Thursday, June 21, 2007

Salt Roasted Potatoes

The premise is there is a moisture exchange between the salt and the spud, the moisture escaping the potato being absorbed by the salt and then reabsorbed by the potato making the interior, not only well seasoned, but very light and fluffy.

You start by laying 4 potatoes in about 2 and a half cups of salt (one 26 ounch package) in a 13 x 9 pan. To the salt was added a clove of garlic and some sprigs of rosemary instead of the thyme and shallots. Leave some of the paper surrounding the garlic on there, so it doesn't fall apart, and is a little softer at the end of cooking. Cover  the pan TIGHTLY with foil and bake in the middle rack of a 450 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

.Remove foil from potatoes and remove the garlic to a small dish while you raise the heat on the oven to 475 degrees/ Brush the tops of the potatoes with a Tablespoon or so of EVOO and return to oven for 15-22 minutes.

The best baked potato ever!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Marionberry Pie

Pastry: (makes enough for two pies)

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups shortening
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
1/2 cup very cold water

Add flour, shortening, sugar, and salt to a large bowl.

Get out your pastry cutter.  .I was watching this documentary about how the invention of the pastry cutter was what allowed Cro-Magnon man to surpass and eventually entirely supplant the Neanderthal in the chain of human evolution. Or it might have been greater linguistic competence and cultural sophistication and the Colt 45, I don’t know, I wasn’t watching that closely. I was making pie.

Mix flour and shortening with the pastry cutter until it looks nice and crumbly, crumbs should be much smaller than the size of peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, egg, and water.

Add to the flour mixture, stirring in till well-moistened.

Shape it with clean hands into a ball of pastry dough. (Don’t overhandle.)

Divide the dough into four equal-size balls.

Wrap each ball with plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before using.These will keep a week in the fridge or a couple months in the freezer in freezer bags.

To use, sprinkle some flour on waxed paper. Sprinkle some more flour on top then roll out, adding more flour if necessary to keep from sticking to your rolling pin. Place in a lightly greased pie pan. You can just up-end the rolled crust right off the waxed paper on top of the pie pan. Add filling.

1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp of lemon juice or 1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 and 3/4 pounds fresh or frozen marionberries* (or other blackberries).

 Note: For frozen, measure, thaw until softened, and use all the juice. (about 6 1/2 cups))

Stir together cornstarch and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Add berries with juices  and lemon and toss to coat. Arrange evenly in pie shell.

Top with another crust, crimp edges and bake at 375 F for 50-60 minutes until it's golden brown.  (if the edges brown too quickly cover with a bit of foil the last 10 minutes or so)

 * Click on the link to read the history of the Marionberry

Hibachi Steak and Salmon

For 2, you will need one rib eye
1 salmon steak
rice (if making fried rice you'll need an egg and extra soy sauce)

Prepare Home on the Range Happy Sauce:

1 Tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion
1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon Sirracha sauce
1/4 cup bourbon (or to taste)
2 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons plus 1/2 tsp. honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

sesame seeds for topping
a lemon slice, seeds removed
additional sesame oil for stir frying

Mix sauce ingredients and set aside.

Prepare Side Dishes:  Prepare steamed or fried rice.  Keep warm. Stir fry some veggies (carrots, squash, onion, broccoli, etc) in a little oil under tender crisp and keep warm.

Prepare Salmon Marinate the salmon in about 1/4 of the sauce while you let the steak come up to room temperature. and you prepare the rice and vegetables (about 30 minutes).

In a pan over med-high heat to which you've already added a tablespoon of sesame oil, add the salmon fillet and sear (after discarding marinade).   After four minutes turn, sprinkle with black pepper and a squeeze of lemon and cook for an additional four minutes topping with a splash of the sauce as the other side cooks. Remove from the pan  just before it's fully cooked, and let sit, basted with some of the extra sauce and loosely covered with foil while you cook the steak (it will finish cooking under the foil as it rests).

Prepare Steak - Trim the steak, removing excess fat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat a wide, shallow skillet to medium high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add a Tablespoon of oil, wait til  it begins to shimmer slightly, then add the  whole steak, cooking until a nice crust is built, about 2 minutes a side. Set the steak aside and let rest 5 minutes (so the juices don't bleed out so much when you cut it).  Cut the steak into bite sized portions.

Return pan to medium heat and add a Tablespoon of unsalted butter.  When butter is frothy, add the steak bits, cooking for about 15-20 seconds and then add remaining sauce to pan.  Stir quickly as it thickens and finishes cooking, about another minute (the meat should still be slightly pink inside).

Sprinkle with sesame seeds (toasted if you're having one of those Martha Stewart Zen moments) and serve immediately.


Crock Pot Garlic Herb Chicken

A Range adaption of a popular Internet recipe, it was not only a hit, but it made six servings at a little more than $2.00 a serving (with careful shopping) and was great served with Cheesy Garlic Bread.

Whether it's just a small household  with leftovers or a family dinner, that's still pretty economical.  Use family pack fryer pieces instead of breasts, and root cellar garden veggies  it would even be cheaper.
Crock pot Garlic Herb Chicken. 

In crock pot pour 1 and 3/4 cups good Vinaigrette (I used a Mediterranean one from Cindy's Kitchen)

Place 3-4 large chicken breasts in the dressing, spooning a little bit over the top to moisten.  Top chicken breasts with

1 and 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1  and 1/2 teaspoons basil
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

On top of that place 6-8 Yukon gold potatoes cut into thirds and 5-6 carrots cut into 1 and 1/2 inch chunks.  Sprinkle two teaspoons of  minced garlic over that, a few dashes of Janes Krazy Salt (or salt and pepper) and cover and cook on high 3 to 4 hours on high or 7-8 on low.

Remove carrots with slotted spoon and toss with 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or brown sugar.  Remove potatoes and chicken and serve, sprinkled with Parmesan and served with rolls or cheese bread. 

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Creamsickle Cake

Creamsickle Cake.

Put 3 eggs out to bring them up to room temperature.

Stick a medium sized bowl in the fridge to get it cold (I'll explain later).

1 lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme).

Make as directed, using the room temperature eggs as per the box, but add 1 teaspoon of McCormick or Watkins Orange extract and 1 packed Tablespoon of finely grated orange zest (the very outer orange layer of a orange, which you will wash thoroughly first).

Bake in greased 13 x 9 pan as directed. While it bakes, clean the beaters and put in the bowl in the fridge.

When out of the oven, poke holes through about half the depth of the cake very 2 or so inches apart with the back end of a wooden spoon.

In a small bowl mix, 1 cup boiling water with 1 small box orange Jello (NOT sugar free) and carefully pour over the cake, making sure it gets into the holes and doesn't just run down the sides.

Let cake cool 30-40 minutes.

When the cake is about cool, mix 1 small box French Vanilla instant  Jello pudding with 1 cup of milk (I used 2%) with a whisk. Add 1 teaspoon of orange extract. Let sit to thicken while you make the whipped cream.

Yes, you can use a tub of Cool Whip instead and add the vanilla to it. (Just ignore that little twitch of mine).

Whipped cream - 12 ounces (a cup and a half) of heavy whipping cream (I avoid ultra pasteurized if I have a choice) Beat for about 5 minutes with the chilled, very clean and very cold beaters and bowl until it starts to thicken. Add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and whip a bit more, until it's the right consistency. It should take about 5-6 minutes  toal with a chilled bowl and beaters. Don't over beat or you will have butter.

Carefully fold pudding mix into whipped cream and frost cooled cake. Store in refrigerator. 

Creamsickle is a trademark of the Popsickle company.  If you've never eaten one, you have missed out! I grew up on their products and love them to this day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Crispy Oven Pork with Balsamic Glaze with Roasted Onions and Cheddar Biscuits

Chop a large sweet onion into 6-8 pieces while the oven preheats to 425 F.

Make seasoned flour (yes, you can use a premade kind,  but this is better and cheaper with bulk spice purchases).

1 cup flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 tsp. sweet  paprika
1 tsp. Penzey's Chili 9000 (or plain chili powder)
1 tsp. ground oregano
1 tsp. tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Make Biscuits:

In a blender or food processor pulse several times:
2 and 1/2 cups Bisquick type baking mix
1 cup grated cheddar

Pulse in 1/2 stick cold butter (or you can cut in with a pastry blender, no food processor required) until the butter is the size of small peads.

Stir in 3/4 cup cold milk just until combined. 

Drop by 1/4 cups on non stick cookie sheet and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a 10 inch cast iron pan, and saute onions for about 4-5 minutes on medium, just until they are starting to soften and fall apart, then place them around the edges of a 13 x 9 pan. Put cast iron skillet back on stove and set pan with onions aside on the counter.

Whisk an egg in a bowl, dip 4 pork chops into it, shaking to remove excess, then roll pieces in seasoned flour., until lightly coated

Raise heat on pan to medium/high and sear the pork pieces in the remaining oil from the onions for 1 minute per side, then place in the 13 x 9 pan with the onion.

Do not wipe pan clean, and place back on stove, medium temp..

Set oven timer for 20 minutes.

After the pork has been in the oven a couple of minutes, put biscuits in oven (they'll cook about 1-18 minutes).

Deglaze pan on medium with about 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, reduce to low and stir for a couple of minutes, incorporating any drippings from the meat or veggies, then turn heat off.  A few minutes before pork is done, drizzle over the pork and onions, then return to oven.

Pork should be done at  145 degrees F. internal temperature, but let sit at least 3 minutes when out of the oven, as the temperature then will go up a few more degrees without the meat getting tough

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Bake

Preheat oven to 425 F.

1/2 pound Sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
1/2 pound hamburger
2 and 1/2 teaspoons steak seasoning ( I used McCormick Grill Mates Molasses and Bacon Steak Seasoning)

1 Tablespoon bacon fat
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 pepper, chopped (I used a mild orange pepper)
1/4 cup brown sugar

15-16 ounces tomato sauce (one of the medium cans)
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon Braggs apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2-3  pinches crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3/4 teaspoon yellow or Dijon mustard
half of a regular sized pack of cream cheese plus 2 Tablespoons (softened at room temperature)
1 and 1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 cup cheddar, divided (I was low on cheddar so sprinkled a little Parmesan on top)
1/3 cup green onions (divided)
Tater Tots

Cook meat with steak seasoning, and drain (do not rinse)

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, garlic powder and half of the chopped green onion.

In large fry pan, brown chopped onion  and 1/2 chopped pepper (red green, yellow, orange whatever you have left from perhaps a salad) in bacon fat  until caramelized, add sugar, remove from heat and stir until the sugar is melted and caramelized.

Add tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, mustard and meat and simmer 15-20  minutes or until thickened and the liquid reduced.

Place half the meat sauce  in a 8 x 10 inch casserole dish.

Spread cream cheese mixture over meat sauce, sprinkle with half of the cheddar cheese and  top with remaining meat sauce.

Top with a layer of tater tots and bake at 425 F. for 20-24 minutes until the potatoes are browned and crispy.  Sprinkle with remaining cheddar and green onion a it comes out of the oven. 

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Puffy Oven Pancake

4 small or 3 jumbo eggs at room temperature (leave out about half an hour)
1 and 1/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 generous teaspoon lemon zest
1/4  teaspoon ground cardamom
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In  a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt butter in skillet in oven or on stove top. Use a brush to get some of the melted butter up the sides or simply spray sides and top with a little non stick cooking spray.

Whisk eggs and milk until fluffy.  Add salt, vanilla, lemon zest and cardamom.  Whisk in flour until mostly smooth (may still have some small lumps), about 20-30 seconds.  Do not over mix.

Pour batter into warm pan and place in oven.

Bake 30-32  minutes.  When edges are puffed and brown and center does not look "wet" remove from oven remove from pan immediately so it doesn't get soggy.

Serve with powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice (try it!) or the usual pancake toppings.