Monday, June 28, 2010

"Stout" Sausages

A quick one, improvised by some leftover stout and the acquisition of a hefty farmer's market onion (I wanted to play with its taste rather than lose it in a larger meal):

1 lb. Italian Sausage
2 peppers [sliced] (either green, red, or yellow--I like at least one green to balance the meal's color)
1 onion [sliced]
6 garlic cloves [roughly chopped]
3/4 c. stout (or experiment with another beer--Yuengling has worked well in other manifestations)
3 dashes of red pepper flakes

1. Heat oven to 400º.
1. In cast-iron heat sausages on medium-high heat, 10 mins. Remove.
2. Add garlic. When flavor released, add peppers & onion, sprinkle with salt to taste and red pep. flakes, 8 mins.
3. Add sausages & beer. When boils, put in oven, 25 mins.
4. Serve on rolls, plain or with Dijon mustard.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Easy Risotto, Take Two!

I was so (hungry/) excited about Angela's post that I had to make that risotto tonight, with a few additions and alterations based on what was floating about in my kitchen. Then I watched Julie and Julia, despite the fact that I said I wouldn't. And I kind of enjoyed it. Oh man, my husband, who was elsewhere tonight, is going to be mad! At least there's some leftovers. [My computer refuses to post the photo the right way round, but you get the idea.]

Here are my additions/alterations: I only had about 1/2 to 3/4 cup rice and it worked just fine. I used 2 cups water and 1 cup chicken broth, since I had chicken broth in the fridge that needed using. My major divergence is the addition of some sauteed yellow summer squash, which also needed using - sauteed in the cast iron skillet (dirty - the good kind of dirty - with a few past dinners' accumulated bacon/pork chop/steak fat) with a little roughly chopped garlic and a dash of the broth (so that the garlic didn't burn) - over low while the rice was simmering. I added the squash in the last step with the cheese, as well as some julienned basil from the plant on the window sill.

Thanks, Angela/Horvathia! Totally delicious!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Easy Risotto

This one's from the wonderful chefs in the Horvath household.  I love it.  I keep trying new risotto recipes (butternut squash and prosciutto risotto! risotto with spring vegetables!) and always come back to this one.  I do admit it's ruined me for new risottos because of its simplicity.  There's none of that standing over a steaming pot stirring for 20-40 minutes (Ina Garten romanticizes this labor by pairing it with a glass of wine, but after trying this with a toddler, it's just not worth it to me).  It's simple and uses only ingredients you probably already have on hand.  I have made it with a varying combination of cheese: Peccorino Romano, Peccorino Romano and Parmesan, Parmesan, Romano, Romano and Parmesan, etc.  Any of those delicious hard Italian cheeses seem to work, adjusting the salt amount accordingly (if any-- I find Peccorino provides enough salt).

Serves 4

3 c water
1 c arborio rice
4 tbsp butter (1/2 stick)
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2-2/3 c grated Romano
salt to taste

1. Bring water to boil in medium saucepan and add butter, bouillon and rice.  Cover and turn heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.

2. Uncover and turn heat to med, stirring until rice is goopy but not wet, about 5 minutes.  You must be stirring constantly.

3. Add Romano and salt to taste and stir until combined.  Serve warm and enjoy!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Farmers' Market Leftover Frittata

I suddenly realized that it was quite simple to make a frittata--especially if one wishes to clear their fridge of leftovers. Every Wednesday our local farmers' market is open, offering the bounty of the Garden State. I like, on principal, to try to confine myself to things that are in season (how I live up to that principal is another matter...). What do you do then, when the first fresh zucchini etc. are in season and you have exhausted your normal recipes (zucchini bread, hash, pasta w/ zucchini...)? Make frittata. It is a light dinner on a hot summer night with a simple salad of oil & vinegar on the side (or a rather indulgent--pun intended?--Friday in Lent).

6 eggs
2 tbs. EVOO (Extra-virgin olive oil)
1 c. freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino for an edge--so long as it is not some cheese product pre-grated and meant to outlast cockroaches in the event of nuclear war)
1 c. chopped farmers' market veggies or whatever sits at the back of your fridge (here zucchini--but you can use almost anything except beets)
1/4 c. fresh herbs (whatever is outside your window--for us it was basil)

1. Preheat oven 400º. Heat skillet with EVOO on med-high.
2. Beat eggs in large bowl. Add a 1/2 tsp. or so of salt/pepper. Stir in cheese, veggies, & fresh herbs.
3. Pour in skillet. Immediately reduce heat to low. Cook 10-15 mins. (until bottom firms up nicely).
4. Put skillet in oven for @ 10 mins. When top is done, take out and sprinkle with extra cheese if you wish.

Serve hot or room temp. for breakfast, lunch, dinner (depending on what you add to the mix). If you make it for supper, you can reheat the leftovers and add a slice of bacon or what-have-you for breakfast.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Nana's Chicken and Rice

If you just need some good comfort food try this recipe of Zach's Grandmother Weisse (aka Nana). She had 13 kids so she learned how to cook on a low budget and make easy dishes that would feed a lot of people. This is really simple, but you can do a few things to spice it up if you want.

Chicken (I use full Breasts)--use as much as you want
1 can Cream of Mushroom
2 can Cream of Celery
1 packet of dry Onion Soup Mix
1 can water (or 1 1/2 cans for larger meal)
1 cup rice (or 1 1/2 rice for larger meal)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.) Mix all ingredients (except chicken)
2.) Place in a greased pan
3.) Place chicken on top and cover a little with the rest of the ingredients.
4.) Cover with Foil. Cook at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Notes: I didn't have the soup mix so I just put in about 3/4 a cup of chopped onions. I had a bunch of mushrooms that I needed to use up so I diced those and threw them in too. You can fuss with the recipe however you want and it will still turn out pretty good. I served this with asparagus, but green beans or another green veggie would be good too.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Rhubarb Crumb Coffee Cake

I hated rhubarb as a kid - HATED it. I could never understand why my mom adored strawberry rhubarb combinations so much. Perhaps rhubarb is an acquired taste, one which I have only recently started enjoying; but it is so much easier to enjoy when you can get beautiful farm-fresh, ruby-red stalks! I've been a little afraid to try baking with it on its own - why mess with a good thing, i.e. a strawberry rhubarb pie? But on our last visit to Wightman's Farm (1111 Mt. Kemble Ave, Morristown NJ), we were handed a free recipe with our rhubarb purchase, which I ventured to put together last night. Another virtue of this recipe besides being delicious is that it is relatively quick, an essential when you have a 5 month old Baby Hulk ("BABY SMASH!!"). So thank you, Wightman's Farm! Please accept my free advertising in exchange for letting me share your recipe here:

Cake ingredients:
1/2 c. softened butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon (note: I was nearly out of cinnamon so did not have the full amount; it was still delicious)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 c. buttermilk
4 c. chopped rhubarb (can use frozen if fresh is not available - they say to measure out while frozen, then thaw completely, drain but do not press liquid out)

Topping ingredients:
1 c. flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c. cold butter (my note: cut into small pieces to speed process before getting out your pastry cutter)

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to wet mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir in rhubarb. Pour into greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Memorial Day Continued: Ribs

These aren't your 1950's BBQ ribs. They aren't the spiciest thing I've ever eaten, but I advise you pack the spice-seekers first-aide kit with you for the ride (i.e. a non H2O beverage, a napkin to prevent lip burning, and some form of bread).

2 lbs. baby-back ribs
KC-style BBQ seasoning (I used this)
Night of the Living Bar-B-Q Sauce

1. Preheat oven 325º
2. Cut ribs in half lenghtwise so that they fit in 11x13 baking dish. Rub with seasoning, cover with sauce. Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake 1 1/2 hrs.
3. Grill for 5-10 minutes, brushing with more sauce to prevent drying out.

If you don't have an outside grill as we don't (darn you NJ apts.), you can put a cast iron grill on the range top. The only thing I don't advise improvising is the BBQ sauce. Night of the Living BBQ is from one of my favorite joints: Oklahoma Joe's (the only one I know in a gas station, pictured above).

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Memorial Day Sweet Tea in a Mason Jar

You can guess from my radio silence over the past few weeks (months) that an new-born can stifle culinary creativity. However, for Memorial Day I decided to live it up a little. Besides some excellent ribs (KC-rub and Night of the Living Bar-B-Q Sauce) and Dave's Guinness Cupcakes, I was missing Texas so I thought nothing is classier than some sweet tea in a mason jar.

1 pinch baking soda
2 c. boiling water
6 c. cool water
6 bags black tea
2 c. sugar

1. Pour the boiling water into a measuring cup which already contains baking soda and tea bags. Steep 15 mins.
2. Remove tea without straining bags. Pour into container (2 quarts) with sugar and stir. Add cool water.

[option 1: divide into 2 mason jars and live in style. option 2: make a simple syrup with crushed mint and some lemon. strain mint and lemon before adding in place of sugar in step 2]

Obviously we all know how to boil water, but I thought to share this because the pinch of baking soda is something I discovered which held me back from the authentic taste in the past.