Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Que Sara Sara

Nellie Wayman was an amazing woman. She was tall and beautiful. She mothered five children and was grandmother to six, but cared for so many more. She ran a nursery in the church and many kids besides myself called her grandma.
She was widowed at a young age, and managed her family with grace. She was incredibly frugal, as a result of living through the Great Depression as well as being widowed.
Grandma Nellie viewed the world through "rose colored glasses"....she had such a joyful and resilient way of living her life. She had a song in her heart and cherished the music of her time. I would sit on her lap while she pumped away on her player piano and sang me the song "Que Sera Sera", which I thought was about myself...."Que Sara Sara." The children in the neighborhood would flock to her house after school to hang from the branches of her huge cherry tree, playing on her swing and the six person teeter totter her husband had welded.
Nellie, was a fabulous cook. She was very proud to be a home maker. She would spend her summers gardening and "putting up" the fruits of her labors. She was famous for her bottled raspberries (can you imagine bottling thousands of raspberries perfectly?), cherries and her concord grape juice.
Nellie never drove a car, but rather rode the bus every where. The bus drivers always knew her by name, and would drop her off right at her door, even though it was off their route.
She belonged to a local senior center harmonica group called the "Happy Go Luckys". Besides the harmonica, she sang, and played the ukulele. She was famous in her neighborhood for her rendition of "How much is that doggie in the window".









She also did a crazy good version of "A bicycle built for two." Tonight's recipe reminds me of my sweet grandma and the special times we spent together. She lived just a block or two away from me, and I spent much of my childhood with her. She would always make me a half cup of hot tea and then fill the rest of the cup with milk....she would call it "Mormon Coffee". We would sit in her living room and dip gingersnaps into our tea and watch "Lawrence Welk" together. She loved variety shows! Grandma loved spice cakes, and although this isn't her recipe, I know she would love it.
My other grandmother makes the most delicious fruit cake every December. And although, I cringe at the word "fruitcake", hers is the exception. I think the ingredient that makes the difference, is cocoa. There is this wonderful hint of chocolate in it and it makes it rich and unique. So when I was concocting this recipe, I thought it was a natural compliment to the ginger and molasses.
This cake is amazingly moist and dense (I love a dense cake), but it is still light. It is wonderful with whipped cream....but I love it with a drizzle of fresh lemon sauce.
GINGERBREAD CAKE

1 cup dark molasses
1 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch ground cloves
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment, butter and flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a saucepan, boil 1 cup water and remove from heat. Stir in molasses and baking soda. Next, add remaining water(ice cold).
In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. Meanwhile in a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add the molasses mixture and beat until smooth. Then, add the flour mixture a ¼ cup at a time. Pour into pan. Bake for 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center, should come out mostly clean.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Horsing Around

The lazy days of winter are getting a bit longer and warmer and there is a slight hint of spring in the air...unless of course you live in the eastern part of the country. Funny thing is, I live in the land of winter....Utah is known for snow and well, it just hasn't been typical this year. The mountains have plenty of snow, but the valley has had a mild winter. Now, I'm not trying to jump the gun too much, the groundhog did predict another six weeks of winter....but the other creatures are telling me a different story. The buds are getting voluptuous, the birds are frisky and the horses are losing their hair. I always use the horses as the test, and they are shedding tons so I'm thinking spring is in the air for sure.

Mr. Bill totally agrees with me...Anyway, I'm trying to tell you that the season of warming comfort foods is almost over and you best get busy making these devine enchiladas. They are so delicious and super easy. So get cookin'!




CHILI VERDE

7 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped onions
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh Anaheim chilies (about 4)
2 green bell peppers, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips
6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
12 tomatillos, husked, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup sour cream

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté until onions are tender, about 5 minutes add Anaheim chilies and green bell peppers. Sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add chicken broth, tomatillos, oregano, chili powder, cumin, paprika and cinnamon sticks to pot. Bring liquid to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens and flavors blend, stirring occasionally. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
Mix cilantro and sour cream into the chili sauce.




ENCHILADAS

4 chicken breasts
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
8 oz cream cheese
4 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 small can chilies
Salt
Pepper
6 Tortillas

In a baking dish, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Cover the chicken with onions and bell pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven, covered, for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Shred the chicken with two forks. Next, cut the cream cheese into cubes and place the two cheeses over chicken. Place back in the oven for about ten minutes, until the cheese starts to turn golden and bubbly.
Remove from oven and spoon into tortillas. Place into a lightly sprayed baking dish and smother with enchilada sauce. Place in the oven again and bake for 15 minutes.


RANCH BEANS

5 cups water
1 pound dried pinto beans, picked over, rinsed
1 12-ounce bottle of dark beer
1 cup chopped onion
4 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-3 Bay leaves
salt to taste
chili powder to taste
1 jalapeño chili, seeded, finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chilies
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1/2 cup chopped seeded tomato
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Combine 5 cups water and next 7 ingredients in heavy large pot. Gently simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until beans are tender and liquid is reduced enough to cover beans by 1 inch, adding more water if necessary and stirring occasionally, about 2 1/2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.)
Garnish beans with cotija cheese, chopped tomato and cilantro.
QUICK METHOD:

Use 4 cans of beans. In a pan sauté the bacon, garlic, and onion until cooked through. Add the beans and warm through. Next add the spices and beer. Cover and bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove cover and top with cheese. Bake an additional 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Garnish with tomatoes and cilantro and serve.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Momma always said.....bless her heart when she was annoyed with someone.....

Have I told you lately that I have six mouths to feed besides my own? That of course does not include the dog or the cat. Have I told you lately that my parents live next door, so fairly often I have eight mouths to feed? And my grandparents live a little over a mile away, so on occasion, I have ten mouths to feed. But on a daily basis, I have six other mouths to feed..two of which are teenagers, one of which is a vegetarian.....One is 86 years old and likes only buttery, white, bland, fatty and sugary foods.....two of which are 4 and 6 and can be a pit picky....and one who has high cholesterol...the dog...she is easy! You kind of have to like to cook, to put up with all of this, I thank my lucky stars daily that I don't have to deal with allergies or tougher medical conditions...bless those of you that do.
Now, I am going to tell you a secret....put your ear up to the monitor, because I am going to whisper it....Grandma drives me crazy! I bust my hind end daily to put out fabulous food, and I glare viciously at any one who dare turn an eye at anything I cook...that was how I was raised...if you didn't like it.... pretend you did.... if that didn't work.... cover it with ketchup...if that didn't fix it...swallow it with a couple of gulps of water. Grandma, wasn't raised that way? I question this because she lived through some pretty tough times. But she says she can eat what ever she wants...I agree....if she cooks it.
I'm not going to spend all night complaining about grandma....you wouldn't think much of me if I did that...I am just going to say that she doesn't much appreciate my cooking....She confided in my husband last week that she just plain doesn't like most of it....guess that's her problem....she is stuck with me. And really, I do always keep on trying to please. So, now to the matter at hand. This is grandma's recipe...there is nothing cute, or fancy about it. As a matter of fact, I have added some garlic (she would kill me if she knew), some peppers, chili sauce, and upped the paprika a bit (I like the smoked stuff). This recipe is basic, quick, and kids do like it. I mean who doesn't like macaroni? Just don't tell her I posted it...she'd get all big in the head....Bless her heart**......I'm going to hell in a ham basket aren't I?


According to Wikipedia:Goulash is primarily a soup, also existing as stew, originally from Hungary, usually made of beef, onions, vegetables, spices and ground paprika powder.[1] The name originates from the Hungarian gulyás ( IPA: /ˈgujaːʃ/ listen (help·info)), the word for a cattle stockman or herdsman.



GRANDMA'S GOULASH

2 lbs beef, good stew meat
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup red and/or yellow bell pepper, chopped
28 oz diced tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups chili sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon mustard seed

6 cups rigatoni or macaroni



I used leftover tenderloin.
In a frying pan, combine onions, garlic, peppers,and beef and cook until browned. Pour into a crock pot and add remaining ingredients. Cook for four or more hours -kindof one of those all day recipes. Serve over a hearty pasta. **OH BY THE WAY, I TOTALLY LOVE GRANDMA.





Friday, February 5, 2010

LOST in Translation II

If you haven't checked out my latest post, I suggest you do...it is sooo yummy. As an addendum to last night's post, LOST in Translation, and a reader question, I offer you this:
Angie said...
Mmmmmm...looks delightful! I kinda like the name Lost Pie becuase it's made from leftovers that were "lost" in your fridge. Speaking of Lost...is anyone else as lost as I am? Is there an alternate reality going on here...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

LOST in Translation


Leftovers...I have never loved them....never liked them. They are generally boring. Now, chili, lasagna, spaghetti, and tuna noodle casserole, are the exception. But, meat, salad, potatoes...I jut don't enjoy eating twice. So typically, I just cook what we need. Sunday, I cooked a very lovely rump roast and had more than plenty left over. I know most of you would have had a sandwich the next day...but I am strange I know. So, Monday night, I ignored it, and made some chicken tacos. Tuesday, it was screaming out to me from the fridge. "Please Sara, please make me into something fabulous!"
And I said "But you are a boring leftover, and I don't have any great ideas."
And then the heavens opened and an angel descended and spake unto me:
"Sara, do not deny this good meat a place at the table...let there be creation."
Ok, so that didn't happen, but it would have been cool if it had. Really, I just stood in front of the fridge until I came up with this idea. The problem is that it doesn't have a name...just a temporary name.

No Name Thing-Meaty Version

2 cups pot roast, diced
2 cups potatoes, cooked and diced (cooked them with the pot roast)
1 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 cup bell peppers, diced. (red, orange,yellow)
1 cup corn
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Monterey-jack cheese
2 sheets puff pastry
2 cups BBQ sauce

No Name Thing-Vegetarian Version

3 cups potatoes, baked and diced
1 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 cup bell peppers, diced. (red, orange,yellow)
1 cup corn
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Monterey-jack cheese
2 sheets puff pastry
2 cups BBQ sauce

Quick BBQ Sauce- don't cheat and use store-bought.

2 cups Ketchup
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons vinegar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke



So just combine all the ingredients in a bowl

This is the meat version



This is the veggie version


This is my littlest grating my cheese...I start them early. Note: that she went from the chair at the counter to the counter top....and look at how she had to pose her body to have the strength to grate the cheese.


Now, heed my warning: this BBQ sauce is super simple, and you will regret it if you don't make it. Store bought will change everything.



This is my alien supervisor, checking the quality of my puff pastry.


it is important to roll it out, so that the folds are gone.


Each recipe will make 2 rolls. So divide the filling and cheese between the two.

Doesn't it look yummy?

I had an extra sheet of puff pastry, so I had my little sous chef roll it and cut diamond shapes out.

Then fold it like an envelope and then roll it.


then mini me brushed each roll with some cream and arranged the diamonds on top.

They looked fabulous.

Then, we baked them inn a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes.



And WhaaaaLLLaaa....No name thingeees


This is the veggie one....my favorite of the two.


This is the meat one.



Now let me tell you, this smelled so good. I was so excited, that I took them to my brother's Lost Party...where they were gobbled up by confused fans. It was suggested that I name them Lost Pie (I don't love that name so much), and then Hurley Rolls (not so sure about those), Ben has Beady freakin Eyes Rolls (that's just plain stupid), and What the Heck is Going On...But Who Cares Because This is Yummy Dinner.... Please weigh in on this matter.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

SAN PELLEGRINO


It's no secret that I am a member and Featured Publisher at the hottest and fastest growing food blog communities, Foodbuzz. (look to your right and you'll be able to instantly link with Foodbuzz!) SAN Pellegrino is hosting a cool event called the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef® Competition - An Experience to Savor
Today’s most promising culinary students will soon be engaged in a series of regional competitions around North America, each vying to advance to the Finals in Napa Valley, California.
I love Acqua Panna, especially with a squeeze of fresh orange in it...mmmm, it is so refreshing and has taken the place of soda completely in my life! No calories and a kickin' fresh flavor.
Well, unfortunately, I am not going to be competing in the contest- Not yet that is :), but I am hoping to be chosen to attend the final event in Napa-How cool would that be??
Anyway, check out food buzz and join. Visit my page, discover my "flavor" , and BUZZ me. while you are at it, visit the San Pellegrino page, BUZZ them and become a fanhttp://www.foodbuzz.com/blogs/1821853-s-pelligreno-almost-famous-chef-competition-an-experience-to-savor.
If I get to go, you know that this will be the place to check out all of the details.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I've been on a breakfast kick lately, partly because I have been teaching a breakfast class and partly because I am living vicariously through my posts. I have been on a very prohibitive diet in the past few weeks and you all know that I do not cook prohibitively! And as much as I specialize in decadent, buttery, creamy, chocolate, and devilishly Delicious delights.....alas, I must continue to deny them. Good thing I love vegetables and salads. But to end my breakfast kick, I offer to you, poached eggs with Bearnaise and asparagus, and biscuits and gravy with maple sausage...YUMMY .


THE POACHED EGG

First you will need a pan deep enough that the egg can be completely submersed. Fill the pan with water and ad 2 teaspoons white vinegar. Vinegar helps the egg to hold its shape by causing the outer layer of the egg white to congeal faster. Bring the water to a rolling boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer for four minutes. Meanwhile, crack your egg into a small bowl or ramekin. Gently stir the water a few times and then slip the egg carefully into the simmering water. Gently push the egg white toward the yolk and then leave alone. 3-5 minutes will result in a medium to firm egg. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and place for a moment on a folded paper towel to drain. Serve immediately with salt and fresh cracked pepper.

ZESTY BEARNAISE SAUCE-NOT THE KIND THAT FRENCH CHEFS MAKE-THE CHEATER KIND
2 Tablespoons Tarragon vinegar
2 Tablespoons white wine
¼ cup shallots, finely chopped
pinch of black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon tarragon leaves, chopped
3 egg yolks
¾ cup butter
juice of a lemon

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Combine vinegar, wine, and shallots in a saucepan. Reduce until half as much. In a blender, beat the eggs. Next, add the vinegar. Lastly, add the butter a few tablespoons a few tablespoons at a time (emulsification). Blend until smooth and then add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Keep warm until you serve

PERFECT ASPARAGUS
Brush a bunch of asparagus lightly with olive oil and arrange on a baking rack placed over a baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Roast in a 350 degree oven for five minutes until just tender to the bite.

MAPLE SAUSAGE
2 lb. Ground pork
1 ½ tsp. Kosher salt
¾ tsp. Fresh ground pepper
1 ½ tsp. Ground sage
¾ tsp. Coriander
¼ cup maple syrup
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg

Combine all the ingredients well with your hands. Roll into 2 inch balls and smash into patties. Fry on the stove or bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

COUNTRY GRAVY

¼ cup reserved bacon grease
¼ cup flour
1 ½ cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the grease and whisk in flour - stirring until smooth. Add the milk slowly while stirring and bring to a bubble. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for five minutes to allow gravy to thicken. Season and add additional milk if necessary to thin.