Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Salisbury Steak and Cheese Toast

I though I would blog about what I made for dinner tonight... before it's even cleaned up! Yes, my kitchen is still a mess from making-and-eating dinner and I'm definitely in avoidance mode. YET, it was so delish that I wanted to make sure I got it on my blog to share with y'all as soon as I could! So consider this a sacrifice... time I could be spending cleaning is spent sharing with you. Ha ha!

So, are you looking for a relatively quick dinner that you can make with ingredients you probably have on hand? This recipe fits the bill, and is soooo good to boot. I did have to buy ground beef because I was out of my frozen supply, and I also bought the cheese toast ingredients (which are totally optional, but worth the slight cost). But other than that, with a few substitutions from the original recipe, I had everything on hand to make it.

I know, I know... you're thinking "TV Dinner" when I tell you about Salisbury Steak. Would I ever put a bland recipe on my blog, though? This elevates TV Dinner to "I would serve this to guests." Yes, it's a glorified hamburger, but I bet this is something you've never tried with your ground beef!

makes 4 steaks

1 lb ground beef
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp flour

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 c. thinly sliced onion
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp minced garlic (I used dried, 1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp tomato paste (I used 1/2 cup ketchup)
2 c. beef broth (I used 2 c. water and 3 beef bouillon cubes)
1/4 c. red wine (yes, I use it. You don't have to)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme

Combine meat, salt, and pepper. Form four 1" thick patties. Dredge patties in flour. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add patties and saute 3 minutes on each side or until browner. Remove from pan.

Add onion and sugar to pan; saute 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and potato paste; saute 1 minute or until paste begins to brown. Sprinkle with 1 tsp flour, cook 1 minute. Add broth and wine, then add salt and thyme.

Return meat to pan; bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Serve steaks on Cheese Toasts with onion sauce ladled over.


4 slices French or Sourdough Bread (sliced diagonally 1" thick)
2 Tbsp soft butter
1 tsp dry garlic
1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread on a baking sheet. Combine butter and garlic and spread on one side of the bread. Combine cheeses and sprinkle evenly over the butter. Bake until bread is crisp and cheese is bubbly, 10-15 minutes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hello, Great Abyss!

Now that I've picked up my food blog again, I wonder... does anyone out there even read it? Am I doing this for me alone? I hope there's someone out there who is reading, and maybe even *trying* my recipes. Believe me, I wouldn't post them unless they were worth sharing. So, if you're out there, please comment or leave me some suggestions for what you'd like to see in future posts. Want more desserts? Let me know. Want more weeknight meals? You have to comment!

Speaking of weeknight meals, here's what I made for the fam on Tuesday. I thought it was phenomenal. My two older boys, however, were in no mood to try something new ("I don't like PIG, mom!"). And Mark, well, he got home an hour after he told me he'd be home (apparently couldn't resist a stop at the auto parts store) so it wasn't as fab as it was fresh and hot. *sigh* At least I enjoyed it.

Before I give the recipe, I'll be honest... I'd never cooked a pork roast before. It was just not something I grew up with. But I've found some phenomenal pork recipes, and given that you can buy pork roasts on the cheap at Costco (or anywhere else, pretty much) and that my family is sick of chicken, this was a nice alternative. Ooo, and I like my veggies extra carmelized, so I let them roast a little longer.

Pork Roast with Veggies and Jus
serves a medium-sized family

for the roast:
1 2-lb(ish) pork tenderloin roast
salt, pepper

for the veggies:
1-2 lbs. carrots, sliced on the bias 1/2" thick
3 lbs red potatoes, sliced into 1" wedges (note: I used "fingerling" potatoes from Costco)
3 Tbsp butter, melted
salt, pepper
Fresh Sage (worth the two bucks at the store)

for the Jus:
1/4 c. minced onion
2 c chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme or sage
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste

How to:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Heat oil in a 12" skillet. Cut off visible fat and "silver skin" from pork roast. With a paper towel, pat off the moisture from the roast (very important). Season generously with salt and pepper. Place in skillet and let each side brown (8-10 minutes).

Toss veggies with butter, salt, and pepper. Place in the bottom of a roasting pan.

Place browned pork roast on the V-rack of a roasting pan.

Place roasting pan, uncovered, in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. When roast is done, place on a plate, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes or so. Slice when ready to eat.

Heat oven now to 500 degrees. Stir veggies in the bottom of the pan, add 1 Tbsp fresh chopped sage, and return to oven. Bake, stirring occasionally, until veggies are to your desired doneness.

For the Jus: While veggies are cooking again, use the same 12" skillet that you browned the roast in initially and heat 1 Tbsp oil. Cook onion until softened, scraping pork pieces from the surface of the pan. Add broth, bay leaves, and thyme and cook in pan until reduced by half. Remove the bay leaves and thyme, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve over the pork.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ever Tried Bok Choy?

Continuing with my theme of blogging about what I cooked for dinner, here's the skinny on Monday night's menu:

At-home stir fry for most of us means pulling some chicken breasts out of the freezer, tossing them with store-bought soy sauce, and adding a "stir fry veggie mix" also found in the freezer section. We all know that this is a pretty lackluster dish (probably why I don't make it very often!), one that we stay-at-homes prefer to eat at a restaurant rather that at our kitchen table. Enter, once again, the people at America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated.

After the 2007 season was over there was a special: buy the recipe book with all of 2007's recipes and get the DVDs of all the shows free (for those of you who don't know, ATK is a show on PBS, usually on Saturdays). This was also the summer we moved to Idaho, and for a month I was sequestered in a teeny condo with my then two boys until our house was finished. I found myself having no TV, either, so the cooking DVDs were all I had. This recipe looked so yummy on the show that once I got my own kitchen back it was one of the first that I tried. Can you say YUM!

If you're an occasional Chinese food cook, you should have Oyster Sauce in your fridge (mine was unopened in the pantry, but hey, I had a bottle!). If not, it's an easy find by the soy sauce in most grocery stores. I bought Bok Choy at Wal-Mart, so that tells you it also isn't hard to find. It looks like a bigger, greener version of Napa Cabbage. It's also a yummy, mild vegetable that even my kiddos ate. And one recommendation before you cook... double the sauce. Everyone likes a little more sauce. Serve with rice or with a noodle cake (I'll give you the noodle cake recipe if you ask!).

Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy
serves 4

for the stir-fry sauce
1/4 c. chicken broth
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp dry sherry or white wine
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

chicken and vegetables
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, patted dry with paper towel and cut into 1" squares
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp white wine or sherry
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger or 1 tsp dried
1 med garlic clove, minced
8 tsp peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 sm head bok choy, stalks sliced on the bias to 1/4-inch slices, greens cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 sm red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips

Whisk together sauce ingredients; set aside.

Toss the chicken with the soy sauce and sherry (or white wine); set aside. In large bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, cornstarch, and flour; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the ginger, garlic, and 1 tsp peanut oil; set aside.

Stir the marinated chicken into the sesame oil-cornstarch mixture until uniformly combines. Heat 2 tsp peanut oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Cook, without stirring, until lightly browned. Turn chicken pieces and lightly brown on the other side. Transfer chicken to a clean bowl and cover to keep warm.

Add remaining 1 Tbsp peanut oil to the now empty skillet and return to high heat. Cook bok choy stalks and bell pepper until lightly browned. Push the vegetables to the side and add the garlic-ginger mixture until the center. Mash mixture with a spook , cook 20 seconds, and stir into the vegetables. Add bok choy greens and cook until beginning to wilt, about 30 seconds.

Return chicken to the skillet. Whisk the sauce to recombine then add to the skillet and cook, until the sauce is thickened and is heated through. Serve.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday's Dinner: Beef Stroganoff

Back with another blog entry, I thought maybe it would be easier if I just posted what I cooked for dinner last night! Granted, if you wanted the recipe for a different night this week you might have gotten a recipe for French toast, but I feel like last night's dinner was worth sharing.

I happened to have a freezer full of meat (thanks to me being a sucker to a traveling meat salesman about 3 months ago) and needed a use for some of it. I didn't want just steak, and I didn't want stir fry. Add that it is super cold outside and I found this recipe for beef stroganoff that hit the spot. You'll love it!

Beef Stroganoff
serves 4

1 1/2 lb sirloin tips, pounded and cut into 2"x 1/2" strips
salt and pepper
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced thin
1 onion, chopped fine
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. beef broth
1/3 c white wine
6 oz egg noodles
2/3 c. sour cream
2 tsp lemon juice

1) Pat beef dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in large skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Cook the meat until well browned. Transfer meat to a medium bowl

2) Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp oil and cook mushrooms, onion, and 1/2 tsp salt until liquid from mushrooms has evaporated. Stir in the flour and cook 30 seconds. Gradually stir in broths and wine, and return the beef and it's juices to the skillet. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
3) Stir noodles into the meat mixture, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes until the noodles are tender. Off the heat, stir in the sour cream and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Squaw Bread

Omigosh... is Lindsey actually posting on her blog?!?!?

Yes, hopefully I am back from the blogging dead. Let's just say that the month between Thanksgiving and New Year's is a blurrrrr. I'm sure you'd all agree.

So, to start off a new year, let's give you a YUMMY recipe!

What is "squaw bread," you ask? If you are any of my siblings (with the exception of Hay, maybe?) you remember squaw bread as a special treat we had when we were young. It's a brown, slightly sweet bread that you eat plain or toasted with butter. I've never found a good recipe for it, and even googling squaw bread turned up mediocre results. Leave it to Cook's Illustrated, my favorite standby, to resurrect this recipe. They call it "Anadama Bread." I made it last night for dinner with some homemade corn chowder... can you say delish???!!!

Squaw Bread
makes one 9"-pan loaf

1/2cup water
1/4cup cornmeal
3 1/4cups bread flour , plus extra for work surface
2teaspoons table salt
3/4cup milk , warm (110 degrees)
1/3cup water , warm (110 degrees)
2tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
3tablespoons molasses
1package rapid-rise yeast (also called instant yeast)


  1. 1. Bring 1/2 cup water to boil in small saucepan, slowly whisk in cornmeal. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, about 1 minute.

  2. 2. Adjust oven rack to low position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Once oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain heat 10 minutes, then turn off oven heat.

  3. 3. Mix cornmeal mixture, flour, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix milk, butter, molasses, and yeast in 1-quart Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Turn machine to low and slowly add liquid. When dough comes together, increase speed to medium (setting number 4 on a KitchenAid mixer) and mix until dough is smooth and satiny, stopping machine two or three times to scrape dough from hook if necessary, about 10 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead to form smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.

  4. 4. Place dough in very lightly oiled bowl, rubbing dough around bowl to lightly coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

  5. 5. Form dough into loaf by gently pressing the dough into a rectangle, one inch thick and no wider than the length of the loaf pan. Next, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn dough seam side up and pinch it closed. Place dough in greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and press gently so dough touches all four sides of pan.

  6. 6. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in warm spot until dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees, placing empty loaf pan on bottom rack. Bring 2 cups water to boil.

  7. 7. Remove plastic wrap from loaf pan. Place pan in oven, immediately pouring heated water into empty loaf pan; close oven door. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted at angle from short end just above pan rim into center of loaf reads 195 degrees, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove bread from pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A New Pie You've Never Tasted!

We all have our stand-by pies at Thanksgiving... pumpkin, apple, pecan. I never eat these "plain" pies any more, as I've discovered a trove of variations that taste so much better.

Then I found a totally UNIQUE pie that I loved!

It's called "Jefferson Davis Pie" (review your Civil War history to remember who Jefferson Davis was). It's a little-known southern delicacy, brought back in the limelight a few years ago by "Cook's Country" magazine, a sister to Cooks Illustrated, my favorite! This pie has a brown sugar custard on top and a gooey sweet fruit crust on the bottom. Even if you're not a fan of one of the ingredients (I'm not a raisin fan, for example) you'll still goo goo over this pie! I recently took it to a RS "Pie Night" where recipes were swapped and tasted and this one, well, took the "cake."

So, try a new pie this Thanksgiving! You'll be thanking me!

Jefferson Davis Pie

Serves 8

1/2cup raisins (golden are best)
1/2cup chopped dates
1/2cup pecans , toasted and chopped
1(9-inch) pie shell , pre-cooked
3tablespoons all-purpose flour
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4teaspoon ground allspice
1/2teaspoon salt
1cup packed light brown sugar
8tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , softened
5large egg yolks
1 1/2cups heavy cream

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse raisins, dates, and pecans in food processor until finely ground. Transfer mixture to chilled pie shell and gently press into even layer.

2. Combine flour, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in small bowl. With electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat sugar and butter until just combined, about 1 minute. Mix in yolks, one at a time, until incorporated. Add flour mixture and cream and mix, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, until just combined.

3. Pour filling over fruit and nuts in prepared crust and bake until surface is deep brown and center jiggles slightly when pie is shaken, 55 to 65 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack, about 4 hours. Serve. (Pie can be refrigerated, covered in plastic wrap, for 2 days.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Twas the Week Before Thanksgiving

Hello foodies!

With Thanksgiving a little over a week away, I wanted to share some of my very favorite recipes this week that might be a bit of a twist on your regular Thanksgiving fare. I know we all have traditional food that we serve on Thanksgiving, but for the last few years I have made it a point to put at least one different item on the menu. Go ahead, be daring! I promise that all of the recipes that I share with you on this blog will be total hits!

The recipe I want to share with you first is actually a breakfast recipe. I know, not Thanksgiving dinner. But this afternoon as I looked at the 6 apples I bought to make an apple pie with, I determined that they were destined for another, equally yummy use. For those of you who have been to "The Original Pancake House," you'll agree that the German Apple Pancake is a definite worthy substitute for apple pie!

German Apple Pancake
a la Cooks Illustrated

1 c flour
1 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2/3 c. half and half
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 lb apples (3-4)... I used Gala and Golden Delicious, but you can use Grannys or Braeburns
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice

1) Preheat oven to 500.

2) Peel, core, quarter, and slice apples to 1/2" thick (I use an apple-peeler-corer-slicer, which if you don't have one you're missing out!).

3) In a 10" nonstick skillet, melt butter over med-high heat. Add the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon and cook until the apples are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice.

4) While apples are cooking, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, eggs, half-and-half, and vanilla.

5) Once apples are done cooking, quickly pour the batter around the edge of the skillet then over the apples. Place the skillet in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake about 18 minutes, or until pancake is puffy and golden brown. Loosen the edges of the pancake with a spatula and invert the pancake onto a large plate or serving platter.

Serve dusted with powdered sugar, or even better, drizzled with one of my syrup recipes.