Encased Meat

When asked what my favorite cut of meat is I always answers “encased meat!” I love sausages, hot dogs, anything that comes in a casing. in fact here is a fun book on this very subject: https://www.amazon.com/Wurst-Lucky-Peach-Treasury-Encased/dp/0804187770

So naturally my favorite quick, week-night dinner  is sausages on the grill served anyway I can think of. Just unwrap and throw them on to cook. No marinading, no nothing and yet full of flavor. The endless variety of flavors available keeps things interesting.

The only thing I do if I am feeling ambitious on a hot night in July is slice up some peppers and onions, but these days you can get even those already prepped for you at the grocery store!

I use an all-metal (no plastic handles!) skillet directly on my grill to cook the veggies. You could use a grill basket too if you have one.  Make sure to have a pot-holder handy and don’t touch the pan and/or handle without it!

Toast some buns and assemble your sandwich when everything is ready.

Dinner is served!

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Easy As 1-2-3

I have written about quiche many times. See here, here, here, here, here and here. I just can’t help myself, quiche is the perfect vehicle for just about anything you want to put into it.

This week it was the Swiss Chard that was the instagator. I found a good looking bunch at the local farmer’s market and couldn’t resist bring them home. Into the quiche it went. Sautéed first with a little bit of onion and pancetta and of course a little tuyere cheese makes everything better!

cooks’ tip: When you use a refrigerated pie crust for quiche bottom, making a quiche is as easy as 1-2-3!

1.

.quiche filling

2.

quiche filling 2

3.

quiche cooked

 

 

 

 

Mr. Irish… Meet Mexican Corn

When you have been married to someone for 15 years, you think you know that person fairly well.

That is a bad assumption. There is something new to learn at any given moment. Like say when you are on a little vacation and he orders something that seems so unlikely for him to order and he LOVES it.

By now you are guessing that my Irish plain-eating husband tried and loved Mexican street corn! We ordered it in a fun little Mexican place in Florida and sure enough he loved it. He asked me if I could make this at home and of course I was all like…”does a duck like to swim?” OF COURSE I can make this!

So one night after our return from Florida I whipped up a batch.

mexican-corn.jpg

I thought they turned out pretty well and he thought so too. But there are a few things I would fine tune for the next batch.

  • Use fresh not frozen ( Don’t judge – it’s spring in New England – there’s no fresh local corn for like another 2 months!)
  • Chop the Cojita cheese MUCH smaller as I realized it will coat better and more evenly.
  • Season the Mexican crema a little less aggressively and so the ancho chili powder that I forgot to sprinkle on top can stand out better.

As for a recipe…

It’s pretty simple and there are a thousand versions out there but here is mine.

Ingredients:

Mexican crema – you can you usually find this in the Mexican foods section of the grocery store but if you can’t find it, just use mayonnaise thinned with a little water.

Cojita Cheese – this is like a Mexican version of feta. Salty and crumbly. If you are worried about salt levels try the Queso Fresca instead – it’s still crumbly but less salty.

Ancho Chili powder – worth the investment if you don’t have this on hand. But you could probably use a little regular chili powder instead.

Fresh limes – cut for squeezing over corn.

Fresh Cilantro – final chopped is best here.

Fresh corn cobs, par-cooked – (steam them or boil them or roast or microwave or whatever first so they are just past being raw. Don’t over cook)

Method:

Mix up some crema with salt, pepper and pinch of the ancho chili powder. Grill the corn, roll it/brush it with the crema. Now sprinkle the cheese on it. Sprinkle it with some ancho chili powder and finish it with cilantro and a squirt of lime juice.

 

 

 

Three Goddesses & Lunch (Repost from 2011)

Enjoy this post from 2011 – one of my favorite ways I have spent easter….

We spent Easter Sunday in the presence of Three Goddesses at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

Ceres, Pomona & Flora (grain, fruit and flowers respectively) – shown below

Along with these ladies we saw a few spots of early spring blooms –


And some things not in bloom but very old…

… Back at home for lunch, we enjoyed a trio of three delicious things …

Tomato and Feta tart with Brussels Sprouts salad with roasted apples and toasted walnuts.

and a sweet treat at the end of cinnamon pear and banana coffee cake.

Special thanks to Lydia  (pantry goddess) for inspiring this menu!

Fancy That

Its funny how one little detail can take a recipe from “everyday delicious” to “fancy.”

For instance Shepard’s pie (or Cottage pie) is a fairly humble dish. Just some meat, some veggie and some potato – all layered and baked to create a comforting and hearty dish. I make this casserole on a regular basis  – in fact you can read about it here and here and here!

I recently was at an Irish pub in a British island territory on the day before Saint Patrick’s Day of all times (not by design, just by chance) and was looking for a hearty filling meal for a late lunch/early dinner after traveling all morning.

Shepard’s pie seemed just like the right thing to order. And it was delicious. Heavy and filling and comforting. Just the kind of thing you want to eat before you hit the hotel pool the next day!

What was nice about this version is they took the time to “fancy it up” by piping the potato topping on with a star tip. I think is something I need to start doing!

You be the judge…

Dinner In A Bag (again)

Pot Roast cooked in a plastic bag sounds crazy right? But that was the only kind of pot roast I knew as a child.

Cooking in an oven bag was this 1970’s concept where you place your cut of meat, vegetables and seasoning and a little water into an oven safe bag and place that into a pan/dish and put the whole thing in the oven. After 2 hours or so you have a magically deliciously “bag’o pot roast!”

This isn’t the first time I have done this – I exposed this back in 2011 as well.

There is remarkably little information on the great internet about this ( here , here and here -that’s it!) and I am not really sure when “Gordon Lawry” invented it but I think it was a long time ago considering he was paid 15 cents for his invention!

Anyway don’t knock it until you try it! It’s the original “sheet pan” dinner and it’s delicious! (maybe add some green veggies in the side to “heathy” it up!)

 

READ THE DIRECTIONS AND FOLLOW THEM but here is a couple tips: If you lose the ties supplied, cut a thin strip off the mouth of the bag, and use that to tie it with. ( don’t use some other tie as it might melt!)

Don’t use where there’s a danger of the bag touching any of the heating elements, thereby melting, spilling out its contents and causing a grease fire.

Good & Strange

On a recent visit to my favorite 5000 square foot Italian market/restaurant empire I picked up a few new things to try. Some were good, some were strange, and one was actually strangely good.

just strange So these were just strange. I had high hopes for them but no. They literally are just corn flour dried into these long shapes. A snack to to crunch on or use to dip into things. They were scarily crisp (as in break your teeth crisp) and really didn’t taste like anything. I think you could find a better vehicle to get that onion dip into your mouth.

 

 

 

 

always good

 

This was just good. Afterall I was just following directions. “Winemaker notes: best enjoyed with fruit and cheese.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

strangly good

This one was strangley good. These crunchy little nuggets promote themselves as a snack to “sharpen the appetite.” They have 2 kinds of wine in them – red and white! To me they have a flavor that completely reminds me of stuffing. (Like thanksgiving stuffing!)  Strangley addictive too.  According to the manufactuer I should be sipping a glass of “Agricola del Sole Jazzorosso” wine while I snack on these. Maybe next time.