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Cajun. Ah Gha-rawn-tee!

11 May

01-Justin-Wilson-small-Top-Chef-1101_00

Like a ghost from the past, Cajun chef Justin Wilson lives on, laughing and wandering the endless hallways of YouTube. His 1980s Cookin’ Cajun episodes from PBS are well worth squandering your free time.

As kids, we thought he was pretty hilarious. The New Orleans patois: Awn-yawn! That red string tie! Those matching suspenders. What a kook.

Gumbo. Jambalaya. Red beans and rice. Dirty rice. Hush puppies. Pralines. It was all so exotic compared to our WASPy facsimile of cut up hot dogs sauteed with onion and crushed tomato sauce, Worchestershire and scant red pepper flakes, served over steamed white rice.

More refined was chef Paul Prudhomme, clad in his head-to-corpulent-toe chef whites. His Cajun blackening craze was everywhere by this point. Blackened red snapper, anyone? Get that pan smoking hot, flip the hood fan and for god’s sake, don’t breathe in!

Decoding blackening spice pre-internet era was a labour. Long before Emeril was hawking his Essence, you had to make your own. It didn’t take long for Cajun chicken Caesar salad to find a home on every chain restaurant menu. Even our beloved 1980s-era Seventeen Magazine took a crack at jambalaya. Cajun- and Creole- inspired cuisine limped along throughout the 2000s with chicken pasta dishes that were creamy, spicy and loaded with veggies.

Cajun refuses to go away. We can’t think of anything more fitting than a sophisticated Louisana remoulade to enjoy with some shrimp or crab cakes while relaxing on deck with something cool.

Just yesterday, we spotted this:

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Earls restaurant chain has steadfastly kept Cajun blackened chicken breasts on its menu for decades.

cajun

You can see by the amount of paprika in their recipe, they’ve toned down the pepper’s kick. Paul Prudhomme would never stand for it. And you just know Justin eschewed black pepper for his love of the scorching cayenne: “That’s much more better. Ah gah-rawn-tee!”

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

12 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cayenne

34 teaspoon white pepper

34  teaspoon black pepper

12 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

12 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Welsh Rarebit

16 Nov

wr2
We are easily obsessed. *shock*

One of our lingering craves involves any kind of midnight cheese toasts.

Whether it’s beer-based Welsh Rabbit, our treasured white wine, ham and gruyere Best of Bridge number, a mornay-drenched Hot Brown (Texas toast, roast turkey, tomato, parmesan sauce and bacon), or a croque monsieur variation, we love them for good reason.

They can be assembled in advance and they cook quickly.

And they’re freaking delicious.

They are our fantasy New Year’s midnight snack. Imagine having a prepared casserole dish of these babies for the end of a great rollicking night. Too late to be dinner, too early for breakfast. A midnight snack to soak up all those celebratory toasts. Ooh look. We made a funny.

Our vintage yellow Caravelle Sizzling Server will be the perfect vessel for angular slices of baguette. Maybe it will look like this.

Is it crazy to think we could fill our escargot pots with sausage-stuffed mushrooms, garlic shrimp or Texas toast croutons and broil Welsh rarebit on top? Possibilities, people.

WELSH RAREBIT
New York Times
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon mustard powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
3/4 cup strong dark beer, like Guinness
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1 pound Cheddar, Double Gloucester or other English cheese (or other good semi-hard cheese, like Comté or Gruyère, or a mixture), grated
4 to 8 pieces lightly toasted bread

Put butter in a saucepan over medium heat and, as it melts, stir in flour. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and very fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in mustard and cayenne, then whisk in beer and Worcestershire sauce.
When mixture is uniform, turn heat to low and stir in cheese, again stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and pour into a broad container to set (you can refrigerate for up to a day at this point).
Spread mixture thickly on toast and put under broiler until bubbly and edges of toast are crisp. Serve immediately.

wr 1

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GOURMET TOAST
Recipe from Best of Bridge
A good late night snack. Combine all ingredients except for wine refrigerate until ready to bake.

1 slice french bread
4 very thin slices dill pickle
4 very thin slices tomato
1 slice ham
1 slice swiss cheese
1 oz white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp butter
Pan fry both sides of bread in the butter to a golden brown.
Place in a baking dish or pan. Cover first with pickles the tomatoes ham and finally cheese.
Pour wine over the whole thing and bake or broil until the cheese melts evenly.
Grind black pepper over the top to taste.

Fusilli, you crazy bastard…

29 Oct

We always crack up when we think of this 1994 New Yorker cartoon by Charles Barsotti. So we thought it would be a good idea to use fusilli for The Mister’s first crack at homemade mac and cheese. A little aged white cheddar, a little asiago, some fried onions and crumbled bacon et voila:

Just look at him. In the kitchen. Trying. This is going to be easy!
We used this recipe but remain confused about the ideal cheese/milk ratio, as all of our hoarded mac and cheese recipes are different.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
3 cups white cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup or more shredded asiago
pinch of nutmeg, but wish we’d used 1/2 tsp
500 grams twisty pasta

Heat a medium, deep skillet over medium heat. Add butter, when bubbly, add flour and combine. Gently cook, whisking flour and butter together, until smooth and flour has had a chance to cook, about three minutes.

Slowly add milk while continuing to whisk. Gently bring milk to a bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the milk to thicken a bit, then stir in two cups of shredded cheddar cheese a handful at a time.

Season sauce with nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Taste and add a little salt, if you like. Add cooked pasta to sauce and coat completely by turning over and over in the cheese sauce.

Transfer to a baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Place baking dish under a hot broiler and brown the cheddar cheese on top.

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“This vibrant pasta, tossed with beet greens and creamy goat cheese, is an ode to Charles Barsotti’s 1994 New Yorker cartoon of a rigatoni noodle on the phone to a friend, exclaiming, “Fusilli, you crazy bastard!” Tarry Lodge chef Andy Nusser says, ‘Mario [Batali] and I saw the cartoon at the same time. It became the punch line to every joke.'”

Fusilli Alla Crazy Bastard
Recipe by Andy Nusser
1/2 cup walnut halves
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fusilli pasta
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 pound beet greens, rinsed and coarsely chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 pound soft goat cheese, thickly sliced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Directions
1.Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the walnuts for 7 minutes, until lightly browned; let cool slightly. Coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl.
2.Raise the oven temperature to 450°. On the rimmed baking sheet, toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until browned in spots.
3.In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fusilli. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, beet greens and crushed red pepper and cook, crushing the tomatoes slightly, until the greens are just wilted, 3 minutes.
4.Drain the fusilli, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta, the reserved cooking water and the sliced goat cheese to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, tossing to coat the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, garnish with the chopped toasted walnuts, top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.

Of Mad Men and Pot Roasts…

17 Aug


Pot Roast on Mad Men: recurring character?

Betty Draper once snarked about her father’s lady friend, Gloria (“a vulture”), subjecting her to the horrors of a ketchup-covered pot roast during a seaside coastal vacation in the episode Long Weekend.

After Trudy commits unspeakable acts with her former beau in a humiliating effort to get Pete’s short story published, she dutifully prepares a pot roast. She’s got good news: Charlie has agreed to publish Pete’s rotten prose in Boy’s Life. Pete is far from thankful. “I could have gotten you in The New Yorker if I wanted to,” Trudy bleats. “I just don’t know why you’d put me in that position.”

In Season 4’s The Rejected, we see a much happier and freshly knocked up Trudy snuggling with Pete on the couch, as he tells her he has to dump her father’s Clearasil account.
Trudy, ever eager to please, offers to break the bad news for him.

“Tomorrow night. Yankee Pot Roast,” she crows.

Is she capable of cooking anything else?

Regardless, we can imagine Pete’s excitement over his dinner. His WASPy background surely includes an appreciation for all colonial-era New England boiled dinners. It’s frugal. It’s sensibile. We aren’t sure what exactly transforms pot roast into Yankee Pot Roast. But we suspect its the addition of root vegetables or tomato sauce. Damn Yankees.

Side note: We still have a recipe for Sauerbraten (a German variety of pot roast) from our beloved Seventeen magazine (recipe at bottom).

Here we have two classic pot roasts, and a more daring one to follow spiked with merlot and horseradish smashed potatoes.

SIMPLE POT ROAST
Cook’s Illustrated
For pot roast, we recommend a chuck-eye roast. Most markets sell this roast with

twine tied around the center. If necessary, do this yourself. Seven-bone and top-blade roasts are also good choices for this recipe. Remember to add only enough water to come halfway up the sides of these thinner roasts, and begin checking for doneness after 2 hours.

If using a top-blade roast, tie it before cooking to keep it from falling apart. Mashed or boiled potatoes are good accompaniments to pot roast.

1 chuck-eye roast (about 3 1/2 pounds), boneless
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion , chopped medium
1 small carrot , chopped medium
1 small rib celery , chopped medium
2 medium cloves garlic , minced
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 pounds carrots (about 8 medium carrots), sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes , halved if larger than 1 1/2 inches in diameter

(about 5 cups)
1 pound large parsnips (about 5), sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 3 cups)

Instructions
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Thoroughly pat roast dry with paper towels; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, reducing heat if fat begins to smoke, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer roast to large plate; set aside. Reduce heat to medium; add onion, carrot, and celery to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and beef broths and thyme, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Return roast and any accumulated juices to pot; add enough water to come halfway up sides of roast. Bring liquid to simmer over medium heat, then place large piece of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid; transfer pot to oven. Cook, turning roast every 30 minutes, until roast is almost tender (sharp knife should meet little resistance), 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Add carrots, red potatoes, and parsnips to Dutch oven, submerging them in liquid.
Continue to cook until vegetables are almost tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Transfer roast to carving board; tent with foil to keep warm. Allow liquid in pot to settle about 5 minutes, then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface; discard thyme sprig. Add wine and salt and pepper to taste; boil over high heat until vegetables are fully tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to warmed serving bowl or platter. Using chef’s or carving knife, cut meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices or pull apart into large pieces; transfer to bowl or platter with vegetables and pour about 1/2 cup sauce over meat and vegetables. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

COUNTRY STYLE POT ROAST WITH GRAVY
Source: “Cook’s Country, Charter Issue”
6 pounds boneless beef chuck roast — tied (1 large or 2 3-pound)
salt and pepper
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions — chopped
1 large celery rib — chopped
4 medium carrots — chopped
6 medium garlic cloves — minced
1 cup red wine
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Season roast liberally with salt/pepper. Heat 2 tsp oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer browned roast to slow-cooker insert.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 tsp oil to empty skillet, along with onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to slow-cooker insert.

Increase heat to high. Add red wine to empty skillet, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to boil. Add pepper flakes, bay leaves and thyme and transfer to slow-cooker insert.

Set slow cooker to high, cover and cook until tender, 6 to 7 hours. (Alternatively, cook on low for 9 to 10 hours.) Transfer roast to carving board; loosely tent with foil to keep warm. Discard bay leaves. Allow liquid in pot to settle, about 5 minutes, then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface. Puree liquid and solids in batches in blender or food processor. (Alternatively, use immersion blender and process utnil smooth.) Stir in parsely and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove strings from roast and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Transfer meat to warmed serving platter. Pour about 1 cup gravy over meat. Serve, passing more gravy separately.

NOTES : Boneless chuck roast is essential in this recipe–other cuts will cook up dry and tough. In most markets, you will have to order a large 5 1/2-6 pound chuck roast. Alternatively, use two 3-pound roasts (which are common in most markets). If making Beef Barely Soup with Mushrooms, reserve 6 cups of gravy and 3 cups of meat.

Pot Roast Key Points:
1. Start with a boneless chuck roast. Buy one big or two small raosts–5 1/2 to 6 pounds of meat in total. The meat shrinks alot as it cooks so if you want to serve something substantial, you must start with a lot of beef.
2. Brown the meat and vegetagbles for maximum flavor. You can do this a day in advance. Prepare recipe through step 3. Instead of transferring the meat, vegetables and sauce to the slow cooker, refrigerate them. (Wrap the browned meat in plastic; the browned veg/liquid ingredients can be refrigerated together in a container.) In the morning, just transfer everything to the slow cooker. The cooking time will run to the high end of the ranges given in the recipes.
3. Trying to trim fat from the family diet? Make the recipe a day ahead. Transfer the roast and gravy to a large bowl and refrigerate overnight. The next day, you can easily remove the fat from the surface of the bowl. Take out the roast, then slice and transfer it to a microwave-safe casserole dish. Puree the gravy as directed, moisten the meat with gravy, and heat until warmed through. More gravy can be heated in a microwave-safe bowl and served on the side.

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MERLOT POT ROAST WITH HORSERADISH SMASHED POTATOES

Prep/cook time 8/12 to 9 1/2 hrs on low, 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hrs on high

notes: prepare the smashed potatoes as soon as the beef is tender; the meat can continue to cook until they are ready. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

1 tied fat trimmed boned beef chck roast (3-31/2 lb) fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
3 carrots (about 1/4 lb. each ) rinsed and peeled
1 onion (1/2 lb), peeled and chopped
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 dried bay leaf
1 cup Merlot or other dry wine
1/3 cup canned tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
Horseradish smashed potatoes
(recipe follows)
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 to 2 cups watercress sprigs, rinsed and crisped (optional) salt

Rince beef, pat dry, and sprinkle generously all over with fresh ground pepper. Melt butter in a 10-12 inch nonstickfrying pan over high heat. When hot, add beef and brown wekk on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cut carrots into sticks about 3/8 inch thick and 2 inches long. In a 4 1/2 quart or larger electric slow cooker, combine carrots, onion, celery,garlic, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Set beef on vegetables: add drippings. In a small bowl, mix wine and tomato paste; pour over meat and vegetables.

Cover and cook until beef is very tender when pierced, 8 to 9 hours on low, 5 to 6 hours on high. If possible, turn meat over halfway through cooking.

With 2 slotted spoons, transfer meat to a platter; keep warm. Skim and discard any fat from cooking liquid. Turn cooker to high. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch with a 1 1/2 tablespoons water; pour into cooker and stir often until sauce is bubbling, 10-15 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, lift vegetables from cooker and arrange beside meat. Spoon horsradish smashed potatoes onto platter; sprinkle with parsley. Garnish Platter with watercress. Spoon sauce over meat. Slice meat and serve with vegetables, potatoes, and sauce, adding salt to taste.

Per serving without potatoes: 314 calories, 40%(126 cal.) from fal” 34 g protein; 14 g fat (5.6 g sat.) 11 g carb. (2.3 g fiber); 256 mg sodium; 115 mg chol.

Horseradish smashed potatoes

Scrub and peel 13 to 3 1/2 lbs. russett potatoes; cut into 1 1/2 inch chunkd. Put into a 4-5 quart pan with 2 1/2 quarts water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes mash easily when pressed, 20=25 minutes.

When potatoes are done, heat 1 to 1 1/2 cups half and half or fat skimmed chicken broth with 2 T. butter or margerine in a microwave safe container in a microwave oven at fullpower just until steaming 1 to 3 minutes. Or warm in a 1 to 1 1/2 quart pan over medium heat.

While cream heats, drain potatoes and mash in pan with a mixer or potato masher until almost smooth. Add cream, a portion at a time, and mix until potatoes have the consistency desired. Stir in salt, pepper, and 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish to taste. Mound beside Merlot pot roast or scrape into a bowl. makes6 to 7 cups 6 to 8 servings.
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SAUERBRATEN WITH GINGER SNAP GRAVY
3-4 lb. pot roast
1 1/2 c. ground ginger snaps

BRINE & GRAVY:
2 c. water
2 c. cider vinegar
4 bay leaves
8-12 pepper corns
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 med. onion, chopped

Bring brine to a boil; boil for 3 minutes then let cool. Place pot roast in the brine (glass or plastic container) NO METAL! Turn roast over in brine 3 or 4 times a day for 5 to 7 days while in refrigerator. Strain brine into Dutch oven. Put roast in, cover and cook over low to medium heat for 2 1/2 hours. Remove roast, bring gravy/brine to boil still in Dutch oven, but now stir in the ginger snaps to make completed gravy.

Slice roast and serve with ginger snap gravy and either potato pancakes or fried bread cubes and egg noodles.

The Food of Mad Men

17 Aug


“You know they make you wear a bib…”

It’s about time we talked about Mad Men. More importantly, the food of Mad Men.

We’ll begin with sexy chicken Kiev, circa 1964.

After fixing Don Draper up with his wife’s friend, Bethany, on a restaurant dinner date at Jimmy’s La Grange, Roger Sterling says, “Have the chicken Kiev. Butter squirts everywhere.”

We’ve always been a bit meh about chicken Kiev. Too many frozen, stale poultry logs with plasticy fake butter goo oozing out.

But like anything, if prepared correctly, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.

We like the idea of serving this without rice or potatoes, lest anything to get in the way of an herby butter pool. The chicken is enough to soak up the butter sauce. Let the breading do its job.

Below is a classic version. Underneath that is a wacky 1960s canned soup retro version, for nostalgia’s sake.

CHICKEN KIEV

cooksillustrated.com

cooksillustrated.com


Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated March 1, 2006  
These can be refrigerated overnight or frozen. If frozen, do not thaw and increase the baking time to 50-55 minutes.

Herb Butter
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/8 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Chicken
4 – 5 slices white sandwich bread , cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (7 to 8 ounces each), tenderloins removed
1 cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs , beaten
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
For the Herb Butter: Mix all ingredients until combined. Form into 3-inch square on plastic wrap; wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

For the Chicken: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 300 degrees. Make bread crumbs in two batches: Add half of bread cubes to food processor and pulse until cubes are coarsely ground. Repeat with remaining bread cubes (aim for 3 1/2 cups crumbs). Add salt and pepper to crumbs.

Add oil and toss to coat crumbs. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Shake pan twice during baking. Let cool to room temperature (you should have about 2 1/2 cups bread crumbs).

Butterfly chicken breasts starting at thinnest side and by slicing lengthwise almost in half. Open breast up to create a single, flat cutlet.
With cutlet between sheets of plastic wrap, pound (starting at center) to 1/4-inch thickness. Pound outer perimeter to 1/8 inch.

Unwrap butter and cut into 4 rectangular pieces. Place chicken breast cut side up on work surface; season both sides with salt and pepper.

Place butter slices in centre of bottom half of chicken. Roll bottom edge of chicken over butter, then fold in sides and continue rolling to form neat, tight package, pressing on seam to seal. Repeat with remaining butter and chicken. Refrigerate chicken, uncovered, to allow edges to seal, about 1 hour.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate pie plates or shallow dishes. Season flour with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; season bread crumbs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add mustard to eggs and whisk to combine.

Dredge rolls in flour, then coat with egg mixture. Coat rolls entirely with bread crumbs, pressing crumbs in if you have to.
Place on wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until 160 degrees inside, 40 to 45 minutes. Rest five minutes before serving.

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HOUSEWIFE CHICKEN KIEV
[
1/2 cup butter
1 Tbsp. minced parsley
1 clove (medium) garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp rosemary, crushed
2 lb chicken breasts, boned/split
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. fine dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. minced onion
1 Tbsp. minced parsley
2 Tbsp. butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 c. lowfat milk
2 Tbsp. Sherry

Blend together 1/2 c. butter, parsley, garlic, rosemary and pepper. On waxed paper, form patty 1 inch thick; place in freezer till hard.
Meanwhile flatten chicken breasts with meat hammer or possibly edge of heavy saucer to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut butter into 6 equal pcs, place one in centre of each breast. Tuck in ends and roll out tightly. Secure with toothpicks or possibly skewers. Dip in egg and then in bread crumbs. Chill.
In saucepan, cook onion with parsley in 2 Tbsp. of butter till tender. Blend in soup, lowfat milk and sherry. Heat; stir occasionally. Fry 2 breast rolls at a time in deep fat at 350 degrees for 10-12 min till well browned. Drain on absorbant paper, serve with sauce.

Graduation party casseroles

16 Jun

Keep your shirts on — there’s not a tater tot or cream of mushroom soup can anywhere near these.


MEATLOVERS PIZZA CASSEROLE

adapted from cully’s kitchen
1 lb bow tie pasta
1 lb mild italian sausage
1 large onion, medium size chopped
1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced
2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce (mushroom and garlic)
1 lb cubed cooked ham
1/2-1 lb of sliced pepperoni
3 (8 ounce) bags of shredded mozzarella cheese
6 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Cook pasta in boiling water until al denté.
Cook sausage, garlic powder and oregano with onions until the juices run clear. Add green pepper.
In a lightly greased 9×13×3 inch pan, pour a small amount of sauce to lightly coat bottom.
Layer ingredients in the order listed below.
1st layer-1/3 of the pasta, 1/3 remaining sauce, 1 bag of mozzarella cheese, 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, sausage and onions.
2nd layer-1/2 of the remaining pasta, 1/2 remaining sauce, 1 bag of mozzarella cheese, 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, ham.
3rd layer-all remaining pasta, all remaining sauce, 1 bag of mozzarella cheese, 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, all the pepperoni(completely covering the entire top with pepperoni).
Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.
Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE
lo carb cafe claims this tastes like a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Don’t know if that’s praise or criticism.

1 lb of hamburger
1 tomato, chopped
half an onion, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
Two dill pickles, chopped
four slices of American cheese

Cook onion and brown beef until no longer pink.
Add tomato, cook for a few minutes. Add crumbled bacon and pickles.
Remove from heat and add half a cup of the shredded cheese, mixing thoroughly.
Pour mixture into small casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese on top.
Top that with four squares of cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese slices brown.
Serve with shredded lettuce and a dollop of Thousand Island dressing.

On marriage…

9 Mar

I don’t want to make him babies. I want to make him dinner.

BACON AND PRUNE STUDDED MEATLOAF
From Gourmet Magazine, February 2008
“This is the perfect antidote to the Sunday blues, not least because there will be enough left over to pack sandwiches for Monday’s lunch. A mix of beef, pork, and bacon ensures meatiness, with Worcestershire sauce, chopped prunes, and cider vinegar added for good balance and occasional suggestions of sweetness. Because the loaf is baked without a loaf pan, there’s plenty of well-browned crust to go around. “
 
This turned out amazing. Next time we will add some wine to our brunoise-cut mirepoix, and may swap out allspice in favour of some oregano (although we get that the allspice/prune combo substitutes for ketchup). We love the idea of making a prune/bacon paste to add, but are considering using leaner back bacon or pancetta. Thanks to our darling Le Creuset oval baker, we were able to drain the grease easily. There was a lot. Our loaf was very moist, but firmed up well. We like our meatloaf pan with its drainage holes, but we are kind of sold on our oval baker giving more crust surface.
  • 1 cup fine fresh, torn bread from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices), chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes, chopped (try less)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground pork (not lean)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Garnish:
  • cooked bacon
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  • Soak bread crumbs in milk in a large bowl. Meanwhile, cook onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low, then cook until carrot is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Add to bread-crumb mixture.
  • Finely chop bacon and prunes in a food processor, then add to onion mixture along with beef, pork, eggs, and parsley and mix together with your hands.
  • Pack mixture into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a 13- by 9-inch shallow baking dish or pan.
  • Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meatloaf registers 155°F, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.