Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shafers' Goosh Buns

I got this recipe from a friend, who got it from someone in her husband's family. I suspect that there are many similar recipes floating around, but this one is perfection itself (in that it reminds me - in a wonderful way - of elementary school lunches where this would be called "barbecue on bun"):

Goosh Buns
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 14-oz bottle catsup
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp prepared mustard

Brown meat and saute onion and pepper. Add remaining ingredients and simmer.

yield: 6 servings

Monday, December 5, 2011

Impulse Purchases

Monday: crispy brussels sprouts with sriracha; baked sweet potatoes

We were armed with our usual list when we went to the farmer's market yesterday, but Victor was beguiled by some beautiful brussels sprouts and I decided I couldn't leave without some of the world's best sweet potatoes. Tonight I was planning to make some slow-cooked beef shanks, but didn't get the slow cooker going in time, so I was glad we had something extra around to make.

I used a hybrid of these two recipes for the sprouts - lots of stove-top cooking (in bacon fat) while the potatoes roasted, then a quick deglaze/steam with a sriracha/lime/honey mixture. The sweet-spicy flavor of the sprouts also complemented the sweet potatoes, though the ones from Lydell Farms are so sweet that they really don't need any additional flavoring.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What I did on my "summer" vacation...

Wow, it's been... a long time. There's been a lot of cooking, much of which I no longer remember well enough to identify individual recipes. I've found myself coming back to the blog to try to find things I've made and then realising that I never recorded the recipe I was looking for in the first place. To help remedy that, I'm going to post what I can remember now, and maybe add to it later. This website is, after all, primarily intended as a memory prompt for myself.

Without further ado, the recipe backlog:

From Tasty:
I haven't had the best luck with this cookbook, but told V that I'd give it one more shot before I donate the book. I think it's possible that the author likes a different set of flavors than I do, since everything I've made from it has tasted just slightly less good than I'd like.
  • pot roast with porcini and beer -- I might have used too dark a beer, or maybe I just don't like the taste of beer in stew, but I wouldn't make this again.
  • real good meat loaf -- not nearly as good as my favorite meatloaf recipe, and a lot more work. Also not worth making again.
  • roasted tomato soup with grappa and orange -- this was delicious until I added the orange juice (and I didn't have grappa, so my version was NA, too). I'd make it again, but omitting the orange zest/juice.
Ham Tetrazzini from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook. I also used the base sauce from the tetrazzini to make tuna noodle casserole several times.

"Goosh" Buns - recipe from my friend Kerrie, these are what we Pennsylvanians would call barbecue (known to the rest of the country as "sloppy joes").

From Vegetarian Suppers: I continue to love this cookbook, and have made my favorite recipes from it many, many times.
  • Tofu & Sugar Snap Peas in lemon grass broth: my first total misfire from this cookbook, the recipe was just as bland as it sounds
  • Seared Tofu & Mushroom Saute: I know I made this, but can't remember anything about it
  • Brown Rice Supper with tofu, roasted peanut sauce, and stir-fried carrots: surprisingly flavorful & delicious

From Appetite for Reduction: A new (to me) cookbook that's been mostly good so far.

  • Upside-Down Lentil Shepherd's Pie: yum, though not really a shepherd's pie
  • Mushroom & Cannellini Paprikas: also yum, but I don't remember much about it other than that V & I polished off the entire recipe for dinner (says it serves 4...)

Chicken & Fennel Pot Pie: adapted from As American As Apple Pie to use the pie crust we learned to make in a pie class we took summer 2010; also, I had leftover chicken, not turkey for the pie. It was delicious - possibly one of my favorite things that I've ever made.

So - there we go! I have clearly neglected to list more recipes than I've remembered here, but I'm hoping to remedy that as I run across them again (between bookmarks and stray sheets of online printouts, I'm bound to see at least some of them). And some of the recipes mentioned above deserve a full write-up (especially that delicious pot pie!), so I will try to catch up at some point.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wild Mushroom Meatloaf

I know - it's spring, and I should be writing about asparagus and ramps. Unfortunately, it's too early here for asparagus, and ramps don't even grow in Washington. Also, we've had a run of truly disheartening weather - mostly in the low 40s, mostly rain with the occasional burst of hail. We've been craving comfort food.

V has been working pretty much non-stop, but on the one night last week that he was actually home for dinner, I made Potato & Turnip Mash, Roasted Beets, and this Wild-Mushroom Meatloaf. It looks like the meatloaf recipe must have been cut from a magazine at some point, but I neglected to clip anything that would have identified which one. I'd guess that it's from about eight years ago, from where it is in my binder - it's been my go-to meatloaf recipe for years.

Wild-Mushroom Meatloaf

  • chopped fresh mushrooms (any kind) about 1/2 C
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil (or rendered bacon grease...)
  • 1/4 C dry white wine
  • 1/4 C (or so) dried wild mushrooms, soaked in 1/4 C hot water
  • 1/4 C milk (any kind)
  • 1 egg
  • 6 slices bread (I usually use whole wheat sandwich bread), torn into rough pieces
  • 3/4 lb extra-lean ground beef
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ketchup, chili sauce, or barbeque sauce (optional)
Heat oven to 375F.

In a skillet over medium heat, warm the oil or fat. Add the fresh mushrooms, onion, garlic, and thyme and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Cook until golden brown. Pour in the wine and cook until it has evaporated - turn up the heat a bit if necessary. After the liquid is gone, set the pan aside.

Meanwhile, drain the wild mushrooms through a sieve lined with paper towels. Reserve the soaking liquid. Lift out the mushrooms and chop. Add to cooked mushroom mixture.

In a large bowl, combine milk, egg, bread, and soaking liquid to form a paste. Stir until the bread bits are pretty well incorporated. Add beef, mushrooms, and about 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Stir to combine, but try not to overwork the beef, as that can make the meatloaf tough.

Put the mixture into a greased 9"x5" loaf pan and cover the top with sauce, if desired. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.
makes 4 generous servings

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Purim cookies

As part of my continuing cookie-baking adventures, we made hamantashen last week. Hamantashen (or "hamentashen" - various spelling abound) are triangular filled cookies served for the Jewish holiday of Purim. I have many fond childhood memories of eating my grandmother's hamantashen, which she made in great quantities every year. Her cookies were generally denser and less floury than the ones I've eaten elsewhere, and she stuck with the traditional poppy and prune fillings, although in later years she branched out and also used apricot jam and cherry pie filling.

I opted to use her recipe for the cookie dough (actually Grandma's friend Ruth's recipe), but for the filling I went non-traditional and used some Roasted Tangelo Marmalade. (Looking back, I see that I'd intended to do that all along!) We overcooked them very slightly, but these hew pretty closely to the cookies I remember from my childhood.

Ruth's recipe from the Heirloom Cookbook, adapted and expanded

  • 1/3 C vegetable oil
  • ¼ C orange juice
  • 1 C sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 (plus) C flour, plus extra to achieve correct consistency
  • 1-2 C very thick jam or other filling

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, juice, sugar, and eggs. In a smaller bowl, sift together the baking powder, salt, and 3 C flour. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones. After the initial flour is mixed in, keep adding more flour until the dough is thick enough to roll out (it will probably still be sticky).

Form the dough into a flat disk and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or even overnight).

Roll out dough on a lightly-floured surface, until 1/2"-1/8" thick (the thickness really just depends on your personal preference - ours were on the thicker end of that range).

Use a glass or biscuit-cutter to cut dough into rounds. Place a small amount of jam on the center of the dough rounds, and pinch into a triangular shape. Place on a parchment paper or Silpat-covered baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes or until dough is a light golden brown.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

cookie time

I haven't made many cookies - this is part of the reason I still claim that I "don't really bake" despite all indications to the contrary - but a friend and I recently decided to start making cookies with her 2-year-old. We began with some simple molasses cookies. It was a blast; all three of us had a great time, and the cookies are delicious. I think that I'll add some orange peel (or possibly a bit of orange extract) the next time I make them, as they're a tad too simple for me.

Sugar and Spice Drop Cookies
adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 C molasses
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 C traditional whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter together with sugar and spices. Beat in the molasses and then the egg. Finally, beat in the flour. Refrigerate the dough, covered, for at least 30 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.
yield: approx. 53 cookies if no one eats any dough
(we got 44 cookies)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"sneaky" banana pancakes

The "sneaky" in the title refers to the whole wheat flour I used; because the first question I ask when I serve something like this is "can you taste the whole wheat?" they're not actually sneaky at all in our house. They might be in yours, however - I don't think you can tell that they're not made with white flour.

The recipe is based on one in Helen Witty's Home-Style Menu Cookbook, tweaked with some advice on making pancakes with whole wheat flour from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. The recipe is easily doubled.

Banana Pancakes

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 C milk (I used skim)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice (this won't make the pancakes taste at all orange-y, but does diminish the flavor profile of whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 C white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • optional: 1/3 C toasted and chopped pecans or walnuts
Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add the banana, sugar, milk, oil, and juice; beat well.

In another bowl, sift together the remaining dry ingredients (other than nuts, if using). Add the flour mixture (and the nuts) to the liquid mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are just dampened; don't overmix.

Heat a griddle or large frying pan over medium-low heat, until drops of water sizzle slowly when flicked on. If the drops hop and skip, your pan is too hot - turn down the heat and let cool a bit before pouring in the batter for the first pancakes. These pancakes should cook slowly and turn only a light brown.

Bake until half the bubbles on top are "set" and stay open; then flip and cook for an additional two minutes or so, until the pancakes feel firm and springy to a fingertip. A scant 1/3 C measure of batter will yield a regular-sized pancake; 2-3 Tbsp of batter will yield silver-dollar-sized cakes.
serves 2

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dried Fruit Extravaganza

Monday: Roasted Root Veggie Tsimmes; Farro Pilaf

Tsimmes is a traditionally Jewish dish, and one of my favorites (sweet-salty main dishes are very much my thing, after all). This one is from Clean Start, which I have checked out of the library. I'm not very enthusiastic about cookbooks that are prescriptive (rather than descriptive), so I found the "clean start/clean food" concept to be a little preachy. It's also an entirely gluten-free cookbook, which is a dietary restriction I'm grateful not to have (I think it makes baking especially difficult). I'm only willing to jump through all the gluten-free hoops if I'm cooking for someone who needs to eat GF, so most of the recipes for baked goods would be special-occasion-only in our house. All that aside, though, there are some great-looking recipes in here, and I definitely enjoyed Walters' version of tsimmes.

Fruits-and-Roots Tsimmes
adapted from Clean Start

  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 1 C orange juice
  • 8-10 C mixed root veggies, cut into 1-inch chunks (she suggests carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips)
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 10 pitted prunes, halved
  • 1/2 C dried cherries
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • peel from 1 lemon, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Whisk a bit of the orange juice into cornstarch or arrowroot powder until it forms a paste. Whisk in the rest of the juice. Combine all ingredients (just use a few pinches of salt to start) in an oiled casserole dish. Cover, and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, stir, and bake another 15 minutes. Stir again, and bake for a final 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, stir again, add salt to taste, and serve.
serves 4-6

The pilaf is something I improvised to use up some farro I found in the back of the pantry.

Farro Pilaf
  • 1.5 C farro (we get ours at the farmer's market from Bluebird Grain Farms)
  • 8 C stock (or water plus bouillon)
  • 1/2 C dried cranberries
  • 1/2 C walnuts, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • generous grinding of pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
In a dry skillet, toast the farro for 4 minutes or so over medium-high heat. The grains will begin to brown and pop in the pan toward the end. Add the liquid, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5o to 60 minutes. The grains should be tender (sadly, they will still be "squeaky"). Drain.

Toss with remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I found that this dish tasted best with a lot of pepper.) Serve warm.
serves 4-6

Sunday, March 6, 2011

a recipe in search of a menu

No menu this week, since I was gone for most of it. I'm back from my vacation, and was craving home-made food. I ended up making a comforting spicy-greens-with-buttermilk-grits recipe from Running with Tweezers. Awesomely, it required no shopping - I used powdered buttermilk, canned tomatoes, and some elderly kale that was hiding in the produce bin. The only change I made was to finish the grits with a bit of butter before serving. If we'd been a bit hungrier, we might have poached some eggs and put them on top, but for tonight, this really hit the spot.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

from the "archives"

It should be in the archives, anyway, as I made this soup back in October. I defrosted the leftovers and had them for dinner before my trip to Mexico. I thought I'd posted the recipe here, but apparently not. After much searching, here it is.

N.B. This soup improves enormously with a "rest" period - it is substantially better the next day (or even months later, if you are as bad about rotating frozen leftovers as I am).

Cauliflower and Bell Pepper Chowder
adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 4 large shallots, minced
  • 1/2 C sliced celery
  • 5 C home-made stock (veggie or chicken) or 5 C water plus Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 red or yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 C peeled and chopped red potato
  • bay leaf
  • 1 C 2% milk
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1/4 C sour cream
Melt the butter in a soup pop over medium heat. Add shallots and celery. Cook 5 minutes or so, until softened. Add stock or water & bouillon and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower, bell pepper, potato, and bay leaf; return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potato is tender (about 20 min). Stir in milk and pepper; discard bay leaf.

Using an immersion blender, process until some of the soup is pureed, but leave a few chunky bits. Stir in basil and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.
serves 4

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winter (week of Feb 21)

Monday: left-overs
Tuesday: brown rice; sauteed spinach; miso-topped tofu
Wednesday: brown rice; Massaman Curry with Tofu & Sweet Potatoes (curry paste from Thai Curry Simple); Ginger, Rum, and Coconut Sorbet
Thursday: left-overs
Friday: Baked Eggs
Saturday: take-out
Sunday: I'm in Mexico!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dark-n-Stormy Sorbet

I'm not much of an ice-cream person (all the milk fat gets in the way of the sugar - and I'm all about the sugar), but I love me some sorbets. I suddenly decided I *had* to make this recipe last night, then realised I was out of rum. I made it to the liquor store mere moments before they closed. Of course, making ice cream/sorbet/whatever isn't an immediate-gratification thing, so we had it with our dinner tonight. Yum!

Dark-n-Stormy Sorbet
Adapted from this recipe

  • 24 ounces ginger beer, thoroughly chilled (I used Reed's extra-spicy)
  • 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons demerara or turbinado sugar (or regular brown sugar)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used "light" coconut milk)
  • 1 Tablespoon key lime juice (I'm sure regular would be fine as well)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 C finely shredded coconut flakes
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
In large bowl whisk together ginger beer and sugar till foam subsides and sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Whisk in coconut milk, lime juice, salt, and ginger. Mix in coconut.

Transfer mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. When sorbet is finished, slowly pour in rum and churn one minute longer. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm and scoopable.
makes about 1 pint

Saturday, February 19, 2011

back to smoothies

I am a little faddish about my breakfasts. These fads are personal to me, but I often eat the same thing for breakfast for weeks or even months. Certain things (like skinny ties?) come back time after time, while other things (jellies?) are popular for a while and then forgotten. Smoothies are a classic for me. For a long time, we had a mango-blueberry one every day; before that it was a strawberry-carrot smoothie (which I no longer quite remember how to make). Now is the time of the cinnamon pear smoothie, apparently.

Mango-Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie
  • 1 C OJ
  • 1 C mango chunks
  • 1 1/2C frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 block soft silken tofu
  • sweetener, if necessary/desired
serves 2

Cinnamon Pear Breakfast Smoothie
  • 1 1/2 C OJ
  • 1/2 pear, cut into chunks but not peeled
  • 3/4 1/2 C uncooked rolled oats (eta: I measured how much I'm adding, and it's slightly less than I'd guesstimated)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 C spinach
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
serves 1 generously

Thursday, February 17, 2011

guess I should update my profile...

I finally overcame my distaste for dissertating, finished my dissertation, and successfully defended it in late January. Crazy. Anyway, between the exciting (by which I mean "terrifying") run-up to the defense and Victor's long hours at work, there hasn't been much cooking around here. I'm slowly getting my cooking mojo back, though, and planning to post a bit more regularly. Of course, I'm heading off to Mexico in a little more than a week, so don't get your hopes up quite yet (and, to any potential internet baddies - Victor and our ferocious attack-cats will both be staying here in Seattle).

I had some folks over for a soup swap last night, so it feels fitting that I'd start posting again with that recipe. It's one I've made many times and keep returning to, because it is tasty, healthy, and easy.

Chipotle-Kissed Red Bean and Sweet Potato Chili
(adapted from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow-Cooker)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ lb sweet potatoes, cut into ½” chunks
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 ½ C cooked beans)
  • 1 ½ C water
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp minced chipotle chiles in adobo

Heat the oil in a large skillet (if you’ll be using a slow-cooker) or in a heavy soup pot (if you’ll be cooking the chili on the stove). Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and a little salt, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the sweet potatoes, and stir to coat with spices.

If using a slow-cooker, transfer the mixture to a large slow-cooker crock and add the tomatoes, beans, and water; otherwise, just add them to the pot you used to sweat the onions and garlic. Season with a bit more salt.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours in a slow-cooker or simmer for an hour (or so) on the stovetop, until potatoes are soft. Stir in the minced chiles (NOT the whole can) and salt to taste.
serves 4-6