Monday, May 30, 2011

Apple-Blackberry Pie

3-4 medium apples
2 C blackberries
1 C sugar*
1½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
2 Tbls flour

* I like the tartness of Granny Smith apples, and then I generally use the full cup of sugar. With sweeter apples, you can get by with less; the blackberries are plenty sweet.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Line a 9" pie plate with bottom crust. Peel, core and slice/dice apples. Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Gently mix apples and blackberries with sugar and spice mixture. Pour into pie crust. Top with upper crust, crimping top and bottom crusts to seal edges. Stab crust with a fork or cut small slits with a knife to allow steam to vent. Bake 1¼ hours.

If you want a glazed crust (on this or any pie), whisk an egg yolk with 1-2 Tbls milk and brush over top crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar if desired.

Vinegar Pie Crust

My grandma, Nellie May, used to be able to get two complete, 9" pies (tops and bottoms) out of this recipe. Not me! I can get three crusts, and have a bit left over. I usually make one pie with top and bottom crust, and one 'open topped' pie with a crumble-style crust, or a quiche, or one smaller 'pot-pie'...

3 C flour*
1¼ C shortening
1½ tsp salt
1 egg
2 Tbls vinegar
3 Tbls water

Cut the shortening into the flour and salt; then add egg, vinegar and water. Do not overmix. Roll thinly and gently press into pie dish.

* Whole wheat flour works too, though not as complimentary with the tang of vinegar (just use cold water); great for a quiche or with meat & veggie pot-pies.

Variation: Mix 1 C shredded cheddar cheese with the flour and salt. Delicious with apple pie and meat & veggie pot pies.

Ginger-Garlic Shrimp

1 lb shrimp
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 Tbls olive oil
1 Tbls minced garlic
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1+ Tbls butter, olive oil
lemon wedges

In a bowl (big enough to hold 1 lb shrimp) combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Optional: Remove shrimp tails for easier eating...

Heat pan. Add butter and a little olive oil to sauté pan. Add shrimp to hot pan. Sauté until pink. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Dump hot shrimp into bowl with spiced mix and toss to coat.

Serve over white sticky rice. Squeeze lemon wedges over cooked shrimp and/or serve with lemon wedge garnish.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Taco Salad

I don't have a recipe for taco salad (do you need one?!). Besides, I usually just use the envelopes of taco seasoning on the meat. (I know, I'm such a gourmet!) Honestly, I'm not really a huge Mexican food fan - and seriously, taco salad? Isn't it a pretty Americanized version (perversion?!) of any real Mexican dish?!

Anyway, I thought I'd post a picture so that when I log on just to search for 'inspiration' and dinner ideas I'm reminded of taco salad once in a while!

ground beef/turkey
(or shredded chicken)
peppers (green/red/yellow)
cheddar (and/or other) cheese
tortilla chips
chopped olives
sour cream

Brown the meat, slice and dice the veggies, shred the cheese...and enjoy!

Three-Onion Quiche

I used a sweet vidalia onion instead of half the leeks. Really, any combination of onions, leeks, shallots and/or scallions would work fine. Variety is nice, and the red and green onions add visual appeal. Other cheeses would work too, of course...

9" pie crust
1 Tbls butter
3 medium leeks
2 bunches green onions
½ red onion
1 Tbls flour
1 C half-and-half
3 eggs
½ tsp salt
2 C shredded white cheddar

Preheat oven to 425°

Bake pie crust 15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Meanwhile...thinly slice leeks (white and light green parts), thickly slice green onions including half the green stalks, slice the red onion - cut into thin half moon slices. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat; sauté 20 minutes or until very tender.

Whisk together flour, eggs, half-and-half, and salt. Add the cheese. Stir in ¾ of the onion mixture, and pour it all into the pie crust. Top with the rest of the sautéed onions. Bake 20 to 30 minutes (until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (If the edges start to get too dark, cover them with foil.)

Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sweet & Hot Caribbean Marinade

Makes enough for about 2 lbs meat.

1 C chopped green onions
¼ C lime juice
(I like a little extra lime!)
½ C olive oil
2 Tbls brown sugar
1 Tbls allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 minced chile*
1 tsp salt

* 1 habanero or other similar...or more if you like it hotter

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend into a loose paste. Place meat in a glass baking dish; coat with marinade. Bake...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

Pictured: full recipe (2 loaves), with currants added to just 1 loaf.
4 C flour
1 Tbls baking powder
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
1 C raisins, dried currants...
2 C buttermilk

Sift together dry ingredients. Stir in raisins, currants (and/or caraway seeds, etc). Add buttermilk and stir until dough forms. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead for one minute. Halve the dough; shape each half into a round loaf. Transfer loaves to lightly greased baking sheet.

Use a sharp knife to cut a ¼" deep 'X' across tops of loaves. Bake at 350°, 45-55 minutes. Transfer loaves to rack to cool.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Flavored Butters

Honey butter and garlic butter are delicious, but...nothing new. Still, flavored butters are an easy way to dress up a meal! Use them on breads, veggies, potatoes...

Soften butter to room temperature. Add ingredients to taste.
Here are some other flavor combinations to get you started:

* sun dried tomato and caper butter
* chile-lime-tequila butter
* curry butter
* diced, caramelized mushroom & shallot butter (pictured)
* rosemary and thyme butter
* cardamom-honey butter
* tarragon and lemon zest butter
* cabernet-gorgonzola butter

To really go all out: Roll butter into a log; chill, then slice into ¼" pieces before serving.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Braised Caribou

4 lb caribou roast
4 strips salt pork or bacon
salt and pepper
1/8 tsp cloves
2 bay leaves
2/3 C Claret (or red wine of your choice)
1/2 C water
1 onion; sliced
1 C water
1 C cranberry juice

Lard the caribou with salt pork or bacon. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cloves. Marinate in claret with the two bay leaves for 2 to 3 days in a cool place.

Drain, place in a baking pan, add water and sliced onion; cover and cook in slow oven (300°) about 1 hour.

Add the marinade and the cranberry juice, cover and cook until tender, about 1 hour longer.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cheese Latkes

Probably not a recipe I'll make very often (cheese deep-fried in oil for one thing!). They're a unique treat -- and would be good with something sightly tart (sour cherry preserves was suggested, or even a little lemon...) They're good, but not...amazingly delicious.

3 cups cottage cheese
6 eggs
3 Tbls sugar
1½ Tbls vanilla
¾ tsp salt
1½ C flour
vegetable oil for frying

Combine all ingredients (except oil) in a large bowl. (I added a little extra flour because the mixture was really quite runny. I used large eggs, so maybe that was part of it.)

Pour ½" oil into a 10-12" fry pan over medium heat. When oil reaches about 275°, scoop ¼ C cheese mixture and gently drop into hot oil; press lightly with a spatula to flatten into a disc -- if you don't, the middles don't get cooked. Cook 3 to 5 'pancakes' at a time - do not crowd in pan - loosening from the bottom as needed, until undersides are golden brown (about 2 minutes). Gently turn and cook another 1-2 minutes until golden brown on other side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then keep warm in 200° oven while cooking remaining latkes.

Serve hot with maple syrup, preserves, and/or cinnamon-sugar.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Caribou Steaks with Green Peppercorn Sauce

4 caribou steaks 1" thick
2 cloves garlic (or to taste)
2 Tbls olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Green peppercorn sauce:
4 Tbls butter
2-3 Tbls cream
1/4 C whole green peppercorns
salt to taste
1 Tbls cognac

Carefully trim away all visible fat. (On the caribou,there's next to NO fat; but if you use beef...trim away!) Combine garlic and olive oil. Pour over steaks and marinate, refrigerated, over night.

Season steaks with salt and freshly ground pepper. Broil or grill 5-7 minutes per side or until meat has only a hint of pink.

For the sauce: In a small sauce pan, melt butter and stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Place the steaks on warmed plates and pour sauce over them.

Glazed Butter Cookies

This is a basic recipe that is easy to use in lots of variations... Though not excessively rich or decadent, it is perfectly fine as a simple butter cookie. It's also substantial enough (not so light and buttery that it crumbles easily) that it makes a good base for bar cookies topped with fruit preserves, nuts, caramel, chocolate... You can get creative with it!

2½ C flour
¾ C powdered sugar
1 C butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbls cream cheese

Combine flour and powdered sugar; cut butter into pieces and add, one at a time, until mixture is crumbly and damp. Add vanilla and cream cheese, mixing until incorporated. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a disc. Refrigerate 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°. Roll out dough and cut into shapes...OR, for bar into the bottom of a baking dish, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Glaze and/or decorate...OR top with preserves, nuts, chocolate, etc.

1 Tbls cream cheese
2-3 Tbls milk*
1½ C powdered sugar

* Instead of milk, try pineapple juice, lemon juice, orange juice...