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Sunday, October 28, 2012

FRUIT SALAD



Ingredients:

1 (29 ounce) can peach slices,  drained
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
1 (3 1/8 ounce) box dry vanilla instant pudding mix
1 lb. strawberry, stemmed and quartered
1 banana, sliced
1/2 pint blueberries
1 bunch grapes
½ cup of cream
½ condensed milk

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine peaches, pineapples, and vanilla pudding mix.
This includes the juices from the cans.
Mix well until pudding is dissolved.
Stir in strawberries, banana, blueberries, grapes, and sugar if desired.   Put the cream and condensed milk. Mix well.
Chill.



SPAGHETTI MEATBALLS



Ingredients:
Sauce:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ chopped sweet yellow onion
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup very finely chopped carrots
1 cup chopped crimini brown mushrooms
2 28-oz cans Italian plum tomatoes (get San Marzano brand if possible)
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
3 Tbsp tomato paste concentrate in tube
¼ cup grated parmesan-romano cheese blend
Salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
¼ cup red wine
Meatballs:
1 lb ground beef (at least 16% fat)
½ lb fresh bulk Italian style pork sausage
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ cup finely chopped crimini brown mushrooms
2 eggs
¾ cup unseasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan-romano cheese blend
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
Red wine (OPTIONAL)
Spaghetti:
1 1/2 lbs dry 100% semolina spaghetti, thin spaghetti, or bucatini
Directions:
Prepare the sauce. Heat olive oil in 4-5 quart pot on medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add carrots and mushrooms, blend together for 2 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, stir together. Add basil and parsley, stir tomatoes with a potato masher until sauce starts to thicken about 5 minutes over medium high heat. Add tomato paste concentrate, stir to blend. Reduce heat and simmer while preparing meat balls, stirring occasionally.
Prepare the meatballs. Mix by hand in a large bowl beef, Italian sausage, basil, parsley, mushrooms, eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, herbed salt, and pepper until well mixed. Use small melon baller, or teaspoons to form 1-inch round meat balls. Roll and compress into tight balls.
Heat frying pan on high heat. Add olive oil. Sear and brown meat balls on all sides. About 2-3 minutes. Depending on pan size you may need to brown two batches of the meatballs. Do not crowd the pan by stacking the meatballs. Cook in a single layer. Do not over-cook. As meatballs are finishing, add a little bit of red wine to de-glaze pan.
Add ¼ cup red wine to the sauce. Then stir in ¼ cup cheese. Add salt to taste. Add meatballs, gently stir. Simmer sauce and meatballs for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot with 4 quarts of water in it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add 1 Tbsp. of salt. When the water returns to a boil add the pasta to the pot. Leave the pot uncovered while you cook the pasta on high heat with a vigorous boil. Put a timer on for 8-10 minutes, or whatever your pasta package directions say is appropriate for al dente (cooked but still a little firm). Drain.
To serve, place thin layer of sauce on plate, add pasta, add sauce and meatballs, and sprinkle with grated parmesan-romano cheese. 

BEEF STEW WITH BARLEY AND MUSHROOM



Ingredients:

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2-3 pounds beef chuck, cut into chunks
Salt
3 cups chopped onions
1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, quartered if small or 1/4-inch sliced
1 quart beef or chicken broth
3 cups water
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 cup pearl barley
1 cup roughly chopped carrot
3 cups celery root, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch to 1-inch chunks
Black pepper
About 1/2 cup sour cream (around 1 Tbsp sour cream per serving)
Dill for garnish

Directions:
In a Dutch oven or other large, lidded pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add enough pieces of the beef to sear in the pot without crowding. You will need to brown the meat in several batches. Salt the beef as it cooks, and set aside browned pieces in a bowl.
When all the beef has browned, add the onions. As the onions release some of their water, use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions as they cook. Lower the heat to medium and cook the onions until they begin to brown, 5-6 minutes.
When the onions have lightly browned, mix in the mushrooms and increase the heat to high. Cook the mushrooms until they release their water, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the beef back to the pot and sprinkle with marjoram. Add 1 cup of the stock and use the wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the rest of the stock and water and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot, lower the heat to low and simmer very gently for 1 hour.
Add the barley, celery root and carrots, stir well and recover the pot. Simmer gently until the barley and celery root are tender, between 40 minutes and an hour.
Ladle servings into bowls, then top with a dollop of sour cream and a few sprigs of dill. Grind a little black pepper over right before you serve. To eat, stir in the sour cream.

STEAMED FISH


Ingredients:

If cooking for more, just use a bigger piece of fish and add more of the other ingredients accordingly to fill the plate.


1 small cut of fish (about 150g onwards)
1 thick stalk spring onions, cut to 2 inch lengths
5 slices ginger, sliced thinly
1 chilli padi, sliced thinly (adjust or omit to your liking)
1/2 to 1 tomato, cut to small wedges
2 shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 sour plum (aka salted plum)
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp water (or more if you like more “soup”)

Directions:

Place fish (skin side down) in a deep plate. Drizzle light soy sauce and water over the fish. Keep in fridge (covered) for at least 30 minutes if you can.
Scatter the rest of the ingredients evenly over the fish.
Steam on high heat for 10-15 minutes (note: for the small piece I had, it is cooked after 10 minutes of steaming).


SAUTEED MUSHROOM


Ingredients:

1 Tbs. olive oil 
1 Tbs. unsalted butter 
1 lb. mixed fresh mushrooms (I like to use 4 oz. shiitakes and 6 oz. each cremini and white mushrooms), washed, trimmed, and sliced 1/4 inch thick, to yield 5-1/2 to 6 cups 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1/2 tsp. kosher salt 
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
Freshly ground black pepper 
2 to 3 Tbs. heavy cream, broth, or lemon juice (optional) 
Additional chopped herbs, such as thyme, sage, and/or chives (optional)

Directions:
Heat the oil and butter in a 12-inch saute pan or skillet over medium heat until the butter foams. Add the mushrooms and garlic. Like sponges, the mushrooms will immediately absorb all the fat in the pan. Sprinkle with the salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the mushrooms start to release their moisture and begin to shrink, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high so that you hear a steady sizzle; stir occasionally. In about 5 minutes, when the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms start to brown, give just an occasional sweep with the spoon (about once a minute) to allow the mushrooms to brown nicely, cooking them another 2 to 4 minutes. Resist the inclination to stir too often. Turn off the heat and toss the mushrooms with the parsley and pepper to taste, adding more salt if needed. If serving as a side dish, stir in a few tablespoons cream, broth, or lemon juice to moisten the mushrooms and to deglaze the pan, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan into the mushroom mixture. Add other herbs if you like. 

PORK CHOPS



Ingredients:

4 pork chops

1 teaspoon bacon fat, grapeseed oil, or olive oil (or other high smoke point oil)

Salt

1/4 cup cumin seeds

3 Tbsp whole black peppercorns

1 Tbsp coriander seeds

2 Tbsp sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Combine cumin, peppercorns, and coriander in a heavy medium skillet. Stir over medium heat until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly. Finely grind toasted spices in blender. Transfer to a small bowl. Mix in sugar and salt. Makes 1/2 cup.

Directions:

Heat a large cast iron frying pan to medium high or high heat (hot enough to sear the meat). While the pan is heating, sprinkle a pinch of dry rub spices (about 1/8 teaspoon or a little more) on each of the pork chops. Using your fingers, rub the spices into the meat. Turn the chops over and repeat on the other side.
Once the pan is hot, add a teaspoon of oil or fat to the pan and coat the bottom of the pan. Right before you put the chops into the pan sprinkle each side with a little salt, or you can salt the chops in the pan. Put the chops in the pan. Make sure they are not crowding each other too much. There should be space between the chops in the pan or the meat will steam and not sear properly.
Arrange the chops in the pan with the thickest, boniest parts towards the center of the pan where they get the most heat.
Sear the chops, about 2 minutes on each side. Watch carefully, as soon as the chops are browned, flip them. As soon as you flip the chops, if you are using a cast iron pan, you can turn off the heat. Cast iron holds heat very well and there will be enough heat in the pan to finish cooking the meat.
If you have chops that are a lot thicker than 3/4" (many are sold that are 1 1/2"-thick), you can put a cover on the pan and let the chops finish cook for 5 minutes or so (if you are using a cast iron pan and have turned off the heat, there should be enough heat if you cover the pan to finish the cooking of a thicker chop, if not, lower the heat to low and cover.
How do you know when the chops are done? Mom uses a touch testwhich with practice I've learned as well. If you wait until you see juice oozing out of the top of the chop, it is definitely done. Mom typically just keeps the chops in the pan, the heat is turned off, so the pan is losing heat. The pan initially provides enough heat to sear the second side. As it initially cools it is still cooking, though not searing the meat. After a couple of minutes, it's just keeping the chops warm.