Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Tennessee "Oriental" Meatballs
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Jason Evans and William Cochran, Proprietor of the Inn at Evins Mill
2 pounds ground beef, 80/20 ratio (The Inn at Evins Mill uses Gourmet Pasture Beef)
4 whole eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1t ground ginger
2T chopped garlic
1/4t crushed red pepper flakes
2 T Dijon mustard
black pepper to taste
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup whole oats (The Inn at Evins Mill uses Tennessee Oats)
Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl, using hands with gloves is the easiest way.
Chill for one hour as they are easier to shape when they are cold.
Shape into meatballs with hands or ice cream scoop to desired size.
Place on baking pan with sides to catch excess grease.
Bake in 400F oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm.
Number of meatballs will depend on size, but for 1 ounce meatballs, you will get 30-40.
Meatballs maybe frozen prior to cooking for latter use.
Serve with any sauce you desire, stir fried vegetables or roasted winter squash.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Many people who are just learning to cook (and some who have been cooking for years) shy away from cooking large pieces of meat because getting it "right" can be a bit intimidating. A perfect pork loin roast is truly a beautiful thing...but how to get it? You want a beautiful piece of pig that turns out roasted to a golden glow on the outside, but is thoroughly cooked on the inside without sacrificing that lovely juiciness. Do all of these qualities seem like the makings of an impossible recipe? Good news...you CAN make the perfect pork loin roast!
I will give you instructions as accurately as I possibly can, but you must keep a few things in mind when preparing a pork loin roast. No two pieces of meat are exactly the same. All 4-pound pork roasts are not created equal. One can be long and thin, one short and thick and the amount of fat left on the meat by the butcher varies from piece to piece. Keeping this in mind, you can still achieve the desired results, but you must be willing to "play" with the cooking times, have ample time to devote to the cooking process of the meat (at least 20-30 minutes per pound to slow cook and that's NOT exact) and be fearless to keep that pork loin roast in the oven, even when you might think it's been in there too long, until your thermometer tells you it's ready. Your new best friend is going to be a good meat thermometer. That is the surest way of getting the desired results. And, believe me...you will agree that it's worth the trying, testing and temperature-taking when you taste your perfect pig!
Start with a good cut of meat. You can purchase the size of boneless pork loin roast that you want...but all prep and cooking times are determined by the amount of meat, as well as the aforementioned factors. A boneless pork loin roast and a pork tenderloin are NOT the same cut of meat! The tenderloin has a lower fat content and is a smaller cut of pork than the pork loin roast, so it will cook differently. If in doubt, don't be afraid to ask your butcher or the "head meat guy" at the grocery to help you find or select a good pork loin roast...he's there to help!
Choose a meaty pork roast, but make sure it has a nice layer of fat on one side. Do NOT trim off that fat because it is integral to the success of your meat! Put your oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Next you will season your pork.
Take 2 to 3 Tbsp. of olive oil and put it in a small bowl. Add your choice of spices and herbs to the olive oil, making sure you add enough to make a well-formed paste. You can use these, or any combination of these, to add to the olive oil: sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sage, rosemary (I suggest using ground or, if you have the whole, crush it in your hands before adding), thyme, oregano, sweet basil, cumin (use sparingly - cumin is a strong spice) OR Herbes de Provence (which is a lovely blend of crushed/ground bay leaves, thyme, fennel, rosemary, chervil, oregano, summer savory, tarragon, mint, marjoram and lavender - it is ALWAYS found in my kitchen and I use it along with sea salt, black pepper, basil, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin on my pork loin roast!) You want the paste to be fairly thick, but still speadable. The best way to coat the pork loin roast is to scoop the paste up with your hands and "massage" it into the meat. Make sure you coat all sides...don't forget each end of the pork loin roast.
You will need a roasting pan with a rack. If you don't have a rack, use heavy aluminum foil and crunch it up into a make-shift rack. You can crush it, then straighten it back out, forming wavy little elevations and divots and folding up the sides to catch the juices and melted fats that run off during the roasting process. Place the pork loin roast that has been coated with the olive oil/spice/herb paste FAT SIDE UP on the rack in the roasting pan, uncovered; put the roasting pan on the center oven rack and close the door.
(This post will be continued.)
Sunday, October 31, 2010
One of the thrills of Autumn is the spicy aromas that fill so many kitchens. Heady scents of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger make our senses come alive! Autumn's bounty of pumpkins give us endless possibilities for scrumptious dishes and desserts that remind of us Autumns passed, holidays celebrated and people with whom we experienced wonderful fellowship. I used to love it when my mother made her famous pumpkin pies...and treasured the rare occasions when she made gingerbread. I can smell the intoxicating aromas in my mind and see my mother in the kitchen, even though she left us this past April.
In honor and celebration of Autumn and the wonderful woman, mother and cook who was my mother, I have combined two flavors which I associate with them both. Enjoy the beautiful glory of Autumn and treasure your mother if you still have her with you...if not, treasure the memories of her!
1/2 c. white sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 egg 1 c. Grandma's Molasses (original, unsulphured)
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. hot water
1/2 c. pumpkin (canned purée, NOT pumpkin pie mix!)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water, then the pumpkin. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving.
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter (1/2 c.), softened
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1-lb. box powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream softened cream cheese and butter until well-blended. Slowly add powdered sugar, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and blend well. If mixture thickens too much or you accidentally put in to much powdered sugar, correct to desired consistency with the addition of a little milk. You want it to be thick but not extremely thick - you should be able to make a "dollop" out of a spoonful that "plops" easily. Put a dollop on top of a cut piece of pumpkin gingerbread and serve! After serving, put in airtight container and keep refrigerated.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Several years ago, I had the privilege of working as assistant/sous chef to a wonderful man from New York City. He had come to Nashville to be a guest on "Talk of the Town", Nashville Channel 5's Top-Rated TV Talk Show. Mr. Howard Helmer is the Guinness World Records World's Fastest Omelet Maker! He is a darling man and a HOOT to hang out with...and he KNOWS how to make an omelet. I got to spend a lot of time with him before "showtime" and he marveled at the "supermarket" telling me how he had to go to individual markets in NYC to get groceries...the fish market, the butcher, the deli, the bakery, the greengrocer for produce and the grocery store for canned items. He was in awe of the supermarket! We road all over Nashville (with me driving and him hanging on for dear life. I guess driving on the freeway is a little different from the subway)...and I learned to make the perfect omelet from the BEST! So, trust me when I tell you this omelet is perfectly yummy, easy and fast...I mean 40-seconds-FAST! Fill it with your choice of goodies, like cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, ham, well, you get the idea...the choices are endless and only restricted by your personal preferences or the preferences of your guests!
For your entertainment and information, I have attached a YouTube "How-To" from Mr. Helmer and, yes, he really IS that much fun!
For one omelet you will need:
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. butter or 1 tsp. olive or vegetable oil
10-inch omelet or sauté pan
Your choice of fillings, but at the very least some fantastic cheese (I adore the Mexican Four-Cheese blend...the cheese melts so perfectly and the flavor, divine!)
Crack eggs into a mixing bowl and add water. Beat until well-blended, but not necessarily until eggs are frothy. Place your 10-inch omelette pan on Medium-High heat and get the pan VERY hot. Put butter in the pan (or oil, if you are using that instead) and melt it without browning it. Now, pay attention, because things will move quickly from here! Pour the mixture into the hot pan by using a standard-size soup ladle. You will immediately see big bubbles form in the egg mixture...that is the steam created by the water and it makes the eggs fluffy! Moving quickly, place your spatula (top side down) on the outer edge of the omelet, dig in and drag mixture to the middle, filling the empty space with liquid egg mixture. Do this step rapidly from all directions until all the egg mixture has made contact with the bottom of the pan; you may need to rotate or swirl the pan. Cook until the egg is no longer runny, but is still glossy and moist on the top. Most people make the mistake of cooking the eggs until the top is dry. If you do that, you have already ruined your eggs. At the point that the top is glossy and moist, start filling your omelet with your choice of ingredients on the left side only (or on the right side, if you are left-handed.) Fold the empty half of the omelet over the side which is filled. Pick up your serving plate and flip the sauté pan over and the omelet onto the plate. You will have a beautiful, perfect omelet...in 40 seconds!
If you are making omelets for a crowd, just use two eggs and two Tbsp. of water for each person and beat the egg mixture in a large container. A standard soup ladle holds four ounces of liquid...exactly the amount of two eggs and two Tbsp. of water...how great is THAT?!?! If you don't have a ladle, use a 1/2 cup liquid measure for one portion!
Watch Howard Helmer Make an Omelet...FAST!
Visit Howard Helmer's Website...Click Here!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
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"Food should not only nourish and satisfy, it should reach that place in your soul where comfort and belongingness and love reside. My mother taught me that...not so much by what she said, but by what she did, what she cooked and how she infused it with love." ~~ Melissa K Hand, "Hand in the Kitchen"
"Food is not about impressing people. It's about making them feel comfortable." ~~ Ina Garten, "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook"
Friday, October 22, 2010
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This AMAZING recipe is courtesy of Christy Jordan at Southern Plate. Don't forget to get your copy of Christy's new cookbook...it's a must-have for every Southern cook and for those who love Southern food! Give one as a gift and make another cook happy! Go on over to SouthernPlate.com for more great recipes and wonderful stories from Christy or click on the red Southern Plate link in the first line of this post!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
2 cans Pillsbury regular size crescent rolls ( you may rather use the large size rolls, in which case you will not need but one can)
Crumble and brown the sausage in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
When well-browned, drain well and return to stove.
Reduce heat to low and add the cream cheese, stirring until it is thoroughly mixed with the sausage.
Remove from heat.
Open the crescent rolls and separate them. You may lay them on the baking sheet you will bake them on or use waxed paper for this step.
Place a tablespoon of the meat and cheese mixture near the wide end of the roll, roll and seal.
Place onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake according to package directions, about 8 minutes until golden brown.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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This recipe goes waaaay back. I have been making it for family and friends for over half my life. Its simple ingredients and goodness make it a winner, tried and true!
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A big THANKS goes to my friend Karen Lawson of Texas for this great recipe. The traditional recipe calls for lard, but you can substitute vegetable oil. This awesome chili gravy is great on enchiladas and a variety of Mexican/TexMex foods!
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For years, I have made peanut brittle in the microwave, and I've been told that it's as good (some say better, but I will leave you to decide) as a certain well-known commercial brand, who shall remain nameless. When my children were little, I would make batches to give, as an expression of gratitude at Christmas, to the crossing guard at their schools, the mailman and other special people who provided great service throughout the year. I have yet to find a person who does not love to get a gift from the kitchen...there is just something special about a gift that someone has taken time to make. I know I love to get those types of gifts! Peanut brittle is yummy, easy and fun to make in your microwave, with little cleanup! What could be better?
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
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This recipe is my husband, Buddy's, all-time favorite casserole recipe. Do you know how much he loves it? He requested it for his birthday instead of birthday cake! Happy Birthday, Dear Husband. I love you! (His birthday is in four days...October 18th!)