Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Luscious Sides, My Favorites: Cayenne Sweet Potato Fries, Lemon Green Beans, Cumin Carrots, and Spinach Orzo
Dave and I took a pot of Italian Sausage chili and a salad over to our friend Jim's new house the other day.
When Jim bought his new house, I promised him I'd bring supper over one night to christen the dining room. Something terribly simple and portable, complete with a great bottle of wine (or two) that we would "break" open to celebrate this incredible homecoming. I finally made good on the promise and: it was a night to remember --complete with dessert later on at Minneapolis' incredible CORNER TABLE restaurant. (Go soon...)
Friday, May 3, 2013
originally posted May 2012 on More Time at the Table
|"Derby" Pie or Pecan-Chocolate-Bourbon Pie. Can you say decadent?|
(Aside: After I saw how many people read my basic Pie 101 post, I thought I'd begin a series (quite intermittent) on pies. I hope you like them. Anywho, read on.)
Monday, April 29, 2013
One of the happiest cooking moments is to create something out of leftovers that you like better than the original meal. (A theme lately for me.) Maybe you make chicken so you can have chicken sandwiches. Or meatloaf for meatloaf sandwiches. (I clearly remember my first meatloaf sandwich at Danny Izzo's house while I was in college; my mom didn't make meatloaf sandwiches.) Grilled salmon for scrambled eggs, omelet, or frittata. Roast pork for tacos. Roast beef and/or baked sweet potatoes for hash. Easter eggs for deviled eggs or egg salad. Steak for salads like the one above/below and lots of other meals.
We usually don't eat steak at all through the winter, but wait (as we do for hamburgers) for grilling time. And then I cook two steaks anyway. Because we like steak and eggs, steak sandwiches, frittatas with leftover potato, steak, and vegetables, or steak hash. Or a new favorite of mine, Steak Cobb.
Now I don't know if anyone else makes Steak Cobb. I had the ingredients and it sounded good to me. It makes leftover restaurant steak into a lovely, beautiful salad or gives you a reason to make an extra steak on the grill any time at all. Here's how if you need directions other than from the photos:
steak cobb for one
- two cups fresh greens (I like spinach for this)
- 2 ounces leftover cold steak, sliced thinly
- 2 scallions (green onions-green and white parts) sliced very thinly
- 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
- 1-2 strips bacon, cooked crisply and chopped
- 1 boiled egg, sliced
- 1/2 - 1 cup sauteed vegetables (or fresh) of your choice
- 1/2 tomato, sliced
- 1-2 tablespoons blue cheese dressing
- kosher salt/fresh ground pepper
- fresh lemon juice
- Arrange greens in a large shallow bowl and top with steak and scallions.
- Place bacon at one corner, sliced egg at another, vegetables at the third and tomato at the fourth.
- Spoon dressing into the leftover space. Don't toss this salad. Dip its elements into the dressing and only use what you need; the blue cheese will overwhelm everything else otherwise.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and squeeze lemon juice over all.
I keep Nueske's bacon in 2- and 4-piece packages in the freezer so I can unthaw and cook it quickly in the microwave when needed.
I "boil" eggs in the microwave for quick salads like this: Spray a deep cereal bowl with PAM or grease lightly. Crack egg in and, using a sharp knife, pierce yolk once and white several times. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on full power for one minute. (Tightly being the important word here.) Carefully remove bowl from oven, let sit a minute, tip out onto cutting board and slice.
I keep blue cheese in the frig and make dressing in the food processor while the bacon cooks:
2 ounces blue cheese, 1-2 cloves garlic (chopped), 1/4 cup mayonnaise, pinch salt and pepper, 2 shakes hot sauce, 2 tablespoons milk blended well and tasted for seasoning. (approximate amounts)
Of course you can make this without a food processor: Mash up the blue cheese with a table fork. Crush the garlic with the flat side of a chef's knife and chop it well. Beat well with remainder of ingredients and adjust seasonings.
I am only without lemons if I'm leaving tomorrow on a plane and usually not then.
When I cook vegetables, I cook enough for a couple of days or more--such as sauteed onions, peppers, zucchini, asparagus, green beans, garlic, mushrooms, etc.
I have pasta bowls perfect for composed salads and believe this makes a difference. This will work on a plate, but not as well. The ingredients are lost in a jumble, though they'll taste good, if you toss this up in a chili bowl.
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If you're interested in helping solve a current and immediate hunger need, please read this blogpost on LEAVE IT WHERE JESUS FLANG IT. Margaret Watson is an Episcopal priest on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota where many--elderly, handicapped, grandparents raising kids-- are hungry due to sequester cuts; her own cupboards and freezer are bare. Please write your congressional reps to end the sequester where it is creating more and more hunger or pain and/or drop a note in the comments on Margaret's blog to see how you might personally help. Here are her own words:
But more importantly, the clients themselves have been cut off --they have received no monies since the beginning of March. They are coming to my door asking for heating fuel, food, clothes, diapers. Children are at risk. There are no Tribal programs that can assist these folks, they are mostly disabled, elderly with grandchildren in the home, or are desperate for work. Last night, after a funeral, I delivered left over food to people's homes. Funeral food to a family of six of baloney sandwiches, biscuits, two apples, two oranges and some chocolate cake.
I cannot afford to feed all the people who come to my door asking for help. I have emptied my own freezer, my own cupboard in order to help these desperate folks.
... In the last six months, I have done 40 funerals --six infants, two teen suicides, and many, many folks under the age 40.---from Margaret's post Shocked and Depressed.
And food, shelter and heat are not the only problems here --the Indian Health Services were also part of the Sequester cuts. And the cuts are affecting the Head Start programs.
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Monday, April 22, 2013
Swordfish with Ginger-Asparagus Rice and Mango Salsa (Another Help! I've Got Leftover Take-out Rice and Don't Know What To Do With It)
I'm likely to decide on what's for Sunday supper as I sit at Sunday lunch. Often there are leftovers, soup in the freezer, or a nice piece of cheese that only needs a nice glass of wine to balance out all of my food groups. Whatever happens, I rarely cook. Sunday's a work day for me and Sunday evening is one I like to spend with my best guy, the dogs, and a tv tray.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Tonight I was hungry, but had had a fattening lunch. A little egg supper was in order, along with a bit of salad. I threw in a potato cake because I had some cold mashed potatoes in the frig. (Potato cakes are just leftover mashed potatoes patted out like a pancake and fried in butter until very crisp.) Hey, they needed to be used. If you've never made anything on top of a potato cake, now's the time. Try this:
Friday, April 5, 2013
The weekend is the perfect time for the solo cook -- or anyone-- to roast a chicken. Why not? If you'd like a friend to come over for dinner the day you make this, all the better. If not, no problem. Plenty for you all weekend long, bones and bits for stock, and luscious sandwiches or salads or soup for lunch for a couple of days. Put on the music, pour a little wine, set yourself a pretty place just for the two (or one) of you or put on a good movie while the whole meal cooks at once without you stirring a thing.
Skip the rotisserie chicken at the store, despite the price--at least for this time. Save it for when you're really desperate. They're often old, tiny, stringy, overdone, mushy, or include some ingredients you don't really want to eat. If you have a couple of hours, you have your own chicken. I mean, sticking a whole chicken in the oven can't be too hard, right? (I'll talk you through the process to a golden, tender, beautiful chicken.) While I've blogged my own roast chicken recipes before (scroll down to bottom), this one happens to be Perfect Roast Chicken by Ina Garten.
Friday, March 29, 2013
It is a tradition amongst many Christian bakers to produce a batch of Hot Cross Buns (Click to sing the nursery rhyme!) for Good Friday. And, if not, we stop at the local bakery and see if THEY made any. These barely sweet firm rolls, served on a day when no meat is eaten, are hearty tea treats of the first order--complete with a light buttery hum that is almost topped by the spice notes. The pretty "X" snipped into the top (and often emphasized with a bit of icing painted into the grooves) lets the world--and you, too-- know what kind of bread this is. An "X" on bread can also be assumed to keep evil away.