Category Archives: Thursday/Friday Recipe Exchange
I received a request from The Mighty Trowel, friend of blog from Down Under, for some slow-cooker recipes as they move into fall. I think Slow-cookers are one of the most versatile appliances in the kitchen – you can make a nice pot roast dinner, or recipes as simple as soups and stews. The best part is coming home from work or long hike and know dinner is ready to go and the house smells wonderful.
For recipes, let’s start with JeffreyW’s Italian Beef, pictured above and the recipe here.
A surprisingly easy and tasty Spinach Lasagna recipe is here.
Pulled Pork two ways, click here for both, makes great sandwiches or wraps, .
Then something different, and a childhood favorite meal, Brunswick Stew, recipe here. (Posting this makes me smile, because the last time I posted the recipe, commenters informed me that REAL Brunswick Stew is made with squirrel. You’re welcome to substitute as needed).
And finally, a Turkey Bean Soup, recipe found here.
I also posted my updated recipe for Extra Crispy Oven Fried Chicken today, you can find it here.
What’s on your menu this weekend? Have any slow-cooker recipes to share with The Mighty Trowel – I’m sure they would be appreciated. Vegetarian recipes would be great, we like to do at least one a week here, so new ideas are always welcome.
I really like tonight’s featured recipe because it is very simple, but so very tasty. I often make it when I have a crowd visiting. The recipe below serves 4 and I always double it. It’s a great recipe for letting everyone help themselves when they are hungry. I toss the pasta with olive oil and put it in the refrigerator and leave the beef simmering in the slow-cooker on low for the entire day. They can mix the two when they are hungry. The longer the beef cooks, the better it gets. It’s always a hit with everyone.
Portuguese Beef & Pasta
- 1 lb round steak, cut into thin strips, remove excess fat
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 onion, thinly sliced (reserve ¼ for beans)
- 1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 6 oz can tomato paste
- 2-14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper
- 8 oz dry macaroni**
Slow-Cooker and saucepan
Add beef, salt, pepper, onion, green pepper, garlic, paste, diced tomatoes, water, bay leaf & red pepper to Slow-Cooker. Cook according to manufacturer’s directions (usually 8-10 hours on low) until beef tears easily with a fork. In saucepan, cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain well (you don’t want any water in your beef mixture) and mix beef and pasta in serving bowl.
Corned beef is really one of the perfect foods to do in a pressure cooker. You get a nice, tender beef and instead of mushy, colorless vegetables, you get perfectly cooked vegetables infused with that great corned beef broth flavor.
Tonight’s featured recipe uses a bit of dill pickle juice in place of some of the water and a touch of spicy brown mustard. But I saw recipes that used chicken broth, sherry or beer in place of some of the water. I think you should experiment and use what sounds good to you. I really like dill pickle juice. And I have become a big fan of Napa cabbage with my corned beef.
A lot of recipes call for 3-4 lbs of corned beef. I picked up two, since both the pressure cooker and slow-cooker recipes are easy, you don’t need to save corned beef and cabbage for a special occasion. Just freeze the other one for another day.
I know I’ve been very busy and haven’t posted a lot of new recipes, but I have been doing a lot of cooking and just bought some new cookware (here). I’ll try and do better…I’ve got a great new technique for very, very crispy oven chicken and I’ll try and get that posted.
Are you a corned beef fan? Reuben’s anyone? What’s on your plate this weekend?
Now for the recipes:
JeffreyW tackles corned beef leftovers – see his gallery of Corned Beef Sandwiches here. (lots of yummy pictures at those links)
My family weighs in on their favorite ways to fix corned beef, including grilling. (click here)
Now tonight’s featured recipes:
Pressure Cooker Corned Beef Dinner:
- 3 to 4 lbs corned beef, trim the fat to about 1/4 inch
- Spices included with corned beef or the following: 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds,
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed – opt
- 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 – 6 medium to large potatoes, cut into four to eight pieces, peeling optional
- 4-6 carrots, sliced in half and cut into 2” lengths
- Cabbage, cut into 4 to 6 pieces – for a change of pace, I’ve used Napa cabbage to great success.
pressure cooker and cooking rack
Remove the corned beef from the brine (discarding the brine), rinse thoroughly and place in the bottom of the pressure cooker, fatty side up. [You don’t want to brown this beef, because it’s been brined.] Sprinkle spices over the top of the beef. Add enough liquid (water or water and a combination of ONE of the following: pickle juice, chicken broth, beer or wine) to come to the top of beef, about 3-4 cups usually. Cover and bring to pressure and let cook for 1 hour. I use the cold water method to depressurize (that is when you run cold water over the pan in the sink, otherwise you can remove it from the heat and let slowly depressurize).
The key to getting the perfect corned beef and vegetables with the pressure cooker is to cook them separately. Prep the vegetables during the last 15 or so minutes of beef cooking time. Once the beef is done, put it on a cutting board, cover loosely in foil and put a towel over the whole deal.
Remove all but enough liquid to come to the bottom of the cooking rack when placed in the pressure cooker. Place potatoes first on the tray, then carrots and then cabbage, cover and bring to pressure. Cook for about 12 minutes. The vegetables will be fork tender, not mushy and the beef will be fully rested. Slice, plate and serve.
For the slow-cooker:
Place rinsed beef in the bottom of the slow-cooker, sprinkle spices, add liquid to come to the top of the beef, and cover. Cook on low for 4 hours. At the 4 hour mark, add potatoes and then carrots. Cook additional 4 hours, adding the cabbage during the last 30 minutes. With the exception of adding the vegetables, try to resist the temptation to open the lid. You need it to stay covered to properly cook. Let the meat rest, covered with foil for about 15 minutes before carving.
There you go, some easy ways to put together a nice corned beef dinner.
Enjoy your weekend and watch out for leprechauns… – TaMara
Well it’s been a whirlwind of activity here and I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress with the house and garden. Lots of cooking going on for friends and family because I love working in my new kitchen. It hasn’t left a lot of time for blogging. But dinner is in the slow-cooker and I have a moment before it’s time to walk Bixby, so tonight there is a recipe exchange.
JeffreyW and I once again had a mind-meld moment and both made a batch of Beef and Barley Soup this week. His yummy photo is pictured above. My recipe is here and JeffreyW’s recipe is here, accompanied by great photos.
Chuck roasts were on sale this week, so I stocked up. I love a good pot roast and have a few recipe variations. I have a recipe for a Tangy Pot Roast here. For a more traditional take on a yummy Slow-Cooker Pot Roast including a full menu and recipes, click here. My new favorite ingredient is a dash of good whisky to deepen the flavors. One of the roasts will be cut up and frozen for soup or stew.
The garden is still producing an abundance of ripe tomatoes, so I made a batch of Tomato-Spinach Soup, recipe here. For a vegetarian version, just omit ground beef. I make it both ways depending on my mood. Serve with grilled cheese sandwich on Easy Slow Rise Crusty Bread, pictured below and recipe here.
Another batch of tomatoes, along with zucchini, green peppers and eggplant (all garden fresh) went into a fresh dinner for guests this week, Garden Fresh Pasta, recipe here.
What’s on the menu tonight? Any fun plans for this first weekend of October?
Tonight’s featured recipe is what we’re having as part of a get-together tomorrow night. It’s simple, hearty soup that we can put together earlier in the day for a quick dinner. Then we’ll be heading out to the local historical farm for Wildlife Night. There will be owls.
Cranberry beans are usually easy to find, but if not, substitute cannellini white kidney beans – you can use dry or canned.
Turkey Bean Soup
- 1 lb smoked turkey sausage, diced (or ground turkey, browned)
- 1 lb dried cranberry beans (soaked overnight, drained)
- 8 cups of water (or 6 cups water, 2 cups chicken broth)
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 tsp dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Chili powder
- 1 tsp Cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to the slow-cooker and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low. Serve with fresh hot bread and salad for a complete dinner.
That’s it for this week. I’m heading out to buy paint…starting on the living room this weekend. Have a great weekend – TaMara
Sometime contributor Michael Fallai shares a lot of terrific recipes on Facebook. The only hitch is they are often in Italian. Tonight’s featured recipe was one of those. If you ever want a laugh, let Google translate a recipe for you…and don’t let dissolve cheese in a water bath, or let your wine evaporate on flame lively intimidate you.
Perusing the weekly ads, I pulled together a few recipes based on what was on sale this week and headed out to the grill.
First up, Curried Turkey Burgers, recipe here. Great served on fresh pita and grill some fresh eggplant from the garden.
Collard greens were everywhere at the farmer’s market last weekend, so Collard Greens with Bacon seems timely, click here.
JeffreyW and Mrs. J made some delicious looking Cream Horns (and to this Italian girl, seems the only difference between these and Cannoli is the filling). Purty pictures and directions can be found here.
What’s on your menu this last weekend of August? What garden fresh items are you enjoying right now? What are you grilling up?
Tonight’s featured recipe (pictured at top) became a poignant reminder of the earthquake in Italy. I had pulled it off the Italy site, translated it and put the ingredients on my shopping list just days before it hit.
Here is my version:
Pasta with Pears, Pecorino and Walnuts
- 10 oz linguine pasta
- 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 3 large pears, very ripe, cored and cubed
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano (plus extra for garnish)
- 4 oz cream cheese or Mascarpone, cut into small cubes
- dash of white wine (opt)
- salt and pepper to taste
skillet, large pot
Bring water to boil in large pot, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente. Drain but do not rinse and add back to pot, off heat.
While pasta is cooking, heat skillet on medium heat, add walnuts. Stir constantly until lightly toasted, remove and set aside.
Add butter to skillet and melt before adding pears. Stir gently until well coated with butter. Cook until softened, gently stirring occasionally (you don’t want to break up the pears).
Add both cheeses and stir in completely. Let simmer on medium heat until lightly boiling. Add wine and let simmer away (about 5 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine pasta, pear mixture and walnuts in large pot and mix well. Serve with extra Pecorino for garnish.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, enjoy fading days of August – TaMara
After asking for and receiving some excellent advice on how to use my new convection oven, I decided to jump in and test it out. Roasting a chicken seemed like the most logical choice. If I ruined it, I could turn it into chicken salad. Sonoma Chicken Salad to be exact, found here.
This time of year, recipes seem superfluous – farm fresh corn, zucchini from my garden and sliced tomatoes need little embellishment. But I do have Tomato-Pasta Salad, here, that changes up the usual flavors.
For dessert, those plums needed to be used, so I went with a Plum Crumble (or as my cousin christened it, Plumble), recipe here. I used the convection feature, which helped the crisp brown evenly. Bonus Bixby inspecting the plums here.
I don’t have any recipes from JeffreyW this week, but that could because this guy is keeping him busy:
That’s the most adorable, Gabe, getting himself into a bit of trouble. I am looking forward to seeing how JeffreyW’s figs turn out, hopefully abundant enough for homemade fig newtons. But if not, just fresh off the tree. I love figs! Photos of his fig progression are here.
What’s on your menu this weekend as summer winds down? My grapes are starting to ripen, and of course I’m overrun with plums, so does anyone have some good plum or concord grape recipes they want to share? What else is cookin’ tonight?
Tonight’s featured recipe is pretty simple, since what I wanted was to test out how the convection oven treated my ingredients. I started with a local chicken, zucchini from my garden, potatoes from my dad’s garden and local corn.
I mixed together 2 tbsps of butter with dried, crushed rosemary and basil, along with crushed garlic and rubbed it under and over the skin of the chicken. I then rubbed more of the herbs and garlic inside the cavity.
I put the chicken and the sliced potatoes into the roasting pan. I roasted them at 425 degrees, until the breast meat registered at 165 degrees and the thighs at 170 degrees. The high temperature, combined with the convection created a crisp skin that quickly sealed in the juices. Total cooking time was one hour for a five pound bird.
I added the sliced zucchini about 15 minutes before the chicken was about to come out of the oven, so everything finished up nicely. The corn was microwaved for two minutes an ear (for a total of six minutes) with the husks on. If I had been more confident with my oven skills, I would have popped the ears into the oven just a bit before the zucchini and roasted them in the husks.
I am over the moon with what the convection feature can do – the potatoes were perfectly roasted, the chicken crisp and moist, the zucchini tender. The flavors were great and the herbs really permeated the meat.
That’s it for this week. I’m sitting here watching the welcome rainstorm drench my very thirsty yard, while contemplating my long list of things to do this weekend. Have a great weekend! – TaMara
JeffreyW makes Caprese Bruschetta, yum
Hey! How ya been? It’s been much too long. I owe you recipes and a house update.
It’s been a busy month and I have some more house details and photos. Buying a house in seller’s market was the most challenging house I’ve ever purchased. But I found a cute one with a great garden area. Garden photos at this link and house photos at this link.
Today is my birthday and I’m celebrating with friends and Dutch Chocolate Gelato, recipe here. I served it with a variety of chopped nuts: hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds.
It sounds like many will have rain for the holiday weekend. Luckily all the recipes I pulled together work well for an indoor picnic or backyard cookout.
The first compilation I arranged was for a variety of not-your-typical Pasta Salads, click here for four very tasty recipes.
The second group of recipes (found here) I put together from the archives was for garden fresh salads. Recipes include the Jicama Slaw (pictured at top of post) that I am making for a cookout this weekend. The smallest jicama I could find was 2.5 lbs. Anyone have ideas what I can do with the 1.5 lbs I’ll have left over?
I’m also making Watermelon Granita, recipe here, but you can use the recipe to make any flavor you desire.
My new garden has quite a few ready to harvest rhubarb plants. I’ve had this recipe tucked away for just such an occasion. Click here for Rosemary-Lemon-Rhubarb Spritzers.
Buttermilk Pie, above, is such a show stopper and foolproof to make. Click here for the recipe.
What’s on your Fourth of July menu? What food is an absolute must for your table on this holiday?
Tonight’s featured recipe takes potato salad in a different direction and I hope it inspires you to share your favorite potato salad recipe in the comments.
Italian Potato Salad
- 2 lbs of small red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 tbsp of salt
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 tsp fresh snipped rosemary
- 2 tbsp fresh snipped basil
- 1/2 tsp crushed dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh)
- 2 tsp stone ground mustard*
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 24 to 28 oz fire roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 oz shaved Parmesan
Large saucepan, baking sheet, large serving bowl
In saucepan, cover potatoes with water, add salt and bring to a bowl. Reduce heat to low boil and simmer until potatoes are just fork-tender. You don’t want them to be soft, as for mashing, you want them to still hold their shape.
Mix together vinegar, garlic and spices. Drain potatoes and spread over a baking sheet in one layer, pour 1/2 of vinegar mixture over them and let cool completely.
Add mustard and oil to remaining vinegar mixture. Add sliced peppers to potatoes, stir and then transfer to serving bowl. Toss with remaining vinegar mixture, salt and pepper to taste and Parmesan.
*I have an aversion to Dijon mustard, but if it a favorite of yours, you can easily use it in this recipe.
That’s it for me. There will not be a recipe exchange next week. I am officially moving next weekend. I may post photos of that if I have internet setup. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July – TaMara
Bixby turned two on Thursday and I felt that justified a Bixby Diaries post. So for the pet lovers, you’ll find lots of new and old photos, plus video of the Beast here. For the rest of you, it’s a grilling themed recipe exchange.
First up, Grilled Chicken and Papaya, recipe here. I noticed in the stores that mangoes were plentiful, and I can’t imagine why you couldn’t substitute – I would add a dash of lime to it all with mangoes.
Speaking of mangoes and papayas, how about Grilled Fish with Mango and Papaya Salsa, recipe here.
A couple of nice sides to round things out. But don’t think you need a recipe, fresh veggies from the garden, tossed in olive oil and grilled in a grilling basket can’t be beat.
Grilled Vegetable Salad, click here, can be a meal in itself or a hearty side.
Greek Grilled Potatoes, recipe here, are a nice, tangy change from regular potato packets.
What’s on the menu this weekend? Anything special planned for Father’s Day? What’s your favorite food to take out of the kitchen and make on the grill?
Tonight, I combined two favorite recipes. I love the pinwheels because they are so showy (and tasty). I thought it would be a great recipe for Father’s Day weekend. Then I ran across my spicy sauce and thought, yum, that would work. If you don’t want spicy, here is the original Pinwheel Recipe. And if you don’t want pinwheels, here is the original Spicy Grilled Flank Steak recipe. I got you covered.
Grilled Spicy Flank Steak Pinwheels
- 1 tbsp chili garlic paste
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 lb flank steak
- 8 oz sliced provolone cheese
- 1 bunch washed and dried spinach leaves
- 8 wooden skewers
- olive oil
You can ask the butcher to butterfly your flank steak, which is what I did. But it’s fairly easy to butterfly. You want the grain running up and down in front of you and then you’ll slice it in half, NOT slicing all the way through. When you’re done you’ll lay it open, flat, basically making a larger, thinner steak.
Once you have it laid out flat in front of you with the grain running left to right, you’ll want to tenderize it, pounding it thin.
Keeping it flat, place into a ziplock bag, add marinade and coat completely on both sides. Marinate flat in refrigerator 1 hour. Remove from marinade and assemble.
Layer the spinach over the meat. You want it to be several leaves thick, because it will reduce as it cooks.
Next layer the provolone cheese slices, two to three slices thick, over the meat.
Now it’s time to roll. Roll tightly in the direction of the grain. Add a skewer every 2 inches and then slice between the skewers, so you have 2-inch thick pinwheels.
Heat grill and oil grates well – alternately you can cook in a cast iron skillet (heat 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil in it) on the grill. If using a gas grill – heat one side to high for searing, turn the other side to about medium to finish cooking. For coals – place coals toward center of the grill, leaving the edges cool for finishing cooking.
Add pinwheels to the grill, flat side down. After a minute, using the skewer (you may also need a metal spatula to get all the cheesy goodness) flip over, sear additional minute. The usual method of waiting until the meat moves easily to flip will not work with this because the cheese is sticky. So just do one minute each side, it will be fine.
After the second side is done, move steaks off of high heat to the cooler grates and let the steak finish for about 10 to 15 minutes for medium rare. These are thin and don’t need a lot of cooking time and you don’t want the cheese to burn.
Remove to a plate, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes, so the cheese isn’t molten lava.
My steak made 4 large pinwheels.
That’s it for this week. I don’t know how many recipe exchanges I’ll have in me while I’m packing, but stay tuned. Have a great weekend! – TaMara