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!