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Monthly Archives: October 2016

How to Use Squash, from Frying to Dips | Bon Appetit

Fall weather is upon us and winter is not far behind and among the bounty of great vegetables available this time of year or all the different types of squash that you can get. The choices seem almost endless and if you are looking for some ideas of what you can do with the different types of squash out there Bon Appetit has 23 squash recipe ideas you can try out that are ideal for all different types of cooking and baking. Check it out!

Source: How to Use Squash, from Frying to Dips | Bon Appetit

 

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Cast a Vote for Your Cast Iron Pan – Cast Iron Chicken Teriyaki Thighs

It is hard to conceive of cooking any other way than with cast-iron for me lately. I have a few cast-iron pans that are used for just about everything because they cook very well, retain heat nicely and are pretty easy to clean. I have a few different sizes of pans and skillet so I can do pretty much anything from a small meal to a larger roast in the oven. If you take good care of your cast-iron pans, they can last for many years and you will not have to worry about food sticking to the pan if it is seasoned correctly. Outside of all that, I find that I can get a really nice sear and great browning on things like chicken when I use cast-iron. When I came across this recipe for cast-iron chicken teriyaki thighs from the Taste and Tell Blog, it seemed like a perfect fit for an easy weeknight meal. The original recipe is from a Americans Test Kitchen cookbook called “Cook It With Cast Iron.”

Cast Iron Chicken Teriyaki Thighs

8 bone-in chicken thighs, fat trimmed

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cups soy sauce

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons mirin

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 green onions, thinly sliced on a bias

 

Set an oven rack in the center of the oven. Place a large cast-iron skillet on the rack, then preheat the oven to 500°.

While the skillet is heating, The chicken thighs dry with paper towels, then season them with salt and pepper.

When the oven reaches 500°, using potholders, remove the skillet from the oven and place it on the stove over medium heat. You can turn off the oven at this point. Add the vegetable oil, and heat the oil in till it is just smoking. Place the chicken thighs in the skillet, skin side down. Place a weighted Dutch oven over the chicken to weigh it down, and cook the chicken until the skin is crispy and well browned, about 16 to 20 minutes. Start checking the chicken at about ten minutes and adjust the heat as it is needed.

When the chicken is crispy and browned, remove the Dutch oven and flip the chicken thighs. Cook the second side (without being weighted down) until it is browned and crispy and when the chicken reaches 175° as an internal temperature, about 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

In a bowl, whisk the soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger and cornstarch together until all of the ingredients are well blended and the cornstarch is dissolved. Pour the fat off of the cast-iron skillet and add the mixture. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and becomes glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the skillet with the sauce. Turn the chicken to coat it well in the sauce. Sprinkle the chicken with the green onions. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce.

Just a note about weighing down the chicken so that you get a really nice sear on it. If you do not want to make a mess of your Dutch oven pan, you can always place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the chicken and then place the Dutch oven on top you will be able to get just the effect you are looking for without having to worry about cleaning another pot once you are done. You can also throw a couple of unopened cans that you may have in your pantry into the Dutch oven to give it even more weight. The final result of the recipe is a very nice crispy skin that has a beautiful coating of the teriyaki sauce on top. The taste of the sauce was fantastic with the chicken and I served the dish with some fried rice that I had made to really make it a somewhat more Asian inspired dish. You can do the entire meal in under thirty minutes so it can be a great choice for any weeknight.

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 October 28, 2016 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Uncategorized

 

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Quick, Easy and Delicious – You Can Make This Simple Crusty Bread

If you follow the blog regularly then you know that I write a lot about baking bread. For me, bread baking is a relaxing endeavor and I love the taste and smell of homemade bread more than anything you can buy from the supermarket. Of course, not everyone has time to put into making fresh loaves of bread all of the time. It can be a process and take several hours and a lot of people just feel like it is not worth the effort.But what if you could make fresh loaves of bread that were as easy as possible? Wouldn’t it be great if you could have fresh bread for the sandwich for work tomorrow or to go with your dinner tonight? It can happen if you make use of this recipe from Nick Fox from New York Times Cooking. The idea of the recipe comes from Jeff Hertzberg, a doctor from Minneapolis, who worked to streamline the bread-making process. Now you can have no fuss bread with just a little bit of effort on your part.

Simple Crusty Bread

1 ½ tablespoons yeast

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

6 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

Cornmeal

In a large bowl or plastic container, mix the yeast and the salt into 3 cups of lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in the flour, mixing the flour into the water mixture until there are no dry patches. The dough will be quite loose. Cover the bowl or container, but not with an airtight lid. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

Bake the bread at this point or refrigerate the dough, covered, for as long as two weeks. When you are ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on the dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn the dough in your hands to lightly stretch the surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put the dough on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; allow the dough to rest for about 40 minutes. Repeat the process with the remaining dough or refrigerate it.

Place broiler pan on the bottom of the oven. Place a baking stone on the middle rack and turn the oven to 450 degrees; heat the stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

Dust the dough with flour, slash the top of the dough with a serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide the dough onto the stone. Pour one cup of hot water into the broiler pan and shut the oven quickly to trap the steam. Bake the bread until it is well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.

Okay, so you can’t make a fresh, homemade loaf bread in 30 minutes but once you have let the dough rise at room temperature and refrigerated it, the hard part is over. It then just becomes taking a portion, letting it rest for 40 minutes and cooking it. This recipe makes enough for 4 loaves of bread so you can get plenty of use out of it. The dough itself is rather sticky when you make it but it is still pretty easy to work with. You don’t have to go through all of the kneading and everything else to prepare it. Once you put it in the oven you can brown it to your liking and it is great for any meal, to use for toast, sandwiches or just to have fresh bread around when you want it. You can even bake all 4 loaves at once and freeze the excess until you want to use it so you always have fresh bread around. I have used this recipe several times to make quicker bread when I know we are having people over for dinner and I want some fresh bread for the meal. It is flavorful, crusty and has a great chew. The picture I took is of loaves that aren’t quite as browned as I normally like but they are still quite good.

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 October 26, 2016 in Breads, Dinner, Lunch, Side Dishes

 

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Lo and Behold, a Lovely Dessert – Lemon Drizzle Cake

Trying to find something to make for desserts is not always an easy thing, especially during the week when you may not have a lot of time to put something together. However, my philosophy is that anything you make at home, no matter how small, is going to be worth the effort and taste good. Unfortunately we are not lucky enough to a local bakery around here, leaving the only real choices for dessert to the supermarket bakery and whatever is on the shelf in the frozen food aisle, so that leaves making something yourself when you want to satisfy a sweet tooth. For me, I have always liked just a plain piece of pound cake. Pound cake makes a nice, easy dessert that goes well with a cup of coffee or tea, a little iced cream, some fresh fruit or even just by itself. When I saw this recipe from Melissa Clark of New York Times Cooking for a lemon drizzle cake, it seemed like the perfect combination of an easy dessert to make with a nice cake with some awesome lemon zing to it.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened, more for greasing pan

2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 1/2 lemons

2 ¼ cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

¼  milk

Heat the oven to 325 degrees and place a rack in the center. Grease a 9-by-12-inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the long sides of the pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and half of the sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until they are incorporated, then beat in the milk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary (the mixture will look curdled, and that’s O.K.). Mix in the flour mixture until the ingredients are combined, then scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top of the batter.

Bake the cake until it is golden brown and springy, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then use the paper overhang to lift the cake out of the pan; transfer the cake to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and carefully remove the paper.

While the cake bakes, in a small bowl mix together the remaining half of the sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) and enough lemon juice to make a runny mixture. While the cake is still warm, spoon the sugar mixture evenly over the top. The cake has to be cooled slightly to prevent the topping from melting, but warm enough so that it soaks into the cake, leaving a crunchy sugar coat on top. Let the cake cool, then cut it into squares.

As long as you have a few lemons on hand, the rest of the ingredients are things you likely have around the kitchen so that you could put this one together during the week if you like. The cake itself is much like a typical pound cake, but once you add the lemon topping to it and it glazes over the cake is bursting with flavor. If you like lemon, this one is for you. The cake ends up with a nice crunch once the glaze sets and cools, making each piece of the cake a lemony treat. I have loved having it with a cup of coffee for dessert or even a little piece for breakfast in the morning. This makes a pretty large cake in a 9 x 13 pan (I don’t have a 9 x 12 pan and have never seen one myself, but 9 x 13 worked just fine for me) so it is great for parties or to bring over to someone’s house for a potluck or you could even try freezing some of it and use it for different occasions. It’s definitely one worth remembering.

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 October 24, 2016 in Cakes

 

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The First Soup of the Season – Baked Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup

Okay, so the weather hasn’t been exactly fall weather here the last 2 days, with temperatures getting up into the 80s during the day on both days, but it still seems to be that soup time of year. Things cooled down quite a bit last night and should be back more towards normal here, which means brisk autumn air that makes for good soup weather. With so many great fall vegetables around right now, particularly a bunch of different root vegetables, the opportunities are there to make all kinds of good soups. One that has always been a family favorite of ours has been butternut squash soup and since squash is so plentiful right now  I knew I just had to make some soup the other night. I had picked up a couple of butternut squash at the farmer’s market last week, along with some carrots, celery root and leeks and I knew this was all going to come together nicely for a soup dinner. I decided to use this recipe from Molly O’Neill at New York Times Cooking for a baked butternut squash soup and adapted it to include some other great root vegetables to make it my own.

Baked Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup

2 butternut squash, about 1 pound each, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

medium leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed well and finely chopped

1 celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons honey

teaspoon each of mace, ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice

 

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, stems removed, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the squash, carrots leeks and celery root in a shallow roasting pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle the olive oil over the vegetables, add salt and pepper to taste and toss the vegetables in the oil to coat them well. Drizzle the vegetables with the honey and add the mace, ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice and toss the vegetables again so they are well mixed. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast the vegetables in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and continue roasting the vegetables until they are lightly browned and fork tender, about another 20 to 25 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat the chicken broth in a large pot or Dutch oven until it is simmering. Remove the pan from the oven and place the vegetables in the pot with the broth and mix them well. All the broth and vegetables to continue simmering for about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables and broth together until the vegetables are smooth (You can also do this in a blender in batches if you prefer). Return the pot to the stove and bring the soup slowly to a boil over medium-low heat and then stir in the heavy cream. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with parsley, if desired.

You get some great combinations of flavors here with the squash, celery root, carrots and leeks. The honey just bumps up the sweetness a tiny bit here and the spices, even though they are in small amounts, add just the right touch. I like roasting the vegetables before putting them in the soup because they get nice and tender and seem to have better flavor this way than if you sautéed them in a pan or the same pot as the soup. You can leave out the heavy cream if you prefer but I added it because it helps create some great texture to the soup. The soup would benefit even more if you added a peeled and sliced apple to the vegetables when roasting, but I didn’t have any on hand so I left it out. You could also easily make this a vegetarian meal by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth or just using water.This makes a nice batch of soup so you can have leftovers for other meals or lunches and we had the soup with sandwiches for dinner, but you could easily have it by itself, with some croutons, a salad or just with some homemade bread or biscuits. It was a great way to kick off what hopefully is the first of some awesome soups and stews this year.

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 October 20, 2016 in Leftovers, Lunch, One Pot Meals, Vegetables, Vegetarian

 

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Here’s a Beef for You – Herb Crusted Round Roast with Parmesan Black Pepper Popovers

I do not typically buy a lot of eye round to using my cooking. It is not because we do not like to eat it; the fact is very often the pieces are just too large for just the three of us so unless I was making something for crowd for a special occasion it does not really make much sense for us. However, I am always a sucker for a good sale so if something is a really good price I am willing to take the plunge and make the investment in. Such was the case recently when our local supermarket had large pieces of eye round for a very cheap price. It meant looking for a piece that was not too big but was one that I could cut up into portions that would be the appropriate size for the three of us and allow me to freeze the rest. I was able to cut the roast that I chose into three decent sized portions so that we will be able to get at least three separate meals from the roasts. It was then a matter of finding a recipe that looks good where we could cook the roast without having it get dried out or tough, which is one of my typical complaints about many eye round roasts that you get. I came across this recipe from Serious Eats for a herb crusted round roast with Parmesan black pepper popovers that, even though it sounds complicated, is a very easy recipe to make and came up with great results.

Herb-Crusted Round Roast with Parmesan-Black Pepper Popovers

For the Popovers:

3 eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 cup milk

3/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese

For the Beef:

3-pound beef eye of round roast, trimmed of fat

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

3 medium cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon grain mustard

For the Horseradish Cream:

1/2 cups sour cream

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice from one lemon

For the popovers, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 400°. Place two muffin tins in the oven to preheat; note that you will be using about 18 of the tins.

Combine the eggs, flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, milk and Parmesan cheese in a blender using a low-speed setting. Do not over mix. Remove the muffin tins from the oven, quickly spray the tins with cooking spray and pour the batter into the tins, filling eighteen wells halfway. Place the muffin tins in the oven and bake the popovers until they are puffed up and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the popovers from the oven and cool them on a wire rack in the tins.

For the beef, while the popovers are baking, season the roast with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed, oven-safe roasting pan until the oil is shimmering. Add the roast and cook, turning it occasionally, until it is well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the meat to a large platter and set it aside.

Add the thyme, sage, parsley, oregano, paprika, garlic, mustard and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to a blender or food processor. Season the mixture with a pinch of salt and pepper and pulse it until it forms a paste. Generously rub the herb mixture on the roast. Return the roast to the Dutch oven or roasting pan. When the popovers are done, reduce the oven temperature to 350°. Transfer the Dutch oven or roasting pan to the oven and roast the beef until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the roast registers 125° for medium rare or 135° for medium, about 1 hour. Remove the roast from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Tent the roast with foil and allow it to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes.

For the sauce, while the roast is resting, combine the sour cream, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Return the popovers to the oven to reheat them for about 5 minutes.

Carve the roast, arrange the slices on a platter and serve them immediately with the Horseradish cream and the popovers.

While this is certainly an elegant looking meal, it is simple enough where you could do this on a weeknight if you felt like having a beef roast. The roast came out perfectly, with a nice pink center and it was not tough at all. The herb crust on the outside added some very nice flavor to the beef. The popovers were very nice addition and made a great side dish that was very easy to do. I did not make the horseradish sauce to go with the beef since I am the only one who eats Horseradish but under normal circumstances I think it would be pretty tasty. I served this with some fresh green beans and some mashed potatoes and we made some gravy with the drippings that were left from the meat and the gravy really helped to punctuate the deliciousness of the meal. Since I still have some beef in the freezer, this is certainly a recipe that I would fall back on again since it went over so well.

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 October 19, 2016 in Beef, Breads, Cooking, Dinner

 

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The 101 Recipes You Need to Know How to Cook | Bon Appetit

Every home cook has some basic recipes that they turn to all of the time for weeknight meals, special Sunday suppers or dinner parties. There are some classics and basic recipes that you learn along the way that you can always rely on when you want to turn out a great meal. Bon Appetit has put together 101 of the basic classic recipes, with everything from appetizers to desserts and everything in between so that you can have recipes to fall back on, learn and use when you want them. Check it out!

Source: The 101 Recipes You Need to Know How to Cook | Bon Appetit

 

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Easy From Start to Finish – Peach Glazed Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Broccoli

I find myself more and more trying to figure out ways where I can make meals that are all cooked in one pan. Not only does this make cleanup much easier for all of us after dinner so we don’t have to spend 45 minutes doing dishes (no dishwasher for us; everything is done by hand) but it also allows for dishes that provide a great melding of flavors along the way. I particularly like to do one pan meals with pork and chicken. They seem to be the best for meals of this type and are most adaptable so that you can use potatoes or rice and whatever vegetables you like the most and cook everything together. Of course, adding some great flavor to your protein helps a lot too. I had picked up some peach preserves when I last went to the farmer’s market and have been looking for a meal to use them with. The preserves tasted great on their own so I knew they would really perk up a chicken dish. Instead of going out and finding a recipe like I usually do I decided to wing this one on my own and see how it would turn out.

Peach Glazed Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Broccoli

1/2 cup peach preserves

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces fingerling potatoes, rinsed and halved

2 cups broccoli crowns

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, add the peach preserves, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, ginger and garlic. Whisk the mixture until it is well blended and heat at a low simmer for about 10 minutes.

In a large oven-safe skillet or roasting pan set over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and heat it until it is shimmering. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken thighs in the skillet, skin side down, and cook until the skin is nicely browned, about 7 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces over and heat on the second side for about 3 to 4 minutes just to lightly brown. Remove the chicken from the skillet and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and oil in the pan. Add the potatoes to the bottom of the pan and cook them for about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli on top of the potatoes. Nestle the chicken pieces into the broccoli and coat each piece of chicken with some of the peach glaze. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, coat the chicken pieces with more of the peach glaze. Return the chicken to the oven and cook until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into one of the thighs and the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

The great thing about cooking this way is that you get the great flavors from the chicken and the glaze working their way down through the broccoli and potatoes to give them a touch of the sweetness from the peaches. You also get the nice roasting of the broccoli and potatoes as well, which is my favorite way to have each. You can use your own favorite glaze for the chicken to get the flavor you want (apricot would work well here as well) or even substitute pork for the chicken. You end up with nice crispy chicken that has wonderful taste and you get the entire meal done in one dish.

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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Who Needs a Reservation? Rao’s Meatballs with Marinara Sauce in Your Home

No matter what large city you may be in there are always iconic places that you know of that can be great to dine at. New York City is chockful of places like this and if you are a lover of Italian food, Rao’s is a place you likely know of and would love to visit. If you have ever had the good fortune of dining there yourself you are among the very lucky. Rao’s is well-known for being the toughest reservation to get in New York City, not only because they have a highly-regarded menu but simply because they have very few tables to go around and a pretty regular clientele that takes them. Just because you can’t sit at a table at Rao’s doesn’t mean you can’t take the opportunity to enjoy one of their Italian classics,  such as meatballs with their famous red sauce. The recipe, from the New York Times, provides you the opportunity to make this signature dish on your own, saving you time, money and frustration.

Rao’s Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

For the Sauce:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 ounces salt pork, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons minced onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 28-ounce cans imported Italian crushed tomatoes

6 leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces

Pinch of dried oregano

Salt and ground black pepper

For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground lean beef

½ pound ground veal

½ pound ground pork

2 large eggs

1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 small garlic clove, minced

Salt and ground black pepper

2 cups fine dry bread crumbs

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, lightly smashed

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium-low heat, then add the salt pork. Sauté the pork until the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the salt pork. Add the onion and sauté it  until it is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté it just until it is softened. Add the tomatoes with their juice and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. Add the basil, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the sauce for 1 minute more.

To make the meatballs, in a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, veal and pork. Add the eggs, cheese, parsley and minced garlic, then salt and pepper as desired. Add the bread crumbs and mix everything well. Slowly add up to 2 cups water, 1/2 cup at a time, until the mixture is moist; all the water may not be needed. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2 -inch meatballs.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and sauté it until it is lightly browned, about 1 to 2 minutes, then discard the garlic. Working in batches and taking care not to crowd the pan, add meatballs and fry them until the undersides are brown and slightly crisp, about 5 to 6 minutes. Turn and brown the other sides of the meatballs, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the cooked meatballs to paper towels to drain, and then add them to the marinara sauce. Mix the sauce and meatballs gently and serve.

This recipe is very simple and I have found that really great-tasting, classic Italian dishes are often this way. They don’t need to use a lot of complicated methods or fancy ingredients; they stick to basics and offer great flavor. You can use a basic meatloaf mix to make the meatballs for the mixture of fat and flavor they go for or stick to your own and just use basic ground beef if you like, but if you are trying to imitate the flavor of a Rao’s meal to try it out, I would try to stick to as close of the recipe as you can to see if it is something you enjoy. I did go the extra mile and purchased the more expensive San Marzano tomatoes for this recipe to see if it made a difference over what I traditionally used. The sauce was very tasty, allowing the basic tomato flavor to shine through with nice fresh basil adding to it. The meatballs also were very simple but had good taste to them as well. All you need after that is some pasta, nice crunchy bread, a good bottle of wine and some great mood lighting and you can recreate your own Rao’s experience in your dining room or kitchen. It is an easy enough recipe to make it part of your meal rotation.

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 October 11, 2016 in Cooking, Dinner, Eating Out, Pasta, Sauce

 

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Impressive Biscuits in a Hurry – Cook’s Country Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

We had something of an impromptu breakfast yesterday with Michelle’s parents and our nephew stopping over for a nice breakfast so we had to throw some things together in a hurry. There is always plenty of bacon, eggs and coffee in the house and ingredients to make pancakes, but I really like to have nice, warm biscuits to serve with breakfast as well. They are great just with butter, but also go well with jelly, or to put some egg or bacon on and make yourself a little sandwich. The usual recipe I have turned to for biscuits takes a bit of time and preparation, something I did not really have yesterday, but this recipe from Cook’s Country for buttermilk drop biscuits gives you the same great taste and flavor in much less time so you can put it together pretty quickly.

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk, chilled

8 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons butter

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 475 degrees. Line an unrimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl until the ingredients are well blended. Stir the buttermilk and melted butter together in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup until the butter begins to form clumps.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. Using a greased 1/4-cup dry measuring cup, drop level scoops of the batter about 1 1/2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake the biscuits in the oven until the tops are golden brown, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking process, about 12 to 14 minutes.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush it on the biscuit tops. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe makes about 12 biscuits. The difference in this recipe is that it uses hot fat (the melted butter) instead of the traditional cold fat you use with butter. With cold butter, as the butter melts it creates steam and helps to give you a flaky biscuit. When you stir the hot butter together with the cold buttermilk in this recipe, the butter will clump up in the milk, giving you the same type of texture you would get in a traditional recipe but with less work. The biscuits came out perfectly and were light and fluffy and had great flavor, making them ideal to go with breakfast. They will also be good to go along with any meal you like and you do not have to go through a lot of effort to make them. Even if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can always create your own by combining 1 cup of regular milk with a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice and allowing it to stand for 5 minutes. You could also get dry buttermilk, which I use often as a stand-in for recipes, where you just need to add water to the powder to get buttermilk. In either case you can end up with great biscuits for breakfasts or to have with stews, soups, chicken, meat or just about any meal you like in just a few minutes.

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 October 10, 2016 in Breads, Breakfast, Dinner, Side Dishes

 

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