Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mashed Root Vegetables


Mashed Root Vegetables
(4-6 servings)

 
Ingredients:

1 large Russet Potato, peeled & cut into ½ inch dice (2 cups)
3 medium Parsnips, peeled & cut into ½ inch dice (3 cups)
3 medium Turnips, peeled & cut into ½ inch dice (2 cups)
¼ cup Sour Cream, room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
to taste, Salt and Black Pepper
¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg

Directions:

Place diced vegetables in a large pot and cover with salted water by 1 to 2 inches.  Cover over high heat until they come to a boil.  Uncover and boil 30 to 40 minutes or until very tender.  Drain well.  Using a ricer (see note), rice the drained vegetables into a large mixing bowl.  Add sour cream and butter (cut into pieces) until incorporated.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Add nutmeg at this time too.  Serve or keep warm until needed.

Note:               In you don’t have a ricer, you can use a hand or stand mixer.  Use whip attachment if you have one or the regular beaters.  Whip vegetables until mashed and slowly add the remaining ingredients.  Once all is combined, whip on high speed for a minute to lighten mixture.

Note:               It is best to grate the nutmeg yourself instead of using already ground.  But both will work.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Twice Baked Potato Casserole


Twice Baked Potato Casserole
(8-12 servings)

 
Ingredients:

5 lb. Potatoes (your choice on type), peeled & quartered
6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
2½ cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Milk
1 cup Sour Cream
2 large Fresh Eggs
½ cup Green Onions, thinly sliced
½ cup Crumbed Cooked Bacon
2½ tsp. Kosher Salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper

Directions:

Place potatoes in a large pot covered with salted water by 1 to 2 inches.  Bring to a boil over high heat and continue to boil for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.  Drain well and return to pot.  Add the butter and mash with a potato masher (see note) until smooth.  Stir in 2 cups of the cheese, milk, sour cream, and eggs until well blended.  Now add the onions and crumbled bacon (reserve some for garnish).  Season with the salt and pepper and spoon into a 3 qt. baking dish that has been buttered or sprayed.  Sprinkle remaining cheese and bacon on top and place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Top with remaining onion and serve.

Note:               You could use an electric hand mixer but I love ricers.  So if you have one, rice the drained potatoes and then add the butter.  Now continue as directed above using a potato masher or the electric hand mixer.

Note:               You could skip the bacon and then this dish works for vegetarians too.  Or you could substitute finely diced ham for the bacon to give the dish a little different flavor.  Change the cheese if you like.  You could make this dish your own family signature for special occasions.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Side Dishes


As you can see from last week's blog, I'm in "Holiday" mode for a few weeks.  This week I have "Side Dishes" to go with that special entrée you're serving this year.

Holiday meals can come with quite a few side dishes.  After all, we treat the big meal on our major holidays as a feast.  Some folk may have as many as half a dozen different side dishes for the dinner.  I'm going to offer two and both deal with potatoes.  If you are looking for some other type of side dish or even a different potato dish, I have more than enough on the recipe tabs at the top of this page.
Be sure to check them out too.

For Wednesday, I have a "Twice Baked Potato Casserole" for you to try.  It gives you the taste and look of the individual ones that take so much work.  This is quite easy in comparison.  You could also take a little of the mixture and put it in a piping bag.  Then pipe a fancy top on the casserole to give it more of a festive look.

I need to bring up that since I now live in Minnesota, I should be calling this a "Hot Dish" and not a "Casserole" as titled.  Having just read an article on Minnesota and their unique use of "Hot Dish" as a term for anything in a 9x 13 baking dish that goes in the oven.  Although technically, a "Hot Dish" is to contain a protein, starch and a "Cream of" any kind of soup from what I read.  So if you live in Minnesota and make this recipe or share it with someone, please change "Casserole" to "Hot Dish" in the title.  Thanks.

"Mashed Root Vegetables" is the recipe for Thursday.  It starts with "Potatoes" but we add "Parsnips" and "Turnips" to them.  These last two ingredients are big fall vegetables that don't get all the playing time others one do.  But they have great flavor and are versatile too.  Besides working well in this recipe, they are great roasted by themselves or with other vegetables.  If you haven't tried them before, you don't know what you're missing.  Give them a try and they are budget friendly too.

Again, I'm just trying to give you some new ideas to try for this year's holidays or any other special meal you have going.  So give them a try and "Happy Cooking" until next week.

Don't forget to spread the word on my food blog too.  Thanks.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mustard Crusted Lamb


Mustard Crusted Lamb
(6 servings)

 
Ingredients:

6 individual Racks of Lamb (see note)
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped
4 oz. Fresh White Breadcrumbs
1 oz. All-Purpose Flour
½ tsp. Tomato Puree
3 ½ oz. Red Wine
12 oz. Beef Broth
1 tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped

Directions:

Spread the mustard on each of the racks of lamb.  Mix the parsley and breadcrumbs together (can use food processor for this) and place in a flat pan.  Press the breadcrumb mixture all over the mustard coated lamb.  Now place the lamb racks on a rimmed baking sheet and put in a pre-heated 400 degree for 18 to 20 minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and place on a serving platter tented with foil to rest.  Take the baking sheet and place on direct heat on top of stove after removing as much grease as possible.  Scatter the flour over the sheet and mix quickly until flour gets a dark brown color.  Turn down the heat to medium and add the tomato puree.  Mix thoroughly before adding the wine and broth.  Whisk continuously as mixture thickens.  Bring to a boil and then pour through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan.  Boil mixture for 4 to 5 minutes and allow to reduce.  Add the fresh rosemary and continue another minute or two.  Serve the lamb racks with the sauce on the side.

Note:               You want the individual racks to be 2-3 bones each.  Also, ask your butcher to French trim them for you.  This peels all the fat off the bones and leaves the bones exposed and the meat easier to obtain.

Note:               The 18 to 20 minute time may not bring the lamb to a degree of doneness that you like.  It will be close to medium-rare.  Leave it in the oven for a few minutes longer if you prefer it a little more done.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Holiday Brisket & Onions


Holiday Brisket & Onions
(12 servings)

 
Ingredients:

2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper
2 tsp. Chopped Thyme
1 tsp. Chopped Oregano
1 tbsp. Sweet Hungarian Paprika
6 lb. Flat-cut Beef Brisket
½ cup Dried Porcini Mushrooms (1/2 oz.)
1 cup Hot Water
3 tbsp. Pure Olive Oil
2 cups Dry Vermouth (or white wine)
1 cup Chicken Broth
2 cups Canned Italian Tomatoes, chopped
3 Bay Leaves
4 medium Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. Fresh Garlic, chopped

Directions:

In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and paprika.  Rub this all over the brisket (can be done the night before).  Next, in a medium heatproof bowl, cover mushrooms with the hot water and set aside to soften for 20 minutes.  Remove mushrooms from liquid, rinse and coarsely chop.  Reserve the soaking liquid too.  Using a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, heat oil to shimmering over moderately high heat.  Add the brisket, fat side down, and cook until well browned on each side (8 minutes per side).  Transfer to a platter and pour off excess grease from casserole.  Add the vermouth, broth and reserved soaking liquid (stop before you reach grit at bottom of soaking liquid) to casserole.  Scrape up the browned bits on bottom and then add tomatoes, mushrooms and bay leaves.  Return brisket to casserole, fat side up.  Scatter the onions and garlic over meat and into liquid and bring to a boil.  Cover and place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for one hour.  Uncover and continue in oven another 30 minutes.  Now spoon onions on top of brisket and return to oven for another 30 minutes to brown onions.  Push some of the onions back into liquid, cover and continue for 2 hours more or until meat is fork tender.  Transfer brisket to a carving board and tent with foil.  Simmer sauce on stove top while the brisket rests.  Discard bay leaves, taste liquid and season as needed with salt and pepper.  Carve brisket across the grain into 3/8 inch thick slice and arrange on a large, warm platter.  Spoon onions and sauce over meat and serve.

Note:               Brisket could be cooked a day or two ahead.  Let meat cool some in liquid before separating brisket and from remaining ingredients and refrigerate each.  On day of serving, slice brisket and shingle in a roasting pan.  Remove any fat from surface of liquid and then pour over the sliced brisket.  Cover and warm in a 250 degree oven for 1 to 2 hours before serving.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Holiday Entrees

How about something different this year as our holiday entrée?  Most people enjoy turkey, ham or prime rib as their holiday entrée for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I've nothing against them.  In fact, I love each one and have trouble picking just one.  I've usually gone with turkey for Thanksgiving, Prime Rib for Christmas and Ham for Easter.

But why not try something else this year?  If you look at Jewish holidays, the top two contenders are "Beef Brisket" and "Lamb" done someway that meets with a family tradition.

So this week I have two great recipes.  There is one for each of the two meats I mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Wednesday's recipe is for "Holiday Brisket & Onions" which represents a hearty entrée.  You need to remember, no matter what brisket recipe you use, that brisket is a tough piece a meat and needs longer cooking times.  But the results are an incredibly tender dish well worth the time.

Just a bit more on brisket.  You want to pay attention to what you are buying when you pick out a piece of brisket.  Don't be afraid to ask your butcher for help.  Always go for quality and pay the price.  In the end you will be much happier.

"Mustard Crusted Lamb" is Thursday's recipe.  This recipe is using individual racks of lamb.  But lamb comes in many different cuts.  I would say that leg of lamb, lamb chops and the rack of lamb are the 3 main ones used for special meals.  There are many recipes for each of those cuts available to you via internet or cookbooks.  So do a little looking.  Again, you want to buy quality lamb.

Many years ago, we got a deal on some lamb.  It turned out not to be such a deal.  It was terrible and turned me off of lamb for quite a few years.  If in doubt, talk to your butcher.  They will be only too happy to assist you in your purchase.

I'm guessing that a good number of you are saying but we always have turkey or whatever.  That's fine.  So maybe you try one of these recipes for a special event but not your major holiday ones.  If you have never eaten brisket or lamb, you have no idea what you're missing out on.

So be a little adventurous and do let me know how it turned out.  "Happy Cooking" until next week and please share my blog with family and friends.  Thanks.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

BCT Breakfast Bake with Eggs


BCT Breakfast Bake with Eggs
(8 servings)

 
Ingredients:

1 lb. White Bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb. Applewood Smoked Bacon Slices, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 large Yellow Onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 (28 oz.) can Whole Italian Tomatoes, drained, chopped & patted dry
½ tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
½ lb. (2 cups) Extra-Sharp Cheddar, shredded
½ lb. (2 cups0 Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
2 tbsp. Fresh Chives, snipped
1¾ cups Chicken Broth (low-sodium)
½ tsp. Salt
8 large Fresh Eggs

Directions:

Toss bread in the oil and spread on a rimmed baking sheet.  Place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly crisp and golden.  Set aside.  In a large skillet over moderately high heat, cook bacon (about 8 minutes), drain on paper towels and reserve 2 tbsp. of bacon fat in pan.  Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened 9about 5 minutes) and then add tomatoes and red pepper.  Cook until liquid has evaporated (about 3 minutes).  Now return bread cubes to the large mixing bowl used to coat them.  Add the contents of the skillet, the bacon, the shredded cheeses, chives and broth.  Mix until bread is evenly moistened.  Season with salt and spread mixture into a 9x13 baking dish that has been sprayed or lightly oiled.  Place a lightly oiled or sprayed sheet of foil over the dish to cover.  Place in the pre-heated 350 degree for 30 minute.  Remove foil and continue baking another 15 minutes or until top is crispy.  Carefully remove dish from oven and set on a solid surface.  Using a ladle, make 8 indentations into the bread mixture.  Crack an egg into each indentation.  Return the dish to the oven and bake for about 15 more minutes or until whites are set and yolks are still runny.  Serve immediately maybe with a little hot sauce.

Note:               You could try different breads to change up the flavor a little.  You could also use diced tomatoes.  Just be sure to drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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