Monday, September 13, 2010

Game Day Menu--Steeler's game #1

Pretzels with Beer Cheese Dip (still snacking on this today--really easy and a big hit)

BBQ Pulled Pork. This is my invention and my most requested recipe--unfortunately every time I try to measure things out to write it down it doesn't come out quite as good!  So here are instructions rather than a recipe.  Brown 1 pork roast (butt or shoulder works well) and season generously with salt, pepper, garlic (whatever you want, the more the better).  Add a sliced onion if you want.    When well browned on all sides, add 1/2 can beer (any kind) and about a cup of water or chicken broth (I use broth when I want to save the liquid to make gravy later).  Slow cook in oven (300 deg) or crock pot until meat falls apart.  Shred meat and set aside.  Drain all but 1/2 cup of broth in pan.  Simmer broth on stovetop and add:  1 bottle bbq sauce (any kind).  1 generous squirt each ketchup and mustard (squeeze bottle hard about 3-4 seconds) (aren't these the most specific directions ever?!?)  splash in 3-4 shakes of soy sauce and Worcestershire.  Add a palmful of brown sugar and a couple of tablespoons cider vinegar.  Taste (I like mine Carolina style with extra mustard and brown sugar).  Bring all to simmer and add in meat.  Serve immediately or keep warm for however long you like--the longer it sits the better it is!

And what could be better guy food than Bacon Mac and Cheese: 
Four Cheese with Bacon Mac Recipe
(from Family Circle)

And what seems to be one of the most popular potluck dishes right now:
Asian Style Broccoli Slaw
  • 1 (16 ounce) package broccoli coleslaw mix
  • 1 (3 ounce) package chicken flavored ramen noodles
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • Dash toasted sesame oil and soy sauce to taste (optional)
  1. In a large salad bowl, combine the slaw, broken noodles, sunflower seeds and green onions.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, oils, vinegar, soy and ramen seasoning packet . Pour over salad and toss to evenly coat. Refrigerate until chilled.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Grilled Mustard Pork Chops with Fresh Corn Polenta

I was watching "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef" (Anne Burrell, Food Network, I highly recommend it) last night and realized that I have never made polenta.  I wasn't even sure that I liked it, actually, but Anne sold me on it and coincidentally I came across this recipe on the Epicurious Droid app.

My substitutions:  I used pork chops instead of chicken, coating them with the mustard sauce about 20 min before I grilled them.  I also used regular cornmeal and simmered the polenta for about 15 minutes and it was A-MAZ-ING.  Eric loved it too--definitely going to be a regular side dish in our house.  I also didn't have any cream cheese so I just used a little butter.  

Grilled Mustard Chicken with Fresh Corn Polenta Recipe at
Bon Appétit | August 2010
by Ian Knauer
Cornmeal and fresh corn are used in the creamy polenta. A green onion Dijon mixture is spread under the skin of the chicken before it's grilled.
Yield: Makes 6 Servings
Active Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
6 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, pressed
6 large chicken thighs with skin and bones
Olive oil

5 cups water
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 3 large ears)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

Special equipment: Small metal turkey-lacing pins

Ingredient info:
Polenta is sold at some supermarkets and at natural foods stores and Italian markets. If unavailable, substitute an equal amount of regular yellow cornmeal and cook about half as long. Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese that's available at many supermarkets and at Italian markets.
For chicken:
Whisk onions, mustard, lemon juice, and garlic in medium bowl to blend. Using fingertips and leaving 1 side still attached, loosen skin on each chicken thigh. Lift skin flap on each and fold back. Spoon half of mustard seasoning atop thighs, dividing equally; spread to cover meat. Fold skin flap over to enclose seasoning and secure skin with metal pin. Sprinkle thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Turn thighs, skin side up, and spread remaining mustard seasoning over skin. Transfer to small baking sheet. DO AHEAD: Chicken can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Preheat oven to 250°F. Brush grill rack generously with olive oil grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through, turning chicken occasionally and moving to cooler spot on grill if browning too quickly, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer grilled chicken to another baking sheet; keep warm in oven while preparing polenta.

For polenta:
Bring 5 cups water to boil in heavy large saucepan over high heat. Gradually whisk in polenta, then 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt and sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until polenta is tender, thick, and creamy, whisking often and adjusting heat to maintain gentle simmer, 25 to 30 minutes. Add corn kernels and cook, stirring constantly, until corn is tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in mascarpone cheese. Season polenta to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon polenta onto each of 6 plates. Top with grilled chicken and serve.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

All in one grill packets

I love making all in one meals on the grill--meat, potato and veggies.  The real challenge is getting them done all at the same time.  This recipe, shared by my cousin Penny (of Penny Photo) takes care of the meat and potatoes all in one easy-to-clean-up-after packet. 

Grilled Taco Burger and Potato Packs
(links to Betty Crocker website)

1               lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1/2         cup Progresso® plain bread crumbs
2              tablespoons Old El Paso® taco seasoning mix (from 1 oz package)
1/4         cup milk
3              cups frozen southern-style diced hash-brown potatoes (from 32-oz bag)
1              cup Old El Paso® Cheese 'n Salsa dip

   1. Heat gas or charcoal grill. In medium bowl, mix ground beef, bread crumbs, taco seasoning mix and milk until well blended. Shape mixture into 4 (4-inch) patties. In another medium bowl, mix frozen potatoes and dip.
   2. Cut 4 (18x12-inch) sheets of heavy-duty foil. Place 1 patty on each; top with 1/4 of potato mixture. Wrap each packet securely using double-fold seals, allowing room for heat expansion.
   3. When grill is heated, place packets, seam side up, on grill over medium heat; cover grill. Cook 15 to 25 minutes, rearranging packets several times, until patties are thoroughly cooked.

Makes 4 servings

As usual, I improvised because I didn't have the exact ingredients (I am beginning to think it quite impossible for me to follow a recipe to the letter).  I subbed elk for the ground beef (the last pack! hope there will be more come November), mayo for the milk in the patties, and a hunk of Velveeta plus a couple tablespoons salsa for the cheese dip.

I was really happy with these, although I did burn the bottoms a little bit (grill too hot).  I'm not a ground meat fan but this disguised it really well and I was happy to eat the leftovers today for lunch.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Strawberry Spinach Salad

 A friend brought this to a picnic recently and it was gone in record time.   Just a great, light sweet salad that's perfect for a summer afternoon.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Nut Topping:      1/3 cup sugar
                ¾ cup slivered almonds
Cook in frying pan (nonstick for easy cleaning) over medium-
low heat until sugar melts.  Spread and cool.  When cool, break
into pieces.
                ½ cup canola oil
                ¼ cup sugar
                ½ tsp. salt
                1/3 cup jam (strawberry/raspberry)
                2 tsp. poppy seeds
                ¼ cup vinegar (a little more for less sweetness)
Assemble just before serving:
1 lb. baby spinach
1 qt. strawberries (1 lb.) sliced
Dressing – seldom use all the dressing.
Top with nuts.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bacon and Corn Chowder

I very seldom use a recipe (although I love to read them) and hardly ever write down measurements.  The problem with this method is I often forget exactly what I did when I want to recreate something.  I have been making this chowder for years and love it, but I am pretty sure yesterday I finally perfected it, so I figured I better get it on paper or I will be sorry!  

Bacon and Corn Chowder

½ lb bacon, chopped
1 med onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, with leaves, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 T minced garlic
1 t caraway seed
¼ cup white cooking wine
4 cups chicken stock (or 4 t chicken soup base and 4 cups water)
1 ½ cups frozen corn
1 egg
¼ cup milk
3/4 cup flour
1 t garlic salt
1 t dried dill
½ t nutmeg
4 T butter or margarine
4 T flour
2 cups milk
1 t seasoned salt
½ t pepper

Saute bacon, garlic, caraway, onion, celery and carrots until bacon starts to brown.  Deglaze pan with wine and simmer until most of liquid evaporates.  Add chicken stock and simmer for at least 30 minutes.  (Prepare spaetle and béchamel while soup is simmering.) Add corn and bring back to boil.  For Spaetzle: Beat egg and milk, add flour, garlic salt, dill and nutmeg.  Use spaetzle maker or slotted spoon to drop dough into soup and simmer 2 minutes.  For béchamel: Melt butter in medium saucepan.  Stir in flour and cook until paste bubbles, about 2 minutes.  Stir in milk and bring to a boil.  Simmer 2 minutes until thickened.  Stir in to soup and serve.