Thursday, February 24, 2011

Warm German Potato Salad

I just can't seem to bring myself to get rid of old, handwritten recipes, from relatives and friends who have  passed, even though I have them here on my computer.  I came across a web site, purely by chance, when comparing this recipe for  Grandma S.'s Warm German Potato Salad.  I don't know how old the recipe is.

It's barely legible now, all stained and faded,
  I have used this recipe ever since I received it, and it's the best I've found so far. I am posting this exactly as written.

Warm German Potato Salad

  1. Boil 6 medium potatoes until done in skins.  Peel and slice thinly.
  2. Fry 6 slices bacon till crisp
  3. Reserve 1/3 cup bacon fat and cook till yellow 3/4 cup thin sliced onion
  4. Mix in 2 Tbs. flour, 1-2 Tbs. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. celery seed (if desired), dash pepper
  5. Stir in gradually 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup vinegar
  6. Cook #5 till mixture boils 1 minute.
  7. Pour over potatoes - cover and let stand until ready to serve
  8. Heat over hot water
  9. Garnish with pieces of bacon and minced parsely.  Serve 6.

~Grandma S.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blue Plate Special - Slow Simmered Jamaican Jerk Pork

This seems to be the week for Slow-Cookers.  I really don't use mine that often, but I've been seeing some really good recipes from my foodie buds.  I've never tried anything with Jamaican Jerk seasonings, and this recipe uses alot.  It's a good idea to go through your spices every one in a while and replace the ones that have been in the spice rack for more than 5 years!  When you pull out the spices to make this, I'm sure you'll need to replace something, something that you don't use that often. 

For the Jerk Rub:
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. each black pepper, ground allspice and ginger
  • 1 tsp. each kosher salt, onion powder, red pepper flakes, dry mustard, ground nutmeg and cinnamon
Coat 3-3-1/2 lb. boneless pork loin roast.

For the Jerk Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 Tbsp. molasses
  • 2 Tbsp. minced jalapeno
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca
Combine all rub ingredients and coat pork with rub mixture.  Sear in 1 Tbsp. oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until browned on all sides.  Transfer pork to slow cooker.  Stir together jerk sauce ingredients and transfer sauce to slow cooker.  Peel 2 lbs. sweet potatoes and cut into 2-inch chunks.  Arrange potatoes around roast, cover slow cooker, and cook on high setting for 3 hours.

Peach Salsa
  • 3 cups canned peach slices, diced, or fresh, if possible
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. jalepeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Stir in 3 Tbsp. Orange juice, 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer roast to a cutting board.  Remove potatoes to a large bowl; reserve sauce.  Add 1/2 cup milk, 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter and 1 Tbsp. brown sugar to potatoes.  Mash until smooth then season with salt and pepper. (These potatoes taste like sweet potato pie with a little kick - delicious!)

Slice pork and serve with sauce and potatoes with salsa on the side.
~Adapted from Cuisine at Home
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Fried Mac and Cheese Balls

I tried these once at TGIFriday's.  I always wondered how they did you know!

So here is the recipe for the Fried Mac and Cheese Balls.  Hope you enjoy!
  • Leftovers of your favorite Mac and Cheese
  • 2 cups Italian Seasoned Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. each of: Paprika, chili powder, pepper, salt, sugar and cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg beaten, with 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • Oil for frying
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.  Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, scoop into balls.

Freeze for 1-2 hours, or until firm.

Mix bread crumbs with spices

Combine egg and milk.  Bread the Mac and Cheese Balls, coating with flour, into the egg and milk mixture, then coating well with the breadcrumbs.  Let sit about 15 minutes to defrost.

Fry in 350 degree oil until will browned, at least 3 minutes to make sure they are cooked through.  Serve with your favorite marinara sauce.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

French Quarter Beignets

Mardi Gras falls on Tuesday, March 8th, this year.  "Fat Tuesday" is the last day of the carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday.

When I think of New Orleans, I think of the famous beignets.  I've never been to the French Quarter, but my sister went on a business trip and brought me back some beautiful Mardi Gras masks and some prints from an artist in the area.

French Quarter Beignets
  • 1 envelope Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 3-l/2 to 3-3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. shortening
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Confectioner's sugar
Combine yeast, water and sugar in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Let set until frothy, about 5 mins.

Add salt, egg and evaporated milk.  Mix on low.  Add half of the flour and mix until incorporated.  Add shortening.  Add remaining flour, a little at a time until well incorporated and dough is not sticky.  Knead on low for 5 minutes.  Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough and turn onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 1/2" thick.  Cut into 2" x 3" squares, and place on a floured baking sheet and let rise an additional 40 minutes.

Heat 2-3" of vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 350 degrees.  Carefully place 2 to 3 beignets into the hot oil and fry until golden brown.  These fry very quickly.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Serve hot with plenty of powdered sugar.

Beignet is the french word for "fried dough".  Most cultures have some version of this.  In polish cuisine, they are called Paczki (POHNCH-kee), Italians have zeppole.  Polish Paczki are usually filled with jam or jelly and coated with sugar or dusted with confectioner's sugar.  Beignets are loaded with powdered sugar.

Remember not to wear anything black while enjoying these, the powdered sugar will be a dead giveaway that you've been munching on these delightful little pillows.

Enjoy with a hot cup of Cafe Au Lait - 1 part French Roast Coffee and 1 part steamed milk.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez
"Let the Good Times Roll!"
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cheesy Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

This recipe came from three different places.  The first time I saw this made was on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  Everything went into the pot, including the lettuce!  I'm surprised she didn't throw in a sesame seed bun!  I liked the idea of it, everyone loves a cheeseburger, especially with bacon.  The second inspiration of the name came from one of my son's favorite cheeseburger from one of those nameless chains.  A Cheesy Bacon Cheeseburger topped with all the traditional toppings and the addition of fried mozzarella sticks.  Cheesy!  Lastly, I saw a similar recipe in a magazine under "Feed Six for $10.00".  The ingredients looked good.  I decided to take this one on, with some variations of my own.  I "Rocked the Crock" today, as one of my blogger buddies would say, as it is 55 degrees out today and I'm getting out of the house.

Cheesy Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
  • l/4 lb. bacon, chopped
  • l lb. 85% ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
  • 1-1/2 cups Queso Dip - Medium
  • 1 32 oz. container Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
The original recipe called for a condensed cheddar cheese soup.  When I checked the label, this soup (marked less sodium) had 650 mg. or 27% salt.  I replaced this with the Queso which had 280 mg. or 12% sodium.  I try not to use processed food whenever possible, but everything in moderation.

Fry the bacon in a skillet on medium heat until crisp.  Drain on paper towel and reserve for garnish.  Drain all fat from the pan.  In same skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until beef is brown, drain fat.

In your slow cooker, combine beef mixture, potatoes, carrot, ketchup, mustard, and salt and pepper.  Add broth and Queso and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10-11 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 5-1/2 hours.  Top each serving with cheese and bacon bits.  All you need is a pickle!  Cook's Note:  Total cost of meal approximately $9.92.  Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from ~Better Homes & Gardens
Gooseberry Patch - Soups and Stews
The Country Cook - Soups and Stews Linky Party

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Old Fashioned Tapioca Pudding

One of my mom's and my favorite desserts growing up was tapioca pudding.  You don't see it that much anymore.  Tapicoa pudding is one of those comfort foods that brings back happy childhood memories and it's really easy to make.

  • 1/2 cup small pearl tapioca
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Combine tapioca, milk, and salt in a medium size saucepan on medium-high heat.  Stir frequently until boiling.  Simmer 5 minutes, uncovered at the lowest possible heat, adding sugar gradually.
Beat eggs in a separate bowl.  Mix in some of the hot tapioca very slowly to temper the eggs.  Return eggs to the pan with the tapioca.  Slowly bring mixture barely to a boil stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and stir several minutes until the pudding thickens.  Cool 15 minutes.  Add vanilla.  Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 4-6
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Meat Sauce Bolognese

Many people know that Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day.  Go back in time for a few moments, and watch the YouTube commercial.

I have to have something Italian at least twice a week.  Love my macaroni!

This is my Italian-American Meat Sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 lbs. total of beef, pork and veal mixed (meatloaf mix)
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 3 - 35 oz. canned italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1/2 tsps. dried oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or milk
Heat the olive oil in a large 4 quart pan or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Stir in the onion, carrot, celery and garlic , season with salt, and cook, stirring until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Crumble in the ground meats and continue cooking, stirring to break up the meat.  A potato masher works really well to break up the meat.  Cook until all the liquid the meat has given off is evaporated and the meat is lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Pour in the wine and cook until the wine is evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add tomato paste, oregano, bay leaf and red pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes.

  Puree the tomatoes in a blender and add to the meat mixture.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Stir in heavy cream.  Bring to a boil, and lower to simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, about 2 hours.

This recipe makes about 12 cups, enough to fill and sauce Lasagna or to dress about 3 pounds of pasta.  Freeze any leftovers for another Wednesday.

Toasted Homemade Garlic Bread
  • 1 loaf French or Italian Bread
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. fresh Italian Parsley
  • 1 tsp. oregano
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix butter, garlic, parsley and oregano in a small bowl.  Slice bread horizontally and spread garlic mixture on both halves.  Place on baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Philly Cheesesteak Story

I think I went to Philadelphia when I was in grammar school.  I vaguely remember taking a picture of the Liberty Bell with my "Instamatic".  I took a day trip a few years ago.  Philadelphia is a beautiful city, eclectic artwork everywhere, and a gorgeous old train station.

My Friend Jeff's art - pretty cool!

 It goes without saying, that when in Philadelphia, you must stop and get a cheesesteak sandwich.  I'm sure you have all heard about the feud between Geno's and Pat's - we went to Pat's King of Steaks.  Geno's is directly across the street.
 The line was around the corner as you can see.  This place is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There is a sign that explains how you have to order.  You ask for your sandwich and then you say "wit" or "wit-out" -
which means with or without onions.  That's a Philly accent for you.  My Jersey accent almost compares, "you wanna cuppa cawfee"?  The sandwich was delicious and I was determined to try to make one at home.

There are four basic ingredients to a Philly Cheesesteak.
Ribeye steak, onion, Cheez Whiz and a hoagie roll. 

Cheez Whiz is the standard and what makes this a Philly Cheesesteak.  Geno's offers provolone.  

My only dilemma was to try to figure out how to slice the meat paper thin.  I froze the meat for about 1-1/2 hours and was able to slice it super thin on a diagonal, as you would for a stir-fry.  When they cook the steaks at Pat's, they chop up the meat on the grill, so this would be the same outcome.  Cook's Note:  I paid about $7.50 for the meat, Pat's charges $7.50 for one sandwich.  This made 4 sandwiches.

You will need:
  • 32 oz. thinly sliced rib eye steak
  • 6 Tbs. canola oil
  • 8 oz. jar of Cheez Whiz
  • 1 large spanish onion
  • 4 crusty hoagie rolls
  • Optional toppings could be sauteed peppers or mushrooms
Heat an iron skillet over medium heat.  Add 3 Tbs. of oil to the pan and saute the onions to desired doneness.

Remove the onions, then add the remaining oil and saute the slices of meat quickly on both sides.

While meat is cooking, melt the Cheez Whiz in a double boiler or in the microwave.  If you are going to microwave the Whiz, watch it, because it can burn.  About 2 minutes is enough to melt the cheese.  Once the meat is done, place 1/4 of the meat into the rolls.  Add onions, and pour the Cheez Whiz over the top.  Garnish with hot or sweet peppers and ketchup.

Pat's Queen of Steaks!

Thanks Jeff

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Roasted Broccoli and Grape Tomatoes

Since I started roasting broccoli, I rarely make it any other way now.  It's wonderful on its own, but I added the addition of grape tomatoes which made it even better!  I bought 4 broccoli crowns, but it never seems to be enough.

The roasted broccoli is crisp-tender, the florets become little crunchy bits, the tomatoes are soft and juicy and you get little tidbits of crunchy roasted garlic...what could be better!~  A quick, easy and healthy side dish.  I really hope you will try this.

Roasted Broccoli and Grape Tomatoes
  • 8 cups broccoli crowns, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Toss broccoli, tomatoes, oil, garlic, salt and pepper on a large baking sheets.  Spread in an even layer.
I can't give you exact measurements on the olive oil, just enough to lightly coat the broccoli.

Bake until the broccoli begins to brown, about 20-25 minutes.
While still warm, squeeze fresh lemon juice and additional olive oil as desired.  Simply delicious!

~Adapted from Eating Well, 2007

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tuxedo Strawberries

There is nothing quite as sweet and juicy as chocolate covered strawberries.  It's a special Valentine's Day treat and can add a special touch to a romantic dinner for two.

Its so easy to make this decadent delight.

Things you will need:

1 lb. fresh strawberries
8 oz. Semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
6 oz. White chocolate chips
4 tsp. canola oil
Wax Paper
Cookie Sheet
2 microwaveable bowls

Rinse off strawberries in cool water and pat dry.  Cover bottom of cookie sheet with wax paper.
Place white chocolate chips in a medium bowl.  Add 2 tsp. canola oil.  Microwave at 70% power for 1 minute.  Stir and microwave at 10-15 minute intervals until melted.

Dip strawberries into white chocolate all the way up to the leaves.  Place on wax paper and let set 10-15 minutes.

Microwave chocolate as above.  Dip the strawberry on it's sides, one at a time leaving a "V" of visible white chocolate in the middle return to wax paper.
Take a toothpick and carefully dot chocolate onto the white chocolate "V" to form a bow tie and buttons.
Chill for 2 hours or until set.

All dressed up for any special occasion!

Happy Valentine's Day

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Polish Pierogi

Pierogi are a traditional Polish noodle dumpling, filled with a variety of sweet and savory mixtures.  I grew up with my Polish Cioci making these for us.  My mom learned from her and so on down the line.  When my mom would make these, we would set up an assembly line.  She would roll out the dough and make the circles, I would add the fillings and close them up, and my father would boil them.  Unfortunately, both of them are gone now and I have to make them on my own.  I usually make them for the holidays, or just when we get in the mood for them.  Next in line is my son's girlfriend.  She is from Costa Rica and has no clue about Polish cooking.  So i'm going to get her into the kitchen with me so she can learn to make these for my son.  His favorite is with sauerkraut filling.  The possibilities of fillings are endless, but these are the three that I make.

Pierogi Dough:
  • 4 cups, all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup warm water, plus 2 to 3 Tbs. if needed
  • 1 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients and knead until well blended, about 5 minutes.  You can either do this by hand or in your mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Let dough rest 30 minutes covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel.
For many years, we would roll out this dough by hand on a big wooden board that my father made for my mom.  He also made one for me.

 I have a pasta machine now, and I use this for rolling out any or most dough that I make.  Divide dough in 8 pieces and work one piece at a time, keeping remaining dough covered.  Roll to 1/8" thickness (Setting #5 on the pasta machine). Cut into 3" rounds.  I use a coffee mug that measures 3" across.  Anything will do.

Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each round.

 Moisten the edges with water, fold over and press together to seal.

 Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add pierogi, without crowding and cook until pierogi float to the top. After they float to the surface, allow them to cook another 3 to 4 minutes.

 I put the cooked pierogi in foil pans in two dozen batches and drizzle with melted butter.

The fillings:
Potato-Cheese Filling

  • 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
Peel and cube potatoes.  Cook in boiling salted water until tender just as you would do for mashed potatoes.
While potatoes are cooking, melt butter in skillet and fry onions until caramelized.  Use half of the caramelized onions for the potato-cheese filling and the other half for the sauerkraut filling.

 Drain potatoes, add  half the onions and cheddar cheese and mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Let cool.

Sauerkraut Filling
  • l- 16.oz bag sauerkraut, drained, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1 cup sauteed onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
In same skillet used above with half the sauteed onions, add garlic and sauerkraut and fry for about 5 minutes until slightly softened.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  If the sauerkraut tastes too sour, add a pinch of sugar.  Let cool.

All fillings can be made the day before and refrigerated.

Plum Filling

This is a sweet filling.  Not many have heard of this, but it's delicious and different..
  • 2 cups dried, pitted plums
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
In a saucepan, cover plums with water.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let stand 20 minutes.  Drain the plums.  Add lemon juice and sugar and cook until most of the liquid is gone. Put one plum in each dough circle and seal. Boil in lightly salted water until they float and boil an additional 3-4 minutes as above.  Saute these sweet pierogi in 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, add 1 Tbs. sugar and 1 Tbs. plain bread crumbs.  Dust with powdered sugar.  I like to brown the butter slightly.
Sweet Cheese Filling:

1 lb. Farmer's Cheese
1 large egg, beaten
4Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the finished dish:
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Sour cream for garnish

Saute chopped onion in butter in a large pan until onions are soft.  Add pierogies and fry until lightly browned and heated through.  Whenever I am sauteing onions in butter, for any dish, my sons yell out "Ma - you making pierogies?"  I love that!  The smells from the kitchen and memories that last forever.

Makes 4 dozen potato-cheese, 2 dozen sauerkraut, and 1 dozen plum pierogies.
You can freeze these but there won't be any left.  A half-day's work but a labor of love.  You need to multi-task when you are in the kitchen!

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Apple Puffs

Entenman's cakes.  Not really what they used to be, but I still have my favorites, one of them being Apple Puffs.  I had one sheet of puff pastry left in the fridge and wanted to use it up.  This is a quick, easy recipe for a flaky, warm apple turnover (puff).  I cut the recipe in half since I only had one puff pastry sheet.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped coarse
  • 1 Tb. lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Pulse apples, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, and salt in food processor until chopped finely.  If you don't have a food processor you can grate the apples on the coarse side of a box grater.  Let apples drain in a colander for 5 minutes.  Transfer apple mixture to a bowl and add applesauce.  I sprinkled a little cinnamon in the apple mixture as well.

Unfold 1 sheet puff pastry onto lightly floured work surface and roll into 10-inch square.  The pastry sheet measured 10 inches by 9 inches, so you only need to roll one end.  Cut into 4 squares.  Fill each turnover with 2 Tbs. apple mixture, brush edges with reserved apple juice, then fold and crimp.  Place turnovers on a plate and freeze until firm, 15 minutes.

Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Place turnovers on baking sheet and brush tops with reserved apple juice and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Bake until well brown, 20 to 25 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Drizzle with confectioner's sugar glaze.

~Adapted from Cook's Country
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Balsamic Black Pepper Strawberries

I know this sounds a little unusual, but it really is delicious.
I served the strawberries with strawberry ice cream.

  • 1 qt. ripe strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
  • 3 Tb. sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tb. good quality balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground coarse black pepper.
Place the sliced berries in a medium bowl.  Sprinkle the berries with the sugar and balsamic vinegar and toss gently to coat.  Allow the berries to macerate in the vinegar and sugar mixture for 15 minutes.
Add 4 to 5 grinds of coarse black pepper to the berries, and toss to coat.

This simple Italian dessert is stunning on its own, and can be served over salad, ice cream or toasted pound cake.

Artisan Cast Iron Dutch Oven Bread

This recipe is a typical one with two rising periods.  Most of this time it's the yeast working and not you! 2 cups water 1...