Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Wednesday Quick Bolognese

Here's a quick spagetti sauce for those busy Wednesday evenings...

1 lb ground beef
1 cup of jar pasta sauce (we use one of the Costco offerings)
1 table spoon oregano
1/2 table spoon salt
1/4 take spoon red pepper flakes
Optional: Olive oil. (See note)

Serves 2

Brown the meat while breaking up the ground beef as fine as possible with your spatula.

Add oregano, salt and pepper flakes and simmer for about 5 to ten minutes.

Add pasta sauce to the ground beef and simmer while the pasta is boiling (about 10 minutes)

Note: If the ground beef is lean, dress the sauce with a little olive oil shortly before serving.

Serve with 250 grams of pasta (dry weight) for 2 people

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Christmas Tenderloin

Ok this may ramble a bit...

The short instruction is to follow the directions in Joy of Cooking (1975 edition aka "JoC" below)

But it hasn't been so simple for me...

1) Remove the meat from the fridge an hour before, as they say.

2) Preheat the oven to 500F (actually I don't really like my built-in oven getting quite the hot.  I do 475F)

3) Trim fat and the thin connective tissue that runs along the tenderloin to the extent you wish.  (I don't worry about the fat ... fat is yummy, but I try to get rid of some of the connective stuff.  Doesn't need to be perfect).

4) They suggest coating with butter or larding with bacon.  I think I have done both at one time or another.  Actually I really like mashing some anchovies in olive oil and coating the tenderloin with the resulting paste.  Yum!).  Cutting some slits with the end of a knife and inserting slivers of garlic is pretty easy and good.

(note this is an "do as you wish" recipe....)

5) Place the meat on a rack in a roasting pan and put it in the oven.  Reduce heat to 400F.  Leave uncovered.

Now JoC says it takes 30 minute and to remove at 130F.

I have had trouble matching their timing.  Perhaps several reasons...
- I am starting at 475F
- I think our fridge runs cold so the meat may still be cold after one hour.
- I have been cooking it to 135F which seems plenty rare for most audiences.

In any case, my notes from the past show anything from 45 minute to 60 minutes.  I suggest using a good instant read meat thermometer to make the final call.

But this dish is pretty forgiving so don't stress it will be good!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Stuffed Eggplant (Melanzane)

Two medium sized eggplants
1/2 cup pasta sauce
2 garlic cloves
1 shallot
Herbs de Provence
Salt and Pepper
Grated Parmesan (about one cup)
Olive oil

Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and place them in a shallow casserole baking dish.

Using a knife, carve out most of the pulp from the eggplants and set it aside.  The remaining egg plant shell should be about a 1/4 inch thick.

Take the pulp that was set aside, and cut it into 1/4 inch cubes.

Dice the garlic and slice the shallot

In a sauce pan, add about a tablespoon of butter and lightly brown the garlic and  shallot slices.

Add the eggplant pulp, pasta sauce, herbs de Provence, salt and pepper and simmer until the eggplant is cooked through.  Monitor that it doesn't  start to stick or burn.  (add a little more butter if needed to keep it from drying out)

Remove from heat and stir in half of the grated parmesan.

Spoon the pulp mixture into the eggplant shells.  Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top and the top that with a little parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.

Bake for 45 to 60 minute at 350F.  Then serve.

Beef and Polenta

2 pound beef stew meet in cubes
Red Wine
Bay Leaf
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Shallot
Sea Salt (course)
Pepper (course)
(to be served over prepared polenta or mashed potatoes)

Coat beef cubes with a mixture of flour, salt and pepper ( I add the flour, salt and pepper to a ziplock bag then add the beef and shake the combination until the beef cubes are covered)

Dice the garlic cloves and set aside

Dice the shallot and set aside

Starting with a heavy skillet (I use a 12 inch iron pan)...
- On medium heat add enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan.

- Once the pan is sufficiently hot (sprinkle the pan with a little water, and see if it "sizzles").  Then add the cubes of beef to brown.  Don't crowd the pan.  Do half the beef at a time if necessary.  Add butter as needed.

- Once all the beef is brown, and no butter remains, add enough red wine to half submerge the beef.

- The add salt, pepper, garlic, shallot slices and one bay leaf.

- Simmer on low for 90 to 120 minutes.  The wine should reduce to a sauce with the consistency of gravy.  Add wine as needed to keep the sauce from becoming excessively thick.

Serve over polenta.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Manchester Breakfast - January 28

I had seen Kellie's coffee 
house a week ago when I had driven down 
to Manchester for the first time.  Manchester
is only a 20 minute drive but I've never 
taken the opportunity to explore it until
recently.  Of the two breakfast opportunities
in town, only Kelly's opens at a proper time
(7:00 am).  I tried it this past Saturday and
wasn't disappointed.  Breakfast was great.

On the way back I had to stop to check out this 
dragline.  I wonder if it is still moving gravel after
all these years or, maybe, it just there to look 
really cool.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 13 Fish Stew

This has been adapted from a few sources, including "Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well" Pellegrino Artusi

It take about one hour and serves 2 (generous servings) or 4 as an antipasto


Sea food:
1/2 pound mussels (clean shells)
1/2 pound shrimp in shells (rinsed)
(clams would have been nice as well but they didn't look so good at the shop)
2 pieces of on firm fish (in this case I use one small slice of sword fish and one fillet of cat fish.  Use whatever looks good).   About 3/4 to 1 pound of fish in total.

2 large tomatoes
4 large cloves garlic
1 shallot
3 stalks celery
1 dried chili pepper (seeds removed)
olive oil
1 table spoon salt
bunch parsley
1 cup dry white wine
garlic salt

4 slices good white or sourdough bread

In an iron dutch oven on stove top.
Add s generous pour of olive oil
Add coarsely cut garlic cloves and brown very lightly
Skin and chop tomatoes and add to pot
Slice shallot and add to pot
Slice one stalk of celery and add to pot
Cut chili pepper in very small pieces over the pot (I use a scissors and cut it into shavings)
Add remaining stalks of celery whole (these will be removed before serving)
Add salt
Allow sauce to cook down for about 15 or 20 minutes

Once the tomatoes have cooked down...
Add wine and simmer about 15 or 20 minutes
Cut fish into one inch cubes and add to the sauce (do this about the time the mussels are beginning to steam.  See below)

In separate sauce pan add a cup of water with a little garlic salt
Allow to come to a boil and add mussel.  Once they have opened, remove them and add to the sauce.

Use pan and water you used to cook the mussels to briefly pre-boil the shrimp then add the shrimp to the sauce to finish cooking them.

Stir in the parsley and basil and simmer for about one or two minutes.

Serve in a bowl over two slices of well buttered, slightly toasted bread.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mom's Cheese Cake

12 oz. solid type of cream cheese
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 C. sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla

1 C. Crushed Graham crackers
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. sugar

1C. Sour cream
2 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla

Let cream cheese stand at room temp. until soft. Add whole eggs one at a time beating well, add sugar, flour and vanilla. Use electric mixer.

Mix cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar together. Line bottom of 9x9 pan with crumb mixture. Pour filling slowly over crumbs. Bake at 300* for 50 minutes, then take out leaving oven turned on and cool cake for 15 minutes. 

Pour topping over cake and bake 10 minutes at 300*. Cool then store in fridge.