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To Have and Have Again – Ernest Hemingway’s Meatloaf Burger

I have been pretty swamped with work lately, which means I do not have a lot of free time to do any type of blogging of my own. This happens now and again and is just part of the business of being a freelance writer. There are times where the work is nonstop and then there are others where things slow down and I have plenty of time to pick up the slack around the house and do other things. It also means I have less time to devote to trying out different recipes for things to post on the blog. However, I have been able to come across a few great quick and easy meals that are perfect for all the busy weeknights when you have lots of work to do, school has started, afterschool activities are taking over and everyone is going in different directions. The latest issue of Cook’s Country came a little bit ago and one of the recipes that caught my eye right away was for meatloaf burgers. The recipe they use is an adaptation of the one that Ernest Hemingway apparently used quite a bit when he was cooking for himself. While the article indicates that Hemingway basically used whatever he could find in the pantry or refrigerator and included it in his recipe, the one that they actually used seems a bit more reasonable. I decided it looked and sounded good enough where it was worth giving a try.

Meatloaf Burgers, Ernest Hemingway Style

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

6 tablespoons ketchup

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1 large egg

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon onion powder

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 pounds 80-85% lean ground beef

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

4 hamburger buns, toasted

 

Combine the Panko breadcrumbs and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl until the breadcrumbs are thoroughly moistened. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the ketchup, the parsley, egg, mustard, onion powder, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Add the ground beef and knead the mixture with your hands until it is just combined.

Shape the beef mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties, about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. Press the center of each patty down with your fingertips until the depression is about 1/2 inch thick, creating a slight divot in the patty. At this point, the patties can be covered and refrigerated for up to twenty-four hours.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°. Set a wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat until the oil is just smoking. Transfer the patties to the skillet and cook them without moving them until they are browned on the first side, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the patties and cook them without moving them until they are browned on the second side, about 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer the patties to the prepared wire rack and bake them until the meat registers 160° on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each patty, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and the remaining 1/4 cup of ketchup together in a medium bowl until the ingredients are well blended.

Transfer the burgers to a plate and allow them to rest for five minutes. Serve the burgers on the toasted hamburger buns with the sauce on the side.

I have to admit that the burgers certainly do have a meatloaf texture and quality to them, making them much more filling than the traditional burgers I make all of the time. That being said, I did enjoy the taste that the Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, ketchup and mustard lent to the burger. The sauce was very much like what you might traditionally think of as a Thousand Islands dressing and while I enjoyed it, Sean and Michelle both opted out of it. I did offer up some cheddar cheese on the burgers I made for Sean and Michelle and since they like cheeseburgers and I also made some bacon to top the burgers with, which rounded things off nicely for us since I very often make meatloaf with bacon on it. I would certainly make these again for something a little bit different as far as burgers go. Of course,  serving these with tater tots, French fries, coleslaw or potato salad is always a good option.

That is all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Cooking, Dinner

 

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Basic Knife Skills – NYT Cooking

I am certainly no expert when it comes to using a knife. I always wish that it was something I was a little better with so that doing all of the prep work before cooking would be a little bit easier and quicker. New York Times Cooking has put together some basic information and a video to talk about basic Knife skills, choosing the right knives, taking care of them and learning to make cuts like an expert. The information is pretty helpful and perhaps it can assist you in improving on your own knife skills. Check it out!

Source: Basic Knife Skills – NYT Cooking

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Cooking, Cooking Tips, Cooking Websites, Equipment

 

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Kitchen Pantry Cooking Essentials – Key Ingredients and Recipes – Food.com

The key to good cooking and easy cooking is having some basics in your pantry all of the time. When you have the right ingredients around you can put together a meal in no time at all. Food.com has a list for you of the 50 most common cooking essentials you want in your pantry so you can do anything at any time. Check it out!

Source: Kitchen Pantry Cooking Essentials – Key Ingredients and Recipes – Food.com

 

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A Comfort Food Classic for Cooler Weather – Beef Stroganoff

The weather has started to become noticeably cooler the last few days. While the temperature has stayed in the 70s or so during the day around here, it is going down to fifty at night, making it great to open up the windows and get some fresh air for a change instead of using the air conditioner. Once the weather starts to get this way, I tend to start to think more about making different comfort foods. Comfort foods in the fall naturally seem to gravitate towards things like soups, stews, roasts and the like. I decided yesterday seemed like a good day to try something I have not made a very long time – beef stroganoff. Traditionally, stroganoff is made with beef tenderloin. However, tenderloin is not something I buy usually more than once a year, and even then it is usually around the holidays. There are plenty of good substitutes that you can use to make stroganoff instead of spending a high price you might for tenderloin. You can use sirloin steak, London broil or even stew beef if you cut it thin enough. I decided to try this classic beef stroganoff recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, which simplifies the recipes so that you can make a great meal in about twenty or thirty minutes.

Classic Beef Stroganoff

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

12 ounces white button mushrooms, cleaned and have if small, quartered if medium, cut into sixths if large

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 pound beef (tenderloin, sirloin steak, London broil or stew beef), cut into 1/2-inch long, 1/8-inch wide strips

1/2 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon butter

one small onion, minced (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup sour cream

8 ounces egg noodles, cooked in salted water, drained, and tossed with 2 tablespoons of butter

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed large skillet set over medium-high heat until the oil is hot and shimmering, but not smoking, about 2 to 3 minutes; swirl the oil to coat the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat without stirring for about thirty seconds. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and continue to cook them, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer the mushrooms to a medium bowl.

Return the skillet to high heat, and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil; swirl the oil to coat the pan. Place the beef strips in the skillet. Using tongs, spread the meat into a single layer, making sure that the strips do not touch, and cook the meat without turning until it is well browned on the first side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the beef strips and cooked them on the second side until they are well-browned, about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Season the beef with salt and pepper to taste and transfer the beef to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Add the beef broth to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon; simmer the broth until it is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the beef broth to the bowl with the mushrooms and the beef, scraping the skillet clean with a rubber spatula.

Return the skillet to medium low heat and add the butter; when the butter foams, add the onion, tomato paste and dark brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned and softened, about 6 to 7 minutes; stir in the flour until it is well incorporated. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and white wine; increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking occasionally, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the mixture until it has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk the liquid from the mushrooms and beef into the sauce and simmer it to incorporate all the liquid. Stir about 1/2 cup of the warm sauce in the pan into the sour cream, then stir this mixture back into the sauce in the pan. Add the mushrooms and beef back into the pan; heat everything to warm it through about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Adjust the seasonings with salt-and-pepper to taste and serve the stroganoff over the buttered egg noodles.

This recipe seemed a bit easier than some of the other side take a look at and allowed you to use more of ingredients you likely have on hand at home. Browning everything in the same pan as you go along with each step helps to build more layers of flavor from the dish. If you do not have any white wine available or do not like to use wine when you are cooking, you can always substitute more chicken broth or water. Mixing the sour cream with the hot sauce before you put it into the pan is a lot like tempering eggs, sour cream is likely to curdle if you edit directly to a hot liquid. To prevent this from happening, mixing it with a little hot liquid before you edit into the pan will help you to create a much better sauce. I thought the flavors of the dish were excellent and the meat came out nice and tender and very tasty. I simply used some stew beef that I had on hand, but I think a sirloin steak would work very well for this particular recipe. Stroganoff is traditionally served with noodles and I roasted some broccoli and cauliflower to go along with it to round out the meal.

That is all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on September 13, 2016 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner

 

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School Has Started! Time to Find Easy Dinners – Sheet Pan Sausage Supper

School started here last week for us so it was pretty busy as every tried to get back onto their routines of getting up early and starting the day, especially Sean. It is no easy task getting a 15-year old up and out of bed before 6 AM to get ready for school, but so far it has worked out just fine. Just as Sean gets back into his routine, it means that I have to try to get back into one myself. It means trying to get all my work done in the early part of the day so I can have more time to do things around the house, including getting dinner prepared each day. That’s why September (or really any month of the school year) is a great time to start pulling out those one dish meals. I have been making a lot of sheet pan suppers lately. They are easy to do, give you everything you want all in one pan, and make clean up a real breeze so I don’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning afterwards. Sheet pan suppers are ideal for just about anything – beef, chicken, fish, pork, turkey or even just vegetables – and it really all is a matter of timing everything right and chopping everything to a uniform size so all the ingredients cook at the same rate and are done at the same time. I came across this recipe from Food Network for a sausage sheet pan supper from Ree Drummond and thought I would give it a try.

Sheet Pan Sausage Dinner

1 pound trimmed whole Brussels sprouts
3 parsnips, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
2 red onions, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
Sprinkle of kosher salt
Sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper
12 Italian sausages

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the Brussels sprouts, parsnips, sweet potatoes and onions to a baking sheet. Add the olive oil, sage, salt and pepper and toss all of the vegetables together so they are well coated with the oil and the spices. Prick the sausages with a fork and then put the sausages in and around the vegetables on the sheet pan.
Bake the mixture in the oven until the sausages are cooked through and the vegetables are tender and nicely roasted, about 40 to 45 minutes, turning the sausages about half way through the cooking process. Serve together on a platter.

That’s all there is to this recipe. I find pricking the sausages works well so that they don’t burst in the casings and let some of the fat run out to flavor the vegetables a bit more. While turning them half way through cooking might seem unnecessary, I like to do it so the sausages get nicely browned all over. You can also mix up the vegetables a bit at the same time you turn the sausages so you can get more even browning on them as well. Roasting vegetables is my favorite way to prepare them since I think they get better flavor this way. You can vary the mix of vegetables if you like, but you may want to stick to items that are a little bit thicker if you are cooking everything together so that the vegetables do not overcook and burn before the meat is done. Carrots would work pretty well here, along with vegetables like cauliflower, squash, fennel or beets.I actually used a couple of carrots in my recipe.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on September 12, 2016 in Dinner, One Pot Meals, Produce, Sausage, Vegetables

 

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A Picture- Less Posting of Recipes – Fried Shrimp and Sweet Potato Oven Fries

After taking a nice long break for the Labor Day weekend, I am ready to get back to posting some recipes. There are times where I try out and cooked different recipes and just get caught up in the moment or daily life and forget to take pictures of whatever it is that I have made that day. This leaves me with a bunch of recipes that I do not have pictures for but that I have actually tried. I do not really like to post recipes without posting a picture that goes along with them, even though most of the pictures that I take are hardly what I would call “professional grade” and probably do not make that much of a difference. However I do like to show pictures of that people reading do know that I have actually tried out the recipe being posted so they can see what it looks like when I do it. That being said I do have some recent recipes I have tried that I either failed to take pictures of or, since I recently had to reset my iPhone, have lost pictures along the way because they were still on my phone before I could transfer them over to the computer. Two such recipes are those that I have tried from New York Times Cooking from Mark Bittman and Jonathan Reynolds. They are recipes for oven baked sweet potato fries and for a very basic fried shrimp. Both are very simple to make and allowed me to have a very quick dinner one night when we were scrambling around trying to find something to do.

Oven Sweet Potato Fries

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the sweet potatoes into sticks  of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long, and toss them with the olive oil.

Mix the garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl, and toss them with the sweet potatoes. Spread the sweet potatoes out on 2 rimmed baking sheets lines with parchment paper.

Bake the sweet potatoes until they are brown and crisp on the bottom, about 15 minutes, then flip the potatoes and cook them until the other side is crisp, about 10 minutes longer. Serve the potatoes hot.

This was a very easy recipe to follow and do and provides you with a perfect alternative to actually frying the potatoes. All they needed was that little bit of olive oil to really make them come out crisp and tasty. They were the perfect accompaniment to a fast fried shrimp recipe.

Basic Fried Shrimp

1/4 cup vegetable or peanut oil for frying

2 pounds small, large or jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails intact

1 cup milk

2 large eggs

1 cup cracker meal, breadcrumbs (fresh or store-bought) or 1 cup of crushed crackers

In a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 365 degrees on an instant-read thermometer or candy thermometer inserted into the oil.

Place the shrimp in a medium bowl. Mix the milk and eggs in a glass measuring cup with a fork until they are well blended and pour the mixture over the shrimp. Toss the shrimp until they are well coated and drain the shrimp in a colander.

Roll the shrimp in the cracker meal or breadcrumbs and shake off  any excess.

Fry the shrimp in the oil until they are golden in color, turning the shrimp as necessary, about 1 to 2 minutes total. Remove the shrimp from the pan with a strainer or Chinese spider (also called a skimmer) and shake off the excess oil. Serve the shrimp with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce, if desired.

You could always spice up the shrimp a bit by adding some other spices like paprika, chili powder, Old Bay seasoning or any other spices that you might like. Mix the spices in with the breadcrumbs and they will pick up the flavor nicely. The shrimp take no time at all to cook and you may have to do them in batches if you make the full two pounds so you do not overcrowd the pan. They go very well with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce and would even be perfect to have in a po’boy sandwich or even over a salad or with a steak. I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures of them; they came out quite nicely, with a nice golden brown color and great flavor to them since I had purchased some Wild American shrimp and used them for the recipe.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Cooking, Dinner, Potatoes, Seafood

 

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The Best Biscuits! Believe It! Southern Style Biscuits

If you have spent any time on my blog you’ll see that there are a number of different biscuit recipes on here. I like to make biscuits because they can be good for so many things. They are great for breakfast to use as breakfast sandwiches with sausage, bacon, egg and cheese, They can fill in in a pinch for lunch if you want a small sandwich to tide you over and they are great with dinners to soak up gravy, dip in soup or just have to go along with a hearty meal. Needless to say we are biscuit lovers in this house, which means I am always interested when a recipe comes along. A while back I saw this recipe from Tasting Table for southern-style biscuits and they sounded very good. It is, by far, the best biscuit recipe I have tried to date and is certainly one you want to look into.

Southern-Style Biscuits

10 tablespoons butter, frozen

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup chilled buttermilk

¼ cup chilled heavy cream

Flaky salt, for sprinkling

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Grate the frozen butter using the large side of a box grater. Transfer the butter to a bowl and place the bowl in the freezer to keep it chilled.

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and baking soda into a large bowl. Whisk in the salt. Using a fork, stir in the grated, chilled butter and then make a well in the center of the mixture. Add the buttermilk and cream and stir until the dough begins to clump and become shaggy.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Working quickly, gently press and fold the dough 4 to 5 times (try not to knead or squeeze the dough), then form it into a rectangle. Pat the dough down to a uniform thickness of about ¾ inch.

Using a 2½-inch biscuit cutter, press straight down through the dough, without twisting. Gather and pat down the scraps if needed to make more cuts. Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet so that they are just touching and chill the biscuits in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle each biscuit with flaky salt and bake the biscuits until they are golden on top, about 12 to 15 minutes. Let the biscuits cool slightly before serving.

These biscuits never seem to last very long. I get about 10 to 12 biscuits out of the dough and I would say at least half are gone if we make them with dinner and by the next day they have all been used. You can make this dough ahead of time and cut the biscuits out and then freeze the dough to use the biscuits when you want them. You want to make sure all of the dairy you use in this recipe – the butter, buttermilk and cream – is all very cold as it is a key to making the biscuits come out as great as they do. Getting those solid pieces of butter in the dough to be there while the biscuits cook give great flavor to the final results. The biscuits are fluffy, moist and have just a that hint of crisp exterior that you will love. My family loves this recipe over any others I have made before and it is pretty much the only one I use now. The picture below shows the biscuits with some sausage gravy and eggs that we had one night as a breakfast for dinner, but I also regularly make them with anything that we are having gravy with – chicken, turkey, meatloaf, pot roast – or any time I make stew or soup. They are just plain delicious.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in Biscuits, Breakfast, Cooking, Dinner, Lunch, Side Dishes

 

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