Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tastes of Summer

It has been a very harrowing week. We are in the process of moving (YUCK) and it has pretty much overwhelmed us. Then this week we lost a very dear friend when a careless and impaired teenager plowed into him while he was on his motorcycle. He was rear-ended and never saw it coming. He didn't stand a chance. We said our good byes to him in the ICU on Monday and yesterday he was taken off life support. He was such a good person and are hearts are heavy that he was taken from us so tragically. Needless to say, we haven't had much for an appetite lately but we try to keep moving forward and stay busy lest we dwell on our loss. I came up with this recipe as a way to use up some farm share vegetables as well as some veal cutlets that my mother gave me. It was pretty tasty. I made my own pesto using basil, garlic scapes, parmesan cheese, and walnuts but if all you have is store bought, by all means use it. Splurge for a good brand though. This meal is real easy to make and is done in just a few minutes. It's great when time is of the essence or if you just don't feel like expending a lot of energy but still want a tasty something to eat.

Veal Caprese

1 Cup Prepared Pesto
5-6 small veal cutlets
1 tomato, sliced
6-7 slices of fresh mozzarella

Pound cutlets with a meat mallet to tenderize
Marinade veal in pesto sauce for 2 hours or overnight.
Turn on oven broiler and let heat up
On stove heat up and over proof pan.
Wen pan is hot, place veal cutlets in a single layer
Top cutlets with tomato slices, and cheese
Place pan under broiler until cheese is melted and begins to brown. By this time the veal should be cooked through. Serve with pasta or zoodles.



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

We're Jammin'

I have to say that this is my new favorite condiment. I first had it on a burger in New Haven after I went to see a play with my friends. I wasn't sure what to expect but was too hungry to care. I order sliders with this onion jam and some other stuff on them and I was blown away by how great it tasted. So, I decided to try and make it myself. I think I have come up with a pretty good interpretation. My favorite way to have this is on a burger with bacon and blue cheese. It is freaking delicious. So get ready to jam out with this stuff! You won't be sorry.

Sweet Onion Jam

2 sweet onions, sliced (use a mandolin if you have one)
2 Tbs bacon grease
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 C brown sugar
1/3 cup white wine (dry)
1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 Cup red wine vinegar

Saute onions in bacon grease over low heat until soft and golden
Add salt, pepper and herb and continue to saute until herbs soften
Add remaining ingredients and simmer low until liquid has evaporated and mixture becomes thick and sticky. Be careful not to burn it - keep stirring, especially towards the end.
Remove bay leaves.
Let cool and store in clean jar in refrigerator.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Holiday Things

This weekend was Memorial Day so we had our annual get-together. With the sketchy weather turn out was disappointing. It will probably be the last time we do something like this since we have so much food leftover it seems like a waste of our time and money. Don't get me wrong, we had fun but it's a lot of work hosting a party. Next time we will go to somebody else's party, lol. For this party I concocted a sweet and sour crab dip that I developed based on how I like to eat crab rangoon at those Chinese buffets. I like them with sweet and sour sauce. At first people were scared of it because it looked strange but once they tried it they were gobbling it up. I served it with wheat thins but fried wontons would be good or just use it to make actual crab rangoons.

Sweet and Sour Seafood Dip
1 can crab meat
1 can tiny shrimp
1 block cream cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs sugar
3-4 green onions, chopped fine
1 bottle prepared sweet and sour sauce (I used LaChoy brand)

Place all the ingredients except the sweet and sour sauce in a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat together until combined. Place in a bowl or if your feeling fancy mold it into a shape on a plate. Pour sweet and sour sauce over the mixture and serve with crackers.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Stuff It!

My husbands' granddaughter had her first birthday last week. As usual, I was asked to make something. Stuffed mushrooms were requested. I was then told that if I made my crab stuffed mushrooms I would have to make another variety because someone had an allergy. yeah, guess what I am NOT making! I said I would make my pizza stuffed mushrooms and originally decided I would make the traditional pepperoni and a supreme version (pepperoni, sausage, peppers and onions). Well, when it cam time to make them I decided the pepperoni ones were enough and they were a hell of a lot easier to make than the supreme version. That left me with the leftover ingredients to deal with. I made stuffed peppers for dinner out of it. The husband whined about how he didn't like stuffed peppers. He has no idea how close he came to getting shanked with a fork. When all was said and done he said they were the best stuffed peppers he had ever had. Go figure! This stuffing would seriously taste good in anything. Stuff it into mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, you name it. He actually put some of the leftover stuffing in an omelet the next morning and it was pretty killer. So, go crazy with it.

Erika's Stuffing for Anything
1 pound bulk Italian Sausage
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed (we like garlic and go heavy with it)
1 small onion, diced
1 zucchini, grated
1 small can tomato sauce
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
salt, to taste

Brown sausage with the onions and garlic until cooked through. Add zucchini and pepperoni and continue to saute until zucchini is soft. Add remaining ingredients and stir until everything is evenly distributed and mixed together. Stuff filling inside of anything!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Friday Wine Day

So, lately I find myself in the habit of cooking with wine on Fridays. This allows me to justifiably imbibe because we can't let the wine go bad now that the bottle is open! HA! Works for me. Anyway, last Friday was a particularly gloomy and raw day so I thought it would be the perfect time to make this Braised Oxtail Ragu recipe that I saw on The Cozy Apron [HERE]. I had a bunch of oxtails (or maybe they were shank slices?? whatever they were they were just fine in this recipe) from the hind quarter we bought and that recipe looked like a darned good way to use them. I followed the recipe as written and it was super good over polenta and over egg noodles. So warm and hearty and comforting. This one will definitely be made again!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cold Weather Win

So, yesterday was Blizzard Day. That's right a foot of snow followed by sleet and freezing rain. Everything outside is coated in ice. As a full time work-at-home employee, snow days no longer mean anything to me. It is business as usual here. BUT, in preparation for the event, I decided to try one of the recipes in the new pressure cooker cookbook that my mother gave to me. I was a tad reluctant to try it because it used soda. I always figured the end result would be overly sweet. But I decided what the hell, lets give it a shot. I had all the ingredients I needed in the house and, really, how bad could it be? I have to say this was by far one of the best hunks of meat I have ever cooked. I could not believe how good it was....and not sweet at all! I urge you to try it. Me, I think I am going to explore this cooking with soda idea a little more!

Cola Beef Roast with Sweet Onion Au Jus (adapted from Miss Vickie's Big Book of Pressure Cooker Recipes)

4 Tbs Butter
2 sweet onions sliced
1 boneless beef roast (I used a spoon roast)
1 can cola (not diet)
1/4 Cup soy sauce
1 and 1/2 packets dry onion soup/dip mix
1 Tbs garlic powder

Melt the butter in the pressure cooker and add sliced onion. Saute a bit until onions begin to soften.
Add roast and remaining ingredients.
Cook in pressure cooker for 1 hour (my cooker is very basic and has no adjustments for pressure or temperature, only a timer)
Allow to decompress naturally. When pressure drops open lid a serve with pot juices. You can thicken juices to a gravy if desired.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

All for Me

The hubs underwent back surgery on Monday to replace some bulging discs that were causing nerve pain. He has been in the hospital all week and hopefully will come home tomorrow. I have been spending my days at the hospital keeping him company while trying to get a little work done on my laptop. Nights are spent at home. There is no way in hell I am staying there all night getting no sleep. Because I am by myself I get to cook spicy food, which is nice. Last night I adapted a recipe for stuffed poblanos that I found HERE on finecooking.com. True to form, I adapted the recipe to suit my needs and tastes The end product was quite tasty and wasn't nearly as spicy as I thought it would be. My husband might have even been able to handle it!

Chicken Stuffed Poblanos

2 large poblano chiles 
1/2 container of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 can Rotel
1/2 medium white onion, chopped 
2 large cloves garlic, chopped  
1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled 
2 tsp. ground cumin  
Generous pinch ground cinnamon 
Kosher salt  
1 Tbs. olive oil 
2 cups shredded cooked chicken  
1-1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice (I used cooked Farro) 
1 cup corn kernels
2 cups grated Cheddar
2 Cups salsa verde
1/4 Cup half and half

Roast and peel poblano peppers. Make a slit down the side and remove seeds and core. Leave stem intact
Purée the tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a food processor. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the purée and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture looks thick and pulpy, 8 to 11 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the chicken, rotel, corn and rice, and then 1 cup of the cheese. Season to taste with salt. Divide the filling among the peppers, wrapping the sides of the peppers up and around the filling, some of which will still be exposed.
Combine salsa verde and half and half and pour onto the bottom of a baking dish. Add peppers and top them with additional cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is hot. Spoon pan sauce over peppers before serving