Monday, April 30, 2012

Hint: Freezing Abundant Tomatoes

Recorded April 30, 2012. Circumstances can sometimes provide ripe tomatoes in excess of one's immediate needs. This method preserves most of the nutritional and culinary value with a minimum of effort.
ripe tomatoes (cherry, grape, or globe)
pint-sized (500 ml) plastic freezer bags with zipper closures
Rinse and dry tomatoes. Cut away any blemished areas. On a sanitized plastic cutting board, dice a few tomatoes, and then chop coarsely with a chef's knife. Transfer the chopped tomatoes, including juice and seeds, to a large measuring cup. Continue until all of the tomatoes have been diced and chopped. Fill each bag with 8 oz (250 ml) chopped tomato. Exclude as much air as possible as bag is closed. Lie each bag down flat in metal baking dish, pre-chilled in the freezer. When the dish is full of bags, return to the freezer, until frozen solidly. Use whenever a sauce, stew, soup, or dip would benefit from addition of fresh-frozen tomato product.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Quick Corn Bread

Quick Corn Bread
First prepared and recorded June 26, 2008. Jiffy Mix™ is made in a small town not far from Ann Arbor, Michigan, where DrDaddy once studied. He saw the factory on his last visit to Michigan.
1 package Jiffy™ corn meal muffin mix
1 large egg
1/3 c milk
1/2 t baking powder 1 T olive oil
cooking spray
Beat milk and egg together in a bowl. Stir in mix, oil, and the baking powder with a spatula until batter is smooth. Set aside to rest while oven preheats. Place an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) heavy metal pan in the cold toaster oven and preheat both to 400 degrees F (204 C) . Grease hot pan well with cooking spray. Pour and level batter. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly. Let cool 10 minutes, and cut into 9 servings. Pair with a soup or salad for a light meal. Or just slather the warm corn bread with butter and knock 'em down.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Apple Sauce

Adapted from an Alton Brown microwave recipe. Similar apple varieties, one tart, two sweet, can be substituted. First prepared April 22, 2012.
1 Golden Delicious apple
2 Fuji or similar apples
1/2 c apple cider
1 T brandy
1 T butter
1 T brown sugar
1/4 t ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch salt and pepper
Peel, quarter, core, and coarsely chop the apples into half-inch pieces. Combine with the other ingredients in a two-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook covered at a slow boil for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft. Off heat, mash to a coarse texture. Let cool covered and undisturbed to permit natural pectin to thicken the sauce. Serve warm or cold, with pork roast, pork chops, pancakes, potato pancakes, oatmeal or other hot cereal, or on its own as a light snack, dusted with a little cinnamon-sugar topping.
Variation #1: Stir 1/4 cup of ground roasted walnuts into the sauce half way through cooking for extra flavor and nourishment. 
Variation #2: replace a Fuji with the flesh from a ripe Japanese persimmon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Roasted Carrots

Conceived, prepared and recorded April 14, 2012 as a side to grilled dry-rub spare ribs.
1 lb mini carrots
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
2 T brown sugar
2 T apple cider or orange juice
1/4 t granulated garlic
salt and pepper
Preheat toaster oven to 450 F (230 C). Mix ingredients in heavy 8 x 8 inch metal pan. Cover with aluminum foil. Roast covered 20 minutes. Stir. Return to oven uncovered for another 15 minutes until nicely colored and glazed by the syrup.

Quick and Easy Home Fries

Home Fries Crisping in a Skillet
First prepared and recorded April 16, 2012.
1 medium russet potato, scrubbed and dried
1 T oil
1 T butter
salt and pepper
Prick the skin and microwave for 3 minutes on high power (1250 watts). Let cool, quarter lengthwise, remove skin, and cut into half-inch (12 mm) pieces. In an 8-inch (20 cm) non-stick skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the butter. When sizzling stops, add the potatoes and season them well. Fry quickly, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes until nicely crisped on the bottom. Turn over, and continue frying another 2 to 3 minutes. Serves 1 or 2. Can easily be doubled, as in the photo.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Caramel-Glazed Apples

Caramel-Glazed Apples on French toast
First prepared October, 2009. Versatile side dish.
2 c (about 2 medium) peeled and sliced sweet but firm apples [e.g., Fuji, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Cortland]
1/2 c apple cider
1 T brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 t butter, cut into pieces
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1 t lemon juice
Combine first 4 ingredients in 10 inch skillet. Bring to a fast simmer, cover, and cook 5 minutes. Apples should be crispy-soft. Uncover, dot with butter and raise heat to a vigorous boil to reduce and caramelize the syrup, about 5 minutes. When it thickens and coats the apples, mix in the spices and lemon juice. Serve as a side dish with French toast or pork roast and chops (see markee at top of page), or as a dessert, alone or with ice cream.

Crusty Garlic Bread

Garlic Bread on a Homemade Server
Recorded April 11, 2012. A Family Favorite for decades. Great with robust pasta dishes, salads, or soups. For a similar product prepared in a skillet, see this recipe.
Italian or French bread, sliced 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick at 45 degrees
low-fat soft margarine or softened butter
granulated garlic
Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
If the bread is a bit stale, mist slices lightly with water (see Hint) and turn over. Spread margarine or butter on each slice. Dust on garlic, and mix into margarine with a spatula or knife. Sprinkle on the cheese, and press it into the seasoned margarine. Arrange on a metal pan, and broil in a toaster oven until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Serve in a basket, loosely covered to keep warm.

Hint: An adjustable plastic spray bottle filled with water often proves handy in the kitchen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Split Pea Soup

Exploits a meaty ham-bone gift from the Grinnells after Xmas or the Williams after Easter. Developed years ago. Recorded (and prepared) January 5, 2010.
hip joint from honey-baked ham
about 1 lb meat cut from bone, trimmed of fat, and coarsely chopped
water to cover
6 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
4 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 T garlic, mashed
2 large bay leaves
1 lb split green peas, cleaned and rinsed
1/3 c quick-cooking pearl barley
2 t sugar
juice of a lemon
1 t freshly ground pepper
1 T sea salt
Put bone, meat, and bay leaves in a 8 qt heavy pot, and cover with water. Bring to a slow boil, and cook covered for 30 minutes. Skim as necessary and remove bay leaves. Remove the bone, cool, remove and reserve any meat. Add mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook at a fast simmer for 10 minutes. Add the split peas, and continue to simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add the barley, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the bone meat back, and add the sugar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Rest covered about 15 minutes. Correct seasoning and serve. Crusty garlic bread on the side is a good match. Pair with a yeasty ale.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Roasted Squash and Eggplant Lasagna

Vegetarian Lasagna with Tomato Salad
Recipe and photo by Ben, April 6, 2012. Julian (4 y.o.) liked it. Elliot (18 mo.) loved it. About 30 minute prep if you hurry.
1 medium butternut squash
1 large eggplant
olive oil

6 T butter
3-1/2  T all-purpose flour
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic,, minced
2 c whole milk
Handful of chopped fresh herbs (Ben likes oregano/parsley/thyme)

1 lb lasagna noodles, cooked
1/2 lb fontina cheese grated (freeze for 30 minutes first)
1/2 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
grated Parmesan cheese
Peel and cut squash into 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) cubes. Toss in oil and season. Roast at 425 degrees F (218 C) until tender. Peel and cut eggplant into 3/4 inch ( 2 cm) slices. brush with oil and season. Roast alongside the squash (will take about half the time). Mash the vegetables together while still warm. Set aside to cool.
Bechamel Sauce
Melt butter in saucepan over med. heat. When it foams add garlic and shallot. Cook stirring for 1 min. Add flour and cook stirring for 5 mins. Do not let it brown. Add milk while whisking vigorously. Add herbs. Cover and set aside.
Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan. Spread a thin layer of bechamel on bottom of pan, then a layer of noodles, then filling and fontina. Then noodles. Then filling and fontina. Then noodles, then filling, then noodles, then the rest of the sauce. Then the mozzarella and then the Parmesan. 

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 C) for 35 minutes covered. Then remove cover and broil top until brown. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. Variations: If you like bleu cheese, it goes nicely instead of fontina. Caramelized onions would be great in the filling. Sliced tomatoes on top are nice, and bacon makes everything better!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Faux Krab Salad

Prepared April 3, 2012 for lunch. My firstborn says they are fun. Seafood sliders. They just hop on down.
12 oz imitation crab (surimi), coarsely chopped
1/3 c sweet red pepper, finely diced
1/4 c green onion, thinly sliced
1 rib celery, finely diced
1/3 c mayonnaise
1 T lemon juice
pinch Old Bay seasoning
1/2 t dried dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a large bowl by gentle turning. Adjust seasoning. Chill. Serve mounded up on toasted hamburger buns. Serves 6 generously.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower

Prepared April 1, 2012. No fooling.
4 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 c sweet red pepper, cut into strips
1/2 c red onion, cut into strips
3 T olive oil
1 t sesame oil
2 t soy sauce
1/2 t sugar
salt and pepper
Preheat toaster oven to 425 degrees F (220 C). Mix vegetables, oil, and seasonings in an 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) heavy metal pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast 20 minutes, cautiously remove foil, and turn the vegetables. Roast another 10 to 15 minutes uncovered until cauliflower is nicely browned and onions and peppers are soft. Mix in cheese. Serves 3 to 4.