Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grilled Brie and Cherry Jam Sandwich

So maybe this isn't my most inventive meal. It tasted great though! I made it up myself, too.

Just make a grilled cheese sandwich except use brie cheese, and, liberally spread cherry jam on the bread (inside).


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oktoberfest foods and beer

Originally uploaded by Skyhawk Flyer
This meal was an example of "winging it" with a theme.

I had bought Spaetzle this month already as Wegmans is highlighting Oktoberfest. I already had really good German beer in the house - I stocked up at Wegmans. It was what Mom and I drank in Munich - Paulaner.

The night they arrived (October 7) I went shopping and saw that Wegmans had a section on German foods for O'fest. I bought some pickled cabbage. I also had flank steak in the fridge and leftover gorgonzola sauce. (for all that I wanted to know what to do with all of it after I made it - I've almost eaten the whole container since the day I made it, urp).

So we had a fairly German meal. For the flank steak, I just added salt and pepper and threw it in the oven for 20 mins - it was a little dry, oops. The gorgonzola sauce helped moisten it a little but my Dad thought I had served jerky. The spaetzle was sprinkled with good parmesan cheese and I merely heated up the pickled cabbage.
I also set out some bread with my good olive oil. Glasses of German beer all around, and we were all set.

Gullah home cooking

What is that, you say?

The Gullahs were among the first foreign inhabitants of the islands off the Low Country. I say inhabitants, but, they weren't exactly brought here of their free will. Daufuskie Island is just off Hilton Head Island.

This recipe came from the book mentioned below, and I found it on Epicurious. The link is below. The beauty of this dish is that it is basically stir fried leftovers.

Gullah Home Cooking the Daufuskie Way by Sallie Ann Robinson

1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cooked rice
leftover chicken, pork chops, hamburger, fish, shrimp, bacon, or whatever

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and bell pepper and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add the eggs and scramble. Put in the rice and your favorite meat, stir-fry, and the aroma will get your taste buds hungry. Serve immediately for breakfast, dinner, or supper.

What I did:

I bought already chopped onions and green peppers from Wegmans (lazy). Next time, I'd leave out the peppers. I browned about a pound of hamburger and the rest of the recipe I followed spot on.

Easy and filling (tasty too) and I'd consider tabasco sauce or ketchup on the side.

Don't fry chicken while wearing shorts

Well, I thought I'd give you an update. I had hoped this was going to be a triumphant post, one where the toddler finds she can run a marathon... but nooo, I had to go and burn my hand on hot oil!


Sunday I was idly flipping through one of my many cookbooks (I actually own more than ten, can you believe it...) and came across what looked like an easy recipe for fried chicken. Well, it was easy, all apart from the hot burning oil, but I digress.

So, the recipe. It called for marinading the chicken in buttermilk for an hour or so and then the flour mixture has cayenne pepper and garlic powder in it. The treat was the honey/butter/pecan glaze you pour on top.

Well, my version didn't have pecans and it wasn't exactly a glaze, but it was good.

How the hell do you fry anything without splattering it all over? I'm sure a lot of this had to do with the heat of the oil - I had no idea what I was doing, so I just let it get good and hot and the first ones I threw in turned brown IMMEDIATELY - in fact you are supposed to let them cook 7 minutes on a side - I turned them over in about a minute and they were charred. I turned the heat down to low immediately and then put in the next batch.

Well, the first piece of chicken didn't want to unstick from my fork so, one hand was holding the big lid (so that the splatters wouldn't hit me) and the other one was gently trying to shake the chicken off, and somehow the oil came up - not splattered really, more like bounced, from the chicken piece - and a big glob hit the meaty part of my palm. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW! I'd say a quarter of my palm, the meaty part under your pinky, below the fold - covered in oil - it all happened really fast.

I immediately put it under cold water and held several ice cubes under this cold water - this was so the ice would melt quickly. I did that for a while and luckily, luckily, when I woke up this morning there isn't a lot of evidence anything happened last night - it is swollen a little but not really red.

It was shiny last night and pretty red (maybe in part from the icy water) and I was sure I'd see blistering. I don't know if it will blister eventually, but right now it's not as bad as I expected.

The chicken tasted good though.

Peach and Prosciutto Pizza, oh my

You heard it right. Peach and Prosciutto. On a Pizza.

This is yet another recipe from Sandi's estimable Whistle Stop Cafe cooking blog. And I can vouch for this - it's delectable. To me, the rosemary and prosciutto were the star of the show, with the bufala mozzarella and olive oil a close second. The peaches, to be honest, weren't noteworthy here, but, on the other hand, as it is October I had to use thawed (frozen) slices.

Here is her link:

Peach and Prosciutto on a Pizza

And here is her recipe in its entirety:

Peach & Prosciutto Pizza

1 pizza dough
6-8 slices prosciutto
2 peaches sliced
1/2 cup mozzarella
fresh rosemary
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Make your pizza crust, spreading the dough very thin. Brush the dough with oil, sprinkle generously with rosemary, salt and pepper. Top with slices of peaches and prosciutto cut into thin slices. Cover the top with a good mozzarella. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° 10-20 minutes- depending on the thickness of your crust.

And here is what I did with it:

First of all, I used frozen peach slices. I thawed them in the microwave (quelle horreur!)
Pizza crust, ready made.
I slopped on the EVOO.
I used a whole sprig of rosemary - all the leaves.
I liberally covered the pizza with cut up mozz cheese.

15-17 minutes on 350 and then I shut off the oven and left it in there another 5 minutes.

It was delicious and I have two lunches for this week, now.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Creamy Gorgonzola Fettuccine

Cows near Heiligenblut
Originally uploaded by Skyhawk Flyer
Friday afternoon, half an hour before I leave work: what do I want to eat tonight? For some reason the first thing that came to mind was pasta in a creamy gorgonzola/walnut sauce. I googled the words and the below recipe came up. This recipe was in Cooking Light in 2000. Below is the recipe and far below is what I actually did. Why do I have a photo of cows, you ask? Well, Gorgonzola is a cheese from cows.

Creamy Gorgonzola Fettuccine
8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
3 cups (1-inch) diagonally sliced asparagus (about 10 ounces)
2 teaspoons butter or stick margarine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup (2 ounces)
1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Cook pasta in boiling water 6 minutes, omitting salt and fat. Add asparagus, and cook 2 minutes or until tender.

While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook for 3 minutes. Add flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in cream cheese and salt; cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly.

Drain pasta and asparagus; place in a large bowl. Add sauce; tossing to coat. Serve with Gorgonzola and walnuts, and sprinkle with pepper, if desired.

What I did:

For starters, I bought asparagus (Spargel! white asparagus) and maybe the first clue should have been that buying it in October isn't likely to yield high quality. The first thing I did was to start to prep it, and after cutting roughly 1/4 of the bunch I tasted a few slices and literally spit them out. Too bitter! I wasn't about to gamble on all this food and cook them anyway in the hopes that they would taste better after cooking. In the garbage they went. It is a shame...

Because the fettucine was 12 oz and not 8 I decided to enlarge the sauce ingredients slightly. 3T of butter, for instance. 2T of flour, maybe even a little more. 1.5 cups of milk - 2%. 3 oz of cream cheese (the only thing that was light in this entire recipe!). 3/4 of a cup of gorgonzola cheese. I also stirred the cheese directly into the milk/butter/cream cheese combo which was cooking. I didn't think merely crumbling it on top would be the same effect - I wanted sauce! I didn't toast the walnuts. That may be a good idea.

I now have an entire 2 cup container of gorgonzola sauce in the fridge, even after having my meal last night. It was very good, and scratched my itch. (Now what am I going to do with all that sauce??)
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