Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Grandpa is a 90 year old South Dakota farmer and cowboy. I met Grandpa for the first time the summer the Quiet Man and I married when we drove by his farm on our cross country/ honeymoon/ road trip to Nantucket. Since we were visiting in the summer, we thought we could help Grandpa out with his farm chores for a couple days. Grandpa has only one functioning hand, due to an accident about 50ish years ago when he fell down a well in the winter. Well, Quiet Man and I were supposed to help him toss bales of hay into the back of his truck. Grandpa at age 75 was faster and stronger than Quiet Man and I in our young 20s. We were out of breath and useless, and Grandpa kept right on working, and cracking jokes in between. We were ashamed of our college-educated wimpiness, but even more amazed at Grandpas gritty strength. This week, I'm amazed again at Grandpa's gritty strength. And tenacity. And wit. As he lay on his hospital bed, earmarked for death and white as a sheet, he continued to slowly toss out his clever one-liners, all the while quietly assuring us that he'd be home in a couple of days. The nurse took us aside and explained that he would surely be gone in a couple of days. But this is True Grit Grandpa we're dealing with. So sure enough, a few days later, he has amazed doctors and nurses and family and cheated death yet again. Grandpa, please stick around a little longer so you can continue to amaze the next generation, too. This is a great healthy "burger: to have in your arsenal for your frenetically busy weeks, but it's also delicious enough for a family barbecue. It's about as uncowboy as you can get-but I bet even Grandpa Bud would love it. You can use mostly pantry staple, like canned beans or even minute rice. I made these for a family get together last week, and they were a huge hit with vegetarians and meat eaters alike. The vegetarians were having to fend off the supply from the scavaging carnivores. (Party goers have been chomping at the bit for me to get them posted-sorry- and here they are at last.) I like them bunless, with some guacamole, but my dad loved his on a bun, as if it were a real hamburger. Enjoy your weekend! Money Saving Tips: These burgers are cheap to make, no matter what you do. When you cook brown rice, make extra and freeze it in 2 cup portions. You can use any bean you have on hand, but you may want to mash them down if they are large. Use canned jalapenos or green chilies, if you don't have fresh.
Southwest Brown Rice and Black Bean Burgers
Estimated Cost: $2.50 for five patties
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1-3 tablespoons minced jalapeno or green chilies, (canned is fine)
1/4 cup salsa
1 egg white
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
2 tablespoons olive oil
cheese, if desired
Mix rice, beans, chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic, onion, cilantro, chilies, salsa, and egg white in large bowl. Mixture will be very moist. Add flour, using only enough so that you can shape the mixture into patties. Dust the outside of the patties lightly with flour. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and warm. Add patties and cook until nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Sprinkle with cheese, reduce heat to low and cover with lid to melt cheese. Serve with guacamole, if desired. Coming Tomorrow:
Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
Friday, August 29, 2008
My burger in Rachael Ray magazine...
My burger on Kevin's blog....
If you're wondering why my burger was in the RR mag, I entered it in the 2007 Rachael Ray Burger Bash contest and surprisingly won, which meant a chance to make it on the RR show, a trip to NY for two, and a burger-cooking stint at the South Beach Food Festival. That's me with perky little Rachael Ray, advertising a blog project that I did for her website over the holidays.So, it's not that you need this kind of testimonial to try this burger, but I think this burger has an interesting, serendipitous history and I'm convinced that it will go over big at your Labor Day bash. A word of caution: They are very very messy to put together, so go a little lighter on the salsa verde. Honestly, the messier the juicier, so keep that in mind.
Money Saving Tips: If you have any unripe green tomatoes on the vines, they'll be perfect here, but red are equally delicious. Use ground chicken in place of the turkey, or even ground beef works well. This is a great way to stretch the avocado flavor, so you'll only need to buy one. Cilantro is my favorite here, but if it's too pricey, leave it out and use lettuce leaves for crunch.
Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers
Estimated Cost: $6.50 for four
1 avocado, halved and pitted
1/2 cup mayonnaise or whole milk yogurt or sour cream
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 pound ground turkey thigh meat
1/4 to 1/2 cup salsa verde- start with less and see if you can handle the mixture
4 slices pepper Jack cheese (about 4 ounces)
4 kaiser rolls, split
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
8 slices green tomato, (red tomatoes work well also)
1. Scoop the avocado flesh into a small bowl. Add the mayonnaise and garlic and mash with a fork until well combined but chunky. Season with salt and set aside.2. In a medium bowl, combine the ground turkey, (egg, if using) and salsa. Divide the mixture to form 4 patties.3. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the patties for 4 minutes on one side. Flip and top each with a slice of cheese; cover and cook for 4 minutes more. 4. Spread the avocado aioli on the bottom roll. and cover with 1/4 cup cilantro. Top with a patty and 2 tomato slices; set the roll tops into place.
Coming this Weekend: Black Bean and Brown Rice Southwest Veggie Patties
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Barefoot Thursdays: Garlic and Rosemary Chicken Tenders with Grilled Lemons and Roasted Bell Pepper Salad
Between you and me, I don't relish the idea of butterflying a chicken. It sounds like something you might get arrested for doing. I've done it before, but I was younger and invulnerable then.
Since I'd already made some sensible and sumptuous chicken tenders, I'd already made a perfectly companionable side dish, too. The marinade for the chicken will do double duty as a dressing for a tri-colored roasted bell pepper salad, sprinkled with feta and a smidge of fresh basil. Roasting peppers is a snap; peeling them is another story. It's not pretty or fun, but the reward is a toasty, smoky sweet bell pepper. Check out the real chicken recipe here; for my version, boogie on down.
Money Saving Tips: Late summer is the best time to find a good deal on bell peppers. If you can find them for less than a dollar a piece, buy up the lot. Use any boneless, skinless chicken you can get for a good price. You should be able to find great meat and poultry deals this week for Labor Day. Swap out fresh basil for extra rosemary, or feta for parmesan, according to what you have on hand.
Garlic, and Rosemary Chicken Tenders with Grilled Lemons
and Roasted Bell Pepper Salad
Estimated Cost: $10.00
Notes: I estimated the cost a bit high, but that's assuming you have to pay for your fresh rosemary or can't get peppers for a great price. Hopefully you can get these items from the garden for free.
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice, plus one lemon, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 lb. chicken tenders or other boneless, skinless chicken
10 small fresh rosemary sprigs, plus more for garnish
3 bell peppers, preferably of different colors
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or flat leaf parsley
1-2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
In a small bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper. Set aside 3 tablespoons of olive oil mixture in a small bowl. In a pie dish, place chicken. Pour marinade over the top. Poke in sprigs of rosemary all around the chicken. Cover and refrigerate, turning often, for at least one hour and up to 24 hours. Prepare grill for medium hot cooking. Grill chicken tenders for about 3-4 minutes per side. Grill lemon slices also, for about 1 minute per side, until slightly charred in places. Let chicken rest for five minutes before serving. Serve with fresh rosemary sprigs and grilled lemon slices. Meanwhile, char peppers over gas flame or broil in the oven on foil lined baking sheet until mostly blackened. Place in paper sack for 10 minutes to steam. (This will make it easier to remove the skin.) Peel peppers as best you can, scraping with a paring knife, discard seeds and core and slice into thin strips. Toss with reserved 3 tablespoons lemon dressing and chopped basil; season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with feta before serving.
I know they look a bit homely, but these ugly ducklings grow up delicious.
Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers with Creamy Avocado Sauce
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Sample Labor Day Menu:
Grilled Burgers on Homemade Buns
Gourmet Kettle Chips (I'm addicted to the Spicy Thai-try um!)
corn on the cob
veggies and dip
Ice Cream Torte (scroll down to yesterday's post for recipes)
Money Saving Tips: Every grocery store in town is going to have ground meat, condiments, chips and ice cream on sale for Labor Day. Take advantage and stock up. If the meat is a really good deal, buy a big package, portion it up at home, and freeze it for another day.
Estimated Cost: $8.00 for four
Notes: I make a condiment rich crunchy lettuce salad for these burgers, and then I skip condiments on the bun.
1 and 1/3 pound ground beef (not too lean)
1 teaspoon minced garlic, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
sliced cheese, (sharp cheddar or swiss work best)
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
sliced dill pickles
sliced red onion
In a medium bowl, lightly combine meat, egg, garlic, Worcestershire, pepper, and salt. Shape into patties. (Patties can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours, if desired.) Preheat grill for medium hot cooking. Grill patties about four minutes per side, topping with cheese for last minute of cooking. Let rest, covered, for five minutes, to finish cooking from residual heat. Meanwhile, combine lettuce, mayonnaise and mustard in a medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper. To make burgers, layer lettuce mixture, patty, tomato, pickle and onion on bottom buns. Cover with top buns and serve.
Homemade Hamburger Buns
Estimated Cost: $2.00 for 10
Notes: These buns will take your burger from so-so to unforgettable. Make them a couple days ahead and freeze them, or bake them up fresh. Use all purpose flour for a soft rich bun.
1 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon, divided
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for buttering bowl
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, yolk and white divided
2 and 1/4 teaspoon yeast (I use SAF)
3 cups flour
In a microwave safe small bowl, combine 1 cup milk, sugar and butter. Heat until butter just melts and mixture is warm but not hot. If it is hot, wait until it is lukewarm to proceed. In a large bowl, combine salt, egg white, yeast, and flour-one cup at a time, to form a soft dough. (In a separate small bowl, combine remaining egg yolk and tablespoon of milk). Knead dough briefly, about three minutes. Butter same bowl, replace dough, cover and let rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled. (At this point, you could punch the dough down and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours, or until ready to proceed.) Shape dough into 10 separate round buns. You can roll them out and cut them with a biscuit cutter, or you can simply shape them into 10 round buns. Let rise on a greased baking sheet for about 45 minutes, or until light and risen. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush buns with egg yolk mixture. Bake for about 15-18 minutes, or until nicely browned. Coming Tomorrow:
A Brief Break from Burgers for Barefoot Thursdays
Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Chicken Tenders and a Bonus
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I made an easier version for a Sunday evening family get-together, and this faster and homier technique would work well with any flavors. I mixed vanilla ice cream (homemade-but store-bought would work well) with peanut butter and chopped Reese's peanut butter cups, plunked into a pie dish, and stuck it in the freezer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I made a half batch of milk chocolate ganache and poured it over the top. When it was firm, I decorated the top with some aerosol whipping cream (lazy me) and more chopped peanut butter cups. That's it! Simple and beautiful and.....gone. Every last drop. Click here for the real recipe in its entirety. For a pie dish version, you'll only need about half of a ganache batch plus a little less than a half gallon of ice cream. Money Saving Tips:
Each attempt cost about $6.00, pretty reasonable for a great frozen dessert. Plain chocolate chips work well in this ganache. You can pep up a medium quality vanilla ice cream with any number of candies of flavorings, so be creative with what you've got on hand. Wouldn't it be delicious with raspberry ice cream and white chocolate ganache, mocha ice cream with toasted walnuts and dark chocolate, pistachio ice cream with dark chocolate....the possibilities are endless.
Labor Day Menu
Classic Cheeseburgers with Homemade Hamburger Buns
Sunday, August 24, 2008
We sold a few ads here and there, but mostly Tanji, shy scholar, and I giggled relentlessly at all the going-ons in the office. (Like the fact that every time the clueless boy walked into work he asked "Why does it always smell in here," never realizing it was the stodgy old boss that shared his desk.) The day I got engaged to Quiet Man, Tanji was the first to notice the shining band around my finger. I had made up my mind not to breathe a word at work unless someone noticed, and sure enough, it took Tanji about two seconds. Nothing gets by that girl . Somehow over the years we lost contact, until one day Tanji stumbled upon my blog and left me a comment. Other than having four adorable little charges and an impressive husband, the only thing that has changed about Tanji is that she is more hilarious, more gracious, and closer to perfect than ever.
So when Tanji emailed me this recipe from the food network for Provencal Vegetable Gratin, I already knew it would be luscious and addictive. I had to have it for dinner TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW. I made it twice in a row, the first time as written, and the second time the lazy way-which I liked every bit as much. In an effort to keep the oven off for long periods of time, I started it the second time in the micro, and it worked smashingly. Thanks, Tanji and I'm so glad that we can share not only good memories, but recipes too.
Money Saving Tips: You can use a medium quality olive oil here with good results. Use dried basil if you don't have fresh. If you're lucky, you can get all the main ingredients in your own garden or farmer's market for pennies.
Zucchini, Tomato, and Summer Squash Gratin adapted from the Food Network
Estimated Cost: $4.50
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rings
1 yellow squash, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rings
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
crusty baguette for serving
In a microwave and oven safe small baking dish or loaf pan, combine olive oil and garlic. Add onion, salt, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes and toss to coat with the oil. Pat down into pan. Preheat the broiler (if you want a crunch top). Cover baking dish with saran wrap and microwave on high for about 6 minutes, or until all vegetables are softened and cooked through. Sprinkle with basil and parmesan and pass briefly under the broiler to melt the cheese, if desired. You can just return the dish to the microwave to melt the cheese, also. Serve with slices of crusty french bread.
Coming First Light of Tuesday:
Tuesdays With Dorie Double Whammy
Mint Oreo Chocolate Ice Cream Torte AND
Reese's Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Ice Cream Pie
Saturday, August 23, 2008
It just isn't necessary to express every thought. Some things go without saying. Like the fact that you're really really tired at 4AM.
Or these pancakes, for instance. I could poke you in the shoulder and tell you how delicious they are, that they taste like something to eat in a beach house in Maine in the early morning hours, with a little crunch of Midwest sensibility from the cornmeal. I could tell you all that. But it really isn't necessary. You already know. I sure as heck won't wake you up at 4 AM to tell you all this, but when you do wake up, you're going to want these for breakfast.
Money Saving Tips: If you don't have buttermilk on hand, make some by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a 1-cup measuring cup and pouring milk to the top. Let stand for five minutes. Frozen blueberries work marvelously well if you don't have fresh. Raspberries, dried cranberries, or even kernels of corn would also be lovely here.
Blueberry Buttermilk Cornmeal Pancakes-adapted from the old Joy of Cooking
Estimated Cost: $4.00
Notes: I almost never make pancakes with butter in the batter, because frankly I want the most bang by putting butter on the top.
1 cup flour (I used half whole wheat)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
zest of one lemon
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (not thawed)
butter and maple syrup, for serving
In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, powder, soda, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, eggs, and zest. Pour over dry ingredients and mix very briefly, until just combined. Do not over mix. Gently mix in blueberries. Cook about 1/3 cup on lightly buttered griddle. Flip pancakes when bubbles form on raw side. Serve with butter and maple syrup.
Tomato, Zucchini and Summer Squash Gratin with Parmesan and Garlic
Friday, August 22, 2008
It's hard to swallow the idea that the Olympics will be over on Sunday. What did I do with myself before they began? I know I wasn't twiddling my thumbs, so what was it? What inspired me to exercise? How can I possibly stay motivated to get rid of my love handles without seeing Michael Phelps in his Speedo, or the women volleyball players in their itty bitty bathing suits or Nastia Lukin in her sassy pink leotard? The only possible advantage to the ending of the summer games is the return to my normal sleep pattern.
I've created an Olympic "closing exercise" dinner, loosely Asian themed, with lots of bold flavors and fresh vegetables. There's a noodle salad (one of my recipes that was published in Bon Appetit), with crisp fresh veggies flavored with sesame and honey and a peanut ginger slaw with a zingy peanut butter dressing. I suggest that you also make my soy and lime tri tip. I'm convinced that tri tip is the frugal fillet mignon. It has a little more bite, but the flavor and juiciness belie its reasonable price. For dessert, ginger cookies (try this recipe from the fabulous Del sisters) and sorbet would hit the spot.
Money Saving Tips: Use vegetables and herbs that you can find for a reasonable price. You can swap cilantro for mint or basil in either of these dishes with excellent results. Sesame oil is pricey, so if you don't have some on hand, you can use vegetable oil. Chop your own cabbage if the bagged mixes are overpriced. Don't pay extra for special Asian noodles; plain dried pasta works well here. The pasta salad is delicious cold, warm, or room temp, so plan on packing leftovers in your lunch this week.Spicy Asian-Style Pasta Salad
Estimated Cost: $5.00
Notes: My original calls for honey roasted peanuts to be scattered on top. I swapped them for sesame seeds, since it would be nutty overkill with the slaw. You can easily make this a main dish by adding cooked shrimp, chicken, or beef.
1/2 lb. linguini or other pasta,
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 and 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 and 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
generous pinch of cayenne
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup edamame, or snow peas (frozen and thawed is fine here)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1 tablespoons sesame seeds
Cook pasta according to package directions. (Don't wash the pot yet.) Drain and toss with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Meanwhile, combine 1 tablespoon sesame oil, honey, vinegar, soy and cayenne in a small bowl. Add remaining sesame oil (about 2 teaspoons) to pasta pot and heat over medium heat. Add pepper, carrot, onion, and edamame and cook for one minute. Mix with pasta and dressing. Toss with basil or cilantro and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.
Peanut Ginger Slaw
Estimated Cost: $5.00
Notes: This slaw is best about 10 minutes after you mix the ingredients together. Only make as much as you will eat in one sitting.
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, very finely chopped (Use 1/2 teaspoon dried, in a pinch)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (10 ounce) bag angel hair cabbage (you could also buy cole slaw bag)
1 cucumber, peeled, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts
In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, sugar, ginger, garlic, and oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste the dressing. You may need to adjust the sugar a bit, depending on the peanut butter you use. You want the dressing a little on the sweet side. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, cucumber, cilantro,scallions, and peanuts. Serve within 10-30 minutes.
Coming this weekend:
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
If you've got a recipe that's giving you trouble, or you need ideas about menu planning for parties, or info on how to utilize a certain ingredient, leave me a comment or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am Prudence Pennywise, your humble servant. I've had a reader request for updated recipes ideas using ground beef. Ground beef can be an economical (shop sales!) and with today's lean cuts, a healthful way of feeding a family. And it goes way beyond hamburgers. (But I love those, too.) I've toyed around with the classic, ever-popular Shepherd's Pie to include some summery vegetables and flavors, like corn, zucchini, and barbecue sauce. It's tough to resist the mashed potato and melted cheddar topping. This is a great make ahead Sunday late lunch, or a fun weeknight dinner; it's a stick to your ribs, homey and comfortable, man pleasin' kind of casserole. I baked mine in individual portions, just for fun, and also to have a few easy lunches to pop into the freezer.
Money Saving Tips: Always stock up on lean ground beef on sale, to be sure you're getting a good deal. You can use leftover corn from the cob here, or frozen or canned kernels. The zucchini here is optional, so if you can grab some from your garden, toss it in.
Cowboy Shepherd's Pie with Summer Vegetables and Cheddar Potatoes
Estimated Cost: $7.50 for 6 hearty servings
Notes: For a vegetarian version, replace the meat with two (15 ounce) cans of drained black beans.
1 and 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef (or turkey)
1 medium zucchini, chopped (optional)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup smoky barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 and 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen, thawed
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
chopped cilantro or scallions, for garnish
Place potatoes in a large pot of coled water over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Cook potatoes for about 13 minutes, or until tender. Drain potatoes and mash with milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Set aside briefly. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8 by 8 inch casserole. In a large saucepan, cook meat with zucchini, onions and garlic, breaking up with back of spoon, until meat is just cooked. Drain if necessary. Stir in barbecue sauce, mustard and brown sugar. Transfer to prepared casserole dish. Scatter corn evenly on top. Spread potatoes carefully over corn and sprinkle with cheese. (You can refrigerate this for up to 24 hours and bake it later, if desired.) Bake at 400 degrees, just until filling is bubbly and cheddar is nicely melted, about 25 minutes.
August Corn Chowder and Soft Honey Wheat Rolls