More Recipes Next Week

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm sorry that I haven't posted this past week but we have been in the middle of tornadoes, floods, and storms.  I really haven't felt like cooking.  I think the sun is supposed to shine next week so hopefully we will be doing some grilling!

Free Mexican Cookbook

Monday, April 25, 2011

You guys know how I love my Mexican.  I found this eCookbook today.  There are 27 recipes and I can't wait to try them all!

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning)

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Directions:  Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Here's what you'll need: 

Here's what you'll end up with:

Emeril's Braised Brisket of Beef

Emerils' Beer Braised Brisket
5 to 6 pounds beef brisket
4 garlic cloves, sliced
Salt and cayenne
Essence, recipe follows
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups julienned onions
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cans (12 ounces each) Dixie beer
1 cup water

1/2 pound roasted new potatoes
1/2 cup fried shallot crusts (julienned shallots, marinated in hot sauce, dredged in flour and fried until golden)
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons brunoise red peppers

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. With a sharp knife, make about 10 slits in the brisket. Stuff each hole with 2 to 3 slices of the garlic. Season the meat with salt, cayenne and Essence. In a large saute pan, heat the oil. When oil is hot, sear the meat evenly, for 2 to 3 minutes on all sides. Transfer the meat to a large Dutch oven with a lid. Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven. In a mixing bowl, toss the onions with salt, cayenne and Essence. Arrange the onions around the meat. Add the beer and water. Cover and return the pot to the oven. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 2 1/2 hours, or until tender. Turn the meat over twice during baking. If the liquid evaporates too much, add another can of beer and 1/2 cup water. Remove the meat from the pan and reserve the liquid. Slice the meat into individual portions.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

-I did not use the potatoes, onions, etc.  I strictly just used this recipe for the beef.

Here's what you'll need (plus your brisket):

Mix all of the herbs.

Put the brisket in a pan and rub the brisket.

Slice up some garlic cloves and cut slices into the beef.  Stuff the cloves into the beef (picture below).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put some olive oil in a pan to get hot.  Sear the beef on each side for 2-3 minutes (see the sliced beef with garlic cloves in it).

Put the pan into the oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

Add beer to the pan.  I only used 1 bottle and it was fine.

Cover the pan and put back into the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.

Here's what you'll end up with:

Put the meat over into a serving dish and pour the pan juices all over.

Our Thoughts:
When looking for a brisket recipe I had several people give me their family recipes.  They all looked great but I waited too long and didn't have some of the ingredients.  I found this Emeril Lagasse recipe and had all of the seasonings to make the Essence so I just went with this one.

This beef had a really good flavor to it.  It was moist and juicy but wasn't so soft that it fell apart like a roast.  I was afraid that since both of briskets were in the 2lb range that the 2 hour finish time would not be sufficient but when we sliced into it, it was perfect.  There was hardly any left!

Serving with the pan juices added moistness and flavor from the cooked off fat.

Hope you enjoy!

Meatball Calzone

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Meatball Calzone adapted from Mr. Food
1 bag of frozen small to medium meatballs, thawed
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 bag Italian shredded cheese
1 tube pizza dough

Directions:  Preheat oven according to pizza dough package.  Cut the pizza dough into large enough pieces so that they can be folded over.  Place meatballs on dough, cover with spaghetti sauce and cheese.  Fold dough over to create pockets.  Cook according to pizza dough directions.

Here's what you'll need:

Roll out pizza dough onto a greased baking sheet.

Cut dough into large enough pieces so that it can be folded over.

Place meatballs on dough.

Cover with spaghetti sauce.

Add cheese.

Fold over making sure to close all holes so that the sauce doesn't seep out during cooking.

Spread out on baking dish.  Bake in oven according to directions.

Here's what you'll end up with:

Our Thoughts:
This was a perfect weekend lunch recipe.  When I first saw this recipe I thought that Scott and Kanin would love it because they love meatball sandwiches.

They both absolutely loved it.  It was so easy to make and took about 15 minutes with little prep. 

We will definitely make this over and over.  Perfect for kids!!

Hope you enjoy!

How Long Should You Keep Spices

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

***NOTE--I copied and pasted this article here from Yahoo!because I thought it was something that you guys would find interesting.

How long should I keep spices?
By Matt Hickman, Mother Nature Network
Posted Fri Apr 8, 2011 10:56am PDT
Related topics: Food and Drink, Shopping, Tips More from Guest Bloggers blog .

Q: I’m gearing up for a big spring cleaning session with my sights set on an area I’ve been avoiding: the spice cabinet. My teenage son has started to call me the “spice hoarder,” and my husband won’t even get near the cabinet.

The thing is, I’ve never known when it’s appropriate to throw spices away. I'm not clear on the shelf life, so I keep ‘em around. Have any clue as to when is a good time to chuck them?

A: Growing up, I recall the spice cabinet being, well, overwhelming. I’m pretty sure there were a couple bottles of something or other in there that were certified antiques, pre-dating the Carter administration. And that ground allspice? I think the sell-by date was 40 A.D.

The shelf life of spices varies, and you never really need to worry about them going “bad” like other foods do. For example, a bottle of curry powder that’s been around a questionable amount of time probably won’t make you sick … it will just be less potent. Many folks abide by a “six-month rule” when it comes to discarding most spices. Seems a bit short to me. I certainly can’t afford to replace all of mine twice a year.

The folks at McCormick offer “to toss or not to toss” guidelines that are more generous:

•Ground spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric): 2 to 3 years
•Herbs (basil, oregano, parsley): 1 to 3 years
•Seasoning blends: 1 to 2 years
•Whole spices (cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks): 4 years
•Seeds: 4 years (except for poppy and sesame seeds, which should be discarded after 2 years)
•Extracts: 4 years (except for vanilla, which will last forever)
Pretty straightforward, eh? Sure, but unless you keep some kind of “purchased on…” checklist inside of your cabinet it’s probably hard to keep track of how long each and every spice has been kicking around.

Some spice companies, like McCormick, do include “best by” dates on the bottles while others don’t. The many Fairway brand spices that I own aren’t so transparent when it comes to their shelf life. In fact, I was just eying an almost-empty container of dried parsley that I’m pretty sure has been living on my spice shelf for four-plus years.

To ensure that your spices are living up to their potent potential, in addition to a “best by” date, McCormick even has a “Fresh Taster” feature on its website where you can plug in a code found on the bottom of each McCormick spice bottle to verify its age and TOSS (Toss Old Spices Seasonally) accordingly. And as McCormick notes, if a certain bottle of spice originates from Baltimore, it’s at least 15 years old, and if you have Schilling brand spices, they’re at least seven years old.

If you don’t buy McCormick brand spices, there are a couple of things you can do to see if a spice is still good. For starters, simply pour out a little and observe its color. If the vibrant color has faded, then usually so has the flavor. Over this past summer, I encountered grayish-brown, not red, paprika at a friend’s house and remember being wary. Sure enough, it tasted like “paprika light” and was definitely not worth using.

Beloved spice purveyors Penzeys place a ground spice’s longevity at over six months but less than two years depending on the quality and complexity of a spice and recommend a simple smell test to see if its still has any kick: “If it smells strong and spicy, use it. If not, toss it.”

If a spice is no longer fragrant, it’s probably best to replace it. If a spice has some fragrance left but is far less potent than it used to be, just double the amount called for in a recipe.

Also, remember to keep spices, whether of the ground or whole variety, in a cool, dry place away from your stove with the container lids securely fastened so that the spices keep as long as possible. If you keep them organized in a spice rack that’s out in the open and not in a cupboard, just make sure that they’re not placed in direct sunlight.

Penzeys also recommends keeping certain spices such as whole and ground chili peppers, paprika, sesame seed, and poppy seed in a refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresh and colorful for longer, particularly during the sweltering summer months. But as noted by Penzeys, spices segregated to a fridge tend to be used less and could go to waste since they’re “out of sight, out of mind.” To prevent this, keep small amounts of commonly used spices in view with a backup supply in the fridge or freezer.

And don’t feel guilty if you have to toss and replace a spice. It won’t do any good taking up real estate in that congested spice cabinet of yours.

If a spice is really old, you may not want to throw the packaging away. Many folks collect antique spice bottles and tins, so you may have luck pawning it off at a local antiques store or selling it at your next garage sale.

It may be wise to buy spices in bulk (in small or larger quantities) to save a few bucks and cut back on packaging waste, but you will have to face the “I only use cloves once a year but have a giant container of them” dilemma.

Not all grocery stores sell herbs and spices in bulk, but it’s worth looking into. Depending on the household usage of a certain spice, you can buy as much or as little as needed so that little goes to waste. Is your house cumin crazy? Then by all means stock up and store the spice in a cute little reusable glass jar. Need mustard seed for a recipe but don’t think you’ll use it again? Buy just a few tablespoons in bulk instead of an entire bottle that costs upwards of $5 (spices aren’t cheap). I’ve started doing this with garlic powder. I found that I was using it frequently so I stopped by a local Middle Eastern grocery and purchased some in bulk — more than what I’d been getting in an average bottle — for a much lower price.

Good luck with the spice cabinet clean-out project. I hope that after this you’ll no longer warrant the “spice hoarder” tag. And remember to consider buying in bulk in the future to save money and curb your spice-related waste stream.


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Cauliflower Medley

Cauliflower Medley
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 (15oz) can Italian stewed tomatoes
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:  In large saucepan, place cauliflower, stewed tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and butter.
Add about 2 Tbsps water, salt and pepper.  Cook in saucepan with lid until cauliflower is done, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Do not let cauliflower get mushy.  Place in a 2-quart casserole, sprinkle cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees just until cheese melts.

-I did not have a bell pepper so I left it out.

Here's what you'll need:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut up the cauliflower.

Put it in a saucepan.

Cut up an onion.

Add the tomatoes.

Add butter, salt and pepper.

Cover and cook until fork-tender (about 15 minutes).

Pour into a baking dish.

Sprinkle with cheese and pop into the oven to melt (about 5 minutes).

Here's what you'll end up with:
Our Thoughts:
Scott has been on a cauliflower kick for a while now.  When I saw this recipe in an old book, I thought I'd give it a try.

It was actually really good.  The combination of the herbs in the Italian tomatoes with the cheese and cauliflower was perfect together.  We had a chicken dish as the meat and the chicken with this tasted even better.  I think that this could be tweaked into its own casserole.  The cauliflower kind of takes the place of potatoes.

Overall, we enjoyed it and it was something different (which we all know is really hard to come by).

Hope you enjoy!

Lyonnaise Potatoes

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lyonnaise Potatoes from Mr. Food
6 Idaho potatoes, peeled and quartered
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 medium-sized onion, coarsely chopped

Directions:  Fill a medium saucepan three-quarters full with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add potatoes, and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until fork-tender; drain and set aside to cool slightly.

Cut potatoes into 1/8-inch slices and place in a medium bowl; gently stir in salt and pepper then set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and saute onions until browned. Add onions to potatoes; mix well.

Spread mixture evenly in skillet and cook 12 to 14 minutes over medium heat, until potatoes are browned, turning halfway through cooking. Serve immediately.

Here's what you'll need:

Peel the potatoes

Cut them up.

Boil them until they are fork-tender.

Drain them and set aside.

Chop up an onion.  Brown the onions in a skillet with some olive oil.

Add the onion to the potatoes and mix well.

In the same oil, add the onion and potato mixture.  Cook for 12-14 minutes, turning once.

Here's what you'll end up with:

Our Thoughts:
This fancy-named recipe is just fried potatoes with onions.  The potatoes had great flavor and everyone enjoyed them.  The onions had a good sweetness to the potato and an extra texture.

I thought the recipe made it more complicated than it had to be, though.  I really see no need for boiling the potatoes first.   

My mom makes fried potatoes that are both crispy on the outside but soft on the inside.  I think the key is to have medium heat to soften the potatoes and onions instead of a high heat that will instantly fry them.  You can always turn the burner up at the end of the cooking to get a little crispier potato.

Hope you enjoy!