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Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

27 Nov

Also known as THE PIE(tm) on my blog.

Ingredients:
- One 9″ prepared pie crust, do not pre-bake/blind bake
- 4 TBSP butter, softened
- 3/4 c light brown sugar, packed
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 c light Karo (corn) syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 c crushed pecans
- 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 TBSP bourbon (such as Maker’s Mark)

Cream butter. Add sugar gradually while beating. Add beaten eggs, Karo, salt, vanilla, and flour. Stir in chips and nuts. Stir in bourbon until well mixed. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to remix.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place crust in a glass pie dish, flour the bottom lightly.

Stir batter one final time, and pour into pie crust. Place on the bottom rack of the oven (if you don’t the bottom crust will come out soggy, as I discovered to my dismay) and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. If necessary, cover pie crust edges with foil to avoid burning. Continue baking for about 45 minutes, until center is no longer jiggly.

Let cool nearly completely before serving; pie surface will settle considerably during cooling. Serve with Whiskey Brown Sugar Whipped Cream.

Refrigerate leftovers.

(Adapted from a recipe provided to me by Dyskinesia and Taoist Biker, who are officially reserved a special place in Heaven for this.)

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy)

23 Feb

My clean kitchen

My clean kitchen

So remember how a couple of weeks ago – okay, more like a month ago – I was talking about how Amanda and I watched “Julie and Julia” and how I now simply HAD TO make Boeuf Bourguignon but I couldn’t because I didn’t have a Le Creuset casserole? Well, apparently my MOST AWESOME AND WONDERFUL NEIGHBOR JOHANNA reads my blog. She is possessed of a Le Creuset casserole the exact type that I required to fulfill my lifelong month-long dream. One afternoon, before I got home from work but AFTER Bill was home from work (this is a key detail), she knocked on the door and presented Bill with this casserole, telling him I could now fulfill my lifelong month-long dream of making succulent, delicious, amazingly wonderfully tasty Boeuf Bourguignon ala Julia Child.

Anyway. So, I walk in the door after work and see this casserole sitting on the kitchen counter. I absolutely FREAKING SQUEE’D, recognizing what it was right away (of course). Bill looked at me like, “Really? It’s that exciting?” I said to him. “You. Did. NOT. You did NOT just buy me a Le Creuset casserole???? YOU DID NOT!” To which Bill responded with, “Well… no. I did not. Johanna read that you needed one to make that beef thingy you wanted to make, so she brought this over for you to borrow.” So, I was momentarily deflated, but unsurprised, because it would have been 1) a really big friggin’ shock if Bill had known me THAT well, to know how much I wanted one of these;, 2) had somehow kept the $350 purchase a secret from me; 3) had actually surprised me with it on, like, a Tuesday afternoon for no reason whatsoever.

And then I was all, HOW AWESOME IS JOHANNA???

Johanna's Le Creuset Casserole

Johanna's Le Creuset Casserole

She is the best. neighbor. EVER.

A couple of weeks passed before I had the opportunity to make the dish. Yesterday turned out to finally be the day, so I got started at noon on the button, the better to ascertain the timing of the preparation and cooking of Boeuf Bourguignon ala Julia Child. I looked up the recipe. I studied it. I pondered it. Then I went about changing things, because that’s just how I roll.

I kind of borrowed the best bits from the method of Julia Child and the method of Ina Garten, and made this recipe easier to deal with. For one, hey Julia? What the heck is a “lardon” of bacon? Is bacon even sold in solid chunks anymore? And why the heck did it need to be boiled? I just provided instructions to dice and sauté the bacon, which is what Ina recommended.

Also, Julia had much more complicated instructions for the onion and mushrooms, added near the end of the stew’s cooking time. Rather than fool with simmering the onions in broth for an hour, I just instructed that they be sautéed in olive oil and herbs. Your mileage may vary, if you’re using fresh whole pearl onions and you’re concerned that sautéing them won’t soften them enough to be added to the stew, then go ahead and use the instructions Julia provided.

Speaking of herbs, Julia seemed to like to use fresh, tied in sprigs, and then removed at the end. I like my herbs to remain in my dish, so I subbed for dried. Also, Julia wanted me to drain the stew of its broth and make separate sauce to be added back in, whereas Ina provided instructions for thickening the stew right in the pot. I went with the latter.

My family dislikes onions so I didn’t add the pearl onions in at the end, just the mushrooms.

Finally, Ina’s recipe called for the meat to be cooked for 1 ¼ hours at 250 degrees, where Julia’s was for 3-4 hours at 325. I very much doubted the meat would be done per the time and temp Ina indicated (I was right), so I went for the 325 degree setting and the meat was done at 3 ¼ hours. I started cold (with all the cutting/slicing/prepping yet to do) at noon exactly, and the food was ready to eat at 4:45 p.m.

Ingredients for Beef Burgundy

Ingredients for Beef Burgundy

Ina’s recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/beef-bourguignon-recipe/index.html
Julia’s recipe: http://www.recipezaar.com/Boeuf-Bourguignon-a-La-Julia-Child-148007

Of course, as soon as I finished chopping and cutting and slicing all of the ingredients (primarily the bacon and the beef), the new knife set that I was waiting for was finally delivered. I’d hope to break them in on this dish, but the timing was off. Still, aren’t they pretty?

Chicago Fusion Cutlery

Chicago Fusion Cutlery

My recipe:

• 8-12 ounces center cut bacon, diced
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2.5-3 lbs lean stewing beef (such as chuck roast), cut into 2-inch cubes
• 1 carrot, peeled and sliced (or 12 baby carrots, halved)
• 1 onion, peeled and sliced (my family dislikes onions, so I just quartered a large sweet onion and left it in chunks so they could pick it out)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3 cups red wine (a full bodied wine like Bordeaux or Burgundy or Chianti)
• 2-3 cups beef stock or broth
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 bay leaf
FOR THE BRAISED ONIONS
• 18-24 white pearl onions, peeled (again, my family dislikes onions so skipped the additional onions – frozen onions can also be used, drain and thaw first)
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• salt & fresh ground pepper
• ½ tsp tried thyme
• 1 tbsp dried parsley
FOR THE SAUTEED MUSHROOMS
• 1 lb mushroom, quartered (or halved if the mushrooms are small)
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
2. Put one tablespoon of olive oil in a large (9″ – 10″ wide, 3″ deep) oven-proof casserole (such as a Le Creuset) and warm over moderate heat.
3. Sauté the bacon for about ten minutes to brown and lightly crisp.

cooking bacon

cooking bacon

4. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
5. Dry off the pieces of beef and sauté them in several batches in the hot oil/bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. It’s important that the beef be dry or it will not brown properly. And we’re talking about cooking, like, ten or twelve pieces at a time, darlings. Don’t crowd the meat.

Dry the beef well between layers of paper towels.

Dry the beef well between layers of paper towels.

Brown the meat a little at a time.

Brown the meat a little at a time.

6. Once browned, remove to the side plate with the bacon. You are now done with the most labor-intensive part of the recipe.

Browned beef and bacon.

Browned beef and bacon.

7. In the same oil/fat, sauté the onion and the carrot until softened. Remove vegetables to a side plate.

Cooking onion.

Cooking onion.

Cooking carrots.

Cooking carrots.

8. Pour off the fat and return the bacon and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion.
9. Toss the contents of the casserole with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour.

Add flour to the beef and veggie mixture.

Add flour to the beef and veggie mixture.

10. Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes.
11. Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for 4 more minutes.
12. Now, lower the oven heat to 325°F and remove the casserole from the oven.
13. Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Scrape a spatula or flat whisk along the bottom of the casserole to deglaze the lovely brown bits. This will make for a delicious and nicely-colored sauce.
14. Add the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf.
15. Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove.

Beef Burgundy, getting ready to go in the oven.

Beef Burgundy, getting ready to go in the oven.

16. Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for three to four hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. Check every hour until desired tenderness is achieved. For us, it’s when the meat falls apart easily.
———-
17. At the end of the meat’s cooking time, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
18. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet. Sauté over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart. Remove to a plate. (I skipped this part.)
19. For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet. As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat. Place on plate with onions.

Oil and butter, making a snowflake in the cast iron skillet.

Oil and butter, making a snowflake in the cast iron skillet.

Cooking mushrooms.

Cooking mushrooms.

———-
20. When the meat is tender, remove the casserole from the oven. Skim visible fat from the surface of the sauce, if desired.
21. Distribute the mushrooms and onions over the meat. Bring to a simmer on the stove and cook for 15 minutes. Skim fat as necessary/desired.
22. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock.
23. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency, or dissolve two tbsp of flour in broth and add slowly to the stew. (For the record, the consistency of my dish was perfect and needed neither thickening nor thinning.)

Out of the oven.

Out of the oven.

24. Taste for seasoning.
25. Serve in the casserole or on a warm platter surrounded by noodles, potatoes or rice and garnished with fresh parsley. Offer fresh crusty bread.

Boeuf Bourguignon with egg noodles.

Boeuf Bourguignon with egg noodles.

It turned out really freaking well. Even Bill was all, “Om nom nom nom,” which is the highest accolade he has to offer. I can now cross the making of Boeuf Bourguignon off of my bucket list. And DAMN, I’m buying me one of those casseroles. Price tag be damned.

Prime Rib Roast (Standing Rib Roast) with Au Jus

26 Dec

We first made this for Christmas 2009, and it came out so well we that might never go back to our traditional lobster dinner at Christmas (or at least, not for a few years). I compiled this recipe/method from several different sources. In summary, the roast is marinaded for 24 hours before cooking, then rubbed with a paste and seared at a high temperature to seal in the juices and give it a nice crust, before reducing the cooking temp to roast slowly for the remaining cooking time. The result is nicely pink prime rib steaks that fall away from the bone. It looks a lot more complicated than it actually is, trust me!

Ingredients:

One well-marbled butcher-tied standing rib roast (keep it tied, don’t remove the twine!):
- 6 people – three rib roast – 7-8.5 lbs
- 8 people – four rib roast – 9-10.5 lbs (this is the size I usually make – it repeatedly feeds six hearty servings with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day)
- 10 people – five rib roast – 11-13.5 lbs
- 12 people – six rib roast – 14-16 lbs
- 14 people – seven rib roast – 16-18.5 lbs

Marinade:
1 1/4 cup dry red wine (I personally prefer cabernet sauvignon)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup water

Rub Paste:
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp prepared horseradish
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
(do not salt the roast prior to cooking, it dries it out!)

Basting Liquid:
1 cup beef broth or stock
1/4 cup dry red wine

Au Jus:
Juices from the roast
2 tbsp of fat from the juices (discard remainder)
3 cups beef stock or good quality beef broth
1/2 cup dry red wine
salt and pepper to taste

Tools/Utensils:
One large, high sided (about three inches) roasting pan, no rack necessary
One instant read meat thermometer (absolutely required!)
One flat whisk (recommended)
One VERY sharp carving knife (absolutely required, serrated works best!)
Two large meat forks

Instructions:

1. 24 HOURS before cooking the roast, mix all of the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl. Place the roast inside a very large tupperware container with a lid. Pour the marinade over the roast, flip it a few times to coat, cover, and place in the refrigerator. Turn the roast several times over the 24-hour period to evenly marinate the meat.

2. TWO HOURS before putting the roast in the oven, remove it from the refrigerator, pat it dry, place it in the roasting pan you’re going to use, cover it loosely with tinfoil, and allow it to sit out on the counter. The meat will cook more evenly, and more quickly, if it’s put into the oven at room temperature.

3. When it’s time to put the roast in the oven, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, mix together all of the ingredients for the rub paste. Thoroughly rub all sides and both ends of the rib roast, then place it bone side down/fat side up in the roasting pan. Place it in the oven and roast at 450 for fifteen minutes.

4. After fifteen minutes, turn the oven down to 325 degrees and finish cooking for the remaining time.

5. Baste the roast every half-hour with the broth and wine.

6. Cook until the internal temperature reads 120 degrees F with the instant read thermometer. APPROXIMATE times are as follows, but always use the thermometer reading over the cooking time. Start checking the temperature of the roast a half-hour before the end of the cooking time indicated below:

7-8.5 lbs – 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours
9-10.5 lbs – 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours (for a four-rib roast mine is usually at 120 degrees F right at two hours)
11-13.5 lbs – 2 1/4 to 2/3/4 hours
14-16 lbs – 3 to 3 1/4 hours
16 to 18.5 lbs – 3 1/4 to 4 hours

7. When the thermometer reads 120 degrees, remove the roast from the oven, place on a cutting board or rimmed cookie sheet, and tent tightly with foil for 15-20 minutes. The roast will continue to cook slightly as it rests, so it’s important to remove the roast from the oven at 120 degrees internal temperature.

8. While the roast is resting, make the au jus. Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a measuring cup to allow fat and juices to separate. DO NOT clean out the browned bits from the roasting pan, they’re what give the au jus color and flavor. Place the roasting pan over two burners turned to medium heat. Pour in two tablespoons of the fat (discard the rest), the roast juices, the beef broth, and the wine. Using a flat whisk, scrape up all the browned bits from the pan and incorporate into the liquid. Simmer on medium heat for about five minutes to slightly thicken the au jus. Remember, au jus is NOT thick like gravy, it’s more broth-like. Once thoroughly mixed and heated through, pour au jus from the pan into a gravy boat.

9. To carve the prime rib roast, cut off the twine holding the roast onto the bone. Using a large meat fork, stand the roast on its side with the ends of the bones facing upward. The bones should fall away from the roast itself (like opening a book), held onto the meat at the base (or “spine” of the book). Slice the bones away from the base of the meat so that they separate in one piece together. Save the bones for nibbling on, or making soup.

10. Slice the roast across the grain to whatever thickness you prefer. Serve on large plates and drizzle with au jus. Offer prepared horseradish on the side.

Recommended sides: mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables (asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli), baked potato soup, green salad.

Steak Dinner with All The Fixin’s

23 Feb

Last night Bill was in the mood to spend some time in the kitchen with me. One of my favorite things to do is cook with Bill – the two of us gravitate toward one another as we work our way around the meal preparation. We tease. We talk. We exchange pecks while passing each other to the stove or the fridge. We taste test (never trust a skinny chef). We bicker cheerfully about prep techniques and seasoning. In last night’s case, we did all of this while maneuvering around the camera-mounted tripod. The sum of our efforts always result in exponentially better meals; more so than if one of us and prepared it alone.

Last night, we surpassed even our own best efforts. Oh, lord, have mercy.

First, we went to the grocery store. I love shopping with Bill, though we inevitably end up spending twice as much as if I’d gone alone. We LOVE to eat, have I mentioned? We kept up a running discussion of just what, exactly, we needed to make our dinner perfect. For this meal, the cost was COMPLETELY worth it. Here’s the list of ingredients for copying our meal exactly. You’re going to want to do this. Trust me.

Cooking with Bill and Tiffany – Fabulous Steak Dinner With All The Fixin’s

Essential Equipment:
- cast iron skillet
- meat thermometer

Ingredients:
- 2 Fillet Mignon steaks, approximately two inches thick (these were probably, like, 10+ oz each)
- 1 bunch fresh spinach
- 1 lb baby potatoes
- 1 package sliced mushrooms (we used baby portobello)
- 1 bottle good-quality red wine (we used Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon)
- fresh cracked pepper (table pepper would work, too)
- kosher or pearl salt (table salt would work too, just be sparing)
- vegetable or canola oil
- olive oil
- butter
- crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese
- 3 cloves minced garlic, separated
- Worcestershire sauce
- non-stick cooking spray

This recipe absolutely requires a cast-iron skillet. If you don’t have one, go out and buy one. They’re only around $25. I have one of these pre-seasoned deals, and I love it. Pioneer Woman made me do it. She’s handy that way.

I must also mention that this steak recipe is ruthlessly stolen and slightly modified from The Barefoot Contessa’s Steakhouse Steak recipe. It’s good karma to give credit where credit is due.

Now, to get down to bidness.

About two hours before you intend to start the steaks, you’ll need to marinate them. Start by pouring yourself a big glass of wine, thusly:

barefoot

Now, in a glass dish big enough to hold both steaks, combine 1 cup of wine, 2 tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste (Calvin also tossed in a couple of blurts of Tabasco, and sprinkled each steak with a bit of tenderizer and poked ‘em with a fork). Place the steaks in the marinade, turn to coat, then cover and refrigerate until ready to cook – at least two hours. Flip ‘em over every now and then to marinade them evenly.

marinated

Okay. Ready to cook? Take the steaks out of the fridge and uncover them to bring them up to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. While the oven is heating, prep your baby potatoes:

potatoes

Wash ‘em, pat ‘em dry, cut the larger ones in half to even up the cooking, then put them in a large bowl. Toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil, two cloves of garlic, salt, and pepper. A little rosemary and/or dill is good, too. Pour them into an oven-safe baking dish and put them in the oven.

Wait ten minutes to allow the potatoes to roast. Have another glass of wine. Watch the Oscars. Dance around to 80′s music. Do your thang.

Next, place your cast iron skillet on the stove. Spray it with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray and heat it on HIGH heat for about five minutes. While the skillet is heating, remove the steaks from the marinade and pat them dry with paper towels. Brush each steak on all sides with a light coating of canola oil. Then, either by putting cracked pepper and kosher salt on a plate, or by sprinkling directly onto the steaks, coat each side (including THE sides) with a light “crust” of salt and pepper, pressing and massaging into the meat (you dirty kids). I combined the salt and pepper into a small bowl, then grabbed little handfuls of it to rub into the meat. I’d say I used one tablespoon of salt (KOSHER, mind) and one tablespoon of pepper for each steak. Really, for this step you can NOT be afraid to get your hands dirty. Just wash ‘em afterwards. You’re durable that way.

Place the steaks into the HOT skillet and sear on all sides (including THE sides) for 1-2 minutes each side. This will sear the steaks to a lovely dark color and adhere the seasonings like a “crust”. Here’s a shot of the steaks searing on their sides – kind of tricky if they can’t balance without being held:

browning

Once the steaks are seared, lay them flat in the skillet if they aren’t already. Top each steak with one tablespoon of butter (we used salted – don’t be afraid of the butter, it is your friend). Place the skillet into the oven with the potatoes and TURN THE OVEN DOWN TO 400 DEGREES (this is important so you don’t overcook the steaks). I had the steaks on the top rack and the potatoes on the bottom rack.

Cook the steaks according to how rare you like them. You’re really going to need a meat thermometer to do this right, as you can’t really time them for the appropriate done-ness. I have one of these – cheap and accurate. We like our steaks medium-rare, which is 125 degrees on the meat thermometer (I think 115 is rare). Stick the probe lengthwise into the side of the meat to get an accurate reading in the center. I’d say the steaks were in the oven for ten total minutes, though we took them out two or three times to check them. Keep in mind, my darlings, these were ENORMOUS steaks – so big that Bill and I only each ate half of one, and the remainder will be some truly fabulous leftovers. So, what I’m saying here is, YMMV.

TRUST YOUR MEAT THERMOMETER. We took the steaks out of the oven at 125 degrees exactly. You’ll see how lovely the result was in a moment.

Now, the steaks need to rest for 10 minutes after removing them from the oven. Place the steaks on a serving platter, and sprinkle the desired amount of blue cheese or Gorgonzola (we used Gorgonzola) on each steak. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and set aside. Be patient. The steak needs to rest before it’s chewed up.

Now, TURN OFF YOUR OVEN but leave the potatoes in until the rest of the meal is prepared.

While the steaks are resting, it’s time to prepare the veggies. They’re both very quick preps and were done at exactly the 10-minute mark when we cooked ‘em last night.

First, you take your spinach:

spinach

Wash it well and pat it dry. Place a large skillet on the stove, and over medium heat saute one clove of minced garlic in one tablespoon of olive oil. Once the garlic begins to brown and is fragrant, add the spinach in batches, stirring constantly to coat. Once the spinach is SLIGHTLY wilted and it will all fit into the skillet, cover the skillet, remove it from the heat, and allow it to steam and wilt.

Next you take your mushrooms:

shrooms

Wash them and pat them dry. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is melted, add the mushrooms and stir to coat. Add one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and stir to coat. Keep stirring until the mushrooms have softened and the sauce has slightly thickened, about five minutes. Cover and remove from heat.

Now remove the potatoes from the oven. Uncover the steaks. Cry a little at their loveliness. Dish up the steak, potatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. Arrange prettily on a plate and take a picture, like so:

platefulperfection

DO YOU SEE THAT PERFECTION? Feel free to click on the picture and view a larger size to bask in all of its glory.

Serve with your steak sauce of choice (though it doesn’t need it), maybe some sour cream and butter for the potatoes, maybe some salt and pepper for the spinach and mushrooms. Oh, and more wine. Celebrate the gastronomical glory that is steak.

You’re welcome.

(Cross-posted at Snerkology.)

Grandma’s Triple Top-Secret Potato Salad – Revealed!

31 Dec

People are passionate about their potato salad. Everybody claims they have the “best” recipe – either their own, or their mom’s, or their grandma’s, or what have you. Individual potato salads are subject to strict critique by the consumers. They might say outright, “This is good, but it’s not as good as such-and-so’s,” or they admit, “This is the best darned potato salad I ever did eat!” Or they internally scrutinize and judge and analyze just what might that secret ingredient be that they detect.

ingredients

If you make a good one, you know it because it’s requested for every family dinner and every potluck, and it disappears quickly. If you make a bad one, you know it because you have leftovers when the day is done.

chopped

My childhood summers featured this dish very prominantly. My grandmother would make a batch just about every week, and I have to tell you (get ready), it IS the best recipe and IS the best potato salad you’re ever going to eat. And it took me a long time to perfect it. You see, this recipe had no measurements. Just a list of ingredients whose amounts you would add and adjust and taste and assess throughout the process of making the potato salad. I don’t know how Grandma made it EXACTLY the same every time, but she did.

whisked

I made a batch tonight, and as I went along I tried to note just how much of each ingredient I used. I probably don’t have it exactly right here, but I’m taking a shot at it. Your experience and preference may vary, so feel free to adjust the amounts toward your preference. Like a “yellower” potato salad? Add more mustard! Like it a little dryer? Add less mayo! Like it a bit more tangy? Add more vinegar!

You catch my drift. Okay, here goes!

potatosalad

Grandma’s Triple Top-Secret Potato Salad – Revealed!

Ingredients:

- 5 lbs yellow or golden potatoes
- 4 stalks celery
- 1/2 of a medium sweet onion
- 5 eggs
- 2/3 of a 32 oz jar of mayo… what is that, about 21 oz? Almost three cups? Let’s just say three cups – we like our potato salad “wet”. (Yes dears, that’s what I said… THREE CUPS OF MAYO. What, you didn’t come here for HEALTHY food, did you?)
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 heaping tbsp sweet pickle relish
- 3 heaping tbsp yellow mustard
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste (the potatoes absorb the salt, so don’t be shy with it!)

Peel all the potatoes, cut them in half, and place in a large pot. Cover with water about 2″ above the potatoes, splash in a bit of vegetable oil, and throw in a couple of tablespoons of salt. Boil until fork-tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain and allow to cool.

While the potatoes are boiling, hard-boil the eggs (I keep them at a rolling boil for fifteen minutes). Drain and allow to cool.

While you’re waiting for the potatoes and eggs to cool, chop the celery and the onion and place them in a very large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, oil, vinegar, relish, mustard, sugar, onion powder, salt and pepper.

When the potatoes and eggs are cool, roughly chop them (about 3/4 inch pieces for the taters, smaller for the eggs), and add to the bowl with the celery and onion. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, and gently fold to incorporate without mushing up the potatoes. Pour from mixing bowl into a large serving dish. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Makes at least 6-8 servings.

You will die of the taste sensation, I guar-an-tee.

Administrative Stuff

30 Mar

Just wanted to let site visitors know that I’ve added photos recently to the following recipes:

Baked Enchiladas
Incredible Crock Pot Meatloaf
Salmon Loaf (recipe also edited for clarity and improvement)

Thanks, and happy eating!

Laura

Baked Enchiladas

25 Feb

- 3 cups cooked beef roast (use leftovers!) (-or- cooked chicken -or- cooked pork -or- a combination of any/all three -or- sauteed peppers, onions, spinach, or other vegetables for vegetarian enchiladas)
- 3/4 cup salsa of choice (we use a mild red)
- 1 sm. can (one to three oz) diced mild green chilis
- 1 32-oz can mild green enchilada sauce
- 1 16-oz can refried beans
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 cups cooked rice (we use instant rice)
- 6 large (burrito size, or 12 inch or larger) flour tortillas**
- Additional salsa
- Shredded cheese of choice (we use a cheddar/jack combo)
- Garnish recommendations: Sliced jalapenos, Sour cream, sliced black olives, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×15 casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Shred the beef roast into a skillet. Add 3/4 cup salsa, green chilis, and 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce. Stir to combine and heat over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, combine refried beans and water in a bowl and stir to combine until smooth. Prepare rice.

Line six flour tortillas on the counter, assembly-line fashion. Place 1/4 cup (or two heaping spoonfuls) of refried bean mixture onto each tortilla and spread down the center, stopping about 2-inches from the edges. Place 1/4 cup of beef mixture on top of refried beans. Place 1/4 cup rice on top of beef. Sprinkle each with two tbsp of salsa and 1/4 cup shredded cheese (or to taste). Keep in mind to stay away from the edges of the tortilla throughout!

To roll the enchiladas, fold one side over the ingredients. Fold top and bottom over the inside, then roll lengthwise to create a closed-ended wrap. Place side-by-side in casserole dish.

enchilada1 enchilada2

enchilada3 enchilada4

enchilada5

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and pour remainder of enchilada sauce over all. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with shredded cheese. Return to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and serve with sour cream, jalapenos, additional salsa, additional cheese, black olives, shredded lettuce, or whatever garnish you desire.

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You will likely have leftover refried beans, rice, and roast mixture. Combine all in a large bowl and heat for an excellent dip served with tortilla chips, or for fast lunchtime burritos. Very versitile leftovers!

**For gluten free recipe, substitute flour tortillas with corn and roll taquito-style.

Greek Veggie Wrap

28 Jan

One whole tomato, diced and drained (quartered grape tomatoes work well, too)
One whole cucumber, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, then quartered lengthwise, de-seeded, then chopped
12 black olives, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced, de-seeded, and diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and diced (optional)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (balsamic is also good)
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
lettuce of choice
Cucumber or ranch dressing

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl except feta, lettuce, and dressing.  Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving.  Wrap ingredients in a flour wrap, flour or corn tortilla**, flat bread, or pita bread.  Top with feta, lettuce and dressing (if desired).

greekpita

Makes a bunch of servings.  It’s also great when tossed with shredded lettuce as a salad. It’s best when eaten within two days of making it.

**For gluten-free, use a corn tortilla.

Cheese Enchilada Chowder (Crock Pot)

25 Jan

enchiladachowder

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (10 ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers (red, yellow, or green)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, and finely chopped (or 1/4 cup nacho-style jalapeno slices)
1 (19 ounce) can green enchilada sauce (or one 10-oz can and 1 cup of chicken broth)
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
2 cups milk
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp Worcestershire
salt and pepper to taste

1 can (15 oz) refried beans
1/4 cup water
1 can chunk chicken breast (or 1 cup cooked shredded chicken)
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
guacamole
tortilla chips

- Add the black beans, tomatoes, frozen corn, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper to a 4 quart slow-cooker; stir to combine.
- In a mixing bowl, add the enchilada sauce and cream soup, garlic, Worcestershire, salt and pepper; whisk together.
- Gradually whisk in the milk until mixture is smooth.
- Pour over vegetables in slow-cooker.
- Cover and cook on LOW heat for 6 hours (it can go longer with no harm).
- Add chicken.
- Stir water and refried beans together until smooth, add to the crock pot and stir thoroughly.
- Add cheese, and stir until melted and hot.
- Ladle hot soup into individual serving bowls and top with sour cream, guacamole and broken tortilla chips if desired.

Jambalaya (Crock Pot)

25 Jan

12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups green peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 ounce) can whole tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 can (15 oz) beef broth
1 tablespoon parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb shelled raw shrimp
3 cups cooked rice

jambalaya

- Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.
- Put all ingredients (EXCEPT shrimp and rice) in crockpot.
- Cover; cook on low for 8 hours.
- Add shrimp the last 20 minutes of cooking.
- Stir in rice before serving.

I used two cans of chicken breast as we didn’t have any packaged chicken, and it turned out really well. I stirred a tablespoon of sour cream into my serving.

Makes about six generous servings.