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Butterbeans and Cornbread

DSC_8636 (1600x1060)Spent several hours mowing today so I needed something that would be good on a long simmer.  These large lima beans soaked overnight then simmered in chicken stock for almost too long.  There’s a large Vidalia onion chopped up in there, and some of the cured pork pieces we keep on hand in the freezer just for bean soups.  That meat processor we make a morning out of visiting keeps odds and ends of cured pork in big bags and we pick up a couple everytime we go.  The cornbread had minced jalapeno and shredded cheddar added to the basic back of the box recipe, and the bowl is garnished with more jalapeno and minced onion.

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Thursday Night Menu: Tropical Nights Edition

Had a little trouble deciding what to post tonight. We’ve been pretty busy at work and we are all a bit tired, when I asked the guys what I should post, ordering pizza instead of cooking won out.

I pulled three different menus before I decided on a little taste of Sanibel Island. I like the fresh flavors in this menu and I really enjoy tuna and swordfish.

The Butter Pecan Turtle Bars are as decadent as they sound, and a breeze to make.

On the board tonight:

  1. Fish Tacos
  2. Black Bean Tropical Salad
  3. Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

Fish Tacos

  • 1 large mango, peeled & chopped
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • ½ tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce

bowl, foil, platter

Combine mango, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno in bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp limejuice and set aside.  Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in the oven or on the grill (keep away from coals) Drizzle remaining limejuice over fish, sprinkle with jerk and grill or broil for 5 to 9 minutes, until fish flakes easily. Cut fish into chunks, fill each tortilla with 1/8 of the fish, fruit mixture and lettuce. Serves 4

Black Bean Tropical Salad

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado, cubed*
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • ½ head red leaf lettuce, washed
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained

serving bowl

Seed & slice peppers & jalapenos. Add everything to serving bowl and toss with dressing.

*easiest way to slice an avocado is to cut in half, remove pit, cut cubes with a knife, then scoop out.

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • ¼ cup light olive oil
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic

In jar or mixing cup, mix all ingredients together well.

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

well oiled 9×13 baking dish, bowl, saucepan

Combine flour, brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter; blend until crumbly. Pat mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Sprinkle pecan halves over the unbaked crust.

Topping: In small saucepan, combine brown sugar & butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Drizzle caramel over pecans and crust. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread chips evenly as they melt. Cool completely before cutting.

Shopping List:

  • 1 large mango
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 jalapeños
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • 1 head red lettuce
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

Also: lemon juice, limejuice, Jamaican jerk seasoning, light olive oil, crushed garlic

Copyright 2014 What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Summer Edition

Mmm… posole

DSC_7332 (1600x1060)I cleaned all the chicken bones out of the freezer, the wing tips from all the wing dinners, and a few pork bones and roasted them all for a nice stock.  I used that to braise a pork shoulder for the posole.  The recipe doesn’t need much more than that.  I tossed several dried chilies into the broth to soften and pureed those with garlic and lime juice, adding the chili paste back to the broth.  There’s a diced onion in there and oregano with a few bay leaves.DSC_7333 (1600x1060)I love to fry flour tortillas in a little oil, flip them once when they start to brown and them remove them to a plate atop a paper towel to drain.  Give them a sprinkle of kosher salt when they are still hot.  I like to grab a piece and roll a bit of pork into it with some of the cabbage and radish garnish to make a mini taco bite.  Dip it into the broth or give it a squirt of hot sauce.  Yummy!IMG_3423 (1600x1200)This is Ginger’s momma.  She’s still at the shelter but Mrs J says there have been several inquiries.

Soup Pr0n – Posole

DSC_7039 (1600x1060)I found a frozen block of posole in the nether reaches of the big freezer and decided today was a good day for it.  That’s Monterey jack in the bowl with a few nacho chips. On the platter is an array of traditional garnishes.  Colorful!  Delicious, too.DSC_7036 (1600x1060)

Red Ripe Jalapeno Jelly

DSC_4234 (1600x1060)I debated what to do with the jalapenos growing in the container garden out front on the patio.  I have tons of these pickled or frozen and the jelly option finally won me over.  Most of the recipes feature green jalapenos but I think the red ones are better looking.  I needed to use them before they softened.  I caught these at the firm and juicy stage.DSC_4235 (1600x1060)I followed this recipe closely, using cane sugar and the “no sugar” pectin hoping to get a nice firm jelly.  Too soon yet to say how it will look tomorrow.  DSC_6950 (1600x1060)The little bit I had leftover is still a bit runny, albeit still warm.  It can take overnight before jellies set properly so I have hopes that these will firm up.  It has a great flavor but more of a bite than Mrs J will abide so I will eat some of these myself and give a few away.DSC_4237 (1600x1060)I ended up with six half pint jars rather than the five the recipe mentions as the expected yield.  That may impact the pectin ratio enough to deny me my hoped for jell-o jiggle.

Full Dinner Menu: Hearty Tomato Soup and Awesome Grilled Cheese

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Awesome Photo by JeffreyW

It’s been a busy week. Today I spent six hours helping clean out and organize one of my client’s offices that had two feet of water in it three days ago. Not much of the paperwork was salvageable, but they got the computers and other equipment up and out in time. The office will need to sanitized and repainted before anything can go back. It will get better with time…for everyone. The one thing that does not surprise me is how everyone has pitched in to help, even complete strangers. There are so many stories of good deeds. The sun comes out and we’re all reminded of the beauty that is Colorado, both the view and the people.

When the rain continued on last week and the floods hit, I suddenly needed to cook. Normalcy and comfort. I made a couple of batches of soup. Easy Chicken Tortilla and this tomato soup. I knew I wanted to post this as the full dinner menu this week, but it took me a while to get to it. I apologize for the delay.

This not your mom’s canned soup or grilled cheese.  These are tasty, hearty and easy to whip up.  And the flax cookies are addictive (I can say this because it’s a friend’s recipe).  On the board tonight:

  1. Hearty Tomato Soup
  2. Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  3. Flax Cookies

Hearty Tomato Soup

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes*
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions, including greens
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

2 quart saucepan

In a blender, mix tomatoes, garlic, carrots, celery & onions. Blend until liquid. In saucepan, combine tomato mixture with spices, heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let bubble (don’t let boil or use high heat, it will scorch) for 5 minutes. Add flour to cold milk, blend until smooth, add to soup. Let bubble again, reduce to low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

* This is the time to use up any left over garden tomatoes, instead of canned. Blend until you have 4 cups of crushed tomatoes.

Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese

For each sandwich:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • Enough favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, etc.  to cover bread (about 3 slices)
  • Sliced Jalapeños (if you want some heat)
  • 1 large slice of tomato w/dash of salt
  • 1-2 tsp Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • Butter
  • Spray Oil

Spread salad dressing on both slices of bread and add ½ of the cheese to one slice of bread, place tomato & jalapenos on the cheese and top with remaining cheese and the other slice of bread, this keeps bread from getting soggy from the tomato. Lightly butter outside of both sides of the sandwich and grill in skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled on medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. While it is grilling, press down hard with a spatula, “squishing” the sandwich. We don’t know why, but this makes them taste better.  :-)

Flax Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup ground flax
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped almonds

Bowl & cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients together and then fold into egg mixture until well blended. Mix in almonds and drop by the spoonful onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, don’t let them brown.

Shopping List:

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes (4-6 large)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions
  • 8 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • 8 – 10 oz favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc)
  • 1- 2 Jalapenos or 2 oz pickled Jalapenos
  • 1 large tomato for slicing
  • Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 2 sticks + butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground flax

Also: crushed garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, oil spray

Originally posted October 2009

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Breakfast Pr0n – Chorizo and Eggs

DSC_6534 [1600x1200]On a bed of fried tortilla wedges with a sprig of cilantro, fresh jalapenos slices and Monterey jack for garnishes, and a liberal dose of Cholula hot sauce.  Alas, I plated the eggs under the chorizo, displaying poor planning for the picture.  I will give you another!DSC_6535 [1600x1200]

Friday Recipe Exchange: Stuffed Burgers

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

Stuffed burgers, yum. It’s grilling season. And as much as I love a good grilled burger, I’m always looking for a way to elevate them to something beyond ordinary.  I’ll probably have several posts over the summer with different ways to dress up ordinary ground beef for the grill. Today though, I’m going to start with my new favorite, stuffed burgers with sharp cheddar and jalapenos.

Before I get to that, let’s start with my basic burger recipe, one I’ve been making since I was a kid, that makes sure even the leanest ground beef comes out moist and flavorful. That recipe is here.

Next, JeffreyW has been playing with perfecting sliders here, here and here. If you can get through those photos without your mouth watering, you’re stronger than I am.

Your turn. What’s your favorite way to prepare your burgers? Are you a turkey or veggie burger person? If so, what’s your favorite way to fix them? What is your “must have” on a burger? Ketchup? Mustard? A thick tomato slice? My must have is ketchup. Lots of it.

For tonight’s feature recipe, I’m going to take you step by step through a single burger prep. It should be easy to multiply the ingredients for as many as you’ll want to make. I’m using sharp cheddar and pickled jalapenos, but you can use blue cheese, mild cheddar, jack, swiss, or any favorite cheese. An ounce of cheese per quarter pound of ground beef is about the right ratio to keep everything from falling apart and still have a nice melted center. Add grilled onions, mushrooms or peppers to change things up. The ideas are endless.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Hamburgers:

Stuffed Burger Final

Ingredients for each burger:

  • 4 oz ground beef
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed garlic (opt)
  • 1 oz sharp cheddar, sliced thin
  • 2 or more slices of pickled jalapenos

Mix salt, pepper and garlic into the ground beef. Form two, 2-oz patties. Place jalapenos on one burger, cheese on the other.

Prep2

Place the two sides together and seal the edges completely. Gently flatten the burger, but be careful because you don’t want the cheese busting out of the center.

Prep1a

The key to grilling or frying these is low and slow. Medium heat seals them and allows the cheese to melt without drying the burger out. I flipped at the 5 minute mark, but depending on the heat, 3-4 minutes may be enough to flip. They’re thin, so the beef cooks quickly, but you want to make sure the cheese melts. I would say minimum 4 minutes per side.

If cheese starts to leak out, flip and flip again as needed. DON’T press down on these burgers while you grill, you’ll have a cheesy mess.

Now the warning. Did I say WARNING? Yes I did. You’ll need to rest these burgers to let the cheese cool a bit. Otherwise you could be biting into a scalding cheese center. You’ve been WARNED.

That’s the basics, now let your imagination run wild. Maybe I should have titled this, How To Stuff A Wild Burger.

Until next week…..

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Burritos, maybe?

DSC_6239 [1600x1200]I’ve been making these things a lot lately, not really sure what to call them.  Or, I should say, what someone who knows what they are calls them.  Burritos may be the closest even though the ends aren’t folded shut.  I could live with tacos, but tacos usually aren’t rolled closed and grilled in a skillet.  Anyway, these are filled with more of the brisket, and green bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, cabbage, cheddar cheese, and a smear of ancho sauce.

Sammich Pr0n – Hot Dogs

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