Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What have I been cooking lately you ask?

Cincinnati Chili - yum. I was in college before I realized you could have a bowl of chili plain - without spaghetti!

1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 large onion chopped
3 ribs celery chopping
2 cloves garlic
1-2 T chili powder
½ t cumin
½ t cinnamon (yup, cinnamon)
1 square unsweetened Bakers Chocolate (you heard me - chocolate!)
Olive oil - just a little
Sauté the vegetables and add the spices and chocolate. Add in meat and brown completely.

Add - 1 large can tomato puree, 1 large can diced tomatoes, 1 or 2 little (drinkable) cans of tomato juice or V-8, 1 beer, 2 cans red kidney beans, undrained

Stir and cook for several hours - at least 2. Taste and adjust chili powder as needed - I always need to add more at this point. Add hot sauce at this point if desired and more liquid if it seems thick.

Cook a while longer - one hour at least.

Serve "five ways"
chili (the beans make it a "way")
spaghetti (long and thick spaghetti!)
grated cheddar
oyster crackers
shredded onion

Bread - quite a success. Made one recipe of whole wheat bread. Added home-roasted sunflower seeds, mashed flax and separated into two loaves. One loaf - savory - green olive and sun-dried tomato. The other loaf - sweet - dried cranberries & cinnamon. This was a total experiment and worked out really really well!

Meatballs. Pretty standard for me. Good to have in freezer.

Burritos. Made my own filling: chicken, corn, refried beans, enchilada sauce, rice, onion, garlic. This was kind of a clean out the cupboard & fridge dish. Made one meal and probably have enough filling left for 1 ½ more meals! Kids loved them as did Scott. I like them well enough. I was initially thinking Mexican lasagna but I might do that with the leftovers.

The kids love all this stuff. Chili, tacos or burritos, and meatballs are standard fare for us! I always have canned tomatoes, all sorts of beans, enchilada sauce and pasta sauce in the pantry.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday Dinner (last Sunday)

Sunday Dinner
(no pictures!)
Braciole – idea by Champaign Taste

Recipe by Alton Brown – Food Network
Twists by Susan
3 cups tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups flavored croutons 1/3 cup grated Parmesan 2 eggs 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme 1 clove garlic 1 pound flank steak, pounded to 1/4-inch thick Olive oil, for brushing Salt and pepper Vegetable oil, for searing
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the tomato sauce in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and place in the oven to heat.
In a the bowl of a food processor mix the croutons, cheese, eggs, herbs and garlic until it forms a paste.
Brush the pounded flank steak with the olive oil and season generously with the salt and pepper. Spread the filling evenly over the meat. Roll tightly and tie with butcher's twine.
In a large saute pan heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and sear all sides of the rolled meat. Remove from the pan.
Add to the hot tomato sauce, cover with a tin foil tent so that the foil is not touching the meat. Braise for 35 minutes or, up to 3 hours.

Twists – I used Prego sauce – no inclination to make my own! I didn’t heat the sauce first. I also used Asiago cheese. Used about 1/3 cup chopped parsley and no other herbs. I used about 3 large cloves garlic. I sprinkled with flour and salt and seared in olive oil and deglazed the pan with about ½ cup dry white wine. I did this all in a big oven proof dutch oven and roasted it in that too, covered with the lid for the pan. I roasted for about 1 ½ hours at 325 and 1 hour at 300 – turning about every ½ hour. I added some more wine and sauce about ½ way through the roasting as it seemed to be getting low and thickening up quite a bit. I served with fettuccine and more grated asiago.

This was delicious, tasty, wonderful! Scott liked it. Seth and I LOVED it and Maya merely tolerated it (as it bore no resemblance to macaroni and cheese).

Thoughts: The flank steak shrank quite a bit. If I was serving more than four, I would make two rolls. I would also use the garlic press or roast the garlic first (I just minced it this time). It was QUITE garlicky! I would also crush the croutons by hand and not use the blender at all. Just mush everything up in a bowl and go from there. Definitely use butcher’s twine. I made the roll early in the day and pan seared it about 2:30 pm. I think chilling the whole thing for a couple hours really helped it maintain its shape. This is a long fairly involved recipe. I love making this type of thing on a Sunday afternoon!

Kids’ reactions: Seth loved it! It tasted like “mushed up meatballs”. Maya tolerated it.

I will definitely be making this one again!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

For Linda


I l*o*v*e when you hear stuff on the radio and it just makes you think of one person and one person only. This made me think of my Mommy friend - Linda. (and I don't even DRINK coffee!)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Indian Feast

I don't have time to transcribe the recipes and you probably wouldn't make them anyway! Had a huge Indian feast last night. Naan, samosas, curry chickpeas and tandoori-ish chicken & of course basmati rice. Delicious! Here are some progress pics - once we got close to dinner, everyone was too hungry for me to snap many of the finished products!
Chicken in first marinating stage.

Potatoes for samosas.
Partially completed chick pea curry.

Onions and red hot peppers for samosas.
Onions and Jalapenos for chick peas.
Naan grilling.

Change in Direction & Some Gumbo

I've been very very into cooking lately, so I've decided to blog about that for a while.... I don't generally use recipes or measure unless baking. Who knows where the wind will take me next with this blog.

Here's the Gumbo I made last weekend.

Susan’s Gumbo
2 T olive oil
2 t flour
On medium low heat, cook the olive oil and flour together to make a roux. This will take 15+ minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning and stir every couple minutes. It will turn a lovely peanuty color. Take off heat when done.
1 large onion diced
same amount of carrots diced
same amount of celery diced (I didn’t have any and so left it out this time.)
about 2/3’s the amount of green or red pepper diced
2-3 cloves garlic crushed
1 T olive oil
½ t thyme
hot sauce – to taste
Saute veggies and garlic and seasonings in olive oil until sweated down and slightly brown.
2-3 cups chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
6-9" smoked turkey sausage
Add roux.
Add liquid and meats. Cook for about ½ hour until chicken is done. Remove chicken, cube and return to soup. Cook soup for 2-3 hours. Add water as needed. If it seems too thin, towards the end combine 1-2 T cornstarch with some of the broth in a small bowl and add to the end of the cooking time.
20-30 pieces of okra cut in ½" slices
Add okra IMMEDIATELY after cutting (or it will get gummy). Cook soup for an additional ½ hour or so until okra is tender.
This freezes very well. Serve with hot rice (leftover is okay). This time I made corn muffins from a Jiffy mix with some cheese added and crumbled them into the soup.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hey - where ya been?

I've been missing you! More later... Things are good - new gig is good. Snowdays however, bad.... very very bad!