Posts tagged "Potatoes"

MY CULINARY DIARY – Summer Grilled Steak Salad

 

MY CULINARY DIARY

Monday, June 26, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just love Summer and all the ripe fruit and vegetables that are available.  I also love the fact that we can eat lighter meals and feel satisfied doing so.  Tonight’s dinner was in fact one of those wonderful salads using fresh produce and tomatoes from our garden.  I decided to make a Steak Salad. I really wanted to make a Mongolian Lamb Salad but did not want to have to purchase a whole lamb leg as steak cuts were not available.  Thus, I used Beef Filet instead and these turned out to be very,  very good.

I used two Beef Filets which were just right for two people (we actually had some leftover for lunch the next day).  To marinate them I used a Balsamic Vinaigrette which was made with:

Balsamic Vinegar

Garlic

Basil

Olive Oil

Dijon Mustard

Salt & Pepper

 

I placed the Steaks in a shallow glass dish and poked a few holes in them to allow the marinade to penetrate into the steak and then I poured the Marinade over the steak.  If you do this, be sure to turn the meat over a few times to get it thoroughly coated with the Marinade.  It is also a good idea to turn it over again halfway through the marinade time.

 

For the Salad I used:

 

Baby Artisan Lettuce

Red & Orange Carrots & Yellow Bell Pepper

Red & Orange Carrots, Yellow Bell Pepper & Fresh Tomatoes

 

 

Pickling Cucumbers (Persian, Japanese or English are also good)

Fresh Home Grown Tomatoes

Golden Beets, par-boiled  (save the cooking liquid for Vegetable Soup or poaching liquid)

 

Golden Beets

 

Instead of making one large salad from which everyone would be served, I decided to make the salads on individual plates.  This is one way to get the person who does not take much salad on their plate to eat a little more than they normally would.

 

Any color Beets can be used, but I prefer the Golden to the Red or Purple.  I think they have a milder flavor than the darker ones which taste more earthy.  They are also prettier and don’t leave as much color behind them.  To prepare the Beets, cut off the roots and leaves and scrub them really well to get off all the dirt that they tend to gather.  Next put them in a pot and cover them with cold water and add a tablespoon of salt.  Bring to a boil and then shut off the heat.  Let them sit in the pot until they cool down.  Remove and peel.  The peel will just slide off with the slightest help.  The cooking liquid can be used for Vegetable Soup, as poaching liquid for fish or chicken or as a tint for hard-cooked eggs.  The Eggs end up looking like Chinese Tea Eggs which are traditional at the Chinese New Year in late January or early February. (This depends on the Chinese Calendar)

 

The first thing that went on the plates was the Baby Lettuce which served as the base for the salad.

Lettuce Base

 

Next came the Red & Orange Carrots.  First I peeled the Carrots, then rinsed and dried them and julienned them with a julienne peeler.  I could have done this in the Food Processor with the 3 x 3 julienne blade, but I like the texture and taste of the julienne peeled carrots better, plus they look more attractive.

Carrots Added

Julienne Peeler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next came the Yellow Bell Pepper which was cored, seeded and julienned.  The pieces went around the outer edges of the plate to frame the salad.

 

Yellow Bells Added

 

The Cucumbers were peeled, halved, seeded and then thinly sliced.

Cucumbers - the Melon Baller was used to remove the seeds before slicing

Melon Baller - used to remove Cucumber Seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cucumbers went on top of the Carrots along with the sliced Tomatoes. 

Cukes & Tomatoes added

 

Next the Beets were sliced and placed on the plate.

Golden Beets Added

 

The next thing to do was to grill the steak.  My stovetop grill had been heating up, so I placed the steaks on the grill and seared both top and bottoms.  After turning them over the first time, the remaining marinade was poured on top.  After searing them, I removed them from the pan and sliced them against the grain into pieces about 3/8” thick.  I then returned the slices to the pan and seared them very quickly on each side so that even though they were done on the outside they still retained a little rareness on the inside.

 

Grilling Steak

Sliced & Regrilled - ready to turn over

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sliced and seared steak was placed on top of the plated salad and served with a Balsamic Mayonnaise.  Balsamic Vinaigrette is also a good dressing for this salad.  Along with Home-Fried Potatoes and the Bread I made yesterday,  this was a very good and tasty summer meal that left us feeling satisfied without being stuffed.

 

The Completed Salad

 

 

Home Fries

 

 

Roast Turkey slices or grilled Shrimp can be substituted for the Steak slices.  Or just use your imagination and see what you can come up with!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2012/06/28 at 8:00 PM

Categories: Baking, Bread, Cooking for Everyone, Dinner Ideas, Main, Salads   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

NATIONAL LOBSTER DAY

 June 15th, 2012 is ‘National Lobster Day’.  Lobster without doubt is one of the most expensive items that you will find on a restaurant’s menu or even at the fish market or supermarket.  But this wasn’t always the case.  In the early days of our couontry’s history, lobster was thought to be garbage or throwout food.  The reason for this is that lobster, like most all shell fish or crustaceans are bottom feeders and bottom feeders are thought be the dregs of society or the aquatic world.

When fishermen found lobster caught in their nets, they often left them on the beach for the poor or indigenous to eat.  Lobster was food that was left to the lower members of society and indentured servants.  Servants often specified in the employment agreements that they would not eat lobster more than twice a week.  How many of us would love to eat lobster even twice a month, let alone twice a week!  Alas, this attitude towards lobster did not last long and in the mid part of the 19th century lobster became a popular item on the menues of New York and Boston restaurants.  With the development of lobster fishing boats, the crustacean became even more popular.

Without a doubt, Maine Lobster is probably one of the favorite and most available here in the United States.  However, with the advent of air travel and shipping, lobster from all over the world is available.  One can purchase giant lobster tails from Australia, mid-size ones from the Carribean and even smaller ones from ???

One of my favorite lobsters are those found in Rosarita, Baja California.  The Mexican variety are smaller than the Maine Lobster, but they are sweet and usually at least two or more are served at a sitting.

One of my favorite ways to prepare lobster is to purchase one tail and cut it up in large bite-sized pieces and serve it in an Alfredo Sauce with Linguini.  This way, one lobster tail will easily serve two people.  However, we do sometimes just want to savor the lobster meat itself and in this case at least one lobster tail per person is called for.  (This is the Carribean variety – one large Australian lobster tail would do for two people, provided they do not have HUGE appetites.

To observe National Lobster Day, here is one of my versions of a Lobster Tail Dinner.  For two people, you will need two mid-size lobster tail, two large baked potatoes, fresh chives, fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, chives, etc., unsalted butter and a nice green salad made with artisan greens and dressed with a blue cheese dressing.

Scrub the Potatoes and pierce with a fork;  this will prevent them from exploding in the hot oven – just as a precaution, I always make an extra potato and if none explode you can use the extra for home fries for another meal.  If you like your potatoes to have a crsipy skin, coat the skin with vegetable or olive oil before placing in the oven.  If you do use oil on the skin, be sure and place a piece of foil under the potatoes so the oil does not drip down onto your oven floor and cause smoking.  If you are going to have Chives with your Baked Potatoes, prep them now.  We have Chives growing in our garden, so I picked them just before using them to preserve the flavor.  Wash and dry and then snip.  The easiest way to snip them is with a pair of kitchen shears.  Before doing so, hold the chives in one hand and cut them in a straight across.  This will make it easier to snip the chives evenly.

Minced Chives

The next thing to do is to clarify your butter.  Take a quarter pound of butter (1 stick) and melt it in a microwave proof bowl or measuring cup.  Let it settle so that the milk solids fall to the bottom.  (The better the grade of butter, the less milk solids there will be in it)  Once the solids fall to the bottom pour off the fat portion  through a cheese cloth lined strainer into another bowl.

Melted Butter

If you are going to make an herb butter wash and dry your herbs and then mince them either by hand or in a mini-food processor.

Herbs minced in a Mini-Food Processor

 

Once the Butter has settled and is clear, you can add the Herbs to the Butter;  set it aside until ready to serve.  When ready to serve, you can just re-heat it until melted.  (About 30 seconds or less in a microwave oven)

 

Herb Butter in individual dipping bowls

Next, prepare your salad and refrigerate until serving time.  Make the Salad Dressing – in this case ours was Bleu Cheese.  Bleu Cheese can be purchased in small portions in the Cheese Section in your supermarket or you can go to a speciality store.  For the complete recipe please see  bleu-cheese-dressing/

Danish Bleu Cheese

Bleu Cheese Dressing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I was serving Mushrooms with the Lobster, the next thing I did was prepare the mushrooms.  Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel.  (Since mushrooms act like sponges and soak up water, it is best to avoid washing them if possible – I don’t often follow this advice as some mushrooms also pick up a lot of the growing compound and just have to be washed)  If you do wash your mushrooms, be sure to blot them dry really well with a paper towel.  I quartered the Mushrooms and then sauteed them in Olive Oil with 2 cloves of minced Garlic.  When they were done, I shut off the heat and set them aside.  Just before serving, I reheated them for a short time.

 

Caramelized Mushrooms

 

The next item on the agenda was to prepare the Lobster.  We had two tail which I decided to steam first before broiling.  When you broil them you are never sure when they are done – you don’t want your lobster to be over-cooked and when broiling for the whole time, sometimes the tops get charred.

I split the tail down the back of the shells.  This can be done with a cleaver, a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen shears.  Then I placed them in my steamer – steaming takes only 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the tail.  Just before serving I placed them under the broiler and broiled them for about five minutes.

 

Raw Carribbean Lobster Tails

Split down the Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Steamer

 

Broiled Lobster Tails

 

While the lobster were broiling, we started on our Salad and I microwaved the butter, just to warm it up.  This took about 15 seconds.

The main course was the Lobster, Baked Potato with Butter, Sour Cream and Chives and the Caramelized Mushrooms.  These are all some of my favorite foods.  Even though the Carribbean Lobster Tail, was ample in size, I still could have eaten more.  I just love lobster!  In any form!

 

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2012/06/15 at 11:23 AM

Categories: Condiments, Dinner Ideas, Main, National Food Days   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

MY CULINARY DIARY – BAKE – A – THON

MY CULINARY DIARY

April 29TH, 2012

Having been sort of neglectful on the Diary Front, here is a blog I forgot to post.

From the 24th through the 27th we were in Imperial Beach down near the Tijuana Border to do some Birding.  We saw 73 different species of birds and added two new ones to our ‘Life List’.  The new birds we saw were the Red Faced Comorant and the Beldings Sparrow.    We went through La Jolla on our way home and saw tons of Breeding Brown Pelicans and more Cormorants in their rookeries.  In addition we saw many seals; adults and pups.

The food we ate during this trip was forgettable but the food we are now eating at home is not, so let’s get down to brass tacks and actually talk about my Culinary Activities.

Since Wednesday, May 2nd is ‘National Truffle Day’ I decided to make the centers for some Truffles which I will serve to my Mah Jong Group on Wednesday. (The Blog just below this one)  Of course, Ev also needed his ‘Chocolate Fix’, so I did that as well.  It was time for Brownies and Ev decided he wanted some with Chocolate Chips in them, so I took it one step further and made White Chocolate Brownies with Semi- Sweet Chocolate Chips.  As so often happens, the Chocolate Chips were heavier than the batter and sank to the bottom of the pan, but this was okay, because when they baked, it was like having a layer of pure chocolate at the bottom.  These were especially good when they were warm and the chocolate was still gooey, but they still taste almost as good two days later.

 

White Chocolate/Chocolate Chip Brownie Batter (Adding the Choc Chips)

 

Sunday Morning was another Bake – A – Thon Day for me.  I had three things going practically all at once.  The first thing I had planned to do was to make some bread –this time Challah was on the agenda.  I made the Dough using my Kitchen Aid and then covered it with a damp cloth and put it outside in the sun to rise.  The warmth from the sun helped it to rise much more quickly than it would have done if I had left it in the house.  Since I did want to get out and go shopping in the early afternoon, this was very helpful.

While the Challah was rising, I then decided to coat the Truffle Centers that I had made the day before.  As I mentioned in the Truffle Blog, the White Chocolate Ganache was too soft to scoop and roll so I added some unsweetened Cocoa to the White Chocolate Ganache.  This turned out to be an excellent choice.  I still had the creaminess of the white chocolate and the richness of the cocoa.  Please see the Truffle Blog for more on this activity.

Next, since the next day was National Raisin Day I decided to make some Refrigerator Raisin Cookies which are not only good for snacking but also are a quick and easy breakfast with a glass of juice or milk.

Mixed Cookie Dough

 

Before I was finished with the Cookie Dough, the Bread Dough had risen, so I had to bring it in, punch it down, let it rest and then shape it into loaves.  The last time I made Challah, I braided it and made one large loaf.  This time I divided the Dough into two portions, and twisted each portion.  I then placed the Dough on a parchment covered baking sheet, covered it and let it rise for 30 minutes or until 50% doubled in bulk.  The next step was to brush it with an Egg Wash and then I sprinkled it with Sesame Seeds.  Poppy Seeds are also good for those who prefer them or for variety, use Sesame on one and Poppy on the other.

Thirty minutes later, the Bread had risen sufficiently to bake it, so I heated the oven to 375 degrees, making sure the baking rack was at the lowest level, close to the heat source.  This insures that the bottom of the bread bakes as well as the top and sides.  Just before placing the loaves in the oven, I misted them lightly with water.  (This helps to insure that you have a good crust)  Thirty minutes later the bread was completely baked.  I took the pan of bread out of the oven and set it on the stove to cool slightly.  When the loaves were cool enough to touch, but still warm, I put them on a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Baked Challah

While the Bread was rising I finished the Cookie Dough, transferred it to a bowl and placed it in the refrigerator to set up.  At this point I cleaned up the kitchen, got dressed and went out and did my shopping.

When I returned from shopping, I divided the Cookie Dough in half;  shaped one half into a roll 2 inches in circumference and about 12 inches long and then wrapped it in plastic wrap.

Rolled & Wrapped Dough

 

Normally, you would just refrigerate this and then slice off the cookies and bake them as needed.  I decided just to scoop half the dough and then freeze the roll for use at a later date.

Unbaked Raisin Cookies

 

The scooped cookies baked in about 14 minutes.  I love raisins and caramel and the use of brown sugar in this cookie gives it a distinct caramel taste.

 

 

Having finished with the baking and candy making, I put away the groceries and then took a rest.  At 4:30 I proceeded to start preparations for dinner.  Tonight was going to be Meatloaf.  This is another item, that I find it just as easy to make more than one, so I made a double recipe, shaped the loaves, wrapped one and froze it and then placed the other in my baking pan.  I scrubbed some Potatoes to put in the oven along with the meatloaf.

 

Ingredients for Meatloaf

 

 

Free formed Meatloaf before baking

 

 

Meatloaf; leftovers for sandwiches

 

For our vegetable we had Broccoli sautéed with Olive Oil and Basil.

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2012/05/21 at 5:01 PM

Categories: Baking, Breakfast Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Main   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

MY CULINARY DIARY

 

Had a nice four days respite from cooking while traveling to the Bay Area with my Son, Joel, Daughter-In-Law, Nereida and my Grandson, Joey.  We went up to visit my Granddaughter, Nesbyth and her boy friend and to attend a performance of the play that Nesbyth is performing in.  The play is the first part of Tom Stoppard’s trilogy ‘Utopia’.  The segment that they are doing now is called ‘The Voyage’.

While up in the Bay Area we found a wonderful Italian Deli in Berkeley that is like no other that I have ever been to.  The lines were long, but the wait wasn’t.  There were an ample number of employees to ensure that everyone was waited on in record time.  The display of Italian Cold Cuts was so beautiful that it was hard to resist buying everything in sight.  We ended up getting sandwiches for everyone (everybody had different ones) and several salads including an Artichoke Heart Salad and a Mozzarella/Tomato Salad plus a variety of Olives.  We purchased so much food that we ended up eating some of it for lunch the next day.

In addition to the cold cuts, the Deli also had a variety of tortas and other cooked food as well as pizzas that you could order.  On the way home from Berkeley, we stopped in Gilroy to purchase Garlic (a Braid and a small container of roasted garlic) and while we were there since it was close to dinnertime, had dinner there.  Nereida and I chose a Chinese Noodle place (Joey stayed up in the Bay area for one more day and came home with a friend that had also gone up there) and Joel went to Dave’s Famous BBQ.  The Chinese Noodle place turned out to be disappointing and we did not eat most of what we ordered.

For Breakfast the next day, I made up a batch of Crepes with caramelized Apple Filling.  Those were quite good and went well with the Coffee that Nereida made.

Then it was time for me to go home (Son & family live in Lompoc).  On the way I stopped at the Farmer’s Market and purchased some Baby Turnips and Young Carrots.  When I got home, I turned the Turnips into Sunomono.  (Sliced thinly and seasoned with Rice Vinegar, Salt and a little Sugar)  For dinner that night (Sunday, April 1), we had Baby Back Ribs that I had frozen from the last time I had made them.  (As always, there were too many and so they came in handy for this meal)

Monday, April 02, 2012 – back home and in the kitchen again.  For dinner tonight I purchased Red Snapper Filets and seasoned them with Lemon Pepper and Lemon Salt along with a little Onion Salt.  Then I lightly floured them, dipped them in an Egg Bath and then coated them with seasoned Bread Crumbs.  (The Bread Crumbs were made from the ends of the Challah that I had made a couple of weeks ago.  Just chopped up the bread scraps in the food processor and then froze them until needed.)   I then refrigerated the filets until it was time to cook them for dinner.  Refrigerating coated or breaded meats helps to keep the coating intact when you cook them.

The Red Snapper filets were very good and to accompany them we had baked potatoes and sautéed vegetables which included zucchini, mushrooms, carrots and onions.  I also made Tartar Sauce to eat with the fish.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012Today is Cleaning Day and it is one of the few days that I like to give the kitchen a rest.  That is, keep it clean for one day.  So we went out to eat at our local Japanese Restaurant and had Beef Teriyaki, California Roll along with a Salad & Miso Soup.  A nice change from constant cooking.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012 Moroccan Meatballs and Israeli Couscous

These meatballs were a derivation from a Moroccan Lamb Kebob Recipe.  I am going to teach a class at a local school that has no kitchen facilities for teaching, so I have to improvise with electric appliances.  The Meatballs are a much simpler item to do than lamb Kebobs which would include grilling.  Used the Middle Eastern spices to flavor the meat and the tomato sauce that I served with it.

 

Lamb Meatballs & Couscous

 

The Couscous was made with Shitake Mushrooms and Onions.  Also made Flat Bread to go along with the meals as well as Hummus that was flavored with Cilantro.

 

Grilled Flat Bread

Cilantro Hummus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also made Chocolate Chip Cookies to satisfy Ev’s Chocolate Cravings.

 

Freshly Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Thursday, April 05, 2012 – Shrimp Salad and Mac and Cheese was on the Menu this night.  Ev wanted Pasta to go with the Salad and I do not like Pasta Salads very much so decided to make Mac & Cheese to go along with the Shrimp Salad.  The Salad consisted of a variety of Artisan Lettuce, Cucumbers, Carrots, Red Bell Peppers and the Shrimp along with a Sesame version of Thousand Island Dressing.

 

Shrimp for Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mac and Cheese was made with Orichetti, the Italian Pasta known as ears.  The Cheese Sauce was made with Colby/Jack and Gouda.  Gouda helps to make the Cheese Sauce very Creamy.  It was very good and there enough left over for Ev to eat for lunch the next day.

 

Since today was National Caramel Day, I also made some Cashew Caramel.  To make the Caramel, I heated some granulated sugar in a medium fring pan until it liquified and then I added a small amount of heavy cream.  Once the Cream was blended in, I then added the Cashews (roasted, salted ones).  Once all the Cashews were covered with the Caramel, I poured the mixture onto a non-stick baking sheet that was placed on a cookie sheet.  The mixture was then allowed to set up.  If you love Caramel and Cashews as I do, then this is a very good confection to have.

 

 

Melting the Sugar

Caramel Cashew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, April 06, 2012 – Red Chicken – found this recipe in one of the food magazines.  Red Cooking comes from a region in China and includes the use of Mushroom Soy which is the essential flavoring in it.  We found it to be a little too salty and would probably do again with have the amount of the Mushroom Soy and perhaps substitute a lite Soy for that half of the Mushroom Soy.  Served this with Rice Noodles and Turnip Sunomono.

Saturday, April 07, 2012 – Crab Legs with drawn Butter, Carrot Salad and Baby Red Potatoes.  Yummy!  A very good dinner!

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Posted by sylveee - 2012/04/12 at 9:13 PM

Categories: Dessert Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Main, National Food Days   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CULINARY MAKEOVERS #12 – Uses for leftover St. Pat’s Corned Beef Leftovers

 Mushroom Barley Soup

 

Saturday, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day and many of us will be making Corned Beef and Cabbage for the Green Event.  Almost always when Corned Beef and Cabbage is prepared for dinner, there are bound to be leftovers.  The usual leftover fare for Corned Beef and Cabbage is Corned Beef Hash or Red Flannel Hash as it is known in the New England States.  Corned Beef Hash is a very good breakfast or supper item when served with poached eggs on top.  However, if you are tired of this version of Corned Beef leftovers try my latest creation “Mushroom Barley Soup”.  Mushroom Barley Soup is usually made from Lamb Broth but the cooking liquid from the Corned Beef serves as a perfect vehicle for this hearty Winter fare.

When you have finished cooking and serving your Corned Beef Dinner, skim off any meat particles or fat residue and cook the Barley in the same pot as the Corned Beef was cooked in.  Set aside the leftover meat and vegetables and cover and refrigerate them.  Follow the directions below and you will have a hearty meal for your family.

MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium to large Onion (yellow or white)

2-3 ribs Celery

8 oz. Mushrooms

Cooking liquid from Corned Beef

1 cup Barley

1 Qt. Chicken or Beef Stock, as needed

Leftover Vegetables from Corned Beef & Cabbage (not potatoes)

2 large additional Carrots

Salt and Pepper as needed

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. After you have removed the Corned Beef and Vegetables from the cooking liquid, add 1 cup of Barley to the pot with the liquid still in it.
  2. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the Barley has softened.
  3. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature;  place in a covered container and refrigerate, being sure to retain as much liquid as possible.
  4. When you are ready to make the soup, remove the leftover meat and vegetables and the cooked Barley from the refrigerator.
  5. Cut the Vegetable up into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  6. Clean and slice 8 oz. of Mushrooms and dice 1 medium Onion.
  7. Using a large pot, cover the bottom with a thin layer of Olive Oil or melt 4 Tbsps. Butter;  add the  Onions and Celery to the heated Oil or Butter and sauté until they start to soften.

 

Cut up Onions and Celery

8.  Add the Mushrooms and continue sauteing until the Vegetables begin to caramelize or start to turn

a light brown.

 

Sliced Mushroom

 

9.  Add the Barley and its liquid to the pot; add more water as needed or 2-4 cups of Chicken or Beef Broth.

10. Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes (add more liquid if needed) and then add the remaining Vegetables and the leftover Corned Beef, if desired.

11. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary by adding Salt and Pepper as needed.

12. Serve hot in large soup bowls with Rustic Bread and a Green Salad.

 

 

Hearty Mushroom Barley Soup

 

Rustic Bread

 

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yield:  6-8 Hearty Servings

 

  • NOTE:  The Vegetables that I used in the Corned Beef and Cabbage dish were:  Cabbage, Carrots, Golden Beets, Baby Red Potatoes (did not use the potatoes or cabbage in the soup)

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2012/03/14 at 11:49 PM

Categories: Dinner Ideas, Holiday Ideas, Leftovers, Main   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

TEEN/PRETEEN CLASS AT LET’S GET COOKIN’ – WINTER COMFORT FOOD

 

Friday night, 11/13 was our Teen/Preteen ‘Winter Comfort Food’ Class.

Twelve young people between the ages of 10 & 16 gathered together to learn how to prepare and cook a menu for cold Winter nights.

Creative Vegetable Soup

Jeweled Meat Loaf

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

Foccacia

Apple Crisp

The students were divided up into groups depending on their skill level.  Four students who had never made yeast dough before were put in charge of the Foccacia with of course, a supervising adult to guide them through the process.  They made the Dough and then set it aside to rise.  The actual Foccacia was made from a risen dough that had been made before the class started.  Once the Dough was fitted into the Baking Pans and topped with Olive Oil, Herbs and Tomatoes, and Cheese the Bread went into the oven for baking.

 

The Foccacia Team

 

 

 

The Dough that the students made was divided up and given to the students that made it to take home and finish.  They were told that they could make either Pizza, Foccacia or Breadsticks with it.

Two of the girls made the Apple Crisp.  This involved peeling, coring and slicing about 10 Apples and combining them with spices and other ingredients.  A streusel topping was made to go on top of the Apples.  This dish was baked while the rest of the food was being made.

Two other students started the Soup.  This is a wonderful Vegetable Soup that can be made with most any kind of Vegetables and Beef, Chicken or Vegetable Broth.  Even though we generally advise the students to mise en place their recipes before they start cooking, the rule was changed for this recipe so that the soup would be done in time for the students to eat it.  The Onions and Mushrooms were prepared first so that they could start sautéing them. While the Onions and Mushrooms cooked, the other Vegetables were prepared.  After the Onions and Mushrooms were sufficiently cooked to start caramelizing them, the Stock was added and the whole mixture was allowed to simmer for about 45 minutes.  Then the seasonings were added along with the remaining Vegetables.  Once the Vegetables were almost cooked sufficiently, the tiny pasta was added.

While all this was being done, the Meatloaf was prepared by two different groups of students.  One group put all the Vegetables into their Meatloaf and one group who preferred not to have Bell Peppers, put all the Vegetables, except for the Bell Peppers into their loaf.

 

Meatloaf Team

Cooked Meatloaf

 

 

 

While the Meatloaf was baking in the oven, the    Cheesy Broccoli Casserole was prepared and baked.  This dish does not take too long to bake.  Once the students were done cooking, the tables were cleared and set with placemats and dinnerware and the soup and Foccacia were served.  After the first course, the Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli was also served and of course, dessert finally came at the end.

 

Sitting down to Eat

 

 

 

 

Mealtime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soup and Foccacia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beverages for this meal were fruit juices and water.  All in all, everyone had a good time and learned how to make several different dishes. Everyone took home recipes so that they could practice at home on family members.  Keep an eye out for our next Teen/Preteen Class at Let’s Get Cookin’.  February will be a Dim Sum Menu to celebrate the Chinese New Year ‘The Year of the Dragon’.

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Posted by sylveee - 2012/01/16 at 11:34 PM

Categories: Baking, Bread, Cooking for Kids, Dessert Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Main, Pre-Teen Classes   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CULINARY MAKEOVERS #10 – MASHED POTATOES – WHAT TO DO WITH THEM

Bread made from Mashed Potatoes

 
 
 
 
 
  
If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you will have noticed that I don’t like to throw away leftovers and have fun turning them into something different.  Sometimes it takes a little imagination and creativityand maybe a little work, but believe me, it is well worth the thought and the effort!
 
Almost everyone makes Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner (and other dinners) and probably almost everyone has leftover Mashed Potatoes.  You can just heat them up and eat them with another meal, but if you are tired of doing that there are several things that you can turn your mashed potatoes into.  These include Potato Pancakes, Shepherd’s Pie (mashed potatoes serve as a top crust),  Waffles or Potato Bread.  This article deals with the latter. 
 
Potato Bread is a delicious bread that  is one of the best solutions to leftover mashed potatoes.  The bread is extra good because Mashed Potatoes already have a lot of goodies in them, such as butter and milk or cream.  In our case it was Half & Half but I sometimes use heavy cream or even Cream Cheese.You start with the Mashed Potatoes and just keep adding ingredients to them until it becomes bread.  You will find the recipe under the Recipes/Baking/Bread  Section in this blog. /breads/potato-bread/ Below are step by step photos to show you the process.  I used my Kitchen Aid Standing Mixer, but you can make the dough by hand.  DO NOT try to make it with a portable mixer.  You will just end up by destroying your mixer.  Much better to do it by hand.  Also, this is not a great dough to do in your Food Processor.  I am a great believer in the Food Processor and make most of my doughs in it, but when you add eggs to a yeast dough, it has a hard time handling it. Just follow the directions in the recipe and you should have no trouble at all. Leftover Mashed Potatoes               

 

 

Left over mashed Potatoes in mixer bowl.

Leftover Mashed Potatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mixing the Dough with the Dough Hook

 

 

 

The finished dough

 

The risen dough waiting to be punched down

 

 

Dough divided into 3 portions

The Dough rolled out into ropes

 

 

 

Divide the Dough into 3 equal portions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll each piece out into a long rope

 

 

 

 

Fastening the dough ropes together

 

 

 

 

Pinch the ropes together at the top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Braiding the Ropes together

 

 

 

Braid the Dough Ropes together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Braided Dough on greased pan sprinkled with cornmeal before rising

 

The Finished Braid

 

The final rising takes about 45 minutes.

The Risen Braid

 

The Baked Braid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished Bread Ready for Serving & Eating

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2011/11/30 at 11:29 PM

Categories: Baking, Bread, Leftovers, Main   Tags: , , , ,

Teen/Preteen – US Regional Foods – Culinary Camp at LGC

The week of August 8th, 2011 was US Regional Foods Camp for the Teen/Preteens who attend the Culinary Classes at Let’s Get Cookin’ in Westlake Village, CA.  The camp lasted five days which included Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  The time was from 11 – 2 making each camp day 3 hours long.  Just long enough for the participants to learn and practice new skills without becoming too tired.

The Regions that we visited were New England, the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, the South and the Pacific Rim States.

Monday was New England and different breakfast dishes were prepared;  blueberry pancakes, Johnny Cakes (or Journey Cakes), Skillet Apples, Molasses Doughnuts, Cranberry Muffins, Deviled Eggs Florentine and a Broccoli Cheese Fritatata.  Since it was breakfast, the beverage that was served was milk.  The Blueberry Pancakes were served with Butter and Blueberry Syrup.  The Johnny Cakes were served with the Skillet Apples.  The Deviled Eggs Florentine were an Appetizer and the Fritata was served with the Cramberru Muffins.  The Molasses Doughnuts were dessert.

 

Flipping Blueberry Pancakes

 

 

Preparing Muffin Batter

Cooking Skillet Apples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Two was the Midwest and luncheon items were prepared.  Since the midwest is known for Beef and Corn, these items were the main focus,  but not the only ones.  Early in the morning before class I went out to Underwood Farms in Moorpark and purchased a box of corn.  Needless to say, corn has been a mainstay of the United States, not just in the midwest but almost in every region.  The box contained about 46 ears of corn and by the end of the week, most of it had been used.  One of the unique things about Corn from Underwoods is that it retains its sweetness far longer than corn purchased in the supermarket.

The Appetizer was Asiago Cheese Puffs and these were passed around during prepartion time so the students wouldn’t get too hungry.  The taste buds can be quickly activated when the aroma of good cooking is around.  We made a Corn Chowder and Cheese Stuffed Burgers along with a Midwestern Potato Salad.  The Midwestern Potato Salad is very similar to a German Potato Salad and for good reason.  Back in the early days of immigration to the US from Europe many German immigrants and Scandinavians settled in the Midwest.

We also made Taffy Apple Salad, Apple Pie and Peanut Popcorn Bars.  The beverage that was prepared and served was Blueberry Lemonade, which of course was very popular.

Belinda and Cassy making Burgers

 

 

Burgers & Potato Salad

Who's cutting the Bars? Emili or Sofi?

Please check out our next post for the remainder of  the week.
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Posted by sylveee - 2011/08/27 at 2:45 PM

Categories: Cooking for Kids, Dessert Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Lunch Ideas, Main, Pre-Teen Classes, Salads   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Teen Basics Culinary – Days Three & Four

Days Three and Four of our Basics Culinary Camp were devoted to the preparation of protein products and starch accompaniments.  Day Three covered meat and potatoes and Day Four covered Poultry and Grains.  Since one of our students was a vegetarian, we also included tofu products.  The meats that were prepared were ground beef, brisket and lamb.  The potatoes that the students made were Mashed Potatoes, Potatoes au Gratin and Potato Pancakes (Latkes).
Two groups of students prepared the ground beef with one making meat loaf and the other one making meatballs.  The meatball group got quite creative and stuffed their meatballs with cubes of cheddar cheese.  These were quite good and went over very well with all the students, except for our vegetarian.  The brisket was cut up and made into Beef Stew which contained an assortment of vegetables as well as potatoes.  The grilled meat that we made was leg of lamb which we cut up and marinated in a lemon, basil, garlic and olive oil marinade.  The lamb was placed on skewers with mushrooms, tomatoes and bell peppers and then grilled on stove top griddles.
The Potatoes Au Gratin lagged behind schedule and we had to put off serving them until the next day.  The Potato Pancakes were a big hit and were served with the Lamb Skewers.  Our Vegetarian made Tofu Kabobs which were also a big hit.  A green salad was served along with the meat and potato dishes.

Tofu Kabobs

Day Four was Poultry Day and was rather an intensive day.  On the menu was Roasted Chicken, Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken Jambalaya and Turkey Pot Pies.  The grains were Sweet Potato Risotto (Rice), Polenta with Four Cheeses (Grain) and Mushroom
Couscous. (Grain)  As one can see, we also managed to include more vegetables in both the meat and poultry menus. The Roast Chicken was an easy version with the chicken being marinated for several hours and then baked at very high heat for a short period of time.  This gave us a juicy chicken with a very crisp outer covering. (skin)  The chicken was enjoyed by everyone.  The second recipe was cacciatore and contained tomatoes and is Italian in origin.  The Jambalaya has its origins in the Southern United States and maybe goes even further back to Africa.  The turkey pot pies were made with turkey breast which allowed a short baking time. The pot pies can also be made with thighs which would probably be more flavorful, but there was also a time constriction.  The Sweet Potato Risotto, Polenta and Couscous were very well received.  There was so much to eat that the students took their Turkey Pot Pies home as we made individual ones.

Artichoke Appetizer

Poultry and Grains

Two of the girls finished their recipes early and made cookies for dessert for everyone. All in all, the students enjoyed the preparation and the consumption of their labors even more.  Many of the students reported back that they made some of the dishes at home and were going to try out even more.  Most children and teens love to cooks and are more likely to be willing to try unusual dishes when they make the food themselves.
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Posted by sylveee - 2011/07/27 at 10:16 PM

Categories: Cooking for Kids, Dinner Ideas, Italian, Lunch Ideas, Main, Pre-Teen Classes   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

EASY FIX MEALS #1 – Brisket

Easy Fix Brisket Dinner

I hate to mess up my kitchen on cleaning day.  Any other day of the week, I can handle, but not today.  My preference is to go out when the house has just been cleaned, but to find a place that is tasty and reasonably priced is often difficult and then we can never figure out where to go.   The solution is to find an easy and clean way to cook without having too much clean-up to do.  So on the way home I got the bright idea of making brisket, ‘the easy way’.

I purchased a small portion (about 2 lbs) of Choice Grade Brisket that was well trimmed.  Took it home and put it in the most used piece of my cookware, an oval stainless (copper bottom)   casserole with lid and rack.  The meat went on the rack and I covered it with[amazon  Lipton’s Onion Soup mix (a very handy item to have around) and poured over that a cup of Madeira Wine.  I surrounded the brisket with two white rose potatoes which I cut into lengthwise fourths.  Also around the meat went half a dozen large mushrooms which I cut into fourths and four whole small carrots.

Put the cover on and then put it into a 350 degree oven.  The meat was cooking while the house and kitchen were being cleaned and will continue cooking until dinner time.  This will give it about 3 ½ hours to cook, which should be just enough to cook brisket under moist heat conditions.  At 6 PM the brisket will come out of the oven and will rest for about 15 minutes while I prepare a salad to go along with it.

The only mess that I will have in the kitchen is the cleanup from the salad and of course the pans from the brisket and the utensils thatare needed to slice it and the eating utensils.  Oh well, when you come right down to it, there is still cleanup to do,
but the preparation was very simple and will give us enough leftovers foranother meal or sandwiches.  And the cleanup is simple!  All I had to do was rinse the few dishes we used and set them in line for insertion in the dish washer.  I rinsed out the cooking pan, filled it with hot water and soap to soak.  Soaking hint!  Use dishwasher detergent.  Stainless cookware is the easiest to clean just by letting it soak for a little while.  When you buy stainless, be sure that it has a copper or alumium bottom for good conductivity.  Stainless is easy to clean but by itself is not a good conductor of heat!

 

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Posted by sylveee - 2011/06/07 at 4:13 PM

Categories: Cooking for Everyone, Dinner Ideas, Main   Tags: , , , ,

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