Monday, April 8, 2013

the beginning of a move

while i am away for a few weeks, the demo on our kitchen will begin.
It will not be completed until i come back and so i will be using an alternate kitchen.
Last night i did a trial run using an electric stove in this alternate kitchen.
Used a grill i brought over that will stay (note: it is NOT my smoker) and a few other items.
It is a much larger kitchen with a lot of counter space.
The meal was grilled baby back pork ribs, escarole and mushrooms, baked yams and my smoky Avocado salad.  Dessert is simple orange jello with pineapple and whipped cream (with cinnamon and vanilla).
Several other people came so the total number was 7.
I did everything and it took me 2 hours (this includes hand whipping the whipped cream, which is a lot of work).
One of the people is the general manager of a large restaurant.

Again it was a success and people were surprised that i was able to do it, but i was very happy to do it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Smokey sides

Potatoes smoky mashed

10 small potatoes, mixed white and red, scrubbed clean
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
1 cup chives, diced
1 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup half and half
2 ounces extra sharp cheese, diced into 1/2 inch squares
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 cup sour cream

Food mill

i cheat, i microwave the potatoes, but you can also boil them and discard the water.
boil the water with salt, chives and rosemary and reduce the heat to low.
add the milk and smoked salt to the water.
use the food mill on the potatoes and add to the liquid
mix and add the half and half, cheese and then sour cream keeping the heat on low
If the mixture is too liquid, continue to heat on the stove, constantly stirring
OR place in a baking pan and bake it at 350 F for 30 minutes
OR add instant potatoes to the desired consistency

Thursday, April 4, 2013

signs of Spring

It is not the flowers, crocuses or daffodils.
it is not being able to grill, tho that counts strongly also.
It is seeing that lowly leafy plant - the dandelion.
Now i know the dandelion from the Italians i knew,
but the Greek survived on an occupied island during World War II on plants that seemed to be weeds
and were family to the dandelion.
A people who hid from their occupiers, eating nothing but this pant.
It turns out this plant provided complete nutrition and they did not even need meat.

So here goes the dandelion recipe:

Dandelions fried

2 lbs dandelions, pick or store bought, washed and cleaned
4 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon red pepper, hot, crushed if dry, minced if wet
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil to cover the pan.

Heat the oil and add all the ingredients except the dandelions and fry for a minute.
Add the dandelions, whole and continue down until they reduce by as much as 75%.
Serve hot with anything as a side.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

doing something different

Admittedly, i get into a rut with some recipes.
Even more so there are things i simply do NOT make from scratch.
Then there are times traditional ingredients are not in my cupboard and i improvise.
Then there are times i need an extender that does not take for the flavor of something crucial.

In this case, we are talking ravioli, i have not challenged my self to make the dough.
So i buy pre-made (i hear groans).
Give me time.
I normally make a thin red sauce from crushed tomatoes and pureed tomatoes.
And yes, i used canned,
but i was not in the mood.
I had basil i had frozen from last year in the freezer.
I did not have sun flower seeds (i substituted these for the traditional pignoli nuts (pine nuts) because of the cost and found they worked very well), but did have pumpkins seeds.
I found that i did not have enough basil and so i extended it with some spinach.

This was served over the raviolis and served with a bit extra cheese.
I had 3 calls that evening of people who tried it saying that it was the best they had.
Okay, i get an "A" in improvisation!

The recipe:

Pesto Sauce 2

10 oz pepitas (pumpkin seeds) roasted
1 cup frozen basil leaves (from last years garden)
1 container of frozen spinach
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup water
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 long Italian, hot pepper

The oil, pepitas, hot pepper, garlic, basil, spinach and salt are placed in a blender and pureed.
If this thickens too much, add some water to complete the puree.
place the puree in a bowl, rinsing out the blender with the remainder of the water.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and refrigerate until needed.

The weather cooled down, i go for a soup

mushroom soup

1 stick butter, melted to just brown
1 red onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup beef bullion
1/4 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sausage, cooked and crumbled without casing
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
2 cup rose wine
4 cups water
1/2 cup baked ham, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
20 oz whole mushrooms, remove stems and grind them

after the butter is melted and beginning to brown add onions and celery.
stir in chopped stems and then add whole caps, sauté for 2 minutes
add the wine and bring to a simmer
Add the remainder of the ingredients, water and then soup
cook down till liquid is half of the volume.