Friday, January 29, 2010
Darling’s Chili Beans
1 lb ground beef
2 small or 1 large onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
2 large cans pinto or pink beans
1 large can tomato sauce
1 package “taco seasoning”
1-2 jalapeños, seeds removed and finely chopped
Salt and pepper
½-1 cup water
Brown the ground beef, then add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft. Add all of the other ingredients except the water. Stir well and bring to a boil. Add the water, bring back to a boil, then bring to a low simmer and cook for 1-3 hours. Serve with sour cream and grated cheese and of course tortillas.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Non-Commital Turkey Breast Roast
1 2-2 ½ pound turkey breast roast, tied
2-3 T pepper corns
2-3 T coarse salt
1 T freshly dried thyme (the jars of dried herbs loose their zing FAST. If you dry your own every year, or even buy fresh at the store and dry it yourself, you’ll get MUCH more taste)
1 T freshly dried Italian herb blend (thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, parsley)
2 T butter
2 T flour
Preheat oven to 350. Using a big mortar and pestle or else a towel and a rolling pin, roughly crack the pepper corns. Mix together with the salt and herbs. Place the roast in a fairly small roasting pan, something that is just big enough to hold the roast and the shallots. Rub herb mix all over the roast, turning several times and really working to get as much as possible stuck onto the roast, and letting any extra fall into the pan. The roast should have a nice layer of fat on at least one side. Leave that side up. If there’s no fat anywhere on your roast, lay a few strips of bacon over the top. Peel the shallots and set them all around the roast. Cover tightly with tin foil and put into oven. After 30-60 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking another 60-90 minutes for a total of about 2 hours. It’ll b e done when the internal temperature (use a meat thermometer) is 165-170 and the juices run clear. Set the turkey and shallots in a serving dish and cover with the foil. Pour the baking juices into a measuring cup or bowl. You should have ½-1 cup of baking juices. Set the baking pan right on the stovetop flame. Melt the butter in it, then stir or whisk in the flour. When it’s well mixed, pour the baking juices (and any extra pepper corn and herb bits) back in, stirring well. Add another ½ cup or so of water, stirring well. Pour into a gravy boat and serve alongside the turkey. If you taste the gravy alone, it’ll probably seem way too salty, but the inside of a turkey roast really doesn’t get salted at all, so poured over the turkey it’s a totally different and quite perfect thing. Slice the turkey and serve with the shallots.
I serve this with roasted sweet potatoes and roasted asparagus, which I put into the same oven during the last 45 and 15 minutes of cooking, respectively.
Monday, January 18, 2010
The crust ingredients are straight from King Arthur. I won't even bore you with their instructions, which are good, but unnecessarily complicated.
The whole process takes about 2 hours start to finish.
Makes enough for 2 "personal" sized pizzas. Double or triple as needed. Because of the packing nature of flour, it is best to weigh it; if you don't have a kitchen scale, use a spoon to fluff flour in its container, then add a spoonful at a time into the cup measure, gently shaking flour from spoon.
2 cups (8 ounces) all-purpose flour (I often do half whole wheat)
1 1/4 teas. instant yeast
3/4 teas. salt
1 TBSP (1/2 ounce) olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup (4 to 6 ounces) warm water
In a large bowl, add dry ingredients and use a whisk to mix. Use a dough cutter or spoon to stir in olive oil.
Add the minimum amount water, keeping in mind you will probably need to add it all. You want a wet but not sloppy dough. Once you have added all the water you need to, mix just enough to get a fairly cohesive mass and turn it onto a floured surface.
Knead it until it is smooth and shiny and when you gently poke it with your finger, it springs back quickly, ~ 3-5 minutes.
Put into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
When it has doubled in bulk, remove from bowl and put on a floured surface. Gently stretch the dough until it is the shape and thickness you want. Tears are okay: just gently mush them back together.
Variation: roll out on semolina flour for a crunchier crust.
1 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves crushed or minced garlic
1 28 oz. can tomato sauce
oregano, salt, and pepper to taste
In a sauce pan, heat olive oil and add garlic, stirring constantly until just fragrant, ~ 1 minute.
Add tomato sauce and spices and cook until bubbling. Turn off and let sit until needed.
You'll need ~ 8 oz mozzarella cheese for the above amount of dough.
Make sure any vegetables are sautéed first, otherwise they will make the pizza very wet.
Use whatever strikes your fancy. My favorites are:
sautéed onions and garlic
roasted red pepper
When dough is looking close to doubled in size, ~ 30 minutes before you want to eat, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Prep dough. Put on a cookie sheet or, if using a pizza stone, onto the backside of a cookie sheet which has some semolina flour on it so dough will slip off onto stone. Lightly brush dough with olive oil, then add a layer of sauce. Cover with cheese and toppings.
Put into the hot oven, either on cookie sheet or slipped onto the stone. Cook until cheese bubbles and dough is puffing, ~ 10 minutes.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Baked Cod with Red Onions
Marinate 4 ½-3/4 pound cod filets in the juice of 6-8 limes plus about 1 T coarse salt and about 1 tsp. ground pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Slice 2-3 red onions. Lay half of the red onions on the bottom of a baking dish. Lay the cod over the onions, then lay the second half of the onions on top of the cod. Pour the marinade over everything. Cover tightly with tin foil and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish; you’ll know it’s done when the fish is white all the way through and start to sort of flake open on top). Serve the remaining sauce on the side. Perfect with rice or mashed potatoes.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I made lamb stew the other night. It was easier than easy. It was technically a Garbage Stew, a la Garbage Risotto, because it cleaned out the veggie drawer of all the leftover random root veggies that were collecting mold. It also used up a meat CSA package labeled, oddly, "lamb stew", which really was just 1 to 2 inch pieces of mystery lamb parts. The kids thought it was okay; Dave really liked it, but using up leftover things from the fridge and cupboard is a flavor-added ingredient to Dave, so take that with a grain of salt.
Garbage Lamb Stew
1 lb. lamb cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
1/2 to 1 cup flour
1 teas. salt
1 teas. pepper
2 TBSP safflower or other high heat oil
3 cups root veggies cut into 1/2 to 1 inch chunks (carrots, parsnips, potatoes, dikon radish, turnip, celeriac, beets, etc.)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups stock
salt and pepper to taste
Dry lamb off with a paper towel. Put flour and salt and pepper into a bowl and mix up. Add lamb and coat thoroughly. Add more flour if necessary.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pan. Add lamb and sear each side.
Add in root veggies and onion, and stock. Bring to a low simmer and cover. Let cook for 3 or 4 hours, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft. If liquid is thin, remove cover for last 30 minutes to thicken it. Salt and pepper to taste.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Minestrone Soup with French Onion Topping
2 celery ribs
1/2 head cabbage
1 can cannelini beans
6-7 cups homemade stock or broth
6 oz. tomato sauce
6 oz grated gruyere cheese
4-6 slices bread (I prefer French or Sourdough)
Slice the carrotts, celery ribs, and onion. Saute in olive oil the bottom of a big soup pot for about 5 minutes. Slice the zucchini and add. Saute for another 3-5 minutes. Chop the cabbage and add. Saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add stock or broth, tomatoe sauce, beans, and parmesan rind. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes. A few minutes before you are ready to serve, ladel the soup into oven-safe bowls, sprinkly lightly with gruyere, then cut bread into 1" squares and lay over top, then sprinkle with more gruyere. Set the bowls onto a baking pan and then place them under a high broiler for 3-5 minutes, until browned. Remove and serve immediately.
Monday, January 4, 2010
A while ago Keja mentioned that the way you cut the ingredients of a salad can drastically change how it tastes, often alleviating the boredom of a mid-winter salad (she also suggested not eating salad out of season but we'll pretend we didn't read that!). And she was right! The salad below is almost a salsa or chutney, rather than a traditional leaf-based dish.
This recipe comes from my friend Caitrin. It's based on Israeli salad and she has refined it over the years. She says that the scallions are key to a traditional Israeli salad but in a pinch I used shallots and it was delicious. I've also used only green pepper, seeded an English cucumber, and forgotten to add cheese. The point is, it's going to be delicious!
Caitrin's Israeli Salad
Serves 4 to 6 salad-hungry adults
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper or Italian green pepper
1/2 large European seedless cucumber or 3-4 Persian cucumbers
4 - 6 scallions
2 medium-large tomatoes
Lettuce - as much or as little as you want- Caitrin often uses a half or third of a head
1/4 bunch of cilantro
1 ripe avocado
Feta (sheep's milk is much better) use as much as desired
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, the darker the better
Chop all vegetables fine (aim for 1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces) and put in a bowl. The trick to having it taste so good is that you spend time cutting everything very small (especially the cilantro, lettuce, and scallions).
Add the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil and toss it very well, get all of the juices very well mixed.
At times Caitrin also adds radish, or shredded carrot, even tuna.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
The trick to making this is saving things up in the freezer
Preheat oven to 350.
After making sure everything is chopped to roughly the same size (it's easy to further chop all of these things while they're fozen). Mix together in a big bowl:
2-3 cups cubed leftover steak or roast (If there's a piece of steak or roast that goes uneaten at a meal, I cube it and then put it in a marked freezer bag)
1/2-1 cup leftover roasted sweet potatoes
1/2 cup leftover sauteed greens
1-2 cups cubed leftover roasted carrotts (these are so good in so many things, any time I'm making a roast I put in 3-4 extra carrotts just to have in the freezer)
1/2-1 cup cubed leftover roasted shallotts or onions (ditto)
1/4-1/2 cup roughly chopped frozen blanched carrotts
1-2 cups roughly chopped frozen blanched green beans
Toss with a thick gravey. I make this on the spot:
In a large pan, melt 2 T butter. Add 2 T flour and mix well. Add 2 cups beef broth, 1/4 cup at a time and mixing very well between each to keep a nice thick gravey. If your beef broth was pretty rich and thick, you're set. If it was on the clear side, add 1 beef bullion cube mashed in a few tablespoons of hot water.
Pour the mixture into a big deep baking dish.
Top with about 6 cups fresh or frozen mashed potatoes. If you've frozen these, be sure to let them thaw before you put them on so that you can spread them well. Any favorite mashed potato recipe will work, but this one is particularly fantastic:
Peel and cube 6-8 potatoes. Any kind works, and my favorite is actually a blend. Steam the potatoes until soft, about 20 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a big bowl and smash, using a ricer or really big fork, with 2 T butter, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 T salt, and 1-2 tsp. freshly grated pepper. The parmesan cheese is the secret ingredient that makes these. Add a little more if you really want to taste it.
After you've spread the mashed potatoes over the filling, bake at 350 for an hour, then if you're not quite ready to eat turn down to 250 and it can keep going for up to another hour.
Serves 6 comfortably.