Dinner Menu: Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub and Blueberry Coffeecake

Blueberry Coffee CakeBeen busy with my new motorized standing desk. I haven’t even stepped in the kitchen today. Had to put the desk together, then actually get some work done. I’ll post more about it tomorrow, it’s very cool. Until then, here is one of my most requested recipes:

From August 2013

A friend of mine spent a few months one summer experimenting with coffee rubs. This was one of my favorites. If you need something fun to do with your next grilled steak, this is a recipe to try. And with my love of blueberries, can’t go wrong with a blueberry coffeecake.  Yum.

On the board tonight:

  1. Steak with Coffee Rub
  2. Green Beans w/Bacon & Onion
  3. Baked Potatoes
  4. Blueberry CoffeeCake

Steak with Coffee Rub

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (use a good one)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak (rib-eye, sirloin, NY strip, etc) in 4 thick pieces

Mix together all spices. Lightly rub each steak with oil and then coat liberally on both sides with coffee rub. Now you can cook in a pre-heated skillet on medium-high heat, 5 to 7 minutes each side for medium rare. You can broil in the oven, using the second slot down from broiler, for 5 minutes each side, again for rare to medium rare, longer for medium. Or if you’re lucky (sigh) you can grill them outside. Cooking times will vary no matter which style you choose, so watch carefully and you’ll probably have to use a meat thermometer to really judge, because the rub makes it a little harder to eyeball it. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Green Beans w/Bacon & Onions

  • 1 lb fresh or frozen green beans (if fresh, snap off ends and snap into smaller pieces)
  • 2 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Sm. Saucepan, steamer and Skillet

Steam beans until slightly crisp, but tender. While beans are steaming, begin browning bacon until crisp. You can drain most of the bacon drippings, leaving 1 tbsp to lightly coat beans. Add onions. Drain beans and dab with a paper towel. Add to bacon mixture, mixing well, until beans are coated in bacon drippings. Cook on medium-low for 1 to 2 minutes, until onions are heated through.

Blueberry CoffeeCake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk powder (or 1 cup butter milk  & omit water)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 oz frozen blueberries

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup flour

8×8 baking dish, greased

2 bowls

In bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, buttermilk and mix well. Make a well in the center add egg, water & oil. Stir quickly until all everything is mixed well, but don’t over mix. Fold in blueberries. Spread batter evenly in baking dish. In bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the top of batter. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Shopping List:

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (a good one)
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak
  • 1 lb fresh or frozen green beans
  • 2 strips bacon
  • 4 green onions
  • 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk powder or 1 cup buttermilk
  • egg
  • 8 oz blueberries

Also: brown sugar, butter, flour, vegetable oil, vanilla, salt, baking powder, sugar, fresh ground pepper



 

Blueberry Bars

DSC_0829 (1600x1060)We spend more time than I’d like to admit just looking at Google images of prepared foods.  It’s a good way to discover recipes and to learn how other people arrange things for useful ideas on food photography.  That’s how we came across this recipe for blueberry bars. We did question the addition of basil in the recipe and so we did a search.  It’s really a thing – who knew!  We didn’t have any peaches so we went straight blueberry.DSC_0814 (1600x1060)It’s easy to make creme fraiche at home!  I started this one the other day when we decided to go with this recipe, it has a pint of heavy cream and one of those little cups of plain Greek yogurt along with the seeds scraped out of a vanilla bean.  It set out overnight so the magic could work, I let it go 24 hours at room temp before refrigerating.  This is good stuff all by its own self!DSC_0815 (1600x1060)Here it is sans the crumb topping, the bottom layer is as much like a cookie as anything, it was made with half sugar and half sweetener.  Mrs J subbed Splenda for all the sugar in the filling, but she did go with real brown sugar on top so it would brown.DSC_0826 (1600x1060)Fresh from the oven!  We set this into the big freezer so it would firm up nicely for cutting into individual bars.  An hour or two and it was good to go.  I feared it might stick to the pan but it came out easily, be sure to remember to butter the pan!

Friday Recipe Exchange: Ice Cream and Gelato Treats

Key Lime Pie2

I’m swamped with work, trying to catch up after a week away, so tonight in true summer fashion, we’re going to have a repeat. But it’s a delicious repeat. Last year, friends lent me their Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker to test drive, so I spent a week making various frozen treats, testing them on all the neighbors (I was very popular that week) and posted the results. This summer I bought my own Cuisinart, so I thought it was time to pull out the recipes and make some ice cream and gelato. After all, it’s just been too hot to cook. Perfect time for frozen treats.

While Gelato is by far my favorite, I played no favorites and included ice cream and sorbet in the selection. These recipes all make between 1 and 1-1/2 quarts.  Here’s the lineup:

Vanilla and Strawberry Ice Cream (recipes here)

Blueberry Sorbet (recipe here)

Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato (recipe here)

What’s your recipe for fun this weekend? What delicious things are you cooking up for this final weekend of July (oh, how can that be)?

Now for the recipe that started the whole thing, the reason I borrowed my friends’ ice cream maker. A while back I was searching for gelato recipes and came across one for Key Lime Pie. It sounded awesome. I tucked it away, planning to try it someday. Someday finally came and I put my own twist on it:

Key Lime Pie Gelato

  • Gelato Plain Base (recipe below)
  • 1 graham cracker crust, broken into pieces and frozen (recipe below)
  • 3 tbsps fresh lime juice, preferably Key lime*
  • 2 tsp grated lime zest

Make the Gelato Plain Base and chill as directed. Make the graham cracker crust as directed and freeze.

To make Key Lime Gelato: Gently whisk the limejuice and zest into the base. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Just after churning quickly stir in the graham cracker crust pieces, reserving some for garnish. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

*after you mix in the lime and zest, give it a taste and add more limejuice as desired. If you’re prefer it a bit more tangy, you can add up to 2 more tbsp without worrying about consistency.

Graham Cracker Crust

Note: You can substitute graham cracker pieces if you don’t want to make an actual crust. I just like the buttery flavor and texture of the actual crust in the gelato.

For the graham cracker crust: Mix 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 tbsp sugar and 2 cups graham cracker crumbs together. Press firmly onto the bottom of a well buttered 8×8 glass baking dish and bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes. Cool and remove from the baking dish, break into bite-size pieces and freeze in a covered container.

This recipe is the base for most gelatos, it’s also good frozen by itself:

Gelato di Crema (Gelato Plain Base)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup sugar

In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn’t form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F.

Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper* the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185°F. Do not bring to a boil.

*The best way to temper is to add a tablespoon at a time until you’ve added about 1/4 cup. Then you can add a full ladle at a time, slowly.

One final note. If you’re wondering what the difference is between Gelato, Sorbet and Ice Cream, click here for a pretty good explanation.

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Buttermilk Pie, A July 4th Favorite

Buttermilk Pie 1

This has become a 4th of July favorite.

Fourth of July Buttermilk Pie Recipe

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (half a stick)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 9-inch graham cracker crust
  • 1 cup cold, heavy whipping cream
  • 8- 15 strawberries, halved
  • A handful of blueberries (opt)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then beat in the sugar and lemon zest until well combined. Beat in the flour and melted butter. Beat in the vanilla and buttermilk.

Pour filling batter into an graham pie shell. Bake at 325°F for approximately 50 minutes, or until the center of the custard has just set (can still be a little wiggly). Remove from oven and let cool. The custard may puff up a bit in the oven; it will deflate as it cools.

Whip the chilled cream until it holds stiff peaks. Once the pie has cooled to room temperature, spread the whipping cream over the top of the pie. Arrange the raspberries and blueberries in a decorative pattern on top of the whipping cream.
Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Makes 8 serving pieces.

Dinner Menu: Crepes

Crepes front2

I love crepes and friend of blog, Kirk Spencer just did a posting on them, reminding me that I had a pretty decent recipe, too. Check out his link, he has some nice filling ideas. For this menu, we’re sticking with fruit.

Do the idea of crepes scare you?! They did me until I decided to brave the waters for this recipe.  They are unbelievably easy.  The only difference between this and making pancakes is how you manipulate the pan.  Make sure after you’ve lightly greased the pan and heated it, you remove it from the heat before adding the batter.  Then you need to swirl the batter thinly around the pan and up the sides, until it sets.  Return to the heat to let it cook.  Immediately begin to loosen the top edges with a butter knife, so when it’s time to flip, it’s easy to do.  I found flipping it by hand easiest.  Gently loosen the edges completely and gingerly pick up by the edge and flip it over when the bottom is golden.  You may need to loosen the bottom with a spatula before flipping.  If you’re feeling daring…you can try flipping them.  Just remember, they don’t have to look perfect or be paper thin to work!

It looks like we’re going to have another bumpy, rainy, flash flood warning weekend. No grilling. I’ll have to make do with some Buttered Potato Pie and nice Pan-Seared Strip Steaks. And a reminder, there won’t be a recipe exchange this week, but I’ll find something fun for later in the weekend.  Until then….TaMara

On the board tonight: Kids Night Crepes Dinner

  1. Fruit Crepes
  2. Raw Vegetable tray w/dips
  3. Popcorn

Crepes4a

Fruit Crepes

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 4 oz sliced strawberries
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 2 kiwi fruits, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • powdered sugar

10-inch skillet with sloped sides or a crepe pan

2 bowls, plate, parchment or wax paper

Whisk together eggs, flour, milk, butter, ¼ tsp cinnamon.  Mix well and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes while you prepare fruit.

In medium bowl, combine ¼ tsp cinnamon, berries, banana, kiwi, granola and yogurt. Cover and refrigerate

Crepes pan1

Lightly grease skillet and heat over medium heat.  Just before adding batter, remove from heat.  Add ½ cup of batter for each crepe.  Immediately after adding it, swirl pan until batter is spread completely around the pan and up the sides.  Return to heat and cook until golden on the bottom, flip and cook until other side is golden.  About 2 minutes each side, but watch carefully.  Remove to plate.  Repeat for each crepe.  Place parchment paper between crepes.

Crepes pan2a

To assemble, put ¼ fruit mixture in each crepe and roll up.  Top with garnish of powdered sugar. Makes 8 crepes.

Alternately you can prepare them on a griddle, using a ladle to spread the batter around into a 10” circle.

If this still sounds too difficult, you can always purchase pre-made crepes in your produce section, usually by the fresh berries.  Follow package instructions to heat.

 

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Easy As…Upside Down Cake

Slice of cake3This was better than I even imagined. I was craving something intensely blueberry and I had just made the Pineapple Upside Down Cake for a birthday. I decided if it was good enough for pineapple, it was good enough for blueberries. And boy was it. I had to tweak the recipe a bit to complement the blueberry flavor, adding lemon to the mix and I reduced the flour down so the blueberries were not overwhelmed by cake.

Blueberry Upside Down2Blueberry-Lemon Upside Down Cake

  • 8 oz frozen wild blueberries (or enough to completely cover the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

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  • 1/3 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice + enough water to make 1/2 cup of liquid.

8×8 glass baking dish and mixing bowl

 Melt 3 tbsp of butter and add to baking dish with sugar, lemon juice and zest.  Mix well.  Spread blueberries evenly over sugar and butter mixture.

In bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until fluffy.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, add to creamed mixture.  Add lemon water and zest to batter, mixing well (it will be lumpy) and then pour over blueberries.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick test in the cake center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes and then invert on a plate.

ETA: click any photo to enlarge and uncompress.

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copyright Whats 4 Dinner Solutions 2014

 

Dinner Menu: Bacon Squash Campanelle and Panna Cotta Parfait

I’m always looking for something different to do with pasta that is flavorful and moves away from the traditional tomato based sauces of my childhood. Tonight’s main course is just that. Butternut squash with a bit of heat and a bit of sweet, all brought together by smoky bacon and creamy chèvre. Finish off  the meal with a light, sweet Panna Cotta Parfait. Panna Cottas are traditionally molded desserts, but I think we been doing this together long enough that you know I’m all about keeping it simple. And Panna Cotta is as simple as it gets, unless of course you choose to mold it, then a thousand things can go wrong between placing it in the ramekin and serving it to your guests. Thanks but no thanks, it looks quite elegant in a wine glass, topped with a pretty berry topping. And I don’t have to worry that the last 5 minutes of prep are going to leave me with a blob of great tasting shapelessness on a plate. But that’s just me.

On the board tonight:

  1. Bacon and Squash Campanelle
  2. Tossed Salad (try these)
  3. Panna Cotta Parfait

Bacon and Squash Campanelle

  • 10-12 oz campanelle or penne pasta
  • 4 slices thick pepper bacon (usually find at the deli counter), cut into 1/4” piecesCampanelle
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small tart apple, cored and diced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 oz chèvre cheese (or similar), crumbled.
  • Fresh grated parmesan

Large saucepan, large, deep skillet

In saucepan cook pasta according to package directions, well. While pasta is cooking, brown bacon in skillet, remove to paper towel. Drain all but 2 tbsp of bacon drippings (or use all of it if you desire and reduce olive oil – you’ll want a 1/4 cup total). Add olive oil and sauté onion, rosemary and garlic until onions are translucent. Add squash, apple, pepper flakes and chicken broth. Simmer over medium heat until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove rosemary, add bacon, chèvre and salt and pepper to taste, stir until cheese is melted. Toss squash mixture and pasta together and serve with parmesan.

Panna Cotta Parfait

  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod (or one tsp vanilla extract)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 lb blueberries (or other berries)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

2 saucepans, 6 wine glasses or other stemware

Change it up, use a variety of stemware

Change it up, use a variety of stemware

Panna Cotta:

Place 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over. Add lemon juice to remaining milk. Let both mixtures stand for 3 to 5 minutes. Pour gelatin milk mixture into a heavy saucepan and stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil. Add the lemon milk mixture, cream, sugar, and salt. Split vanilla pod lengthwise and add to mixture. Stir until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Remove bean pod. Pour mixture into 6 wine glasses so that they are 1/2 full. Cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours, overnight is better.

Berry Topping:

In saucepan add berries, sugar and water. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cornstarch and stir in completely. Reduce heat and let simmer until berries are soft and sauce coats the back of the spoon. Cool completely.

Spoon the berries mixture over the top the panna cotta and serve.

 

 

Shopping List:

  • 10-12 oz campanelle or penne pasta
  • 4 slices thick pepper bacon (usually find at the deli counter)
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 small tart apple
  • 12 oz chicken broth
  • 4 oz chèvre cheese (or similar)
  • Fresh grated parmesan
  • Salad fixin’s
  • Salad dressing (Italian or oil & vinegar goes well with this recipe)
  • 12 oz whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 16 oz heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod (or one tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 lb blueberries (or other berries)

Also: crushed garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, cornstarch

 

Friday Recipe Exchange: Blueberry Sweet Treats

dsc9373-1024x768

I was thinking all week I wanted to do a dessert theme for the recipe exchange tonight and when I went to put it together this morning, blueberries are what called to me. So it went from desserts to blueberry desserts. For most recipes you can substitute any fruit if you prefer.

If fruit desserts aren’t your style, if you search on chocolate on the blog, you’ll find over 100 recipes.

But back to the blueberries. Pictured at top are Mrs. J’s Famous Fruit Pies, and the recipe is here and a lot more photos here.

JeffreyW makes a nice Lemon Blueberry Bread, combining two of my favorite flavors. Click here for the recipe and photos.

For a healthier option full of blueberry flavor, how about a Blueberry Sorbet, recipe here.

And my first try at a Blueberry Pie, which turned out pretty good for a rookie, click here for the recipe.

What’s on your plate for the weekend? What’s your favorite dessert, something healthy or total decadence? Share your thoughts and recipes in the comments.

Tonight’s featured recipe was just me goofing off in the kitchen wondering what I could come up with for something different.

Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies Final4

 

I wondered what would happen if I substituted blueberries for raisins in a traditional oatmeal cookie.  The results were tasty and moist.  The blueberry flavor was intense. I used frozen blueberries and left them frozen to keep the dough from turning into ‘smurf dough’.

Oatmeal-Blueberry Cookies 

  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats (long cooking)
  • 1 cup blueberries

baking sheet & bowl

In bowl, cream together butter & sugar, add egg and mix well. Add cinnamon, vanilla, soda, baking powder and flour. Slowly mix in oats until well blended. Gently fold in blueberries. Drop onto cookie sheet.   Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until golden.  Makes 24 cookies.  Refrigerate.

As a note, I’ve used chopped apples instead of blueberries with great results.

That’s it for this week. If you need the Enchilada Pie dinner menu and shopping list, it’s here. Until next week – TaMara