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Friday, November 16, 2012

Holiday Recipe

CECELIA’S BEST DINNER ROLLS
(c) Wes Davis 2010
Mom made these every special occasion like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. They are an overnight or “Ice Box Roll”. Very popular in the 1950’s and 60’s.
INGREDIENTS
2          packages of yeast
1/3       cup warm water
1          Tablespoon sugar
Combine and dissolve yeast and sugar. Set aside to proof

Scald together and set aside:
1          cup milk
2          teaspoons salt
1/3       cup sugar
¼         cup shortening
Once combined cool to lukewarm and add yeast mixture.  Then add
4          cups of flour
2          large eggs – whisk before adding
Mix until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and pace in refrigerator overnight.  In the morning put enough flour on a board to knead the dough adding more until the dough is stiff enough to roll out.   Divide the mixture in half putting one back in the refrigerator while you work on the first one.  Roll very thin and brush with melted butter.  Roll up jelly roll style and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Put pieces in greased muffin pan and cover. Let rise for 2 hours at room temp.  Shape rolls and bake in a preheated 450 oven for 10 minutes.  Repeat with other half of dough.  
Shapes - for Parker House Rolls – roll out ½ inch thick and cut with a round biscuit cutter. Brush top with melted butter and then take the back of knife and fold 1/3 over. Bake as directed.
Crescent Rolls – cut dough in triangles and roll toward point.  Bake on greased cookie sheet.
Cloverleaf Rolls – roll the dough in your hands to small balls.  Put three into greased cups of cupcake pan. Brush tops with butter and bake.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Regal Chicken Salad

This is another of the recipes I found in the treasure trove of the old recipe box


4  Cups diced cooked Chicken
1  4 oz. can of pineapple tidbits - drain and reserve the juice
2 Cups Seedless Grapes - sliced in half
1 Cup Chopped Celery
2/3 cups chopped nuts - use peanuts or cashews
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1  Cup Mayonnaise
2  Tablespoons Lemon Juice - Fresh not that icky bottled type!
2 Tablespoons juice from pineapple

combine the chicken, pineapple, grapes celery, and nuts.   In a separate bowl combine the rest of ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Fold into the chicken mixture.  chill for at least one hour - serve in lettuce cups

Monday, November 12, 2012

More Heirloom Recipes

I have not made this one yet. But it seems like a good one.  It is a Hot Dish - just in time for cold weather

CHOP SUEY HOT DISH

1 1/2 pounds of veal and pork steak ( I think you could use chicken or other meats instead. WD)
1 large onion diced and browned
2 cups celery - diced
1/4 cup green pepper diced
1 can mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can of sliced mushrooms ( I would use fresh - they did not have access to fresh mushroom in the winter in Idaho)
1 1/2 cup liquid - ( I would use chicken broth)
 3/2 cup of uncooked rice
1 cup of cashews

Mix all of the above and put in a casserole dish. Bake in 325 oven for two hours.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Heirloom Recipes

I will be posting some Heirloom recipes that I found in an old cookbook use by my Maternal Grandmother. She was a fabulous cook. I wish I had more of her recipes but like so many of that era she never wrote them down

.
LORRAINE’S SUGAR COOKIES

1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Cup White sugar
1 Cup of Crisco Oil
1 Cup of Margarine
2 eggs
 1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups and 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp.   soda
1 tsp. Cream of Tartar

Mix all ingredients in the order listed and roll in to small balls.  Press flat with a glass dipped in sugar.  Bake at 350 until lightly browned.

Not sure who Lorraine was but an interesting recipe!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Spaghetti

Spaghetti


This is an updated quicker recipe than other I have posted.  But it is very good!



1 ½ pounds of ground beef
1 onion – diced
5 cloves of Garlic
1 Tablespoon of dried Oregano
1 Tablespoon of dried Basil
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes in juice
1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
½ cup of red wine or water
4 bay leaves
Kosher Salt - to taste
1 teaspoon sugar

Rind of parmesan cheese – or ½ cup grated parmesan cheese.

In a large heavy bottomed pan that has a lid – could a frying pan or Dutch oven etc. – put the onions, garlic and ground beef.  Break up the beef as it cooks.  Brown the beef and then drain off any excess fat.  Return to heat and add the spices.  Cook for about 3 minutes to wake up the spices.  Then add the rest of the ingredients.  Scrape up any brown bits and bring to a simmer.  Then add the cheese.  Cover and simmer for at least 1 hour.  Taste of seasoning and adjust.  For thicker sauce let it cook over low heat longer.

Serve with your favorite pasta


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Great Fall Meal

Today I made my Potato Bread recipe and thawed out some of my Southwestern Potato Bisque soup.  What a wonderful combination!  Both recipes are here on the blog.

so what is your favorite Fall meal?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

English Muffins

I just made homemade English Muffins.  WOW they are great!  Here is a link to the recipe on King Arthur Flour

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/english-muffins-recipe

TIP I used Cream of Wheat  (Farina) instead of cornmeal - works great and I had that on hand.

Give it a try!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

More Sourdough Bread Tips

As some will know who read this blog - I make bread every week. I do that because I like the taste, texture and economy of homemade bread.  When you have to pay $3- $5 for a decent loaf in the store it is time to make bread! I have been working for months on different Sourdough recipes.  Here is today's tip.


Sourdough can get dry quickly. Especially in the desert.  In order to make it last longer I have tried several different methods.

1. Mashed potatoes - basically i adapted my Potato Bread Recipe. works OK and the texture is fine.

2. Milk - must be scalded and then cooled.  It was alright but not my favorite

3. Dry Milk -- better - but but it does slow the rise.  Allow LOTS of time for proofing

so far no clear winner. I will keep trying and let you know.  If you have a suggestion please let me know.


Starters I use one from King Arthur flour. Works great!  I also use their instant yeast which is amazing. And yes I do yeast to my sourdough.

So what is your favorite bread recipe??

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Quick and Tasty Omelet

Do you have a left over Baked Potato?  If so this is a great way to use it.


Folded Omelet

I small baked potato - cooled
3 eggs
1 Slice American Cheese
1 Slice Pepper Jack Cheese
1/ 4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
salt and pepper to taste

Peel off the skin of the cold baked potato and dice into small pieces.  Heat and pan and add oil.  When the pan is hot put the potato in and saute for a few minutes.  Add the Cumin and Garlic powder.  Stir or Flip the potatoes to cook.

Beat the eggs until light yellow and add 1 teaspoon of water or milk.  Water will make the omelet puffy and the milk will make it more tender.    Once the potatoes are hot pour the eggs in the middle of the pan.   LE the eggs start to set.  Then tilt the pan and lift up the edges with a silicone spatula to allow the eggs to run underneath.  Once the eggs are almost cooked add the cheese and place under a hot broiler until the omelet is cooked and starting puff up.  Remove the pan. Using the spatula, fold the omelet over and slice onto your plate.  Garnish with Salsa and sour cream.

You can also add some onions if you like.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pot Roast

I have written many  times about Pot Roasts. I still get questions about how to do them and how to make sure that they are tender and juicy. So here is refresher course in time for Fall and Winter meals.

The most important thing to remember is low and slow.  Pot Roast is usually a tough cut of meat with lots of connective tissue which needs to break down. That takes a low heat for a long time.

Next BROWN the meat!!  Sear on all sides for a great taste and wonderful gravy.

Add veggies to eat during the last hour.

This recipe is from the first cookbook

POT ROAST
The important thing about a pot roast is the technique. Once you learn how to cook a good pot roast you can adapt the method for a myriad of other recipes.  This technique is braising.
TIP: BROWN THE MEAT! DO NOT PUT THE MEAT IN THE PAN IF IT IS WET OR THE PAN IS NOT HOT.  BROWNED FOOD TASTES BETTER!
INGREDIENTS
Chuck Roast - 4 – 6 pounds
Kosher Salt                             Pepper
Olive Oil
1-2  Onions                 2 cloves of garlic – minced or pressed
2-3 carrots                  
Beef broth 2 – 3 cups – hot
Bay leaf
Spring of thyme
Heat the pan (Use a good Dutch Oven or one with a lid that is oven safe)
When the pan is hot add the olive oil. Wait a few seconds for the oil to heat.  Make sure the roast will fit and that it is DRY.  Salt and pepper the roast and put the season side down.  If you do not hear a good sizzle, the pan was not hot enough.  Leave the meat to cook on the first side for at least 5 – 10 minutes. Salt and pepper the meat on the side that is not cooking.  Prepare the rest while you wait.
Peal the carrots and cut each one into six pieces.  Rough chop the onion.  Turn the meat over and brown the other side.  Once the meat is browned take the meat out of the pan set on a plate while you add the carrots and onions.  Cook the carrots and onions for at least 3 – 5 minutes and then add the garlic. Add the meat back to the pan along with any juices that have accumulated.  Slowly add the beef broth until the meat is covered.  Add the bay leaf and the thyme.  Cover the pot and put it in a 275 over for at least 3 hours.  The longer the better.  When you are ready to serve, take the meat and vegetable out, retrieve the spices and make the gravy,
Pot Roast Gravy
3- 4 ounces butter
3- 4 ounces flour
Make a roux by cooking the butter and flour in small skillet over medium heat until the raw flour taste is gone.  Taste the liquid from the pot roast.  It may need to be reduced.  One you have done that, slowly add the roux to the hot liquid while whisking to make sure there are no lumps.  Taste gravy and adjust for seasoning.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pork Roasts

In the fall Pork is usually lower in price than Beef.  That is true this year. Also Pork is a lot leaner than it used to be so it can be a good choice to lower your fat intake and still have some flavor.  I just bought a nice Pork loin.  It was huge!! So I divided it into three smaller roasts.  The first one I cooked Sunday - that recipes follows.  However I will take one of the left over uncooked roasts and cut it into boneless pork chops.  The other one I will keep for smoking and making great shredded pork or just eat it as a roast.

Here is the recipe


2 - 4 lb boneless Pork roast
DAVIS DUST
2 oz of apple juice or water

Preheat the oven to 350

Rinse the Pork and pat dry.  Set it in a small roasting pan with the fat cap up. Sprinkle with DAVIS DUST and rub some on the ends too.   Add the apple juice to the bottom of the pan.. Cover with foil being sure to tent so that the foil does not touch the meat and it is sealed around the edges.

Bake for 1 hour or until the temperature is 145.  don;t overcook or it will be tough.  Remove form oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.  



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NEW RECIPE!

I had to take some time off. I know it has been a long time between posts. But this blog is not set up to make money only to help.  I had to attend to some personal business.  I will start regular posts again.

Here is new recipe I just created for the second cookbook.

SOUTHWEST POTATO CHEESE BISQUE

© Wes Davis 2012 – all rights reserved

This is a variation of the recipe in the cookbook.  I have added some tips and steps to make it easier.


4- 8 small to medium potatoes
1 medium onion
5 stocks of celery
8 cups of water
1- 2 tablespoon of chicken base (I use Better Than Bullion –it is a great product and is available at grocery stores)


Peel the potatoes and rinse.  I use this size so that they fit through the feed tube of my processor.  Slice using your processor so that all the pieces are the same thickness.  Put in a large stock pot and add 7 cups of water.

Dice the onion and celery using the large blade on your processor and add to the pan.  Add the last cup of water to make sure that everything is covered by at least 1 inch of water.  For thicker soup at the end use less water.

Cook for 25 minutes on medium.  It just needs to simmer.  Check the potatoes – they should be tender but not mushy.  If you need to cook longer to get that result just add some more time and maybe some more water.  Since we did not rise the starch out you will notice that the soup is already taking on a thicker consistency.

Then add:

1 ½ Teaspoons of Cumin powder
4 - 4 oz. cans of diced green chilies you can also use whole and puree them
1 – 2 cups of Half and Half (what you thought this was going to be low fat??)
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
4 cups of shredded sharp cheddar I use white cheddar which makes the soup white rather than yellow cheddar but either will work

Mix and bring back to a simmer.  Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it has the consistency of a bisque.  Taste for salt and pepper and adjust.  Serve with chopped green onions to top.

TIPS:  Try using a good white cheddar – I used Cougar Gold from the University of Washington.
If you want a really thick soup, add some left over mashed potatoes at the end.  Or use less water to cook the potatoes.  You can also use more cheese.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Using Dry Milk in Bread

The advantages of using dry milk in bread baking

As readers will know I have been doing a lot of experiments with different types of bread.  In some the recipes call for milk.  If you use regular milk you have to heat it to kill off some of the enzymes.  If you do that and then add it too soon before it cools to lukewarm, it kills the yeast.  That is one reason that professional baker use dry milk.  While there are many types on the market that can be costly, I find that regular fat free dry milk to work just fine.  The addition also helps with the rise and helps to keep the bread moist.

If your recipe calls for water that is fine. Just add about ½ cup of the dry milk with the flour.  If you recipe calls for milk – use the same amount of water and add the dry milk to equal the wet milk

Give it a try. I think you will see a difference in texture and how long the bread stays moist.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Better Sourdough

As many who read this blog know I have been working on Sourdough bread recipes.  In the course of that I have had some spectacular success and terrible failures!  It goes with the territory when you are experimenting with new recipes.  Here is the latest recipe

BASIC SOURDOUGH

This recipe uses milk and butter to add moisture and keep the bread fresh longer.  Normally sourdough has no dairy but this is an experiment.  Please let me know how you like it!

1 Cup of milk – I used 1% in my recipe but you can use whatever kind you like.
½ Cup of water
2 Tablespoons of butter
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 Cup of Fed Sourdough Starter
1 Tablespoon of salt
5 Cups of flour +/-
2 ¼ Teaspoons of Instant yeast

Microwave the milk for 90 seconds.  Remove and add the cold butter to melt.  Set aside and let cool until it is lukewarm.  (I did not wait long enough one time and the mixture was too hot.  It killed the yeast and the starter!  Better cooler than too hot!!)

When the liquid is cooled – put in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the water, sugar and the starter.  Mix to dissolve the sugar and loosen the starter.  Add the yeast.

Add three cups of flour and put the salt on top.  Turn on the mixer and mix the dough for about 2 minutes.  Stop the mixer and add 1 cup of flour.  Knead for 3 – 4 minutes.  Then add the other cup of flour if needed.  If you are in a damp climate you may need more.  I always let the dough sit for about 5 minutes so the flour can absorb the liquid.  If the dough is sticky then add a little flour at a time until you have the right feel.  Sourdough will absorb liquid differently than regular yeast bread.  I knead mine about 5 – 7 minutes more at this stage.  The dough should clean the sides of the mixing bowl and be smooth and elastic not sticky.  Too much flour will give you a dry loaf and too little will not give the bread the structure needed to rise properly.

Put the dough in a bowl that has been oiled and turn to coat the top.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise.  (I use my oven with the light on.  I also put a bowl of hot water underneath to add more moisture to the oven.)  The dough should double in size in about 1 – 2 hours depending on the conditions.  Punch down and form two loaves.  You can make them round or use loaf pans.   Let the bread rise until almost doubled again. 

Preheat the oven to 400.  When the oven has cycled twice put the bread in and mist the oven with water.  Close the door and bake for 30 minutes or until the bread is light brown.

TIPS – make round loaves divide the dough in half and shape.  Place them on baking sheet that is covered in parchment paper.  Just before you place in the oven – take a VERY sharp knife and make slashes across the loaves. 

Sourdough may not rise much on the second rise.  That is normal but the taste is great!

For crisp crust spray the loaves with water just as they go in the oven.  You can also add water to a hot pan on the bottom of the oven and close the door.

If you want to use an instant read thermometer the internal temperature will be 190 F when the bread is done.  Adjust to  your taste.




Saturday, September 1, 2012

Labor Day Cook Outs

In America this weekend is seen as the last weekend of summer.  We celebrate Labor so this is a three day weekend.  That usually means a picnic or cookout.

Safety – if you are using a charcoal grill try using one of the “chimney” starters instead of the usual liquid ones.  That helps prevent that “Jet Fuel” taste on the food and are safer.
Also remember to keep cold food cold and hot food hot.

Menu – BIG choices!!  Ribs, Chicken Brisket all can be great choices as is steak, hamburger and hot dogs.  Not all once of course!!  Remember to have lots of water on hand.  Not just for drinking but in case of flare ups on the grill

Salads – How you beat a homemade potato salad?  Maybe with a Pasta Primavera Salad??

Pasta Primavera Salad

Cook 2 pounds of your favorite pasta – even spaghetti will work.  Once cooled put it in ice water and leave it until you are ready.

Slice or dice all of the following

1 small red pepper
1 small green pepper
½ pound of broccoli
½ pound of Cauliflower
½ red onions

Drain the pasta and add the veggies

Toss with good Italian dressing or your favorite like a Caesar.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Just before you serve make chiffonade of Basil and sprinkle over the salad.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cooking Tips

I was organizing recipes for the new cook book (which at this point may take a while!) and ran across some good ideas that I want to share.

Melting chocolate – There are many ways to do this.  I have used all of them at one time or another.  My favorite is over simmering water.  However, you must not let the water boil or touch the bottom of the bowl or pan that holds the chocolate.  If you do - game over!  Likewise if you use a microwave you HAVE to watch very closely or you WILL burn the chocolate.  If you want to use a microwave then use this method.  Make sure the chocolate is in a glass container and that you have a way to remove it safely.  DO NOT use full power – I use 70% power for short bursts.  No more than 20 seconds.  Stir after every cycle.  It is far better to remove the chocolate and stir it as it melts than end up with scorched and nasty chocolate!

Knives – a sharp knife is safer than a dull one.  Learn how to use steel and hone your knives EVERY day.  If you do not have a sharpener – get a good one and learn how to use it.  Or take your knives to be professional sharpened.

Spices have expiration dates!  They may not be listed but as a general rule of thumb two years is average.  If you have spices that are more than three years old they most likely are not as potent as you want.  Toss them out and get new ones.

Oils – Olive Oil is best when kept in a dark bottle or stainless steel container that keeps light and air out.  It will go rancid. Other oils react to light too as does butter.  Better storage = better results.

Flour – to avoid issues such as bugs and other nasty outcomes I keep my bulk flour in the freezer.  I only keep a small amount on the counter for quick use.  I also keep my instant yeast in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

When you bake bread – if you want a crisp crust spray the bread in the pan and the oven with water. Steam makes for a great crust!

These are just a few of the great things I have learned over the years  - I hope at least one helps you!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Seasonal food and canning

It is getting to be that time when many think about trying to save some of this years summer bounty. Home Canning is a great way to save money and create your own brand of food.  However there are some things you have to do.  Here is a great link that will help.

http://www.foodsaving.com/canning_guide/

Take some time and preserve and/or freeze some of the great food available now.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My apologizes for lack of posts!

I want to apologize for the lack of posts.  Unfortunately, I had a bad computer virus that interrupted my life.  Back to normal now and I will resume regular posting. To make up for the lack here is a great Brunch Menu with the recipes.  This is from An Easter Brunch that I did earlier this year.


SPINACH QUICHE -   © 2010 Wes Davis all rights reserved

INGREDIENTS:

2 9 inch prepared pie shell – can be frozen – thaw before use
1 lb of spinach – frozen – thawed and drained of excess moisture
1 lb cheddar cheese – grated
1 lb bacon
1 cup of diced onion
8 eggs
½ cup of half and half
Salt & pepper to taste


Method – cook bacon until crisp but not burned.  Drain on paper towels.

Defrost spinach and place in paper towels. – twist to force as much water  as possible.  Put in bowl of food processor and pulse two or three times to break up.  Put bacon and onion in the food processor and pulse with the spinach until mixed.   Empty into a large bowl and add shredded cheese.  Mix to combine.  Divide between pie shells using a measuring cup.  Fill shells 2/3 of the way full.

Break eggs and whip until light. Add the half and half  and whisk until combined.  Divide between the pie shells filling up just below the rim.  If the level is not quite where you want it you can add some more egg mixture.

Place the pies on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for 45 minutes to one hour. Center should be set and not runny. Do not overcook.


DIRTY FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE © Wes Davis 2011 – all rights reserved

1 loaf of day old French bread or Italian cut in thick slices cut in half
6 eggs
1 teaspoon Saigon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup of milk
1 cup of brown sugar packed
1 cup of raisins
1 /2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.

Preheat oven to 375

Break the eggs in a large bowl and add the Cinnamon, Sugar and Vanilla.  Whisk to combine and then add the milk.

Combine the brown sugar, raisins and nuts in bowl. Set aside

Take the slices of bread and dip into the mixture and then layer in a buttered casserole dish by placing the crust up.  As soon as you have one layer sprinkle some of the sugar mixture over it and then start another layer.  Continue until the bread is all in the dish. Sprinkle any remain sugar mixture over.  If there is some egg mixture left pour it over the dish. 

Place the casserole dish on a sheet pan and bake for 35 – 50 minutes until it is slightly browned and all the egg mixture is cooked. It should look like a moist bread pudding.



COUNTY COTTAGE POTATOES © Wes Davis 2011 – all rights reserved

3 - 4 left over baked potatoes
1 red onion diced
3 green onions – sliced – all parts
1 orange pepper – diced small
1 – 2 cups of shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 teaspoon Garlic powder – adjust to taste
1 teaspoon Cumin – adjust to taste
Olive Oil

Cut the potatoes in to quarters and then slice in 1 inch slices.  Dice the red onion and toss with the potatoes.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and add EVOO to coast the bottom.  When the oil is hot add the potatoes and red onion.  Cook until the onion wilts and the potatoes start to crisp and turn brown.  Add the pepper, garlic and cumin and stir to mix.  When the potatoes are done, pour into an oven proof casserole and top with the cheese.  Place under a broiler to melt the cheese.  Add the green onions and serve. You can also have a good salsa and sour cream on the side.



Saturday, August 18, 2012

MARY ELLEN’S CUSTARD PIE

This recipe is from my cookbook. It is a great recipe for summer as you can add a topping of fresh fruit or enjoy it chilled as is.

MARY ELLEN’S CUSTARD PIE
My maternal grandmother was an excellent cook. She ran a boarding house during the depression and served food that was so good the neighbors would pay to eat at her house. I remember her custard pie.  It is a classic all American dish, simple easy and good.
Preheat oven to 400 F
INGREDIENTS
1          unbaked 9 deep dish inch pie shell
4          eggs at room temperature, 1 separated – white reserved
¾         cup of sugar
½         teaspoon of salt
1 ½      teaspoons of vanilla extract
2          cups milk
½         cup cream
Fresh grated nutmeg
In a large bowl take three of the eggs and one egg yolk and beat until mixed well.  Add the sugar and salt and mix thoroughly.  Combine milk and cream in large glass measuring cup and microwave until scalded- about 2- 3 minutes.  Slowly drizzle about ½ cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking.  Once tempered, slowly add the rest of the hot milk while whisking.  Add vanilla. Prepare the pie shell by whisking the remaining egg white and lightly brushing the pie shell on the bottom and the side. This will help keep the crust flaky and not soggy.  Do not brush the fluted edges or they will burn.  Pour custard into pie shell grate nutmeg over pie and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 28-30 minutes.  Pie should be set and knife inserted into the middle will come out clean with no liquid.  Do not over bake.  Let pie cool and then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.   Serve as is or add a dollop of whipped cream.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did growing up.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

SALAD DRESSINGS

            SALAD DRESSINGS

I always like to make salad dressing when I have the time.  A freshly made dressing really sets off the taste of those crisp summer greens!

Old Fashioned 1000 Island

2 cups of Mayonnaise
1 cup of good ketchup
3 hardboiled eggs
¼ teaspoon Dijon Mustard
¾ cup of Sweet Pickle Relish
½ cup of finely diced onion

Mix the Mayonnaise and the ketchup with a whisk so they are combined smooth.  Add the mustard and whisk again.  Chop the eggs so they are small pieces and reserve.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to mix.  Fold in the chopped eggs and taste for salt.  Chill at least one hour before serving.


STEAK HOUSE BLEU CHEESE

Use a good Bleu Cheese like Gorgonzola or Maytag.

1 cup of Mayonnaise
1 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
8 oz. of Bleu Cheese
Fresh cream

Combine everything but the cheese and whisk until smooth.  Crumble in the cheese and stir gently.  If the dressing is too thick add some fresh cream to get the right consistency.  This will develop more flavor as it sits.

These two are some of my favorites - along with homemade ranch. Yes THAT Ranch!!


Monday, August 13, 2012

OLD FASHIONED POTATO SALAD

Potato Salad - so many versions so many possibilities.  Yet for me my favorite is the one that my Mother made.  Food can conjure up memories faster than anything else!  This is the Potato Salad I grew up eating.


Tips:  Boil the potatoes in the skin.  But wash them first like you would a baked potato.  I also cut out blemishes and dark spots before cooking.  To allow the potatoes to cook at the same rate I slice the potato into four thick slices of equal thickness.  This allows for more surface area and they cook quicker.

2 -4 pounds of Idaho Potatoes - Russets
1 white onion diced
8 hardboiled eggs
Mayonnaise - 1/2 to 1 cup
Dijon Mustard - 1 teaspoon

After you cook the potatoes sock them in an ice bath and let them get to room temperature.  Do the same for the eggs.  (See the post on perfect hard boiled eggs to get eggs.)

Peel the potatoes and cut into small bite size pieces.  Put in a large mixing bowl add the diced onion and then cut the eggs.  Use any method that works for you.  (Paula Deen just smashes them in her hands.  But I prefer sliced in six wedges and then chopped.)  Add the eggs to the bowl.

Mayonnaise – how much to add is up to you and your tastes.  I like a salad that is moist but not soupy.  Add the mustard and then mix it in.  Taste for seasoning.  You may have to add some salt and pepper.  I usually wait until the salad has time for the flavors to marry.  I also adjust the amount of mayo then too.

Let the salad chill for at least 2 hours before serving.


Variations – You can add small dice of Cheddar Cheese and some green onions.
I have also added Crab or Lobster to serve as entrée on hot day.
Try this with Purple Potatoes for a great Halloween dish!

Note – I do NOT add salt to the water to cook the potatoes.  If you do your salad will have too much salt.  Both the Mayo and mustard have salt and you can always add more if needed but you can’t take it out!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rhubarb Delight

Summer’s bounty provides us with many items from the garden.  Rhubarb is one that some like and some do not.  This dish may change a few minds.

1 stick of butter cut into small pieces and kept cold– reserve two tablespoons for later
1 cup of flour
½ cup of dark brown sugar
¼ cup of white sugar
1.4 cup of quick Oatmeal
Pinch of salt

Put the flour, Oatmeal, sugars and salt in a food processor with a steel blade.  Pulse once or twice to mix.  Put 6 tablespoons of the butter in processor and pulse until you have a coarse mixture.  Set in fridge while you do the rest.

Pre heat your oven to 350

6 cups of Rhubarb – cleaned and cut in small pieces – about 2 pounds
1 inch of fresh ginger – peeled and grated to yield 1 ½ tablespoons.
1 cup of white sugar

Mix all of the above and add a pinch of salt.  Pour into a 3 quart baking dish that you have buttered or used a spray.  Melt the last 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the rhubarb mixture.  Take the first mixture out of the fridge and sprinkle over the top to form a crust. 

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

Variations

Add 2 cups of strawberries and reduce the Rhubarb by 1 cup.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

SLIDERS

Small hamburgers  – Sliders have been popular for some time.  To make them at home you can use any recipe you like.  The key is to have them all the same size and weight so they cook at the same time.  Here are some good recipes and ways to make them at home.

All Beef Sliders

Use good quality beef that is 85/15 (meat to fat ratio).  That will make them juicy and flavorful.  I also mix in some salt, pepper and garlic powder to the meat before I form them.  Normally you do not pack the burger when forming.  However I have found that a little pressure on these as you form them will help keep them together.  I use a small scoop to measure and then form them in my hand.  Make sure that the patty is uniform in size and thickness.  You can also use a melon baller or anything that makes the size patty you want.  These do shrink so keep that in mind.  What you do not want is a thick large patty mixed in with smaller ones. 

Meatloaf Sliders – I use a ratio of 1 part ground pork or sausage to 4 parts beef.  I also add a beaten egg and some finely chopped onions.  These can be exceptional!  My favorite way is to use Italian Sausage with the Beef.

Taco Burger sliders – Add 1 package of Taco Seasoning to the meat along with some shredded Cheddar Cheese  - about 2 tablespoons.  You can also add some diced green chilies and onions.  These are very good but watch when you cook them and the cheese might cause some flair up on a grill.

Turkey Sliders – Add some salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil before making the patties.  You can also substitute Turkey for the Beef in any of the other recipes.

Have good small rolls on hand along with all the fixings!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Produce Tips

One of the things I do to save money and make produce last longer is to take care of them as soon as I am home from the store.  Here are some ideas that may help you.

Heads of lettuce - If they need cleaning do that as soon as you get home.  I wash all the lettuces, spin dry and then place them in separate bags by type.  You may also put a paper towel in the bag to absorb excess moisture and help keep the lettuce crisp

Green onions and Radishes - Trim the root ends off these.  For Green Onions I trim the green ends as uniform as possible.  I store Radishes in water in sealed container.  Change water every other day until they are used.  Green onions do great in sealed plastic bag wrapped in a paper towel.

Tomatoes - DO NOT STORE IN THE REFRIGERATOR.  They lose flavor in cold storage.  If you have one that has been sliced, then you can store in the cold but it will lose flavor

Cucumbers - Leave them whole and put them in the crisper.  Once you start to use them then wrap the end in plastic wrap.  One of my favorite’s uses is thin slices with onions in vinegar and water.

Berries - All kinds - check them as soon as you get home for any signs of mold or age.  If there are any that may have mold throw them out.  If you try to save them they will make all the rest go bad.  Strawberries do better when they can breathe.  The harder ones need to be in separate containers with a paper towel on the bottom.  Just check them daily.

So do you have any tips?  Use the comment section!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sirloin Tips over Pasta

Today the butcher had some small Sirloin Steaks on sale.  Sirloins are usually very tender and low in fat.  Because of the lower fat content they can get tough if overcooked.  One of my favorite dishes is Sirloin Tips over pasta.


1 pound of Sirloin Steaks
½ of a white onion or 1 large Shallot
Olive oil and Butter
1 1./2 cups of beef broth
1 tablespoon of cornstarch

Cut the steaks into small pieces about the size of you little finger.  It is better to keep the pieces thinner rather chunks. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a good sauté pan or non-stick skillet to medium high and add the olive oil and butter – 50/50.  As soon as the butter has melted and starts to bubble add the steaks.  Sauté until cooked to medium.  Add the chopped onion or shallot and finish cooking.  Take the steaks out and put them in a bowl with a cover while you finish the dish.

Return the pan to the heat and add a little more butter.  Add about ¼ cup of Dry Vermouth or red wine to deglaze the pan.  Add 1 ½ cups of beef broth.  While that is heating prepare your thickening agent.  I use 1 tablespoon of Corn starch dissolved in a little water.  Just add that to the broth and stir as it cooks.  As soon as the broth boils it will thicken.  Add the steaks bat to the broth and heat.  If the gravy is too thick add more broth. If the steaks are tender you serve them now.  If not cook on low heat for about an hour with the lid on.

Serve over any type of pasta.



Monday, August 6, 2012

SALT OF THE EARTH

There are so many types of salt available that you really owe it to yourself to try some.  By now everyone has heard of kosher salt and most will have some in their pantry.  Kosher Salt can be coarse or fine grain depending on the supplier.  Kosher Salt is a fine pure salt.  Here are some other types.

Sea Salt – As the name implies this is made by evaporating sea water.  On the coast of France this is a big business.  There are several types and color of sea salt.  The different colors are indicative of trace minerals in the water where the salt was produced.  Some will also have flavorings added such as Herbs De Provence or truffles.  I use these as a main salt or finishing salt depending on the quality and flavor.

There are many others such as rock salt that you have to grind or grate.  One of my favorite is Himalania Pink Salt from the Himalayas.  A light pick salt with a distinct flavor that is a great finishing salt.

Don’t forget other flavored salts – Wild Porcini, Smoked Salts and others too numerous to name.  Try some – you may just find a new way to flavor your food.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Baked Chicken

This is the easiest and best tasting way to cook Chicken or Chicken Breasts in the oven.  Once you have this down you can cook extra to have on hand for a myriad   of dishes.


Roast Chicken

I use the breast but you can use this method for the whole chickens and parts too.  Be sure to wash your chicken when you get home from the store.  Just put in a colander and run cold water over it to get rid of any surface bacteria or debris.  Pat dry and then:

Rub chicken with Olive Oil – do both sides if it is in pieces.  Then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Finally add some DAVIS DUST or other seasoning to bring out the flavor.  Bake in a convection oven at 350 for about 1 hour or until the internal temperature is 165 - 170.  You can also bake in a regular oven but a convection will really crisp up the skin!  Yes I cock with the skin on and the meat on the bone.  It tastes better.

I usually do 4 - 8 breasts and then freeze several for later meals. 


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Easy Chicken Curry

I use this recipe for a quick easy and tasty meal.  I usually get a rotisserie chicken for this but any left-over chicken or even turkey will work.  I also use cooked rice in this version.


2 cups of cooked rice
1 -2 cups of cooked chicken – cut up or torn into bite size pieces.
1 stock of celery diced
½ of an onion –diced
1 teaspoon Madras Curry
Olive Oil and butter

Heat a skillet to medium and add the oil.  Heat the oil and then add the celery and onions sautéing until tender.  Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is hot.  Add the curry powder and stir.  The curry will want to stick to the pan.  That is ok for a few minutes.  After that deglaze the pan with ¼ cup of Dry Vermouth.  Reduce the Vermouth – add the rice to heat.  Just before serving add about a tablespoon of butter and stir in.  Take off the heat and serve. 

Note – go easy on the Curry until you taste the dish.  Too much will be bitter and overpower the rest.  Better to add – you can’t remove it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Great Cake for Summer

SIMPLE EASY CAKE

This recipe will make a 9 x 9 cake.  It can be doubled.  I looked at many recipes and after several trials and outcomes this was the best.

Preheat the oven to 350 f - spray a 9 x 9 pan with food release spray.

Have all ingredients at room temperature

½ cup of unsalted butter
1 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of good vanilla

Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Then add the eggs one at a time.  I crack the eggs into a small bowl to make sure that no shell gets in the cake.  It also makes it easier to add the eggs.  Make sure that the first egg is fully incorporated before adding the second one.  Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla

Sift the following together

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon Lemon Zest

Add to the wet mixture with the mixer on low and mix just until it is mixed in.  Then add
½ cup milk.  Mix until the batter comes together – about 1 minute.  Scrape down the bowl and place in the prepared pan.  The batter is thicker than a normal cake batter.  Tap on the counter to release any bubbles.

Bake for 30 minutes

Cool completely before you cut into it.  You can split the pieces of cake and add fresh fruit and whipped cream, or you can ice the cake.  Simple easy and tasty!


© Wes Davis 2012 – all right reserved

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie

From my cook book - a Great Pie for a Summer Dinner

BERNADINE’S LUSCIOUS LEMON PIE
My mother’s best friend Bernadine created this recipe before the days of mixes.  She died of cancer when I was only four, but I do remember her and this pie.  Mom made this several times for special occasions and it was the first recipe that she taught me.  Simple yet rich and good.
Makes one 9” pie
INGREDIENTS
Juice from 1 ½ lemons
2 ¼      Cups water
1          Cup Sugar
2          Heaping tablespoons of corn starch
3          Egg yolks – beaten
1          Tablespoon Butter
Combine the first four ingredients in a non reactive double boiler and stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved.   Add the egg yolks whisking over medium heat. Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.  Pour into a cooled 9” pie crust.  
At this point I prefer to chill the pie and add the meringue later.  However you can add it now and then chill the pie. 
MERINGUE
3          egg whites – at room temperature
6          tablespoons sugar
Lemon zest or curls for decorating
Whisk the egg whites and slowly add the sugar making sure that the sugar is incorporated.  Beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks.  Place meringue on pie using a spatula to cover all the edges and make peaks by touching the spatula to mixture lightly and then lifting up.  Place pie under a hot broiler for 5 – 7 minutes or until the peaks are golden brown.  Remove the pie and sprinkle with the zest.  If the pie was not chilled before then set in the refrigerator for at lest 1 hour.
From Aunt B’s Bordello and Boardinghouse – An Eclectic Collection of Great Recipes
© 2011 Wes Davis – all rights reserved – used with permission.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

This is a great recipe for any occasion.

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium white onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped and seeded - or use salsa and omit jalapenos
1 quart chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5-6 corn tortillas or 3 cups of tortilla chips
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken – you can use rotisserie chicken or left over roasted chicken
2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 cup Queso Fresco or shredded Monterrey Jack
Directions
Place a stockpot over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos, and tomatoes; (or salsa) cook, stirring for 15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked down and pulpy. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings and add the corn chips or tortillas. Let them cook for about 20 minutes – they will dissolve into the soup and thicken it.  At this point I use an immersion blender. Taste and adjust to your liking.  I find that I usually add more salsa at this point and adjust the salt to taste
Ladle the hot soup into 4 soup bowls and put a pile of shredded chicken on top of each. Top with the diced avocado and fried tortilla strips and cheese.
from  Aunt B's Bordello and Boardinghouse(c) wes davis 2010  all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Turkey Burgers

I have to admit that I do like Turkey Burgers when they are cooked on a grill. I know they are better for us with less fat etc.  But nothing and I mean nothing is as good as real beef burger.  But I still like to have a Turkey burger.  Here is how I fix them

1. cook them frozen - do not thaw or they dry out. 
2. cook them to at least 160 F - no medium rare!!
3. I always use Davis Dust but if you do not have that then use salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper mixed together as your seasoning.
4. use fresh lettuce and fresh tomatoes
5. Toast your bun!  and then butter it!!

put all that together and you have one tasty burger!!  - You can add Mayo, or BBQ Sauce or whatever. But start with the basics and you can't go wrong.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Coffee

For those who like me LOVE coffee here are some things you may not know.

1. To make any chocolate recipe better add a small amount of coffee.  Some recipes may call for espresso powder.  You can use that but I prefer strong left over coffee.  It seems to have a smother more complex flavor.

2. Fresh water makes better coffee than water added the night before.  As strange as this may sound, the reason is that water as it sits overnight loses some of its oxygen.  That changes how the water affects the grind as it trickles over.  So even though I would love to wake to smell of fresh brewed, I have everything ready to go except the water. 

3. Storing coffee – always store as air tight as possible.  Plus I have found that beans store better at room temperature.  I used to freeze the one pound bags and take them out every time I ground the beans.  But I found out that doing that thaws and the refreezes some of the beans causing them to loss flavor.  So now I leave the bag on the counter once it is open.  If I buy two or more bags the unopened ones go in the freezer. You can get an air tight container for beans and/or ground coffee too.

These are just a few facts that may help you enjoy your coffee a little more.