of the turkey were separated into two containers.. I normally would have boiled bones for stock- but didn't this time, I was too whipped! Monday night was an easy's what we lovingly call a "Truck Driver Special" Sliced dark turkey(you can use beef or pork too!) simmered in leftover gravy, and placed on either toasted slices of bread, or mashed potatoes.. Simple straight-forward, and hearty! Tuesday I made a dish I hadn't in a while- Turkey Tetrazzini! Egg noodles cooked per directions, laid in a casserole dish.. Sauteed sliced mushrooms(in a half a stick of butter!), add sour cream and chopped cooked white meat from turkey. Season with your favorites- I used crushed garlic, minced onion, and Italian seasonings.. Pour over noodles, and cover with a layer of grated Parmesan cheese. Put uncovered casserole into 325F oven, heat through until cheese is bubbly-1/2 hour is plenty- and you have a rich, filling meal, from leftvers!
Tonight will be a chef's salad, utilizing yet more turkey...

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Finally Did It! I Got Too Big A Bird...

We had a roast turkey for Easter. Every time I get a turkey, I seem to go a little larger- bigger is better, right? Wrong! At 22lbs, it caused problems... I had to use a different pot to brine it in, it barely fit in a double lasagna pan, took up the whole oven, and even after I made every guest take some home, I have leftover turkey up the wazoo.. Remember that commercial where the woman is wrestling her turkey all over the kitchen, finally turkey slips goes flying out the window, knocking a guy flat? That was sort of what I looked like Sunday... It was tasty, and pretty moist, but a smaller bird would have been better..
The dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, and bean casserole were good. The spice cake never got cut- everybody too full! That little gizmo next to the cake is sometimes called a Brulee torch- a small torch, with an adjustable flame which can be used to smooth out frostings, glazes, and of course finish the top of brulees..
By the time I get a meal like that done, I'm usually not even hungry!
Hope you all had good ones!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mini-Meme! Two Questions About Easter Food...

Easter is a feast day... The day the sacrifices of Lent are over.. I don't practice Lent, as my personal beliefs didn't include it- but it did become a largely celebrated day, which usually includes a big meal! Ours this year, looks like a replay of Thanksgiving...(Brined!) Roast turkey(22lbs.) dressing(sage sausage stuffing) the famous(or infamous!) green bean casserole, Yukon gold mashed potatoes, gravy.. and a spice cake for dessert!
Last year I did boneless leg of lamb over charcoal, but this year we have two guests that aren't open to new treats- so turkey it is!
Back to the two questions...
1. What do you consider your traditional Easter meal?
2. What was your oddest Easter meal?
Me first! 1. Generally in these parts, the norm is a baked ham... I like ham a lot, but more in sandwiches and salads...
2. Sunrise Service breakfast- as a kid, our town held a huge service at the civic auditorium- not enough, and not good....
Answer honestly, and have a good Easter this year...
P.S.- Brining poultry is the single thing you can do to make your bird the best it can be! 1 cup of non-iodized salt per one gallon of water, soaked 1 hr. per pound of bird, will make it the best you ever made!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Steelhead... Think Of A Rainbow Trout Only Bigger!

Steelhead were successfully planted in the Great Lakes quite a while ago. They are actually a sea going trout, that comes to fresh water rivers and swims upstream to spawn. Michigan found our Great Lakes(fresh water) worked just fine... The flavor of the flesh could be described as a cross between salmon and a lake trout- salmon being best, Lake trout(isn't bad)least flavorful..
At $3.99 a lb. we bought a big fillet and treated it much as I would a salmon fillet.First i rinsed it, then cut into three equal portions. Sprayed with olive oil, sprinkled with lemon pepper, dill weed, and Old Bay seasoning, I broiled it, skin side down for about 12 minutes. Came out as you see in photo.... The brown rice/wild rice mix takes about 45 minutes to cook, with a rest time of 5-10 minutes..
I have a left over portion, which will be made into steelhead spread- but that's another post!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Some Good Tasting Stuff Just Ain't Pretty!

As we had quite a bit of leftover steak, and I had been screwed out of my really good onion soup- I decided Monday to make a no-fail soup, steak and potato! Trimmed and cut steak into spoon sized bites, potatoes diced to about the same size, with beef broth, diced celery, diced onion, and sliced mushrooms- crock pot time! The seasonings added were minced garlic, black pepper, a bit of Canadian steak seasonings- on high for three hours... Then mixed in a flour/brown gravy mix/milk slurry that thickened it nicely! Served with rolls, we ate the heck out of it! Potatoes were not mushy, and steak was tender...a warming meal, even though it didn't snow like they said it would here!
Tonight, I have a steelhead fillet I plan to broil- post will be next!
Visited DogB's last post... Makes me feel like George Gobels- an old comedian once on Johnny Carson's show, between two famous icons in the entertainment business... He says; "Did you ever feel you were surrounded by people in tuxedos, and you were a pair of old brown shoes?" That's what my soup looks like against his fabulous meal!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday Steak- Been A While..

I had a couple of hand trimmed steaks left in the freezer- all vac packed by me! They were huge! Photo is a half a steak- medium rare... Asparagus was fresh and sweet- not bitter at all. Dinner rolls and a white frosted brownie was quite enough today... Looking forward to doing nothing for rest of the day- as I had to make that meal twice- first for wife and I, then a to go plate for son- kind of a pain, but it's become the habit again..
Never made a potato kugel, but I think I'm going to try this week... I had it once, and thought it pretty good!
They are predicting 2-4" inches of snow for Monday, so if you hear faint screaming- that would be me...

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Short Overview of Communications...Could We?

The human race has been separated, and at other times joined though the ability/inability to communicate..
Jungle drums, smoke signals, imitation animal sounds, etc.. Then came the written word- sometimes symbols, then symbols that stood for what we think of as "letters". The written word was, and still is the baseline for communicating. Telegraphs, telephones, fax, cell phones, text messaging, computers, etc.- has given us more ways to communicate than ever! Yet, the daily misunderstandings are getting greater..
I remember when Esperanza(SP)was being promoted as a world language- didn't work.. I always thought "signing"(how deaf people communicate) is something everyone could learn and be universal..Imagine going anywhere and be understood- how cool would that be!
Made some from scratch French onion soup last night- that got thrown out.. Wife didn't get in contact about a hair cut appointment after work, she had dinner with girlfriend.. Communication- did it used to be simpler, or is it just me?