Monday, March 29, 2010

Remember Drive-ins? Not The Food Ones- The Movies!

When I was a teen-ager, drive in movies were everywhere..mounds of dirt, all in a row, facing a gigantic outdoor screen, with speakers you attached to your window off poles. There would be a snack bar smack in the middle of this, serving fast food, soft drinks, with rest rooms attached to building. This is one of my stories..
Five guys(including me!) two in trunk, so they didn't have to pay, a football, and a quart of grape drink(really!)... we got there, and before dark and movie were throwing the football around..Rent a cop comes up and orders us to quit! We gave him some lip, and were told he could throw us out.. Got back in car, left grape drink in bag, and started passing it around so he could see us. They took the bait like a fish coming out of winter! Suddenly surrounded by rent a cops, they demanded the bag. I can still see him with his nose in the bottle confirming it was grape drink, and nothing more.. laughed our butts off!
Sunday I roasted a whole 6 lb. chicken, Salted cavity, packed it with a cut up navel orange, covered with poultry spices and rosemary, draped 6 slices of bacon over it for self basting, and cooked for 90 minutes at 330F. I removed bacon, which had rendered, and used liquid for basting bird for another 60 minutes. I removed it from oven and let rest 10 minutes before carving. Whole roasted chicken is my favorite way to have chicken- and one of the simplest! A side of leftover Alfredo pasta made a decent meal, with a minimum of work! The photo is of my sons Sunday "to go" plate- he works 1 mile from our house, and can't get away for dinner, so we bring it to him..

Friday, March 26, 2010

What I Was Up To Wednesday And Thursday For Food

Wednesday, my son came over to assist me in cutting up a New York strip loin into steaks. I sliced, and did the major trim on the steaks, while he took usable scraps and trimmed them into small pieces of fat free bits of meat. We packaged 14 steaks from a 10+ pound loin, and I gave him four for his help!
The meat scraps went into a brown mushroom sauce, made from fresh sliced mushrooms sauteed in butter and chopped onions until reduced, 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, brown gravy mix, sour cream, chopped garlic, and black pepper- simmered until reduced to proper thickness.. Poured over brown rice(which matches perfectly with the earthy mushroom flavor!) and topped with dried dill weed, it made a nice little supper!
Thursday, a craving for cheese drove me to make Alfredo, using Penne for the pasta. Penne is a perfect pasta for taking a sauce, as the small ribs and hollow shape allow optimum coverage! The sauce was admittedly out of a jar- sort of.. I grated real Italian Parmesan and Romano, and stirred into sauce, along with dried Basil, Oregano and a bit of champagne vinegar. I baked it until firm, and it had a wonderful flavor. Champagne vinegar is a "must have" in your pantry..mild, with white grape flavor- it is super with chicken ,fish, or white cheese based sauces.
Have good week-ends, my friends!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reuben Casserole And Brownie With Ice Cream!

I mentioned I had a thought of a corned beef hash that wasn't "hash", and here it is! I sliced Yukon Gold potatoes to scalloped thickness, placed them in a buttered casserole dish, topped with onions that had been sliced and chopped..I added cooked corned beef pieces, and cooked covered for an hour at 350F. I then added sour cream, more butter, milk- and topped with Cheddar cheese, shredded- and baked for another 30 minutes uncovered. The result was a casserole re mindful of corned beef hash, but with more definition of ingredients- not a medley like hash!
I made a dark chocolate brownie for dessert...cake like, with white chocolate chips, cherry flavored crasins, and walnuts. A side of premium vanilla ice cream really went well with it!
I invent this stuff, no recipe- just ingredients I think will work together..
I admit to non event photos on this one, but the food was good!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chef's Salad..Sounds Light, But It Isn't!

The master of overkill lives! I start out with the best intentions, and end up with far more than needed....I know, I've watched me do it!
With that major shortcoming announced to the world, last night I made a Chef's salad for my wife and I. As the photo shows, the ingredients were hard cooked eggs, tomatoes, shredded Cheddar cheese, celery, carrots, slices of both turkey and ham, three kinds of dressings (spinach, blue cheese, and Russian) and oh yeah! A dab of lettuce.. I offered croutons, onions, and bacon- but my wife gave me that "You're doing it again" look....
I have had some digestive issues lately, and haven't been the cookin' fool I usually am. Needless to say, I made a so-called salad I couldn't possibly finish! Wife is making a salad for lunch from left over toppings for work tomorrow..
For tonight, I am toying with a creation that would have the ingredients of corned beef hash, but layered instead of mixed together.. we shall see...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Real Humor From My Past...Incidents At My Club!

You have heard me touch briefly on the fact that I have belonged to a private club for twenty years..It is not an upscale club, but more of a hall, that happens to be very well run and nice..It goes back over 120 years, and was a German only club until WWII when the FBI broke in and wanted to know why...These are a few of my stories that I found humorous over the years...
When first a member, I went there to bowl a few games(we have 4 lanes!) When done, I put my bowling bag behind me at the bar stool I was sitting on..old member tripped ass over applecart on it- I thought they were going to lynch me..
Worked a dance once, ran out of dance wax. Buddy thought indoor shuffleboard wax would worked all right- like wax BBs ! Presidents wife went flying flat on her back first step she took! She was knocked unconscious... If she wouldn't have been drunk, she would have broke her neck.. I did my impression as a Zamboni with a push broom clearing the floor!
When I was president, an 80 year old woman shoved a small male member in the arm..he wrote a complaint, which the board was forced to address. I had to put an 80yr. old lady on probation, by the rules of the club..
I ran a Valentine's party once, and gave away intimate apparel in raffles.. made more money than the kitchen did!
One time, while president, a couple at the bar were all over each other..They were guests, not members, and some of the wives came up to me to do something about it! I went up to them and told them politely this wasn't where that was allowed..they laughed and left. A guy comes running in, and says they are in a car in the lot "getting busy".. I said "don't" just before 30 people went out to steamed, car rockin', everyone stood on the porch with mouths open! I ordered everyone back inside, and told them I wasn't touching this one!
We had a number of chili cook offs, one was when I changed propane tanks without turning off the stove- set my tablecloth on fire..didn't hear the end of that for years!
Your life is made of memories..write them down, take photos, tell and retell them..You will realize someday, just how precious they are..

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My St. Paddie's Day Traditions...

First, I must admit to no Irish blood in me whatsoever! However, over the years I did a number of different things in keeping with the spirit of the day..
As most of you know by now, I was an outside sales rep for most of my career. For years, I had a Kelly green blazer sport coat I wore for many years on St. Paddy's Day, and would try to make it to a couple of pubs in the afternoon for Irish music, and green beer..A private club I've belonged to for 20+ years would have an all day party, serving food, drinks, and various bands playing for listening or dancing (noon til midnight!)..We would go down there for Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, or a Reuben(which really isn't Irish!).
The last few years, I try to stay away from all day parties- I'm just not that young and stupid anymore! What I do now days is cook my own corned beef, and make a killer Reuben sandwich! My version is as traditional as I can make it, and I look forward to it for days..
Cook corned beef in the oven 325F, covered with water, seasoned, for 1 hour per pound of meat. I then cool it for ease of cutting thinly..
I make a Russian Dressing from Thousand Island dressing, ketchup, horseradish, and pickle relish
I use store bought sauerkraut, mix it with the dressing, top with Swiss cheese and a layer of sliced corned beef. We use marbled Rye bread, toasting the whole sandwich until cheese begins to melt lightly.
It seems like a lot of work, but I enjoy doing my own corned beef- you can just buy it at the deli for a time saver! Hope you had a good day too- tell me about it!
P.S.-There is a real good chance I will make Reuben soup with left overs...

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Million Meat Loaves..So Little Time..

First off, I can't (or won't!) make a small meatloaf! 3 lbs. is my average.. This fills a bread pan nicely, and if you crown it a bit, no overflow of grease or anything else-although I do put a piece of aluminum foil under it, it case of miscalculation!
2lbs, ground beef
1lb. ground sausage
1 egg
1 cup of prepared bread crumbs
1/2 cup total of parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, sea salt, garlic powder, and onion powder- your portions..
1/2 cup ketchup and Worcester sauce,(total) mixed
Mix all above by hand until blended
Pack tightly in bread pan and bake at 350F for 90 min., add a bit of ketchup mixed with prepared mustard for topping, bake at 230F for another 20 min. until glazing a bit. Pouring excess grease off around 70 minutes is a good idea..
Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting..
The reason I don't use chopped onions, celery, green peppers, or any other veggies is moisture content..I like firm, slice able meatloaf- and this is how to get it!
A side of brown rice seemed to work well with our larders are getting low...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Scotch Eggs, With Toppings- My Way!

These are my version of a Scotch egg...Normally these would be deep fried with a light bread crumb batter, but in the years I have been making them, I prefer to roast them sans batter. I do mix bread crumbs into the sausage as an aid to "bind" them with a bit of seasoning and liquid.
1. Hard cook 4 large eggs, until cooked through
2. Peel, and cool
3. 1lb. bulk sausage, your favorite flavor
4. Pack each egg in 1/4lb. of the sausage, like it was a snowball!
5. Bake at 350F on an oiled shallow rack for 20 minutes, turning the egg gently over, baking another 20 minutes.
6. Cut carefully in halves or quarters when cooled slightly
7. May be served hot or cold, with sauces of your choice, or plain
This is a popular appetizer, or a quick breakfast..guys hunting insist I bring a lot of them to deer camp!
Hope your snow is gone, and a have a great week-end!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Onion Soup, With A Few Twists!

Wifey has been hitting the dentist's office a bit lately, and asked for soup last night. So many soups, but what haven't we had recently? Onion soup! Simple, peasant style onion soup! Well, that didn't happen either! I cannot just make something the way they tell you to- I have to put my spin on it..
1. 1 can chicken broth
2. 1 can beef broth
3. 2 onions, one red, one yellow, chopped
4. Black pepper, chopped garlic, savory, to taste
Heat and simmer all above for 1 hour
5. Top with a medley of cheeses (I used white cheddar, Colby jack, and yellow cheddar)
Melt cheeses on top of soup in microwave, top with flavored croutons
So simple, so good!
I made those out of a tube crescent rolls to go along with the wife loves them, and I actually like them too!
I need a break out idea to get cooking in high gear...tonight it looks like bacon and eggs, as she was back at the dentists- again!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Simple Sunday..Steak And Taters- With A Snickers Bar!

We rassled and hassled with a Sunday dinner idea, and ended up with a simple meal of NY strip steaks and roasted potatoes, seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary.. everything came out great, as a simple meal is hard to screw up! I planned to make cookies, only to find I had 10 pounds of sugar, and was out of flour! They ought to color code the damn bags or something..I thought I had 5 lbs. of wife had to go out and pick up some paperwork, so she stopped by a store and got us both a Snickers candy bar! Cravings are a hard thing to explain, but I sure did eat the heck out of one! Life can be short, and hard..while you are here, and a candy bar can cheer you up- don't cha think you ought to have one?
Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Friday, March 05, 2010

A Little Misc. Food...

Monday, I did find a photo of the POM BBQ pork tenderloin I took before the batteries died! We had a simple side of buttered spiral pasta, thinking less is better than overkill this time!
Tuesday night, I made simple cheesy pasta shells, with 4 cheeses blended into a sauce, and seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, and a dash of liquid hot sauce. It was simple, yet hit the spot!
Wednesday, I just didn't feel like cooking, as wife was going to be late from it was a bucket of crunch from KFC....It wasn't bad, but quite a bit of leftovers to deal with...
Thursday, I made a cheesy hash brown casserole, that contained the remaining chicken- without its coating, and torn into bite sized pieces. Worked pretty good!
The sun has shone brightly every day this week- but still reflecting off a lot of snow!
Michigan's State bird is the robin, and it usually means Spring is close when you see your first one of the season. That hasn't happened yet!
Tonight, sliced pork tenderloin BBQ sandwiches should seal the fate of this weeks leftovers!
Enjoy your weekends, everybody!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

POM Juice BBQ Sauce

Monday, I finally used POM Pomegranate juice in a BBQ sauce I designed for pork or chicken..
1. Tomato sauce (28oz can)
2. POM juice (8 oz bottle)
3. White vinegar (3oz.)
Stir these ingredients until smooth and blended over a low heat.
4. Slices of fresh lemon into the sauce.
5. Add chopped garlic, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, sea salt, dried thyme, and white sugar to taste.
6. Simmer until thickened, removing lemon slices during simmering
7. Add Pomegranate liqueur(3oz.) after heat is turned off.
I expected it to be sweet, as the juice and liqueur is, but adding lemons and white vinegar gave it a balance that really lightened it.
We had it on broiled pork tenderloin, and it was pretty good! My camera batteries decided to die- so no photos of the meal...

Monday, March 01, 2010

Sunday Night Home Made Pizza- Dad Pizza

Sunday night, we had some old friends over. It was supposed to be Saturday night, but something came up for them, so we lagged it a day! We caught up on our kids(they had four girls, we had two boys)..If you think all your kid troubles go away when they move out- you are wrong! One child of theirs married a nut case nearly 15 yrs. older than her, and is about as useless as tits on a goose..divorced now, she has sole custody of their one child. Guy drove her about half crazy before she got rid of him!
Anyway, I made what we fondly refer to as a Dad pizza for something to eat. Why is it called a Dad pizza? I've been making home made pizza dough, and sauce since my kids were little- and they would always ask "Can we have a Dad pizza tonight?" It's more Chicago style than NYC- but the thickness of the crust is somewhere in between..I let it rise for an hour in the mixing bowl (in a warm spot!) Punch it down and let it rise again spread in the baking sheet for another twenty minutes before topping. Sauce, sprinkled with hand grated Italian Parmesan and Romano(the real stuff!), shredded Mozzarella, Italian bulk sausage, Pepperoni, chopped onions, sliced mushrooms and sprinkled with more shredded Mozzarella(to bind it all a little better!) Baked at 450F for about 15 minutes, then let it set for another 5 minutes before cutting. Feeds 4-5 seriously hungry people...
I'm going to finally try to make that pomegranate BBQ sauce today, with a pork tenderloin for dinner- wish me luck, as last week I made too many mistakes!