Tidbits

DSC_5172 (1600x1060)We had this bout of freezing rain and snow a couple of weeks ago, the ice is pretty much off the trees now but the snow lingers.  I have nearly this same photo in several iterations over the years.  There’s something about the solitary bit of color in an otherwise black and white rendering that draws the eye and invites reflection.DSC_9976 (1600x1060)This is the last of the first batch of big buns I baked from the King Arthur recipe a while back.  I froze all but two of them as soon as they cooled down enough to bag in plastic.  What I really wanted to mention is the horseradish cream sauce in the little bowl.  It’s simple to make and very tasty – add some prepared horseradish to a slug of sour cream, squeeze in a dollop of Dijon mustard, and season with salt and pepper.  I never have fresh horseradish so I use the prepared kind but if you make it with fresh you might want to add a splash of vinegar.DSC01611 (1600x1200)A puppeh!  This fine boy is a border collie mix.  He was found wandering about near some heavy machinery at a coal mine.  The miners thought it too dangerous for him so they brought him by the shelter.  The groomer cleaned him up and he was adopted soon afterwards.  He was a staff favorite and a real good boy.DSC_9986 (1600x1060)I saw this recipe for rosemary Parmesan cornbread a while back and filed it away.  I finally remembered to grab a can of creamed corn and the Jiffy mix and here is my result.  Six eggs and a lot of sour cream!DSC_9991 (1600x1060)I made some green beans with smoked turkey just to have something to serve alongside the cornbread.  Mine has a looser crumb than the one photographed for the recipe page.  I could taste the sour cream over the rosemary – not a bad thing but I may cut back on it if I make this again.DSC_9915 (1600x1060)You can make burritos out of anything.  I made these to use up the last little bit of chili I had in the fridge.DSC01764 (1600x1060)Here’s Katie!  DSC_9985 (1600x1060)Moar buns!  I have yet to learn the secret to forming dough into nice buns but I keep at it.  I bet Youtube has someone with good advice…

Sammich Pr0n – French Dip Roast Beef

DSC_9443 (1600x1060)I spent the morning slicing and vacuum sealing a ham, a beef roast, and a corned beef.  I kept out enough of the sliced roast beef to make a couple of these.  They are the next thing to an Italian beef, lacking only the particular seasonings.  I’m calling it a roast beef although it was slow cooked in a big crockpot.  I added beef broth, red wine, lots of garlic, sliced onions, and bay leaves.  If I had added basil and oregano, and maybe rosemary I would consider it full on Italian beef.  It was cooked to 150 internal temperature, not quite well done but pretty close.  It spent a day in the fridge before slicing.

Mmm… Roast Beef

DSC_7930 (1600x1060)Mrs J grabbed a big roast at the store the other day and we went with the crockpot to cook it.  She was wanting a basic pot roast supper and that is what she got.  I did tweak the menu a tad and made her mash her own potatoes but she didn’t mind.  The roast nearly filled the crockpot but I squeezed in carrots, onions, and celery and filled the rest of the space with beef broth and red wine.  I didn’t have any fresh herbs so dried thyme and bay leaves went in for seasonings, along with black pepper and salt, natch.DSC_7933 (1600x1060)There was still plenty of meat and gravy left so I added a few more veggies and broth for the next day’s stew.  I still have a fair sized lump of beef, I may slice it for sammiches before the day is out.  Speaking of that, it may reach above 70 degrees here today, which should melt the last traces of snow.  Just in time for more snow tomorrow!  Ahhhh!

Tangy Roast Beef

Did you know May is national vinegar month?  Yeah, neither did I.  But it is and that’s great because I was just thinking about posting about cooking with vinegar.  I use it almost daily.  It is so versatile and really brightens the flavors in any food.  I just discovered a wonderful Red Wine-Pomegranate vinegar.  I use it in salads, mixed with a bit of garlic and basil.  No need for oils, so full of flavor and bite.

Malt vinegar is great with fried foods, cuts the grease and enhances the flavors.  Red wine vinegar in soups brings out the individual vegetable flavors.  Rice vinegars are a must in any Asian inspired dishes.  It is perfect for marinades,adding flavor and easily tenderizing meats.  The list is endless.  And if you want to reduce salt, vinegar will add enough flavor to your vegetables and meats to help you put down the shaker.

Here’s an update to an old favorite using vinegar:

Slow-Cooker Tangy Roast Beef w/Potatoes & Carrots

  • 2 to 3 lbs boneless chuck roast
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 red potatoes, halved
  • 4 carrots, peeled & quartered

Slow-Cooker

In order, place items in Slow-Cooker. Cook according to manufacturer’s directions (usually 8-10 hours on low).

Lunch New Orleans’ Style

Mmm, po’boys.

Oyster Po’Boy

  • 1 quart oysters
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 French bread rolls, about 6-inches each, or 2 baguettes, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • shredded lettuce
  • mayonnaise
  • dill pickle slices
  • salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs; stir in oysters and let stand for 5 minutes.

In a large food storage bag, combine the cornmeal, flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, Cajun seasoning, and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Take an oyster from the beaten egg, let excess drip off, and toss in the bag. Shake until well coated. Repeat with remaining oysters.

Fry the oysters in batches for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

Split 1 roll or section; spread with mayonnaise. On the bottom of the roll, arrange layers of shredded lettuce, oysters, tomato slices, and sliced pickles. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining rolls, oysters, and filling ingredients.

Roast Beef Po’Boy

  • 1 large crusty loaf French bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 lbs slow cooked beef
  • 1 cup au jus sauce or beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, heaping
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, heaping
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cups iceberg lettuce, largely shredded
  • 1/4 cup kosher dill pickle slices
  • 1 large steak tomatoes, sliced ( ripe or red)

Heat oven to 400°F.

Cut French loaf in half lengthwise and place in oven for 4-5 minutes or until LIGHTY toasted. Spread butter on both the inside halves of toasted bread. In a sauce pan whisk the vegetable oil with the flour on med-high heat for about 5 minutes or until just lightly browned. Add beef au jus (or stock) to roux and whisk until it thickens slightly- about 1 minute. Should coat the back of spoon, add more stock if needed. Toss sliced roast beef with thin gravy until evenly coated and heated through.  Spread mayo on top inside half of bread, place dill pickles on bottom.  Evenly place roasted beef on top of dill pickles, add lettuce and tomato.  Slice into four sections.

Exhausted But Happy

The wedding is over and everyone had a great time.  Snow may delay my return trip, but I’ll deal with that when my head is clearer.  Since this is a food blog, figured I should write about the wedding food.  A very simple meal that was delicious.  Roast beef, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy and cakes.  Lots of cakes.

This is one thing I like to stress when someone is unsure of their cooking skills and they ask my advice.  Simple is often the best.  Buy quality ingredients and you don’t need to doctor it with a lot of things to make is taste delicious.  A good cut of beef, slow roasted in a bit of spices, that compliment the flavors of the beef is all you need.  That doesn’t mean playing with spices, wines and other ingredients is bad.  What it means is, don’t be intimidated, thinking you need to have 25 ingredients to make a tasty meal.  Don’t use 5 spices, until you’re sure 2 won’t get you what you’re looking for.  Discover the natural taste of your main ingredients like fish, meats, vegetables, etc.  Once you have a good idea of that, then choosing flavors to compliment them will be much easier.

Then you’ll be more apt to experiment, like putting sweet with spicy, fruit with meats and understand which vegetables and fruits blend well together to give you a taste treat and which will not.

I haven’t given much thought to what this week will hold for recipes, but I did get promises from several friends and relatives at the wedding to submit some of their favorites to me, which I will post as they come in.  Until then….