Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goin for Gold...

Good thing the guys are Rangers' fans and not Devils' fans: While Mike Emrick is doing a bang-up job announcing Olympic hockey games, his 'feminine' language isn't sitting well with them. Not fond of 'twirling' at the blue line or 'pirouetting' around an opponent.

But that wasn't the only choreography of the day ... I had decided to honor the US and Canada with a variety of dinner nibbles with foods from both countries (Quit laughing! Remember, since I cook so much, I take inspiration where ever I can find it! Oh yeah, I'll sheepishly say: Our countries' foods are pretty much the same.) ... I had to dance through four dishes AND watch the men's gold medal hockey game. Good thing I CAN pirouette.

I sashayed my way through my GPS (see 'Is a butt a shoulder, or a shoulder a butt?') to get provisions for the week and tonight's dinner. I decided on variations on a theme of open-faced sandwich finger food and a kale caesar salad (thanks again Eno Terra for the inspiration!) because Dill asked for homemade croutons.

K, so I made three different sandwiches, or bruschetta-like whosimawhatzits, with three different creams or sauces using Greek-style yogurt as the base...
-Sliced steak with horseradish cream
-Sliced magret (duck breast) with stoneground mustard-thyme cream
-Smoked salmon and sauteed apple with maple-lemon cream
...and that Kale caesar with bacon/duck-fat caesar dressing. (Don't be squeamish, olive oil's a fat too.)

Here goes:

(I forgot to buy steak for this at the market (planned on a flank or a flat iron), but I did pick up a small rib eye that was on manager's special, so I used it.)
-Preheat oven to 425 and heat cast iron skillet to smokin, rub steak liberally with your favorite rub...(if you want ideas or to know what I used, lemme know), sear both sides and pop in oven for about six mins on one side and two mins on the other for a med rare.
-Let rest on cutting board.

-Slice two slices of applewood-smoked bacon into half-inch pieces, crisp in a pan, then remove pieces to a bowl for the salad, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.
-Crosshatch the fat on the magret at about one and a half to two inch intervals, sear it in the bacon fat breast-side down first and sprinkled with salt and pepper, for about six minutes then sear the other side for another four for a med rare.
-Let rest on cutting board.

(Hey! It comes pre-sliced in the package, but here's how I had John do the apples...)
-core, peel and halve (top to bottom) a fuji apple and slice thinly...about an eighth-inch thick...and saute in batches in butter until brown but not too soft.

-Halve a large baguette, cube it (one-inch pieces) then toast it at 325 degrees for about 10 mins to dry it.
-Raise oven temp to 350; and melt 4T butter in microwave with a half-teaspoon each: salt, granulated garlic, smoked paprika and ground pepper. Toss on the toasted cubes and bake for 10 mins.

Put a half cup plain yogurt in each of three bowls and whisk in the following...
-To accompany the steak, add 1 T prepared horseradish, 1t worcestershire sauce and a half t lemon juice.
-To accompany the duck, add 1 T stoneground mustard, 1 and a half t fresh thyme leaves, pinch salt and a heavy grind of black pepper.
-To accompany the salmon, 1 t lemon zest, 1 and a half t lemon juice, pinch salt, double pinch ground white pepper and 1 T maple syrup.

Lastly, slice the remaining baguette and a half in half-inch or so pieces and toast in the 350-degree oven.

-Make the dressing in the serving bowl starting by mincing a garlic clove into a paste with a half t salt, 1 t lemon juice, 1 minced anchovy fillet, hefty dose cracked black pepper, 1 T sherry vinegar, 1 (scant) t stoneground mustard and 2 T grated parmesean.
-Whisk together, then slowly add the reserved fats from the bacon/duck pan...about a quarter cup...add about 8 oz fresh chopped kale, toss together, then pop in microwave for 1 to 2 minutes to warm dressing and start the kale wilting.
-Add another T parm, the reserved bacon pieces and the croutons before serving.

I'm glad I was a wee bit distracted doing all this during the hockey game...of course I wonder: If I gave the game my undivided attention, would the outcome have been the same?
Ah, who cares, Eh?
They can ALL hold their heads up high! And they better too, or Cindy'll lay 'em out with a red-line body check.

It's Hockey Nite in Skillman!

For more than a year now, our basement has been home to any number of teenaged guys looking for roller hockey glory on a weekly basis...good thing the basement's unfinished!

For them, it means pizza's on the menu.

For us, it often means a chance to go out to eat.

Yer thinkin, Whoa! How do you dare leave your home - to have fun, no less! - in the hands of those notoriously sneaky, wild, messy, cavorting creatures called Teenaged BOYS?

I'll tell ya: These are responsible, respectful young Men. Mine included. And while I fully expect shenanigans - in fact I'd be surprised if there weren't - I also fully expect they know enough to keep themselves and each other safe. These are Good guys...and besides, we're all just a cell call away!

So now that I've restored your faith in TeenAgeKind (oooo, that's kinda punny!), John and I let the Wonderful folks at Eno Terra shake our martinis, pour our wine and cook our food. And lemme tell ya, I'd let them do it once a week if I could. The food's that delicious and that varied to make a weekly visit an adventure, not a standard.

When we go out like this, we prefer to sit at the bar rather than at a table...there's more social interaction that way, afterall we've had a week of talking to ourselves...and we get the benefit of talking with the bartender, who of course knows the skinny on all the dishes.

We also prefer the 'small plate' philosophy of sharing appetizer sizes of a lot of dishes: it can be less expensive this way, but mostly we can bring a lot more variety to our meal.

(And while this may be tacky for a 'nite out' I like that bars have TVs for sports...surprisingly enough, the TV at Eno Terra is not out of place...and the men's bronze medal hockey game was on. What? You can take the gal outta the home, but hockey's still in her blood!)

Oh, and when I made the scones this morning, I used 1 C whole wheat flour and 1 C all-purpose flour and tossed in about a cuppa golden raisins...much to the delight of Dill and his sleep-over guest....guests?...I dunno...There seem to be a lot of teens comin in and goin out all weekend long...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Roasted Squash Soup Redux

Snow school, snow commute and snow work for me...well, even if it had been 70 degrees outside, I woulda been home because I had a (now-crowded) day off.

What's a woman to do with a hungry houseful for brekkie? Make scones of course. And hope to stave off the crankies until dinner.

I've been making these scones forever and it's really easy. And you get a twofer in this post.

Here goes:

-Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with a Silpat (or parchment paper).
-In the food processor, pulse 2 cups flour, 2T turbinado sugar, half t salt and 1T baking powder to 'sift.'
-Add a third cup cubed butter (unsalted...ONLY...don't need any other kind) and pulse til it looks like wet sand; add a beaten egg (large...ONLY...keeps recipes and the like standard) and most of 3/4 cup milk (I use 1 percent, any other would do too) ... leaving the rest to add if the dough doesn't come together 'cuz it's too dry...pulse until it whirls into a ball.
-Turn out to a floured surface, form into a ball and cut the ball in half.
-Flatten one half into a disk about a half-inch thick and cut into eight pie wedges; repeat with the other half and put them all on the baking sheet. They shouldn't touch, but they can be close to each other.
-Brush tops with melted butter and a sprinkling of turbinado sugar before popping 'em in the oven.
-12 mins later, yummy noises resound throughout the land.

I honestly can't tell you much of what happened between these recipes...maybe I was watching the cats watch the birds at the feeder; maybe I was encouraging the lads to finish their homework (encouraging is a nice word); maybe I was biding my time until the Olympics were on at 3p; or all of the above...I do remember that at some point though, four tummies started rumbling and I picked up where I left off the night before.

With a baguette thawing, the roasted butternut squash soup was back on schedule.

Here goes:

-Preheat oven to 425 (again!).
-Peel and cube one large or two medium butternut squashes and put onto a baking sheet with a cleaned leek (see 'Swee-ee-eat Inspiration...' entry for my washing method) white part only cut into half or so inch slices, four sprigs fresh thyme sprigs, four crushed garlic cloves.
-Toss with a good T olive oil, one and a half t turbinado sugar, salt and pepper.
-Pop in oven for about 35 mins, until the squash is soft and most pieces have a lovely crust on the edges.
-Meanwhile, heat 48 oz - a box and a half! - of chicken stock...I always use low-sodium...with a heavy shot of calvados or AppleJack, about a quarter t salt, lots of ground black pepper, about a t each dried sage and aleppo pepper flakes and about a half t freshly grated ginger. How do you grate ginger, you may ask...You keep a hand in a zip top plastic bag in the freezer so it lasts a looooooong time, and grate off what you need.
-Since the squash and broth are still cooking, start the garnish.
-In a small (6-inch diameter), non-stick omelette pan (Hey, it's what I have!) on low flame, put 1 t butter, a third cup dark brown sugar and a splash of water and when mostly melted, add a dash of salt, a dash of cayenne and a cup of pecan halves - or as many as can cover the pan bottom in about a single layer.
-Stir to coat the nuts with the sugar...and when well-covered, turn onto a 'slippery' plate and let cool in freezer for about 10 mins. [My 'slippery' plate was actually the baking sheet with Silpat I hadn't yet tossed in the dishwasher from the morning I'm either an unholy mess or resourceful reducer-reuser-recycler. While you may lean toward the former, I'm in PR, so I'm goin with the latter. Back to the food...]
-When the squash is done, turn everything - except the thyme stems!! - on the baking sheet into the simmering stock and heat for about 10 mins to bring the flavors together.
-Whip out your handy-dandy blender and puree the soup in batches.
-SAFETY NOTE (no, I'm not kidding): Pressure builds fast when you whirr hot things in a blender and that can lead to burned cook. Remove the center knob of your lid if you have one and keep the lid off if you don't; a clean, washable tea towel folded in quarters or so should cover the blender jar and will protect you and your kitchen from the hot liquid...Remember to open a tiny air hole (to let the steam pressure escape) when you turn on the blender.
-So when all's pureed and neither the cook nor the counter are orange, put the soup back in the pot to rewarm...stir in about a quarter cup heavy cream...ladle into bowls with a few of the candied pecans on top...
Oh, and use the baguette to sop up what the spoon can't reach.

Good thing the weekend is here!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Best laid plans of Moms of men...

...are often blown out by wind.

Lo and behold, the latest snow 'event' to hit the NYC/Philly metro area...

[OK, let me pause for two secs:
-event, because I'm tired of 'snowmageddon, snowicane, blizzarama' etc; and
-NYC/Philly metro area, because my neck of Central Joisey is smack-dab in the middle and I get weather reports for Gotham AND BrotherlyLove.]

...came later than expected. So my favorite mixologist was already home, chilling the martini glasses and anticipating my return so he could make the 'tini he fantasized about on the commute home.

As a snowy eve practically cries for soup, I thought I'd make a roasted butternut squash concoction that got rave reviews a few weeks ago.

Yay! I got home, John shook a magical martini garnishing it with an unconventional cornichon, and I set to peeling and cuttin up the squash...I preheat the oven, put the squash to roast, set the timer and plopped on the couch to enjoy my men, martini and the US v. Canada women's gold medal hockey game...

...and the electricity promptly went out. No problem, I thought. It's a gas oven, right? While the guys found and lit candles and turned on the fireplace (yeah, it's gas too), I reset the alarm on my cell for the squash...

...a little kvetching, a little silliness, and whaddya know, the timer went off ... and so had the oven. No squash. Nevermind how I would've pureed it if it were ready.

Time to ring our favorite neighborhood haunt...and YES! the Tail had power.

And so did we at this point, but we were Tail bound! (and the squash was in the fridge, prepped for Friday's soup).

Besides, it was snowier on Friday!

(Oh, and if you're keepin track, the US ladies took home the silver...Yay Us, Yay Them!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Swee-ee-eat Inspiration...

...comes from the oddest places.

In the deep recesses of the fridge last night, I found a plastic container of leftover short ribs…and this I remembered only after glancing at the NYTimes' Dining Section today and noticing a recipe for short kreplach?

Great idea! Gonna take my leftovers and make em into kreplach or egg rolls or some such nonsense.

Sweet Dill took the egg roll wrappers outta the freezer earlier so they could defrost gently...yes, he does what I ask (as long as we're not talkin homework) and yes, I do keep egg roll wrappers and/or wonton wrappers in the freezer...

I define 'a staple' in my kitchen on a varied and wide list. Asian items, Latin items, Italian, Jewish, French, American...whatever...I have at least one representative from each cuisine and feel comfy using any of 'em.

John was at a work meeting this eve, so the guys and I could simplify dinner: aka, entree only and it was egg rolls!

Here goes:

-Pulled the aging leek out of the fridge and using the white part, cut it into quarters then into quarter-inch slices and placed in a bowl with tepid water as a rinse...I use a kind of triangularly shaped bowl that has more of a point at the bottom, therefore is less round or bulbous, in order to catch and trap the sand at the bowl's bottom.
-Dice a stalk of celery and put it into a pan with about 2T olive oil; when translucent, add the drained leeks; then the chopped leftover shortribs with 4 halved and sliced baby bella mushrooms and a heavy dose of ground pepper. No need for salt after the 2t hoisin sauce and 2t chili/garlic paste.
-Cook until all's heated through...
Place 2 hefty Ts into center of each egg roll wrapper...
-Whoops! Heat 2" canola/veg/peanut oil to about 350 degrees in a suitable pan...
-Fold wrappers according to package directions. (If you can't find yours, comment or email me and I'll walk you through it...) and seal with water...
-Deep fry for about 2 mins for each one...drain on paper towels.

My goodness they were terrific...the guys were highly complimentary, but only had one each even though Jere said he hadn't had lunch...I, otoh, had more than was lady-like or wise.
But, hey, NO ONE has ever suggested I was either!

Oh, and as for the title of this post: First time I heard this song, it was sung by Barbra Streisand; the BEST time I heard this song, it was sung by Derek Trucks Band....

...every hour of the day...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A little more cowbell...

is necessary for leftovers!
(sorry, it's 'cuz of the Olympics!)

The shoulder/butt (did we ever decide what that is??) thang from Sunday provided two Large chunks for future's in the freezer and one's in our tums!

I turned the chunk into filling for a bbq chopped pork sandwich, made a salad and settled in for another eve of hockey, etc. (Didja see that goal that went right through - yes, THROUGH - the netting for Canada? It was a first for me too.)

Here goes:

-French half a red onion, yup it was the other half from the previous night, and saute in about 2T olive oil.
-While that's browning, almost to carmelizing, cube/chop up the roast (half-inch cubes-ish) about 4 cups out of that chunk...and add to the onions to heat through.
-Pour in about a cup of bottled bbq sauce and swish a splash of dark rum (bourbon/beer/whiskey/water/etc) into the bottle to get out all the sauce and into the pan. You might need up to a quarter cup more water as the meat heats to keep a sauce going.
-Split a ciabatta longitudinally and after toasting lightly under the broiler, line each side of the bread with slices of asiago cheese (my bread took about 8 slices) and pop back under the broiler to gently melt.
-Pile the meat & onion mixture onto one side of the bread, close it up and slice to your heart's content.

-Toss a bag o'spring mix salad into a bowl; throw in about 8 chopped up cornichons, about a third cup diced roasted red peppers, juice of a third of a lemon, half t granulated garlic, pinch salt, heavy grind or 3 of black pepper, 2T olive oil...have your eldest toss.

That, the martini, the 'Please' apology and the hockey game combined to help me forget to do my part of the taxes. Sorry John!

Under the wire for an Olympic-watching record!

Dill had to be out of the house by 8p and I was still in the car at 6:15p, so I knew getting 'Chicken Something' cooked would be cutting it close.

Some days, luck is with you, even if it comes up a wee tad short: While I found a package of bone-in chicken thighs in the freezer (and wouldn't hafta wrestle with the schmooshed bag o'breasts that was tossed in willy-nilly), there were only four pieces...and on any particular day any of the guys could scarf down two...(I'm being kind-unusual, I know.)

Oh well, time to supplement...what to do? what to do?
Is that a quarter of an Italian bread sitting on the counter?

Ready? Set...Cook!

Here goes:

-Defrosted the chicken in the microwave...this may seem like a needless detail, but I usually defrost in a 'hot tub' in the sink...and started heating the oven to 400 and as well as an oven-safe pan.
-Put about 2T olive oil in pan and place the chicken in skin-side down. Salt and pepper. As it browns, french half a red onion.
-When the skin side is nicely brown, flip and add the onions and a bit more salt and pepper. Saute until the onions are translucent, heading for golden...darn, forgot garlic!...add about a half t granulated garlic powder. Deglaze with a scant quarter cup white wine. (We had a chardonnay in the fridge, not a fave, but it works OK in dishes...our wine rack is barren leading to much whining!)
-Drain 15 oz can diced tomatoes, chop about a t of fresh rosemary and toss 'em in the pan.
-Found a knob - a hefty T or so - of chevre in the fridge...Bonus! Crumble and toss on the whole shebang...
-Into the oven for 18 or so minutes...
-Cut the bread into 8 thinish slices - 2 per plate - and steam the frozen, yes poly bag, peas.
-Serve chicken w/sauce on top of the bread...

Dill was dining with time to spare!
And I got to watch the Canadian Women's ice hockey game!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Is a butt a shoulder, or a shoulder a butt?

…and why is it from Boston, anyway?

Well, whatever the deal, it made for a lovely dinner on Sunday.

In our house, the last day of the weekend really lends itself to intricate cookin and/or slow cookin. And while this didn't involve the former, this week was all about the latter.

Every Sunday starts out pretty much the same: Some time between 9 and 11 (always 'ish') I set out on the journey that refills the pantry, fridge, freezer, cabinets and ultimately our tums. I keep a pad on the fridge to record the week's requests and requirements that becomes my GPS, or Grocery Procurement System, during my four-store-minimum jaunt.

As I forage for the family's food, I keep an eye out for specials and especially good looking items...anything that can inspire...even though, this week, Boston Butt/Pork Shoulder was already on the list.

We had the pork, slow-roasted in a deeply-flavored paste; sliced potatoes, that turned out rather like chips; and salad that really cried out for a creamy dressing.


Here goes:

-Preheat oven to 300-degrees F.

-In a blender, puree seven or so large garlic cloves, half teaspoon salt, quarter cup jarred Recaito (check the Spanish foods aisle), 2-plus T olive oil, 2t smoked paprika, 1T adobo seasoning and two and a half packets of sazon seasoning (head back to the Spanish foods), until you have a lovely paste.

-Dry the 4 to 6 lb roast, put into roasting pan and use a sharp knife to poke slits in top and bottom for the paste to sink into...a chopstick (thick end, duh) helps push the paste into the holes.

-Mush, massage and manipulate the paste all over the pork; cover with foil and pop into the oven for 3 and a half hours...remove the foil, push the oven temp to 400 and let crisp and brown for another half hour. Internal temp was more than 180 degrees at this point and it wasn't dry...but I think it would've been moister if I knew what the internal temp 'should've' been.

-Oh, for that last half hour, the potatoes rocked on in the 400-degree oven after, of course, they were sliced into quarter-inch or so disks, placed on a baking sheet with olive oil above and below and sprinkled with a bit of ground cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. I did flip 'em once.

-Salad: Romaine heart cut in to thin, coleslaw-like ribbons, 2 small diced celery ribs, 7 or so stray oil-cured olives chopped and a thinly-sliced shallot...

-Dressing: Into food processor (blender was dirty, darnit!) went scant half cup Greek yogurt, a medium garlic clove, juice from a third of a lemon, about a t and a half balsamic vinegar, leaves from one stem of rosemary and maybe a t of olive oil...can't remember at this point!...and whirred it around till smooth...poured over salad and it rocked!

Good luck with all this...I have mush for brains and have prolly left out a step or ingredient or six. Chicken 'Something' tonight was really good, and hopefully tomorrow's retelling will be more on point.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

amuse bouche #1

I figure, as little bites occur to me, I'll record 'em here.

This AM, I only had to feed myself, and that was a good thing since I wanted to indulge my small craving and didn't want to do it for everyone.

I wanted warm, salty, gooey, crunchy and savory in each bite...and got it even though I might've had only five or six bites. Salty from the single 2-inch diameter slice of salami, gooey from the melted mozzarella, crunchy from the bread fried in butter and savory from the herb & pepper.

Here goes:

-Start heating a skillet and building the sandwich.
-Using about a third of a naan (flatbread), cut it in half and lightly butter the inside. Had a log o'mozzarella and lopped off two thinish (about a quarter inch) slices to put on the bread. Added a few fresh thyme leaves and a sprinkle of aleppo pepper then topped it with a slice of pepper salami and the naan topper.
-Put the yummy thing into the pan butter side down and when that side is sufficiently brown and crispy, move it aside to melt a wee bit more butter to turn the sandwich onto...Another few moments to crisp that side and finish melting the cheese.

I cut it in half and that first bite - combining the crunch of the bread and the yielding ooze of the cheese - really satisfied!

[It was a mistake to let John steal a bite...that's how good it was!]

Friday, February 19, 2010

These things happen...

...and usually on Friday nights.
And if I'm lucky (!), it happens bigger, badder, better on Saturday nights!

What's she talking about, you ask?

Someone else doin the cooking!

Come on, even Death takes a holiday...

Tonight, we brought in pizza - a veggie lover's that was the guys' idea - and salad. And a few remarkable things happened:
-John ate the broccoli on the pizza;
-Dill had pizza at least twice today; and
-Jere was OK with the knowledge there were anchovies in last night's pasta.

Who knows what tomorrow'll bring?

Oh, and if I hafta watch folks on ice skates - and it's not hockey (or even speed) - then I pick ice dancing least until they put the 'figures' back in figure skating...

Righetti Spaghetti

Remember that?
K, so it's not Wednesday...but Thursday was pasta night. It's my go-to meal anchor when
I can't recall what's in the freezer so the protein bubbles come up empty.

Driving home, I (mentally!) ran through the pantry (and fridge) options: Canned diced tomatoes, check, oooo and they're fire roasted too...when did I get those?; canned artichoke hearts, check; bacon, check; capers and anchovies, check...

What I didn't have was actual spaghetti! Half box of this, half box of that. Who didn't eat those nights?

OK, penne'll have to do. Oooo, what's that? Golden raisins! A little sweetness to balance the salty, smoky stuff...Score!

Here goes:

-Started water for pasta with a *lot* of salt...Yes, I find it *does* flavor the pasta.
-Into a saute pan with about 2T of olive oil went four minced garlic cloves, and a large minced shallot. And when I realized I didn't start the bacon before the aromatics, I got it out of the freezer and lopped off the equivalent of about two slices of the applewood smoked kind and tossed it into the pan. To keep the aromatics from burning while the bacon defrosted, I added about a quarter cup of water.
-As the water cooked down, added about four anchovy fillets. Sssshhh, don't tell Jere...he doesn't do food that lives in water. With a little wooden-spoon mashing, they 'melted' into the bit of water and the oil. Added the drained capers, about 1T.
-Added a 15oz can of tomatoes with juice and a good handful of the raisins...a bit more water -- gotta have a sauce afterall! -- and then the drained artichoke hearts which I halved. Ground some pepper on top...didn't need salt with the capers, anchovies and bacon.
-A pound of pasta into the water; sauce simmering...
-Put the drained pasta into the sauce and all into a big bowl...parm on top...

Family happily fed...and no leftovers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

With apologies to Dave Matthews...

...Eat, drink and be merry
for tomorrow we die

or eat Mediterranean-inspired burgers!
That's what we did tonight. After I defrosted the chopped meat.

Oh, did I overlook that little detail? Yeah, as the protein speech bubbles erupt over my head they rain FROZEN meat!

Plan ahead?

Pshaw...that's the point of this blog.

So it was the burgers on soft rolls w/spicy tangy smoothy dressing; french cut string beans (from a poly snickering); and whole-sour pickles.

Here goes:
-In a mixing bowl, place about a quarter cup minced drained capers and a minced medium shallot, add zest and juice of half a lemon, quarter teaspoon each ground fenugeek seed, ground cumin and aleppo pepper flakes, half teaspoon each dried oregano, coarsely ground black pepper and granulated garlic. Crumble about a 2-inch cube of feta into the bowl, mix, add about one and a half pounds ground beef and mix it all.
-I got 6 nice-sized patties out of this and it REALLY makes a difference if you put a dimple - 1-inch diameter or so - in the center of the raw burger 'cuz they come out flat!
-Cooked 'em in the rockin hot Behemoth...our 15-inch diameter cast iron only weighs 12 lbs, really!
-Sauce is a ridiculous combo, but Oh-So-Good: half cup 2% Greek yogurt, T lime marmalade melted in micro, 2t strong Irish mustard...whisk then spread liberally on the buns...Yum.

Yes, the guys eat this...No, marshmallow Fluff doesn't stay between the layers of baking brownie; it floats.

Dinner's at 8p

Yes, we eat late...but as I told a friend (VERY tongue in cheek): Art takes time.

Here's last night's dinner:

Pork loin scaloppine w/dried cherries in cote du rhone reduction
Sauteed celery and crimini mushrooms w/garlic, shallots and thyme

Here goes:
-Put the cherries in sauce pan with the half-cup or so of the 'leftover' wine added a few fresh thyme sprigs and a cinnamon stick and let it simmer away til the cherries re-plumped.
-Started on the veg: sweated the minced garlic (4 cloves...we love the stuff) and sliced (large) shallot in large pan w/olive oil, salt and peppered it then added diagonally sliced 3 celery stalks, after a bit, added about a quarter cup (boxed!) chicken stock so they'd soften a bit, then added about 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, and the sliced mushrooms and a dash of cayenne. This all took about 12 mins...transferred to a bowl which went into a warm oven while I did the pork.
-put about 1 cup couscous into 2 cups boiling chicken stock ... turned off the heat and let it do it's thing!
-cut the pork loin into inch and a half medallions that I pounded thin then sprinkled a little Indian-inspired spice blend on one side, put a little butter (1T?) into veg pan and started sauteing the pork...took no time at all! When all the slices were done and 'resting' in the oven, put the cherry-wine mixture into the pan (sans cinnamon & thyme) thickened it with a knob of butter and a bit of fine ground flour and added the pork to the sauce.
Served it all up and we were happy.

Later, I'll try to post tonight's menu...I'm thinkin ground beef or chicken...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And so she begins...

Another day, another pitch I never made to the Food Network or anyone else for my "cooking show"...not that I want to have the show, mind you, but every evening I seem to star in my very own cooking challenge show and it's called Dinner.

When my son Jeremy (14) gets home from school, he rings me at work and the mad - 3 hour - dash to figure out what's for dinner begins. It's been this way for about the past seven years when Jere began to put me on the spot to answer his culinary curiosity.

My cell goes off at 3p:
J: Hi Mom,
S: Hi Jere.
We're home.
S: Kewl, how's your day?
J: Um, it's good thanks, yours?
S: It's good thanks.
Mom, um, what's for dinner?
[Here's where the imagination bubbles containing different foods found in my fridge, freezer and pantry start erupting over my head as I try to put together a meal.]
S: Uh, how 'bout blah-dee-blah?
J: Oh, OK, sounds good.

And from those bubbles of proteins, veg, starch and flavorings, I somehow pull together a dinner almost every night of the week that pleases my three guys (Jere, Dillon (17) and John (hubby)) and that I want to eat too.

So welcome to my personal Recipe for Disaster...if I can keep up with this, you'll get a glimpse into Meal Madness and to see if each night was a Recipe for Disaster or a Recipe for Delight.