Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shrimp in Garlic- Gambas al Ajillo

Shrimp in Garlic- Gambas al Ajillo, with Garlic mushrooms  and Paul's fire in hole beans

This is a traditional Spanish Tapas. Serve it on slices of french bread. I served it on tiny Indian fry bread.

1Tbl. olive oil
1-minced ripe hot pepper, or 1tsp. pepper flakes
1Tbl. garlic
2lbs. raw shrimp-peeled and de-veined
juice of 1small or 1/2 of a large lemon
1tsp. smoked paprika
1Tbl. cognac
1Tbl. chopped parsley
salt and pepper.

Heat the oil, in a skillet, over a high flame.
Add the garlic and hot pepper, stir fry 20seconds.
Add the shrimp, lemon juice, cognac, and paprika. Saute until the shrimp are cooked and pink.
Salt and pepper to taste. Traditionally, it's served, in the skillet.

If you want to serve it on Indian fry bread, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Flatten and stretch, to about a 3-4-inch disks, dipping them in flour, if they are sticky. Fry, flipping, until golden.

Garlic Mushrooms

Garlic Mushrooms with Pauls fire in hole beans and Gambas al Ajillo

A traditional Spanish Tapas. These are so good.

1Tbl. olive oil
1Tbl. minced garlic
1 minced red jalapeno
1Tbl. chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet.
Add the garlic and jalapeno, saute 10 seconds.
Add the mushrooms, saute until they begin to darken in color. The garlic can burn very easily, once the juices from the mushrooms evaporate.
Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve.

Cream Horns

                                                   Cream Horns
Uh-Oh, I found an easier way to make puff pastry! This pastry is the main component in most of my favorite desserts. I can feel my derriere, expanding. I'm going to try this technique on croissants too. Instead of using a block of butter, the butter is softened and whipped, then refrigerated. I found the recipe at An American Housewife. She posted, that you could use a combination of butter and shortening. I decided to experiment, and whip it together. This made it so much easier to work with, than the recipe I've always used.
A co-worker once called cream horns "Cholesterol sticks" Hahaha, I know a lot of cooks, don't like to use shortening, but a few years ago (Most) of the manufacturers reformulated their products. The kind I use, has no trans fats, no cholesterol, 4g saturated fat (butter has 51g) and 7g of the good fat (polyunsaturated) per tablespoon. It's not as if my family, will let me eat the whole batch, myself...Darn It!
Ahh... I can still remember the good ol' days when nobody liked my black walnut ice cream. The whole carton was mine, to leisurely savor. Then somebody actually tried it, now I'm lucky if I get any.

For the pastry:
3cups flour
1/2tsp. salt
1cup ice water
2 egg yolks
1cup softened real butter
1cup all vegetable shortening ( you can use 2 cups of butter, instead)

Cream together the butter and shortening, with an electric mixer, until fluffy. Refrigerate at least, one hour.
Meanwhile, whisk together, the flour and salt.
Whisk together the egg yolks and ice water.
Using a fork, stir the egg mixture, into the flour mixture, until it forms a ball. It should be rough and shaggy looking, Don't knead! Sprinkle a little flour, on a plate. set the dough, on the plate. Cover and refrigerate one hour.

{After an hour, dust a rolling surface, with flour, roll the dough into an 1/8-inch thick, rectangle. Spread 1/2-cup of the butter mixture on the center of the dough. Fold the dough, over the butter, overlapping the edges.This dough can get a bit sticky, just smooth a little flour over the surface. Sprinkle a little flour, on a plate. set the dough, on the plate. Cover and refrigerate one hour.}
^Repeat the steps in parentheses, three more times, waiting an hour between.

 After the last repetition, roll the dough, and refold, twice more. Set the dough on a floured plate, cover and chill overnight.

The next day, Preheat the oven t 375*F.
Divide the dough into three pieces.
Remove one piece, (refrigerate the rest). Roll it 1/8-inch thick.
Cut into strips about 12" or 15" inches, in length and up to, 1-inch wide.
Spray your aluminum forms, or  Make you own forms.
Wind each strip around a form, overlapping, a bit. Roll them in sugar.
Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. (one with sides, there will be a little melted butter.)
Bake until lightly golden. (About 15 minutes, but this may vary.) You have to let them cool on the form. Twist them off the form and fill.

Cream Horn Filling:
1cup all vegetable shortening
1cup real butter
4cups confectioner's sugar
2-4tsp. vanilla
3/4-cup marshmallow creme (you could omit this)
Cream together, the shortening and butter.
Beat in the sugar gradually, then the marshmallow creme and vanilla.
Beat well until it's smooth like whipped cream. Fill the cooled pastries, using a pastry bag.

Chill the dough for an hour. Roll it into an 1/8-thick rectangle. Spread 1/2-cup of the butter, in the center.

                                  Fold the edges over the butter.

Place it on a floured plate, cover and chill, for one hour. Repeat three more times, until you use all of the butter. After the last repetition, roll and fold two more times. Chill overnight.

The next day, cut the dough into three pieces. Roll one piece 1/8- inch rectangle that is 12-14-inches long. Using a pizza cutter, cut it into 1/2 to 1-inch strips.
Starting at one end, wrap one strip round a form, overlapping slightly. Roll it in sugar, and place it on a cookie sheet. Bake until lightly browned.

Allow them to cool completely, on the form. Then gently grasp the pastry, with one hand. With the other hand, twist the form, (don't pull, yet) until the form spins freely, then twist it out of the pastry. Fill.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Baked Stuffed Peppers

                                          Baked Stuffed Peppers
I grew up, eating the stove top version, both are great.

Preheat the oven to 375*
For the Sauce:
A 29-oz. can of petite diced tomatoes
1tsp. salt
1/2tsp. pepper
1/2tsp. garlic powder
Combine all ingredients and dump into a 13"x9"x2" pan. Set aside.

For the peppers:
5-6 large, green, bell peppers-with the top cut off, and seeded
1-1/2lbs. ground chuck
1-1/2 cups- instant rice or breadcrumbs
1tsp. salt
1/2tsp. pepper
1/2tsp. garlic powder
In a bowl, combine the beef, rice, salt, pepper, and garlic. Stuff the peppers with the mixture and lay them in the sauce. Make a tent of aluminum foil, and lay it over the peppers. bake for 1-1/2 hours, remove the aluminum foil, and bake 30-minutes more.

Cameroon Beef

Cameroon Beef -the curry powder I make, is very mild, you could add more to suit your taste.

There are a lot of really great dishes, from Cameroon, but this is my favorite. It is an incredible combination of flavors. I top mine with a little chutney, and drizzle it with the African hot sauce.
I'm squeezing in a lot of recipe's on this post. But they all go together. This is a bit of work, making the sides, but well worth it. They can be made, a day in advance.  The fried bananas are a perfect side for this dish. I add coconut chips, to the water, when I cook the rice, too. If you can, use fresh pineapple for this, it tastes so much better.

2 diced onions
1Tbl. mild curry powder
2tsp. salt ( I know it sounds like a lot, but you'll need it)
1/2tsp. pepper
2Tbl. oil
2lbs. chuck roast-cubed
1/2 of a fresh pineapple or 1 can chunks
1/4cup raisins
1 can of coconut milk
1/2cup water
1/2 of a fresh coconut- chopped or 1-cup unsweetened coconut chips
1 mango-cut into strips
cooked rice

I use chip ribbon coconut, instead of fresh.
In a 4qt. pot, heat the oil. Fry the onion, curry, salt, and pepper, until the onion, softens.
Add the beef, and cover the pan. Don't allow the beef to brown. Simmer on low, for 45-minutes.
Add the pineapple coconut milk, water, and raisins. Cover and continue to simmer, until the beef is tender. ( about 30 minutes)
Add mango and coconut cook about 10 more minutes. serve over cooked rice.
Serve with a choice of, chopped peanuts, African hot sauce, pineapple chutney, chopped coconut, pili-pili sauce. It was great with fried plantains.

                             Pili-Pili sauce: from the Congo cookbook
Make 3-Tbl.
3-4 ripe red jalapenos-minced (Or any ripe pepper)
juice of one lemon
1tsp. minced garlic
 1tsp. dried or 2tsp. fresh parsley
2Tbl. cooking oil
pinch of salt
Either grind, or use a food processor to puree. Simmer for a few minutes in a saucepan, to remove the raw flavor. Refrigerate before using.

            African hot sauce: from the Congo cookbook. I love this sauce!
Makes 1/4-cup:
3 red ripe hot peppers- diced ( I used jalapeno)
An equal amount of green bell pepper- diced
1/2tsp. minced garlic
1/2 of a small onion-diced
2Tbl. tomato paste or ketchup
1Tbl. vinegar
1/4tsp. sugar
 1/4tp. salt
Either grind or use a blender, to puree. Simmer for a few minutes in a saucepan, to remove the raw flavor. Refrigerate before using. I love this sauce, it's good uncooked too.

As a stand alone dish, I don't really care for these, but drizzled with African hot sauce, they are the perfect side for Cameroon Beef.

1 plantain (or any banana) for each person-sliced or split horizontally
oil for frying
salt or African hot sauce (sugar if your using them for dessert)
Heat about 1/2-inch oil, in a skillet. Wait for the bottom to become golden brown, then flip it, and brown the other side. Drain on a paper towel. Serve with your choice of, salt, hot sauce or sugar.

      Pineapple-Mango Chutney- This tastes great with fresh pineapple.

makes 1-cup:
1/2 of a fresh pineapple-diced or 1 can tidbits
1 mango- diced
2 ripe red hot peppers-minced (I used jalapeno)
1/4tsp. mild curry powder
The white section of 6 green onions-chopped
1/4tsp. pureed ginger
1Tbl. vinegar
1/2tsp. minced garlic
1/4tsp. salt
1/4tsp. sugar
 Add everything to a saucepan, simmer on a low flame, about 5-8 minutes, or until it thickens somewhat.
Chill before serving.

African- hot sauce

            African hot sauce: from the Congo cookbook. I love this sauce!
Makes 1/4-cup:
3 red ripe hot peppers- diced ( I used jalapeno)
An equal amount of green bell pepper- diced
1/2tsp. minced garlic
1/2 of a small onion-diced
2Tbl. tomato paste or ketchup
1Tbl. vinegar
1/4tsp. sugar
 1/4tp. salt
Either grind or use a blender, to puree. Simmer for a few minutes in a saucepan, to remove the raw flavor. Refrigerate before using. I love this sauce, it's good uncooked too.

Mild Curry Powder

                                           Mild Curry Powder

Make about 3-4Tbl.
2tsp. cumin seed
1/2tsp. cardamom
1/2tsp. fennel seed
4 dried bird chilies
1Tbl. turmeric
1/4tsp. ground cloves
1/4tsp. cayenne
1tsp. dry mustard
1/4tsp. black pepper
1/2tsp. ground ginger
a pinch of saffron
A word of warning: The saffron, will stain plastic!

In a skillet, dry fry all seeds and the chilies, for about 3-5 minutes, or until the spices give off, a toasted aroma.
Add all the ground spices and fry 3 minutes more.
Remove the pan from the heat. cool a few minutes, then grind in a spice or coffee grinder, into a powder.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beef and Homemade Noodles

                                                Beef and Noodles
I've been in the mood for, good ol' country cooking lately. Rich and beefy, this makes a very full pot.

1 chuck roast- whole or cut up (Cutting the roast, reduces cooking time)
1 diced onion
1Tbl. garlic powder
1tsp. salt
1/2tsp. pepper
2 envelopes brown gravy mix

Add everything, except the gravy mix to a 4quart pot. (Larger is better) fill 3/4 full with water, and cook until the beef is tender and falling apart, adding more water as needed. Cool.
After it has cooled, shred the beef. Before adding it back to the pan, whisk in the brown gravy mix, add the shredded beef. and add water to the pot until it's 3/4 full.
Make the noodles. bring the pot to a boil. Add the noodles, a few at a time, stirring gently after each addition.
Once you've added all the noodles, wait for the broth to come to a boil again. Turn the burner off, and serve.
It's great alone or with mashed potatoes, peas, and a roll.

Ingredients for noodles:
12 eggs
1tsp. baking powder
5-1/2 cups flour-plus more for rolling

 Whisk together, the eggs and baking powder, until well beaten.
Stir in 3cups of the flour, beating with a spoon until it looks like a batter.
Stir in as much of the 2-1/2cups remaining flour as you can, kneading in the rest, until you have a firm dough, that is still a bit sticky, in the center. Set aside 30 minutes, to let the dough cure. (This makes it easier to work with) Sprinkle 1/2cup of flour onto a flat surface, Split the dough into 2 pieces. Roll out 1 piece into a 1/8inch rectangle.( It doesn't have to be perfect) Add more flour to the top, and run your hand across it to distribute it evenly. ( This keeps it from sticking together, when you roll it.) Roll the dough like a jellyroll. cut.

 Whisk the eggs and baking powder, stir in 3cups of flour, and beat into a batter.

 Knead in as much of the remaining flour, as you can, to make a firm dough. Let it rest 30 minutes.

 Sprinkle1/2cup of flour onto a flat surface. (I use a large cookie sheet, easier to clean than a counter-top) Roll into an 1/8 inch rectangle. Sprinkle more flour on the surface, and use your hand to distribute it across the dough.

Begin rolling one of the longer sides, toward the center. Smooth more flour across the folded dough. It takes a lot of flour, to keep the noodles from sticking together.

                Continue rolling and smoothing more flour, after each roll.

 Cut the dough, unroll the noodle, and toss it in the flour on the rolling surface. Continue cutting and tossing them in flour.

 I've found, the best knife to use, is a sharp bread knife, dipped in flour. As long as it has short "teeth?" Let the knife do the work, If you press too hard, it will crush the dough, and the noodle will stick together. Now they are ready to go into the boiling broth.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mmm...Crescent Rolls- Easier Than Croissants

Above any other food, I love fresh baked bread. Biscuits, dinner rolls, croissants, naan , popovers.
I would pass up the most decadent dessert, the juiciest steak, for any of these. This is one of my favorite recipes, they're lightly sweet, and very tender. You can double this, without any problems. Makes one dozen.

1 packet of yeast
1/2cup warm water
1/2tsp. salt
1/4cup sugar
1/4cup shortening
2cups plus 2Tbl. flour
2Tbl. melted butter

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
Add the salt, sugar, shortening, egg and 1cup of the flour. Beat into a batter, with an electric mixer.
Stir / knead in, as much of the remaining flour, as you can, to form a soft dough, that isn't sticky.
Toss it in a bowl, that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until double. (about 2 hours)
Punch down, and roll into a 12inch circle, on a very lightly floured surface.
Cut (like a pizza) into 12 triangles.
Brush the melted butter, over the entire cut, circle.
Roll each triangle, like the photo below.
Place on a greased cookie sheet, and let rise, 30-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350*
Bake until lightly browned.

Roll the dough into an 1/8-inch thick circle, (about 12 inches) cut into 12 triangles with a pizza cutter, then brush with the melted butter.

I don't move the triangles, so they won't stretch. Roll from the large end, towards the point.

Once rolled, shape into a crescent, (moon) and transfer to a greased cookie sheet.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Red Wine- Beer Can Chicken- In the Oven

                              Red Wine Beer can Chicken In the Oven

It's a little bit Country / and a little bit Francais.
You can use any wine, or seasoning combination, that suits your fancy.
I really like the Merlot and Montreal seasoning combination.
I don't usually plug a product, but I discovered a brand of wines last year, that are not only great in my cooking, but are very drinkable too. Barefoot wine-merlot  every variety, of their wine, I have used, has been wonderful, so far. It's no wonder, they've won so many awards. Cheap too.
This would be easier, if you invest in one of those, beer can chicken racks. (About $5.00) The one I have, holds two chickens, and won't fit into a roaster. I usually grill this, but wanted to try it in the oven.

1 whole chicken
1 clean, empty aluminum can
Red wine
Any seasoning you prefer

Here are some of the seasoning I use.

Dry adobo rub

Bourbon street spice rub

Pauls beef rub

Montreal seasoning

Cajun seasoning

Fill the can 3/4 full of red wine. Slide the chicken, onto the can. I leaned my chicken, against the side of the pan, for support.

Bake until golden brown, and the juices run clear. ( about two hours) I had a good laugh... The chicken fell over twice, while baking, but didn't spill any of the wine. Sound familiar?

Crescent Wrapped- Cheddar Smokies

I love this crescent roll recipe, and the kids love lil' smokies, made this way. The dough can be doubled, without any problems.

1 packet of yeast
1/2cup warm water
1/2tsp. salt
1/4cup sugar
1/4cup shortening
2cups plus 2Tbl. flour
1 package of cheddar lil' smokies

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
Add the salt, sugar, shortening, egg and 1cup of the flour. Beat into a batter, with an electric mixer.
Stir / knead in, as much of the remaining flour, as you can, to form a soft dough, that isn't sticky.
Toss it in a bowl, that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until double. (about 2 hours)
Preheat the oven to 375*
Punch down, and roll into an 1/8-inch rectangle, on a very lightly floured surface.
With a pizza cutter, cut into about 1-inch squares. (maybe a little smaller)
Roll each smokie, like the photo below. Pinch the two points, together. Or they won't stick.
Place on a greased cookie sheet, let stand 15 minutes.
Bake, 10-15minutes, or until lightly browned.

Roll the dough, into an 1/8-inch rectangle. Cut into about 1-inch squared. roll the smokies, then pinch the points, together.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Simple Stove-top Roast with Potatoes and Carrots-My homage to "The Lord of the Roast"

                   Simple Stove-top Roast with Potatoes and Carrots

As far as taste is concerned. I prefer roast cooked on the stove-top, over the oven, or crock-pot methods
I used to brown the roast in butter first, until a happy accident happened one day.
On my day off, about 15 years ago, I had promised to make a roast for my family. But I was unexpectedly called in to work. I got the roast started in the pot, and gave my husband instructions, to finish it. Just keep adding water for three hours, pretty simple.
When I came home, he met me at the car, with- "I burned the roast."
Judging from the look on his face, he must have thought I was going to be pretty mad, lol. I thought I'd tease him for just a little while, and pretended, it was the end of the world. I gave it a taste, to see if it could be salvaged, but instead, I found a better way to cook it. Wow, it was way better, than any roast I ever made. Even the carrots and potatoes tasted better.
After asking him what he did, he said "I accidentally, let it run out of water."
The next time I made a roast, I had him show me, exactly what he did. Apparently, his technique is... Start the roast...Then go mow the grass, or whatever, but just totally forget about it, until you smell it burning, and the house is filling with smoke. Then...make a mad dash, for a glass of water, refill the pan, and open all the windows. I use his 'technique" but I don't let it brown, as long, as his tutorial. I bow to " The Lord of the Roast."

a 2 or 3lb. chuck or round roast (I prefer chuck)
1 whole onion-peeled
1-1/2 Tbl. Lawry's seasoned salt
1-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2tsp. black pepper
Lots of water
1 or 2lbs. of carrots-halved
1potato for each person-sliced in half horizontally-peeled or un-peeled

In a 4quart pan, add the roast, onion, and seasonings. Fill the pot 3/4 full of water.
Cook until the "water runs out" and the pan drippings turn a rich brown. Quickly add 2 cups of water, to stop the browning, or it will burn. (I added a photo, to show you) This could take anywhere from 1-1/2 to 2 hours, I haven't actually timed it.
Add the carrots to the pot, and fill the pan 3/4 full again.
Once the carrots are just starting to get tender, Add the potatoes, and refill the pot with water.
Cook until the potatoes are soft and serve.

I often make a side dish, for the roast, out of the broth. Add a little more garlic powder to the broth, and throw in a package of egg noodles.
Once the noodles have cooked, add a package of brown gravy mix.

I pulled out some of the roast, to show you. It's almost out of water, and just beginning to brown.

               I brown it until it's almost burned. Then quickly add water.

                                Add the carrots, and refill with water.

Once the carrots are starting to soften, add the potatoes, and enough water to cover. cook until the potatoes are tender.

Apple Fritter Bread

                                             Apple Fritter Bread

I live about 40 minutes from an Amish community. This bread was an attempt to imitate, one of the wonderful breads, that you find there. It tastes, almost exactly like it, but I use more apples. I've always used Jonathon apples for this, but I think it would be great with sweet apples too, like golden delicious.
I think next time, I'm going to caramelize the brown sugar, first, to make it taste even more like a fritter.

Ingredients for the fruit:
2Tbl. butter
4cups diced apples
2/3cup frozen blueberries
1/2cup raisins
1tsp. cinnamon
1/4cup brown sugar
2tsp. vanilla

Ingredients for the dough:
3/4cup milk
2tbl. butter
1 packet dry yeast
1/4cup reserved juice from the fruit- add water if it's less than 1/4cup
1 /4cup brown sugar
1/2tsp. salt
2-1/2cups flour- plus extra for kneading

Vanilla glaze:
1/4cup confectioner's sugar
1/2tsp. vanilla
1Tbl. softened butter
Combine, using a fork, until it forms a smooth paste.

For the fruit, heat the butter in a skillet, add all fruit ingredients.
Cook on low heat, until the apples soften, but not mushy. About 5 minutes.
Place a colander over a bowl, and strain the fruit, reserving the liquid. Cool. Leave the fruit in the strainer, until needed.
Wait about 30 minutes before, starting the dough, to give the reserved liquid time to cool.

For the dough.
Scald milk in a sauce pan. turn off heat and add butter.
In a large bowl combine the yeast, fruit liquid, and sugar. Allow to rest 15 minutes.
Add 1-1/2cups flour, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and cooled milk to the bowl and beat for 2 minutes until smooth.
Gradually add the remaining flour, mixing by hand, until the dough forms a ball.
Flour a surface and knead for a few minutes, until you have a soft, smooth dough, that isn't sticky.
Spray a bowl with cooking spray, add dough and cover.
Let it rise about an hour or until doubled. Now it's ready for rolling.
Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
Spread 1/2cup of flour, over a large work surface. Shape the dough into a rectangle, flipping it in the flour a few times, to coat.
Roll the dough into an 1/8 inch thick, rectangle, smoothing a little flour over the surface.
Spread the cooked fruit evenly over the dough.
Roll, like a jelly-roll.
Cut the roll into about 1inch slices, and stack them like the photo below. It'll be a tight fit, you will have to nearly crush them together. let rise 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375* Bake about 1 hour, or until the top has browned and it is cooked through.
As soon as you pull it from the oven, spread the glaze, over the top of the loaf, let stand about 1 minute, to allow it to melt, then brush it across, evenly, with a pastry brush.

                               Cook the fruit, strain, reserving the liquid.

The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Cover and let rise, until double.

Pat the dough into a rectangle, coating it well with flour. Then roll into an 1/8inch thick rectangle.

                       Spread the cooked fruit, evenly across the dough.

                                      Begin rolling , like a jellyroll.

                                     Cut the roll into 1inch slices.

Put one roll in each corner, then alternate them, It winds up looking like a Celtic braid

                     After it was half full, I pushed them closer together.

Once I finally squeezed them all in, I pressed lightly, to get a flat, even top. Let rise 1 hour.

Bake about 1 hour, or until browned. As soon as it comes out of the oven, Spread the vanilla glaze, over the top. Give it a minute, to melt, then brush the glaze across the pastry. Cool. This bread is really good.