Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spare Ribs In The Oven, And A Carrot Cake..

I was cruising the freezer for a supper to have on Tuesday, and came across a rack of regular pork spare ribs. These are what was common years ago, instead of the baby back ribs you see in restaurants and BB-Q places. They are much larger in length, and have more meat on them, as a rule... I stripped off the membrane off the back of the rib, and dry rubbed both sides liberally with a spice mixture. I put them in the oven at 330F, and covered them with aluminum foil. A bit of water was in the pan, to aid the steaming effect. This went on for about 3 hrs...I then uncovered them and started basting with the BB-Q sauce about every 15 minutes for an hour or so. The result was a flavorful, tender(but not too tender!) rack of pork ribs... The side was cheesey pasta shells, which went nicely with the ribs!
Earlier, I had made a box mix carrot/spice cake, which came out moist and flavorful. Cream cheese frosting sprinkled with cinnamon made it a nice dessert!
The yahoo in the last photo is my dog Clara the Airedale, who had just come back from the groomer.. a very polite beggar!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pie And a Pasta Dish- The Meal Of Choice After A Cook-off..

Sunday, we were kind of whipped from Saturday-a long day in the rain.. My wife is working insane hours, so I thought I should do something special for Sunday dinner- even though I was wupped too..
I baked an apple pie. Now, to all you excellent bakers who stop by here, you know I can bake certain things quite well- but a crusted pie isn't one of them! Crusts intimidate me, but I did it anyway! The filling was fresh apples, in a sugar-cinnamon sauce- simmered until tender and thick. The crust was simpler than I thought, and by the photo you can tell it came out beautifully.
The pasta was small shells, covered in a long simmered red sauce, with added basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds. Browned, seasoned Italian sausage and ground beef, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese made it simple, filling, and quick to prepare!
Tonight, it's spare ribs in the oven, with a carrot cake for dessert..time to get the ribs in!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chili Cook-off 2010 For C-Snips...

Saturday started early for us, as we loaded the van with cooking utensils, grill, food, trophies, etc. for our try at the White Chili category in a chili cook-off! We chopped, diced, and mixed a bunch of different food stuff together, making a huge batch at 3 gallons! We were happy with our batch, and liked our chances..
The first photo is of the lady who organized the event, and she had reserved the corner table closest to the bar door for us! This is a great location, which can help when selling the chili to the public.. Second photo is our neighbors at the contest, who really decorated their booth like it was Halloween! The third shot is of our friends Dragon Spit Chili..Between our two teams, we probably have 40-50 chili trophies and it is unusual for neither of us to place in a contest. The last photo is a rare sighting of the semi- mythical Buffalo Dick hisself!
We didn't win. The white chili that won was a good friend of the organizer, who helped put up the awnings and tables- go figure.. Dragon Spit didn't place either..their red chili was great (I had some!) and they had 3/4 of a batch left.
It rained all day, and turn out was light..everyone had chili left but one guy- ME!
Oh well, these events are getting less impartial and more biased towards the locals who patronize the place all year long..

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Day At Sam's Club- And A Chili Cook-off Saturday!

My son and I went to Sam's Club today... something takes you over and you buy in quantities that the U.S. Government would envy! Suddenly, 24 rolls of toilet paper doesn't seem like a lot.. 8 large cans of black olives is a deal! 5lbs. of Italian sausage is a bargain..etc. $177 bucks later(before filling gas tank!) you ask your self- what was I thinking!!!! They must have subliminal messages playing over the piped in music! The guy in front of me was buying two old Jimmy Buffet CDs for 8.88 a crack! What possessed him? His 50ish wife had the blank look of a brain-washing...The Hispanics skip the cart and go for the flat bed cargo haulers..I guess they are buying for the neighborhood.. I did get a clip on pair of sun glasses, which the girl in the eye care department said they don't carry..cheerful, yet stupid...
I am making a ham and Havarti melt, on an English Muffin (broiled) for supper tonight, and it should be simple and good!
We still have to pick-up a few things for the chili cook-off Saturday, and it's supposed to rain. Oh well- welcome to my world! Wish me luck- I'm cooking my Wicked White Chili.. 3 1st place trophies in three years at this one!

When A Slow Cooker Isn't The Answer...

Wednesday, I decided chicken would be a nice supper... Having an attack of the lazies, I decided to cook it in a crock pot, or slow cooker. I made a platform of Yukon Gold potatoes, seasoned a couple of large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and called it good..I would sauce it later in the cooking process. I went back to the kitchen, wondering why I didn't smell the aroma of cooking poultry- to find I had four settings on my fancy, new slow cooker- not three! Old one had off, low and one has off, warm, low, and high... To make a long story shorter- It wasn't on at all! I put the sauce on, and jacked to high, and called my wife coming home from work to tell her she could take her time! We ate an hour later than planned, but it was pretty good!
None of us are perfect, me being one of them- but sometimes knowing what to do when you screw things up is part of learning to be a good cook!
My son is coming over for steak fajitas and a trip to Sam's Club- hope I get out of there for less than $100!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Torn Between Two Lovers..French Dip, Or Philly Cheese Steak?

Well, this is what I did! I did a ho-hum steak dinner Sunday, complete with steak, Au Gratin potatoes. corn on cob, and brownies.. YeeHah! Tonight, we get a much better treat- but what to call it? Strips of medium rare steak, baby Swiss cheese, onions and green bell peppers in Aujus beef sauce, on a fresh bakery roll.. Is it French Dip, or Philly cheese steak? I don't know, but it is good! Nuances make my ass tired.. I like what tastes good, whether it has a name or not! Look at it, think about it... What is not to like? Snobs need to be educated, as well as simple folks need to be elevated.. Good food is good food- it doesn't need a name!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Riddle Me This: How Do You Have A Turkey Strata With No Turkey Meat?

The answer of course, is that you use turkey eggs! I scored some turkey eggs ( free range!) and as you can see by the photo, they are huge! Poor turkey- it would be like a human trying to crap a watermelon! I read up on them, finding to my surprise they won a taste test turkey vs. chicken egg...They they had a different but superior flavor to chicken eggs,and averaged 1.5 to 2 times the size! They are a beautiful egg, speckled and more, well, egg-shaped! I decided to make a strata from them- recipe as follows..
1. Chop 8oz. of high quality ham into 3/8" square cubes.
2. Chop sweet onion and fresh mushrooms, saute in butter until nearly dry.
3. Cut sharp cheddar into cubes same size as ham.
4. Cut 8 slices of white bread into cubes.
5. Scramble 5 turkey eggs with 1-1/4 cups of milk, seasoned with black coarse pepper, salt and savory to taste.
Take 9 x 13 pan, greased, and layer half of bread. Spread all ingredients except egg mixture over bread, then layer rest of bread on. Pour egg mixture over all. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes, loosely cover with aluminum foil, bake for another 20 minutes until toothpick comes out fairly dry.. Sausage or bacon could be used instead of ham, if you wish!
Don't be put off by using an egg like this- you will be pleasantly surprised!
P.S.- For the less adventuresome, use 8 ex-large chicken eggs instead of 5 turkey eggs..Chicken!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Leftovers From My Lobster Smackdown Entry...

I had nearly a quart of chunky lobster-crab chowder left after my entry to Heffs contest... I was never one to eat the same thing twice, but hate to have food go to waste! What to do? I came up with a chowder casserole! I took pasta shells(medium sized), poured a half a box in a buttered casserole dish, poured the chowder over them and stirred. The shells absorbed the liquid as it baked, covered..Uncovered and topped with bread crumbs, it was sweet, filling and tasty! And all gone!
Tonight I'm making a dish I'm willing to bet few of you have had!
Enjoy your week-ends, and drive careful!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Made This, And It Was Good! Help Me Name It!!!

The folks who visit here sometimes see concoctions I made up, and are in no cook book or Internet website... I had one I wanted to try, with familiar flavors but with a different texture I thought would be good. I will describe it, show you a photo of it- but I would like you all to make up a name as to what to call it! Here we go...
1. I took a soft flour tortilla (large and circular!) and placed on plate.
2. 1/2lb. of ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning, chili powder, cumin powder, onion powder, and garlic powder- a made into a giant thin single patty and fried until done.
3. Placed on tortilla, then covered with chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, chopped onion, sprinkled lightly with shredded Colby Jack cheese, and topped with your favorite chunky salsa.
4. Cover all above with another round flour tortilla, and covered in Colby Jack cheese and microwaved until cheese melts..
5. A splash of hot sauce on top and done... can be cut like a pizza into sections, or eaten with knife and fork!
What is my name? I NEED ONE!
Have fun with this, I look forward to your answers!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Iron Heffs Lobster Challenge- My Entry...

A couple weeks back, Heff threw down a food challenge featuring lobster, and I decided to participate- as I love the crawly creatures of the deep blue seas.. I came up with a menu, which by the photos looks simple, but really was involved, and time consuming!
My offerings were: Lobster brushetta, lobster crab chowder, with an almond cherry cheesecake for dessert.
The lobster was live, and had to be steamed, then taken from the shell. It was steamed/boiled in water, flavored only with sea salt and Old Bay seasoning. The crab was in the shell but cooked and frozen, so thawing and getting the meat out was work, too!
1. The Brushetta was a toasted Artisan French bread, cut on the bias about 1/2" thick. It was then spread with French Port Salut soft cheese until covered. This is a cheese remindful of Brie, but with much more flavor! I minced all toppings, lobster, black olives, green olives, onions, and tomatoes and laid them in lines on the cheese, which held them in place nicely. A light sprinkle of Old Bay on top added zip.. This was a rich, many layered flavor appetizer that was quite tasty and substantial...A few cut chives were tasty and had eye appeal..
2. My chowder consisted of large chunks of cooked lobster and crab, in a base liquid of Half and half cream, with a splash of Chenin Blanc. There were fresh corn kernels, celery, onion, and red bell pepper- all chopped and sauteed in butter and Old Bay seasoning. When tender, they were added to the main liquid. I thickened with a butter and flour roux to proper consistency, and topped with a light sprinkling of Old Bay...again, a few chives added flavor and color to the chowder..
The cheesecake was part of the half I froze after Easter, with a cherry topping that matched the almond flavor of the cake beautifully...
The leftover toppings for the Brushetta will be mixed together to make a spread for crackers or more toast..I feel the flavors would be less segregated that way..
Well, Heff and Donna- that's what I'm offering as my entry to your fun(but exausting!) challenge!!!
P.S. My wife was a huge help in this, helping with the prep, etc. Had to give her some of the credit for your kind comments!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Irish Lamb Stew..Sorry, No Photo!

A few nights back, I took some leftover lamb, cubed it, mixed it with the lamb broth I had made(Had that nice jellied consistency!)along with cubed potatoes, cut carrots, celery, onions, seasonings all on low in a slow cooker for 7 hrs.... I used some brown gravy mix and flour for a thickener, and had as an authentic Irish stew this side of Dublin! Lamb gravy is so silky smooth, with a flavor that is superior to any other gravy I've had..
Yesterday was at dentists...not a good time! Came home like a whipped puppy, and laid down for the night...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Enjoy A Lettuce Free Salad And A Scavenger Pizza..

We have enjoyed a half a cantaloupe (locally called muskmelon!) filled with chicken salad, tuna salad, or shrimp salad for years... Monday night, it was tuna- and it was a big one! White solid Albacore tuna, eggs, mayo, mustard, celery, onions, with lemon pepper made a nice filling for a huge fresh melon!
Tuesday..the best laid plans of mice and men... I was going to do a pizza stone pizza, when I figured out I had no corn meal.. did a pan pizza, with modifications! No bulk sausage- so I used brown and serve links chopped up.. used fresh onions, mushrooms, pepperoni, less Mozzarella and more Parmesan and Romano. The home made sauce was killer, and the from scratch dough rose beautifully! My brother in law was here..bachelor type- he went after it like mad, and went home with left overs!
As I write this, an authentic Irish lamb stew is cooking.... The broth is killer because it "jellied" after simmering! Carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, and lamb will be the real deal- no beef or chicken broth, just a little brown gravy for color..
Come on over- plenty for all!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter Dinner 2010

Saturday, I spent the better part of an hour, deboning a leg of lamb... This is work! I took a 7-1/2lb. leg of lamb, and turned it into four fat free lamb steaks, which I marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar, chopped garlic, coarse ground salt and black pepper, rosemary, and thyme for 20hrs., refrigerated.. This was grilled over charcoal- which is my favorite way to have lamb!
I made a sour cream and chives scalloped potato dish, that disappeared completely, along with some excellent asparagus, cooked to crunchy done, that also got gone! Crescent rolls- gone..
The cheesecake was a hit, with caramel sauce..quite rich- two people ate it plain and loved it..
Leftover lamb will be a genuine Irish lamb stew Wednesday, as I simmered the leg bone into a tasty broth...Hopefully, there will be a few sales on today for ham, lamb, and turkey!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I Know How To Make Cheesecakes That Don't Crack...Do You?

For Easter dessert, I made an almond vanilla flavored cheesecake...I'm not exaggerating when I say in the last 20 years, I've made 80-100 cheesecakes! I started with cheap spring form pans, moving up to the Analon brand, my recommended pans for these cakes.. I followed recipes, learning the basics of a tasty cheesecake. My ongoing battle was to make cheesecakes that didn't crack during or after cooking! I played with ingredients, heat temperatures, and times...Finally, I solved the riddle of cracking! If you want to know the technique, E-mail me, as I am not inclined to print it on my blog!
The topping for this dessert will be a caramel sauce, drizzled over the top of each piece- if we have room for dessert! Happy Easter to all!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Pannekoeken- A Good Dutch Pancake!

Growing up in a Dutch heritage, these cheap, filling, sweet treats were popular, with many Reformed, and Christian Reformed churches in the area having pancake suppers as fund raisers.. Remember breakfast restaurants that had the revolving stand of about six different kinds of syrup? Boy, I sure do! Last night, I decided to make these pancakes, along with an apple topping, served warm, mixed with butter and maple and tasty! Sausage links go well with this, also. It's the kind of topping you might see on a Belgian waffle, but why not a pancake?
As I write this, I have an almond-vanilla flavored cheesecake with a graham cracker crust baking in the oven for Easter dinner..probably will be topped with a chocolate syrup type of drizzle... I make a mean cheesecake, kids- believe me! Tomorrow I butterfly the leg of lamb, making it a boneless, marinated treat that will be charcoaled on the grill..Hope your plans for Sunday include a great meal, ending Lent!
Happy Easter/Passover/Etc. !!!!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Two Meals From Leftover Roast Chicken..

Monday night, I was feeling nostalgic for a chicken treat I would occasionally get when I was a kid.. My folks were quite involved with their church, with their social life revolving around it, and most of their friends were fellow members. About once a month, four couples would have coffee and food after Sunday evening services, each taking turns hosting it...this meant about four times a year, it was at our house! My mom would sometimes make a chicken and cheese snack in the form of a creamy cheese based spread, filled with bits of cooked chicken on hamburger buns. They were baked in the oven until cheese was warm and melted, and the buns were getting crunchy-toasty! I loved these stupid simple treats, and made them for the first time in 40 years on Monday night.. They freeze well, and are easy to thaw and eat for a quick snack. I had some cooked bacon I added, just because I could!
Tuesday night, I made Chicken Nachos Supreme, with two kinds of shredded cheese, chopped onions, chopped fresh tomatoes, on good crisp tortilla chips. Hot sauce, or salsa was optional.. I didn't reinvent the wheel here, but it was a tasty way to finish up the leftover chicken!
My tummy had been touchy for the last month, and hadn't been wearing the jeans I got for Christmas for weeks..imagine my surprise when they wouldn't even stay on me without tightening my belt! I must have lost 20lbs.! Believe me, I could lose 20 more without fear of looking thin!