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!

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.

Scraps

Sometimes you just have to use up the scraps of things you have hanging around your cabinets and fridge. And that is the very essence of “cabinet stew.” Using what you have on hand to create a meal.

For me that started waaaay back in my 20’s when after a late night out, you would come home starving – things weren’t as 24/7 back then – and pull stuff out of the cabinets to try to put together something delicious. “Cabinet Stew” was born! I can’t take credit for coining the phrase. It was the boyfriend of one of my friends, Karl, who invented the “Cabinet Stew” in the first place!

Other then a quiche, my favorite way to use up scraps is in a mac-n-cheese. I use up whatever random chunks of cheese I have on hand, of course there is always dried pasta in my cabinets and this time I threw in a small amount of fresh spinach, some diced Canadian ham and onion. It felt almost healthy. Almost.

 

 

Production Notes:

Cheese: this one was mostly Swiss cheese with a small amount of cheddar and some parmesan on top. It made a nice compliment with the salty ham.

Pasta: I used gluten free – make sure not to over boil!

Sauce: simply equal parts of your choice fat and flour whisked with warmed whole milk. I like to add the powdered spices in with the roux so they can toast a bit. In this case I used garlic powder, smoked paprika and ground nutmeg to compliment the spinach. In retrospect a little dijon mustard thrown into the cheese sauce would have been a nice compliment to classic flavors of ham, Swiss and spinach!

 

 

 

“Puffy” Quiche

What’s a girl to do when she wants to make a quiche and needs a crust?

Get out the flour and mixer and make a homemade pie crust? I think not. Since I use store bought pie crust for my quiche, the thought of actually making my own crust seemed like way too much work. #sorrynotsorry

But I did have some store-bought “puff pastry” on hand. So I googled this to be sure and of course I found out that I was not the first person to wonder if puff pastry could be used for quiche.

I think my concerns were about the bottom crust – would it be soggy? And since I never put a top crust on my quiche what would I do with the second pastry sheet from he package? I decided today my crust would have a top.

So I sautéed some onions, peppers and Italian sausage for the filling while I blind baked the bottom crust. I do this with my pie crust too. I simply “dock” the bottom with a fork and bake for about 10 mins to set the bottom crust and avoid a soggy bottom.

I added some “Somerdale” sweet red cheddar cheese chunks, a dash of dried Italian seasoning and the standard eggs/whole milk mix and poured the whole thing in. Next I laid the top square on. It’s a little messy where I had to repair the seams from unfolding it roughly and of course those specks are just some Italian seasoning. I figured I was being clever by scoring the dough into serving squares. (plus I was worried the whole thing would puff up into the roof of the oven if I didn’t!)

 

Standard Baking protocol – 40 mins at 400 degrees and voilà!

 

 

P.S. pronounced “best quiche ever” by the hubby!