Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grilled corn on the cob with rosemary oil

Do you remember a few weeks ago when I shared a delicious oil mixture to use on Sweet Potato Spears while they were roasting?  Well, I had some of the oil left over, so I decided to try brushing it onto corn on the cob, wrapping it in foil, and grilling it. 

I was actually a little bit surprised by just how good it was!   

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wonderful brine for pork roast

I left the pork in the brine for about 3 hours because the roast was fairly thick.  If it had been a tenderloin, I would probably only have brined it for around 2 hours.  Remember, pork doesn't have to be cooked to death anymore...the slight pink above is real, and it was delicious! 

Brine for Pork

1/2 c kosher salt
2 c water
12 black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
2 c apple cider
1/2 c maple syrup
Ice cubes

Boil the water with the salt in it until it dissolves.  Remove from heat and add the peppercorns through the syrup, stirring.  Let steep for 10 minutes.  Pour into a ziploc bag with icecubes and add the meat.  Brine in the fridge for two hours.

Apple treats!

Oh, the apples came early this year! We have three trees, and luckily for us, they were ready to pick on three separate weekends. That allowed me to make smaller batches of apple sauce, apple butter, and some of our favorite pastry treats.

Applesauce and apple butter

Sour cream apple pie

Apple cake

Crumb topping for fruit pies

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cucumber-horseradish salad dressing

A tingle-your-tastebuds dressing that is so easy to make, especially if you have a hand-held wand blender.  If not, a food processor will do the trick!

Cucumber-Horseradish Salad Dressing

1 small seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/4 c olive oil
2 T red-wine vinegar
2 T chives, chopped
1 T low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt
1 t Dijon mustard or hot Chinese mustard
1 t horseradish or wasabi paste
1 t sugar
Dash of salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Be careful about using both hot mustard and wasabi together.  It's better tasting if you let one of the hot ingredients dominate.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our two favorite sorbets

We have a small hand-crank ice cream maker that I love a lot, especially for making gelato and other dairy treats.  While I have used it successfully for making sorbets as well, I was thrilled awhile back to learn that sorbet could easily be made by freezing the mixture first and then using a food processor to create the proper texture.  See my post on Pineapple Sorbet for more details on the FP method!  

Peach Sorbet

4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1/4 t vanilla
1/2 c Welch's white grape peach juice

Mix juices in a large flat plastic container.  Add peach slices and process in an ice cream maker, or freeze for several hours and process in FP.

Lime Sorbet

2 1/4 c water
3/4 c sugar
Zest from 1 lime
3/4 c lime juice (about 9 limes)

Mix sugar and lime zest with 1 c of the water.  Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and add the remaining water.  Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.  Mix in the lime juice.  Process with  ice cream maker or freeze first and use an FP.  Serve in frosty glasses with salted rims.  Add shots of tequila.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Panini with salami

I made these savory grilled sandwiches without an overload of salami.  One thin slice for each was plenty.  There are other savory ingredients as well, so watch out for possible salt overload.

Salami Panini

Dark rye or pumpernickle bread
Filling ingredients layered in this order:
Black olive tapenade
Basil pesto
Slice of hard salami
Goat cheese

Friday, September 17, 2010

Warm broccoli salad

My sister-in-law's aunt makes a cold broccoli salad that all of them love.  It's got bacon in it, so what's not to love?  The only problem for me is that it features mayonnaise, which I can't eat, so I played with it a bit to replace the mayo with yogurt.  I also decided to steam the broccoli slightly, since many people find it a bit easier to digest.  And as long as I was changing everything else, I sauted the onions in the bacon grease rather than leaving them raw, and served it warm instead of cold.

So basically it's now a completely different dish.  Oh well.

Warm Broccoli Salad

2 heads of broccoli, cut up

5 - 6 slices of bacon
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 c yogurt
2 T sugar
2 T red wine vinegar
1/2 c cheddar cheese, shredded

Steam the broccoli for 5 to 7 minutes.  Fry the bacon and remove from the pan to drain.  Saute the onions in some of the grease.  Mix the yogurt, sugar, and vinegar in a cup.  Add the onions and stir in.  Sprinkle the broccoli with the shredded cheese and top with the yogurt sauce.  Crumble the bacon on top of individual servings. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Salisbury steaks

Was "Salisbury steaks" just a fancy word for thin, flat hamburgers in your house?  My association comes mostly from the very rare TV dinners that my brother and I had when Mom and Dad were going out.  They were kind of yucky.

Well, I've learned new appreciation for the humble Salisbury steak by making them myself.  Not that I had any intention of buying them pre-made, but it had just never occurred to me before to serve them for dinner.  This very basic recipe can be fancied up as much as you'd like.  Instead of plain rice, I used some leftover pilaf, which included some bell peppers.  Experiment with the ingredients, just keeping the basic balance of ingredients.

Salisbury Steaks

1-1/2 lbs ground beef
1 c onion, chopped
1/2 c rice or other grain, cooked
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

2 c mushrooms, sliced

2 T Worcestershire sauce
15 oz beef broth
1 T cornstarch

Mix the ground beef through the salt and pepper together in a bowl and divide into 6 large flattened patties.  Cook at low-medium heat in an electric skillet or large skillet in olive oil, 5 minutes per side.  Remove the patties.  Raise the heat to medium and saute the mushrooms for a few minutes.  Add the liquids and bring to a boil.  Add the cornstarch and mix in well.  Place the patties back in the sauce and heat thoroughly, reducing the sauce a bit. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lemon and rosemary pilaf

Pilaf is traditionally a dish in which the grain is first browned in oil and then cooked in a seasoned broth.  That means that cracked wheat, rice, quinoa, or other grains can be used almost interchangeably.  I found a small package of cracked bulgar wheat that was pre-browned and ready to just soak up the broth, and that became the basis of this dish.  You can feel free to substitute another grain, and saute it in oil for a few minutes before steaming.  This makes the basis of a great vegetarian meal.

Lemon and Rosemary Pilaf

1 c grain
Olive oil

Enough water or vegetable broth for steamer cooking

4-5 scallions, sliced thin
Red bell pepper, chopped
Green bell pepper, chopped
Clove of garlic, minced
1-2 T fresh rosemary
15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 c sliced almonds

Saute the grain in olive oil for a few minutes to brown.  Add to steamer along with water and cook.  When the grain is ready, fluff it and grate some lemon zest into it (to taste).

Saute the vegetables in olive oil until tender.  Add the salt, rosemary, and chickpeas, heating thoroughly.  Add the grains, half the almonds, and the juice from the lemon.  Garnish with remaining almonds when serving.    

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dip for dinner

On Nate, Lizzie, and Katherine's last day with us, Lizzie mentioned how much she liked the Artichoke and Spinach Dip that I had made for them two years ago when Katherine was first born.  I wish she'd said something earlier...I didn't know how much she liked it.

Turns out Katherine likes it too!

We had some good wheat crackers and a Strawberry Salad to go with it.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Curried butter corn

This has been an excellent year for corn, so we've been having a lot of it over the course of the summer.  We don't ever really get tired of it, especially since the season is pretty short when you think about it.  Local corn is going to start to toughen up soon, so we're happy to just glut on plain old corn on the cob as long as we've got the chance.

Just for a bit of variety though, I did Curried Butter corn on the cob the other night.  We slathered each ear with the butter, using a barbecue brush, and wrapped them in foil.  About 25 minutes on the grill (trying to maintain around 400 degrees) and they were toasty delicious.

Curried Butter

Melt a few T of butter in the microwave. 
Add about half the amount of curry paste as butter and stir well.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pico de gallo

My wonderful daughter-in-law Lizzie made this salsa for us for our anniversary.  She used the following ingredients, but I don't have exact amounts for them.  I think it's a bit different each time.  It's like a party for your mouth, but also for your eyes!

Fresh tomatoes
Fresh cilantro
JalapeƱo peppers
Lime juice

Friday, September 3, 2010

Salmon and rice salad

Based upon the delicious Chicken and Wild Rice Salad that I've made before, I recently put together this version that featured salmon.  Same salad ingredients and dressing, but I did substitute a medium grain brown rice for the wild rice, and I cooked them up in our rice steamer instead of in a crock pot.  The meal comes together really fast (well under Thirty Minutes) when you use the steamer.   

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rosemary roasted sweet potatoes

Here's another delicious sidedish that my mother spoiled us with when we went to visit this summer!   We had the sweet potatoes with Chili-Chicken Salad and fresh bread. 

Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1-1/2 lbs (about 3) sweet potatoes
Cooking spray
1/4 c olive oil
1 T fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, mashed
1/2 t coriander
1 t salt

Leave the skin on the potatoes, but cut off the very tips.  If the sweet potatoes are long, cut them in half, crosswise.  Cut each half in half lengthwise.  Lay them cut side down and make 1/4 inch lengthwise slices.

Mix the olive oil through the salt together.  Lay the potato slices flat on a sprayed roasting pan or sheet.  Use a basting brush to coat the tops with the oil mixture.  Bake them at 375 for 45 minutes.  Serve with wedge of lime to drizzle on slices.