Thursday, November 29, 2007

Breaded Pork Loin Steaks

Breaded pork is not fancy it is just good and not just for pork. When I was a child we ate a lot of venison and it was/is GREAT breaded. Breading is a fairly easy process, the hardest part is being sure the oil is the right temperature.

cut 1/4 inch stakes out of what ever meat you are using. If working with a tougher meat such as venison hammer each steak with a meat hammer to help tenderise it. Season meat with salt and pepper.

In 3 separate shallow bowls place flour in one, beaten egg and water in the other and bread crumbs in the last bowl (ground cracker or cornflakes are great too).

In a heavy frying pan (I use cast iron) add enough vegetable to fill pan 1/4 of an inch. Heat oil on high heat until the oil is dancing (it looks like there are waves in the oil) but just shy of smoking. You can also test if oil is hot enough by touching it with the corner of the first steak and if it sizzles the second the meat touches it is hot enough.

While oil is heating dredge meat in flour then egg and cover with the bread crumbs and gently lay meat away from you in hot oil. repeat with steaks until the pan is fun yet not crowded (about 4 steaks) and the oil is foaming up around the meat. turn heat down to medium to cook the steaks to a golden brown on both sides.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Daring Baker November 2007 - #3

~~~~~~Potato Bread~~~~~~

I am sorry to say that I do not have much to say about this Daring Baker Challenge. The Kids did not feel like making bread so I did it all alone while writing a paper comparing the Dhammapada to the Book of Job.

The bread tasted good; however, the temp of 450 F was a little too high and it got too dark on the outside for me.

We all eat so much of the bread when it came out of the oven that the whole family was in a bread coma for several hours and the 3 day old leftovers turned into GREAT french toast. Thank you Tanna (Tana is my aunts name) for giving a new challange with bread.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Broccoli Soup and shopping with my Daughter

Last week DD and I went out for a few hours and shopped, just the two of us. While we were out we went to Panera Bread for Lunch. I explained what was on the menu and encouraged her to get the broccoli cheddar soup. refusing to listen she insisted that she get a salad with tomatoes, she was thinking that they were going to be cherry tomatoes which she loves. I let her place her order and I ordered myself the broccoli soup and a sandwich knowing that she was going to end up eating that soup the moment she sees it. As soon as I sat at the table with the soup she was eyeing it asking "what is that" while she it moving her eyebrows up and down. I told her what it was and she immediately stole the soup from me a polished it off with mumbles of yumm, mmmmm, this is so so good.

Today DD and I went grocery shopping just the two of us, again. We first went to Costco and as we walked in she ran straight to the $250+ handbags (I am thinking that figures, she has to go the the most expensive frivolous item here) so I finally coax her away from the handbags and the very next thing that catches her eye are the diamonds (ok, whose kid is this anyway, I am a country farm girl and here he is looking and $200 purses and $20,000 rings)

Back to the soup...because we were shopping DD wanted to have that soup again so I explained to her that we will be home by lunch time so we could make it with the leftover Thanksgiving broccoli. She was admit that it must be the same so I asked what she though was in the soup. after thinking for a few seconds she said broccoli, cheese, and cream. Alrighty then, we have a start, I ask what do we put in soup when we make soup at home. Another few seconds and she comes back with onion, garlic, and broth. She knows how to make soup, we went home and I chopped the onions she added them in with some olive oil, I minced the garlic and she added it. I also added some leftover potatoes; however, I have to prove to her that there would not be any potato chunks after we blend it in the blender. when we served up her soup it was great, better then the stuff we had last week. Thank you girly girl.This is what we did:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chipped
2 gloves garlic, minced
the stalk the a bunch of broccoli, minced
2 medium boiled potatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
2 cups steamed broccoli, chopped
5 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chipped
salt and pepper

in a large pot add in the Olive oil and onion, saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic, potato and broccoli stems, cook a few more minutes. add in the butter and flour and cook for 1 minute and add about 1/2 cup of the stock and cook until it starts to thicken. Blend in blender until smooth, add more stock if too thick.

Return the blended mixture the pot and add in the rest or the stock and heat to boiling. add in the rest of the ingredients, heat through, it should be nice and thick. Serve.

DD did all but the chopping and pouring in and out of the blender, including shredding the cheese.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

Contemplating the Bird...

I looked it up from several sources and the consensus was to bake the 12 pound turkey at 375 for 31/2 to 4 hours , I put the bird int he oven at 11:30 and then the pop up plastic thing popped up at 2, huh! that can't be, I got out the meat thermometer and stabbed that bird right in its fat thigh.............175F it is done and only 11/2 hours early. I let the turkey stay in the oven for another 30 minutes because I didn't want it to get cold before 4 (4 being the time I planned on eating). Now the bird was an hour early and I still did not get a photo of it whole, what was I thinking and he was beautiful too. I do have this picture; however.

Rose from 64 sq ft kitchen brought beautiful bread and for dessert creme brulee. The Brulee was so rich and just wonderfully perfect.
DD and Rose caramelizing the sugar on the creme brulee
The Spread

And the best part was having old friends and new friends together for Thanksgiving, for that I am Thankful!

Thanksgiving Menu

Today is Thanksgiving day and I have started on the fixins, and they are...

Rack of Lamb on the Grill marinated in olive oil, garlic, rosemary, sea salt and pepper.

Turkey (I got a 12 pound fresh bird) stuffed with garlic, onion, rosemary, lemon, sea salt and pepper with a little of the oil made for the lamb. I also rubbed the turkey with butter and DD seasoned it with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. I will let the turkey warm on the counter for an hour and then I will Bake in the oven at 375 for 31/2 - 4 hours or until it is done (little red popper pops up and the bird is 165F at thigh)

Simple Boiled Red, gold and purple potatoes topped with fresh parsley, butter, sea salt and pepper.

Roasted Red pepper salad. Roasted peppers with olive oil, minced garlic and salt.

Steamed Broccoli

Rose from 64 sq ft Kitchen and her family will be joining us on this festive day and they will be bringing fresh bread and dessert.

One of my closest friends and her husband will also be joining us and they will be bringing a traditional Finnish carrot casserole.

I may make gravy because the drippings from the turkey are so good but I think I am the only one that eats gravy (and not much at that) and for the work I am not sure it is worth it. I have made gravy for groups that love gravy (turkey, ham and chicken) and often I am told that it is the best gravy they have ever had. It is a good feeling to have gravy lovers say that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Making Sushi for the 1st Time

I have talked about sushi before, about how I love vegetable rolls and have to have one or two after a good workout; However, the cost can mount very fast and at the sushi place right down from Pilates class being the most expensive in the area (the are also very good) I can't keep this up. I have never made sushi and I have always wanted to, but I thought that is was a lot of work and very hard to get a good roll. difficulties aside, last weekend I put an end to being a sushi making virgin and they turned out great. I made what I call the yoga roll with avocado, cucumber, asparagus and sesame seeds.

I took a few technique tips from VideoJug on How to Make Sushi Rice and while it gave me an idea of what to do I found that it was a little more involved then I would like so I googled how to make sushi and did some reading. Once my research was done I went for it and did almost everything I was not supposed to.

First I used long grain rice, that is what I had so that is what I used. Next I forgot to rinse it, oops. I steamed the rice like I always do the my stir-fry with 1 cup rice, just short 2 cups water, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover, cook for 15 minutes, turn off heat and rest for 15 minutes, perfect sticky rice. While my rice was cooking I heated about 1/3 cup rice vinegar with about 2 teaspoons sugar and some salt. I also cut my avocado, cucumber and asparagus into strips and toasted my sesame seeds in a dry pan on the stove top.

I put the rice in a wooden bowl that I have and slowly stirred in about half of the vinegar mixture (A friend made sushi a few weeks back and told me to be careful not to add too much vinegar) and I did not fan it I did blow on it a little but i did not find it important that I had shinny rice. I then got out my nori sheets (dry seaweed), that I always have on hand because I like to add it to soups. and started rolling and it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I did my first few with the rice in the inside and then I did a few with the rice on the outside. While the rice on the inside are much easier to make I like them better the other way. I have to say I was so, so happy with the end result.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Girly Girl is Turning 4 in 2 weeks

After looking at over 50 cakes together we have made a decision. My baby girl passed on the Barbie bowl cake, which I could not believe because she talked about it for 3 months last summer. there were also pink ribbon cakes, flower cakes, butterflies and ladybugs but in the end she picked...


And she picked these to take to school to share with her class

We have not made a decision about the kind of cake but Martha Stewart has a nice looking lemon cake that I would make tangerine or maybe a spice cake.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pork in Garlic Sauce

This is one of our family favorites. It is so easy and full of flavor and the best of all everyone eats it the kids and my husband.

I made this for my brother about 7 years ago and he just LOVED it. Thank goodness that I made a lot because everyone ate twice as much as I would have guessed; however, there were some leftovers for him to take to work. My brother, who works at a saw mill, got out his lunch and all the guys that he works with started drooling over his lunch sadly looking at their bologna sandwiches asking where he got that. Justin, my brother, just grinned and said my sister came to visit last night and then promptly informed everyone that I was taken.

so here it is Pork in Garlic Sauce

1 pound pork loin cut thin
1 cup flour for dusting
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup water or stock

Combine flour salt and pepper and dredge pork to lightly cover both sides with flour. In a hot frying pan add oil to about 1/4th of an inch, when oil is dancing in the hot pan gently lay floured pork into hot oil (oil should start to foam around the meat) and turn the heat down a little and cook about 2 minutes on each side until done. Fry all the pork and set aside. drain all but about 1 tablespoon of oil and return pan to heat, add the garlic, wine and water. reduce by half, sauce will get thick, lay the cooked pork into the sauce in the pan to reheat and coat meat with sauce and then serve on a platter covered in the sauce.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cranberry Pear Muffins

I used White Whole wheat instead of whole wheat pastry flour by accident so the muffins were a little wheaty; however, the wheaty flavor worked very nicely with the lemon zest.
2 Cups flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons melted butter or oil
1 cup cranberries
1 cup pears, peeled and diced
Preheat oven to 400F and butter 12 regular muffin cups.
In a Large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and oil.
Pour milk mixture into four mixture and quickly stir to make a smooth batter being careful not to over mix. fold in fruit and spoon batter into muffin cups.
Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into Muffin comes out clean. let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Menu for the week of 11/9/07

~Indian Spiced Chicken (I got a Indian Spice sauce from Trader Joe's I want to try)
~Mushroom Soup
~Breaded Pork cutlets with asparagus and boiled potatoes
~Baked fish
~Boiled beef and beef soup

Friday, November 9, 2007

Chicken Pot Pie

The pot pie I make is from the Williams-Sonoma Complete outdoor Living Cookbook. I make changes to this recipe depending on what is in my cupboards and refrigerator.

for crust
1 cup flour
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
7 T. chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3-4 T milk

2 T. butter
1 leek, sliced (or chopped onion)
1 lg carrot, chopped
1 potato, diced
2 T. flour
2 C. chicken broth
2 C. cubed cooked chicken
1 C. peas
1 C. half-n-half
1/4 C. fresh parsley
1/2 t. dried tarragon
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400
to make crust, stir together the flour, parm cheese, and salt. using a pastry blender cut in butter until it resemble course meal. pour in 3 T. milk and mix quickly until moist. turn out onto a floured surface and knead until dough comes together. wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
to make filling. in a saucepan melt butter on med-high heat. add leek, carrot, and potato and cook, stirring, until the leek is softened, about 5 minutes. ass flour and stir for 1 min. stir in broth bring to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thick, about 3 min. stir in chicken, peas, half-n-half, parsley, and tarragon. Simmer another 5 min season with salt and pepper to taste. spoon filling into 2-qt baking dish. Roll out crust on lightly floured surface to fit the baking dish and place dough on top on the filling. Bake until golden brown about 35-40 min. and serve.

serves 4 - per serving 693 calories, 28g protein, 55g carbs, 40g fat, 5g fiber.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Stuffed Peppers

For years (all of my life) I hated stuffed peppers and the dried out meat and rice with the overpowering flavor of green bell pepper , yuk! And then one day my DH asked me to make them , "like his mothers" . WHAT! we don't have the same paprika peppers and I have no idea how she makes them. I set out to read, read and read some more, then one day while on vacation in Belgrade him mother made stuffed paprikas and I hovered and watched and tried to learn. I now like stuffed peppers , they are nothing like how my mother in law makes them but they are not that dry stuffing and overpowering green bell pepper flavor.

2 or 3 red or orange bell peppers or if you can find some nice red Hungarian peppers use them
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz ground meat. I like to use an equal mix of veal, beef and pork or I will use some sausage I get from a friend who has a pig farm.
1 cup long grain rice
1 egg
1 t. soup spice
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper
2 T. oil or butter
2 T. flour
4 to 6 oz tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock or water

Wash and cut open peppers (sometimes I cut them in half and remove the seeds or I remove the top with the seeds and stuff the pepper whole.
Brown ground meat with chopped onion then add garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in uncooked rice, parsley, egg, soup spice and pepper (the soup spice is salty so I don't add salt).
Preheat oven to 375F
In a sauce pan heat oil and add flour, cook the raw flavor out of the flower then add the tomato paste and stock bring to a boil.
stuff the meat mixture into the peppers, place the peppers in an oven proof dish with a tight fitting lid, ladle the sauce over the peppers and around them. Bake in the oven covered for 1 hour or until rice is cooked and has soaked up the sauce, ladle sauce over the peppers every 15 minutes or so. If need be add more stock to the dish as it bakes.
Serve with plain yogurt.

Monday, November 5, 2007

This Weeks Menu - A little late

-Lentil Soup with cornbread - DD asked for this one
-Gnocchi with vegetable Marinara and salad - one of DS's faves.
-Chicken Taco
-Pepper or sesame crusted Tuna with steamed broccoli and Cauliflower
-Chicken Pot Pie
as always we will be eating leftovers on some days.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Celtic Woman

I am so excited I am taking DD to see Celtic Woman tonight. About a year ago DD fell in love with their concert on PBS and I told her then that some day we would go see them. They toured in the Detroit area last April but the cost for the two of us to go was almost $200.00 and I thought that was a little much to take a 3 year old to see a concert. Celtic Woman are back in town (an hour anda half drive) and at half the price and now that DD is going to be 4 next month I figured the cost was now worth it. I can't wait to see her reaction when they come out on stage and she realizes what the "surprise" is.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

mmmmmmmm Haddock

I tried haddock for the first time just a few weeks ago and I loved it. the fillets were nice and thick and I decided to cook some with a cornmeal crust and some battered a fried and both ways were just WONDERFUL. I liked the haddock so much that we had it again the next week and I baked it and yes again it was sweet and flaky.

*Cornmeal crusted haddock*

I cut the fillets into manageable "serving" size pieces and then I seasoned with salt and pepper, dredged in flour, then in beaten egg and lastly cornmeal and pan fried in hot oil.

*Batter fried haddock*

made a batter with 1 cup flour, 1 cup liquid (milk, water, beer, ext.) salt, pepper and an egg. mix ingredients and let batter set for about 15 minutes. dip the fish fillets in the batter and fry in hot oil until golden and crisp.

*Baked haddock*

brush a small about of olive oil (or butter) on the bottom of a baking dish. Season the haddock with salt, pepper and paprika drizzle a little olive oil and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with homemade tarter sauce.