Saturday, March 26, 2011

roasted mushrooms

Tim asked for a mushroom pizza and here’s what I came up with. Are you shocked by the amount of mushrooms???? I admit it was a tiny bit over-the-top, but well worth it. I hope you notice the layer of roasted tomatoes underneath the mountain of mushrooms. I spend lots of time in August and September slowly roasting tomatoes and then freezing them. I can’t tell you how much I love those tomatoes. These mushrooms are excellent also. Think pizza, pasta, omelets, grilled meats, hor d’oeuvres, etc…

Here’s what you need:
Fresh mushrooms
Olive oil

Here’s what you do:
It's all about the method here. Follow this method to the letter.

Brush away any dirt from the mushrooms. Cut them in large pieces including the stems. Coat them lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper.

In a very hot skillet, pour about 1 tablespoon and allow to warm.  Add the mushrooms in one layer and sear them. Place them in one layer on a baking sheet. Keep doing this until all the mushrooms are ready for the oven.

Place the mushrooms in a 425 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. Check on them half way and give them a toss.

Result? Perfection. Chewy. Intense flavor.  You can’t believe that a lowly grocery store mushroom can become this superb vegetable.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Boursin Cheese

This recipe was adapted from “Party Receipts from the Charleston Junior League” cookbook, 1993 edition. If you’ve been reading this blog from the beginning, you already know that I totally love Junior League cookbooks.  I suppose women in the Junior League (especially in decades past) hosted parties and luncheons and ended up collecting the very best recipes. Who knows?
 If you ever come across a cookbook from any Junior League, be sure to buy it – I’ll bet anything that the recipes you find within will surprise you.

Examples of good cooking from my Junior League Cookbook collection.      

From “Soupcon – Seasonal samplings form the Junior League of Chicago” - 1974
From “Clockwise Cuisine- Junior League of Detroit” -1986:
Here’s what you need:
16 ounces Low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel style)
8 ounces whipped butter
2 cloves garlic – minced or squeezed through garlic press
½ - ¾ t Beau Monde seasoning- this is a bit salty, so add it to taste
½ t dried thyme leaves
½ t dried basil leaves
½ t dried chives
½ t ground marjoram
1 t dried dill weed

Here’s what you do:
Mix well!   Delicious!
(printable recipe)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pork Enchiladas and Green Salsa

This type of Mexican food is a standard in my household.  We eat bean tostadas like they’re coming out of our ears! Cheap. Healthy. Tasty. We are currently in a HUGE corn tortilla phase.  If you have a health food store near you, look for sprouted corn tortillas – you’ll thank me.

A 4 pound pork shoulder made about 28 enchiladas. They freeze beautifully. They reheat beautifully. Garnish with sour cream, avocado, cilantro and lime slices.

[I'm not sure what the protocol is for including pics of raw meat, but it doesn't bother me....My apologies to my vegetarian readers....  ]

Here’s what you need:
4 lbs pork shoulder
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
1 jalapeno pepper
24 small corn tortillas
Monterey Jack cheese
Green salsa

Here’s what you do:
Trim the meat of excess fat and cut in 2 inch cubes.  Slice onion, split the jalapeno pepper and remove seeds and veins (I use rubber gloves to avoid getting the hot stuff on my skin), slice garlic. Place meat, onion, pepper and garlic in pot with enough water to cover. Simmer for about 40 minutes or until meat is very tender.

Remove the pork and any onions, pepper and garlic you can find with a slotted spoon. Shred the meat and as much of the veggies as desired.

Soften the tortillas in the warm ‘broth’ and fill with about 1 heaping tablespoon of meat. Place in a greased baking dish.Keep going until all the meat and tortillas are used and the kitchen is a big mess. 

Cover with green salsa to taste (don’t be shy!) Smother with Monterey Jack cheese.  (don’t be shy!)

 I include here a collection of random photos to prove to you how much we love this type of food! (I’ve been snapping photos of my meals for years and years….. good thing I finally have this blog to store them…)

I didn't make these.... but I ate them in Merida, Mexico!

Can you find the pattern in our eating habits? I bet you can.....

Monday, March 14, 2011

spice rack challenge – cardamom

I recently stumbled upon a fellow Michigan food blogger -Mother's Kitchen -  who has designed a really fun project called ‘Spice Rack Challenge.’ I’m on board a few months late, but excited to participate. Currently, there are 25 of us participating. Each entry must be posted the third week of the month, so you can look forward to reading about my spice adventures then.

Since I decided to join this group on the spur of the moment and the deadline for posting was looming, I went with something very easy and obvious for my first challenge – Cardamom Coffee Cake from the Moosewood Cookbook. I have made dozens of things from all the Moosewood cookbooks, but never this coffee cake before. Killed two birds with one stone on this one.

(you know the Julie and Julia movie, where Julie cooks every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook, well I could do the same for the Moosewood cookbooks……. Do I hear another challenge?)

Here’s what you need – and don’t blame me about the pound of butter!
4 sticks of butter
2 C packed light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 T cardamom
2 C sour cream

For the nut mixture:
¼ c light brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
½ C chopped nuts (I used pecans today)

Here’s what you do:
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. I used the standing mixer for this part of the recipe only – the rest is better done by hand to avoid overbeating.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Add this dry mixture to the butter mixture alternating it with the sour cream. (half the flour then half the sour cream, etc) Don’t overdo the mixing.

Spread 1/3 of batter in a well-greased bundt pan – I always highly recommend Pam for Baking! One of my favorite products on earth – and that’s a lot of products……

Then sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the batter. More batter, more nuts, end with batter….
Bake in a 350 degree oven for at least 1 ¼ hours. Cool in the pan before attempting to remove it. Some comments on the internet mentioned that the cake dries out all of a sudden if over baked, so watch it closely.

Place a baking sheet in the oven one rack lower than the coffee cake – it overflows while baking!!

I love bundt cakes and here’s the proof:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mrs. K’s Famous Mexican Casserole (a silly name for a great casserole)

Here’s one of those great recipes that gets passed along from friend to friend. My colleague and friend, Dawn, got this from another friend. Dawn had this at the lunch table last year and I remember her saying how perfect it was for feeding her three hungry teenaged sons – that sounded good to me! I immediately had to learn how to make it. I grabbed the closest thing handy to jot down the recipe – a paper plate! She started dictating. I made it for my family shortly after that and when they asked, “What’s this called?” I had to honestly say, “I’m not sure!” Since then, we just refer to this great casserole as “Mrs. Kohn’s Famous Mexican Casserole.”

 If you’re like me, you can probably understand the recipe from reading the photo, but just in case you need more directions, here’s the recipe!

Here’s what you need:
1 box Jiffy brand corn muffin mix
2 lbs ground round
1 package taco seasoning
1 can black beans-drained and rinsed
1 can corn - drained
1 can chopped tomatoes – with all the liquid
1 jar salsa
Cheddar cheese

Here’s what you do:
Brown the beef and add the taco seasoning according to the directions on the package. Keep it nice and juicy. Lots of sauce is good here.  Prepare the corn muffin mix according to the directions on the box and pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Layer the meat, beans, corn, tomatoes and salsa. Bake until bubbly in a 350 degree oven. Then add grated cheddar cheese to taste and bake a bit longer. Serve with sour cream, jalapenos, sliced green onions, or black olives.

Simple, but surprisingly delicious. The corn muffin adds a very sweet element to this spicy casserole.

I’m wondering how many of you have cookbooks that have entries written on paper plates taped in?? Did you notice the recipe on the facing page? Patti LaBelle’s Over the Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese. Simple the best mac ‘n cheese on earth! If you work hard, you can probably read it in the photo and jot it on a paper plate to tape in your own cookbook!

ps - no printable version of this one - if you want to make it you will have to jot it down just like I had to....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

another great meatloaf

I’m not sure if you need yet another recipe for a meatloaf, but this one is really, really good– no leftovers at our house! We easily ate it all and did not even have one slice left over for sandwiches the next day. I usually don’t add much to my standard meatloaf recipe, but this version tempted me. I will definitely make this again.

Here’s what you need:
¾ lb ground turkey
¾ lb ground round
2 eggs slightly beaten
2/3 C milk (I used skim)
1 C soft, white bread crumbs (I processed white sandwich bread in the food processor)
½ carrot, grated
1 C cheddar, grated
1 T dried parsley
½ t black pepper

½ C tomato sauce
¼ C brown sugar
1 t prepared mustard

Here’s what you do:
Beat the eggs slightly and add milk, meats, bread crumbs, carrots, cheese and seasonings. Mix everything well with your hands. Be extra careful to completely incorporate the two types of meat so they are evenly distributed.

Place in greased 9 X 4 loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes. (350 degree oven) Drain off any grease or ‘whatevers’ from the meat.

Spoon half of the topping over the meat. After 15 minutes, spoon the remaining topping over meat and bake another 15 minutes. Drain off any more stuff.  Broil the loaf for just a few minutes to get a caramelized topping! So. Very. Good.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Can’t go wrong with meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas.

(printable recipe)

Friday, March 4, 2011

salmon chowder

There are a few unusual ingredients in this chowder – namely, canned salmon and evaporated milk. Those are not my usual ‘go-to’ type foods. However, in this soup, they are fantastic. The end result is creamy, but not thick and globby like many types of chowder can be. Also, because you are using canned fish, the cost is very reasonable. I have actually been making this soup for many years, and the recipe here includes what I do to stretch out the amount. Serve this comforting soup with grilled cheese and you will have a complete meal.

Here’s what you need:
½ C chopped onion
½ C chopped celery
½ C chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T butter
3 C chicken stock
1 C potato, cubed
1 C diced or sliced carrot
½ tsp. dill
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 15 ounce can cream-style corn
2 5 ounce cans salmon, drained

Step One:
Gently soften the onion, celery, green pepper and garlic in butter. Don’t brown the veggies, just let them get soft.

Step Two:
Add the stock, potato, carrot and spices. Bring to boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the veggies are soft.

Step Three:
Add the milk, corn and salmon. Heat gently.

Step Four:
Serve and enjoy.

(printable recipe)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

cheese tiropitas

Feta, lemon, mint, garlic - all wrapped up in one of my favorite treats - filo dough. These little bundles are really, really good and surprisingly not that difficult to make, just a little messy. I served these with a Greek type salad: romaine, beets, carrots and tomatoes with a light dressing.

They would also be perfect for a cocktail party. (I wonder, does anyone have cocktail parties any more? I want them to come back in style…. as an aside, I’m addicted to ‘Mad Men’ J Have you seen the cocktails they drink on that show??? Oh, man.)

Here’s what you need:
1 C cottage cheese
1 C Greek feta cheese
3 large cloves garlic, minced
½ C onion, minced
1 T dried mint
1 T lemon juice
1 box filo dough
Olive oil

Here’s what you do:
Saute the onions and garlic in a tiny bit of olive oil until tender and not brown. Mix the cheeses, veggies, mint and lemon juice with a fork. Mash it until it is completely mixed together.

Now the fun part! Carefully remove 1 sheet of filo dough, and brush it with olive oil. Carefully place a 2nd sheet on top and brush more oil on top. Carefully, fold the dough in thirds.

Place about 2 tablespoons of cheese near the top of the dough and carefully fold into a tight triangle. Brush with more oil and place on oiled baking sheet. Now, that’s not too difficult is it?

Be prepared for some mishaps and some torn sheets of dough, but don’t worry. You can always seam them together with oil and overlap them a bit. After baking, they come out in one piece.

Bake 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Some cheese will escape during baking, but that’s OK.

Have you used filo dough? See my spanikopita here if interested in another use for filo.