Monday, October 28, 2013

Easy Cheesy Biscuits

Developed October, 2013. A couple of these cheesy biscuits, warm from the toaster oven, turns a bowl of rich soup into a satisfying meal, or by themselves, a welcome mid-day snack.
4 frozen buttermilk biscuits (Pillsbury™ is good)
2 T grated sharp cheddar cheese
vegetable oil spray
Preheat a toaster oven to 375º F (190 C). Spray the baking pan generously with vegetable oil. Arrange the frozen biscuits on the pan so that they don't touch. Bake 20 minutes, rotating the pan half way to even out the baking. Remove from oven and let cool a bit to handle comfortably. Split biscuits and spoon a half-tablespoon of cheese between the two halves. Arrange on plate, cover with a plastic lid, and microwave a few seconds to reheat the biscuits and melt the cheese. Serves two. Variation: Top the cheese with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

Hint: Simple Trick to Make Better Coffee

Developed October, 2013. This change in method applies to drip coffee makers that use a paper filter. Simply use two disposable filters nested together rather than one as is customary. This extra layer of filtration removes more fine particles. This addition noticeably improves the clarity and yields a cleaner tasting brew but does not appreciably increase the brewing time or expense. 
Also see, this other hint for better brewing.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mussels Meuniere

Mussels and Fettuccine
Developed October 26, 2013. Adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse.
2 T olive oil
1/4 c shallots, sliced
1 T garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 t dry thyme
1-1/2 c dry white wine
2 oz butter (half stick), cubed
2 lbs live mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/4 c chopped parsley
salt and pepper
crusty bread
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, saute the shallots and garlic. Add the bay leaves and thyme. When fragrant, add the wine and butter. Bring to a slow boil. Cook until 1/3 of liquid has evaporated. Then add the mussels to the pan and cover. Steam the mussels until the shells open, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Stir in the parsley, remove the thyme sprigs, and season to taste. Divide the mussels and sauce between two bowls and serve with crusty bread. Variation: Cook 1/2 lb of linguine or fettuccine al dente and stir into the pan. Continue cooking until the pasta has absorbed the pan sauce. Finish with parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and shaved Parmesan-Reggiano cheese. Serves 2 to 4.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Easy Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Prepared October 25, 2013
12 oz bag of fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 c premium orange juice (Simply Orange™ is good)
1 c granulated sugar
1/4 t salt
pinch black pepper
In a stainless steel three-quart sauce pan, bring the ingredients to a boil, mixing with a potato masher as it cooks. Lower the heat and continue mixing and mashing the fruit for about 5 minutes, never leaving the pan unattended due to foam formation. When the berries break open, they release pectins that will gel the sauce when chilled. Stop the cooking when there is plenty of large pieces of fruit left. Cover the pan tightly and cool off heat undisturbed. Transfer to a clean covered container. Keeps months on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Slow-Braised Crock Pot Beef Ribs

Developed August, 2013 by Laura. Beefy, savory, tender.
3 lbs lean center-cut beef ribs
1/4 c bacon fat (or other oil)
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1-1/2 c mellow red table wine
1/4 c soy sauce
1/8 to 1/4 c brown sugar, depending on desired sweetness
1 t salt
1 t ground black pepper
Remove membrane, scrape away excess fat, and cut ribs apart. Heat fat in a large, heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal) over medium heat. Sauté ribs on all sides until browned.  Remove ribs to crock pot, and add onion and garlic to skillet and sauté until translucent.  Transfer onion and garlic to crock pot on top of the ribs. In a bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and pour over ribs. Cook covered in crock pot on high for 3-1/2 hours.  Reduce heat to low for another hour or until tender.  Serve on bed of wide egg noodles.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Black Bean Dip and Spread

Prepared October 21, 2013.
1 15-oz can prepared seasoned black beans (Bush Seasoned Recipe™ is good)
1 T dry minced onion
1 t ground cumin
1/8 t granulated garlic
Heat the beans over medium heat in a small sauce pan. When bubbling, mash well with a potato masher. Mix in the seasonings. Off heat, puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve warm, as a spread on a burrito, or as a dip for nachos or veggie sticks.   
Variations: Mix in a few tablespoons of crema, sour cream, or salsa after preparation.