Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chive Gremolata

Gremolata is a condiment that is usually served with veal.  I think it is great served on baked potatoes, other steamed veggies, or on top of your favorite steak.

3 strips thick-sliced bacon (diced)
2 Tbsp minced fresh chives
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Salt to taste

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes; drain and cool.

Combine bacon with chives, parsley, zest, garlic, and salt..

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Seared Beef Tenderloin Filets

I love a beef filet as much as the next person, but honestly, I can't afford it.  I see it in the butcher case for about $23.99/lb most of the time.  Thanks to the butcher at Dierbergs, I've found an affordable alternative.  Each week they have petite beef medallions for $6.99/lb and they are wonderful!

6 approx. 1/2 lb beef medallions
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the center.

Season filets with salt and pepper.  Heat an ovenproof saute pan over medium-high for 5 minutes.

Sear filets in oil on one side for 4 - 5 minutes.  Turn them over, place the pan in the oven, and roast to desired doneness  Remove pan from the oven, transfer filets to a plate, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with Bearnaise Sauce.

For Rare:  Sear 5 minutes, Roast 5 minutes, and let rest 5 minutes.
For Medium-Rare:  Sear 5 minutes, Roast 7 minutes, and let rest 5 minutes
For Medium:  Sear 5 minutes, Roast 9 minutes, and let rest 5 minutes
For Medium-Well (my favorite):  Sear 5 minutes, Roast 11 minutes, and let rest 5 minutes

Bearnaise Sauce

I watch all kinds of shows on Food Network.  I'm a total foodie!  What can I say?  But, when I hear them talk about Bearnaise Sauce, I have to admit I don't know what it is.  Well, now I do.  Here is the recipe

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 - 3 Tbsp water
4 egg yolks
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Bring vinegar, wine, shallots, and tarragon to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Boil until most of the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes.

Off heat, add water, then whisk in egg yolks until frothy.

Gradually drizzle in butter, whisking constantly to incorporate.  Sauce should be thick, but thin it with a little water if needed.  If it's too thin, return it to low heat and whisk constantly until thickened.

Strain sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a heatproof cup.  Season with lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Serve immediately.

They say this is awesome served over beef tenderloin fillets.  We may just have to try this.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Roasted Potatoes - This was part of our Christmas Dinner too

1/2 cup olive oil
4 - 5 cloves garlic (pressed)
1 Tbsp Rosemary
6 lbs potatoes (unpeeled), cut into large chunks
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Combine oil, garlic and rosemary in a small bowl.  Boil potatoes in water for 1 minute..  Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a baking sheet.  Pour the oil and spices over the potatoes and stir to coat.

Transfer potatoes  to the oven on the lowest rack and roast for 20 minutes.  Carefully toss them with a spatula, then roast until cooked through,  browned, and crisp, 10 minutes more.  Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Soy Glazed Green Beans

Our family Christmas dinner was all about comfort food.  Green beans fall into that category for me.  Luke just loves these!

Kosher salt
2 lbs green beans (ends trimmed) - found some beautiful beans at Dierbergs
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 soy sauce
2 Tbsp tasted sesame seeds
Freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt.  Add the green beans and blanch until crisp-tender (2 - 3 minutes).  Immediately transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking, and then remove to a baking sheet lined with paper towels or a cooling rack to drain.

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the canola oil and butter.  When the butter is melted, add the garlic and stir until fragrant, 1 - 2 minutes.  Add the green beans, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and black pepper and saute until the sauce reduces slightly and thoroughly coats the green beans.  Be careful not to overcook the beans.

Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot.

Classic Pot Roast with Garlic-Thyme Gravy

It has been quite a busy holiday season for our family.  With grown children and teenagers who work, it's been somewhat challenging to find a time when we could plan our own family gift exchange and meal.  Following extended family get togethers earlier in the weekend, we found time to have dinner together tonight and then open gifts.  I love cooking for my family!

We've already had all the special holiday meals, so I opted for a classic pot roast - the ultimate comfort food in my book.

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 rolled rump roast, trimmed and seasoned with salt and pepper (3 - 4 lbs)
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups sliced onions
6 medium carrots (peeled and cut into bite size pieces)
3 large celery ribs (cut into bite size pieces)
6 cloves garlic (minced or sliced)
1 tsp Thyme
2 Bay leaves

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Sear roast on all sides .  Transfer roast to a 4 - 6 qt slow cooker.

Stir flour into saute pan; cook 1 minute.  Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute more.

Deglaze saute pan with wine, cooking until liquid evaporates.  Stir in broth and Worcestershire; bring mixture to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits.

Transfer broth mixture to the slow cooker; add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves.  Cover and cook until meat is fork-tender, on high heat setting for 4 - 5 hours or on low heat setting  8 - 9 hours.  Discard bay leaves before serving.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cranberry, White Chocolate & Macadamia Cookies

I love the McCormick website.  I find all kinds of good recipes there - and this one is no exception.  This is a new cookie that Emma and I added to our Christmas cookie list.  It's yummy and sure to be a hit!

2 cups flour
2 Tbsp McCormick Gourmet Collection Cinnamon, Saigon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz white baking chocolate chopped (I used Nestle' White Chocolate Chips)
2 jars (6.85 oz) Macadamia nuts (chopped)
2 cups dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.  Set aside.

Cream butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Bea in egg and vanilla.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate, nuts and cranberries.  Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls 1 1/2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.

We're watching the budget this year, and many of our friends/guests will not eat nuts, so we left out the Macadamia nuts.  They were still excellent!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

See the Chihuahuas All Dressed Up for Christmas

Call me crazy, but third on my "I Just Love 'Em" list come our five Chihuahuas.  They come in just behind my kids and grandkids!  I know five sounds like way too many, and some days it is, but most days they are so sweet and snuggly and make us smile.

A little more than two years ago we brought home Beethovan and Belle.  They had puppies last spring.  We wound up keeping one for Emily and one for Luke; and of course, Grandpa said we needed to keep one for Christian too.  Yikes!

They all have various sweaters to wear outside when it's cold.  They usually like their sweaters (Beethovan even shows his off), but when we dressed them up for Christmas, they turned into mannequins.  Stiff as a board.  We couldn't get them to do anything.

Check out a couple of pictures . . .





All five, Beethovan, Belle, Neily, Aldean, and Willie have individual personalities.  They always keep us entertained.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Psst… want to save up to $46?

Hey! I just learned a clean little secret about Lowe’s. They have quite the selection of cleaning products plus air and water filters to help keep your home spic and span inside and out. And they’re sending out up to $46 in savings so you can really clean up. Get your coupons before they’re gone! Go to vocalpoint.com/Lowes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Two of My Favorite Guys


Grandson Christian and nephew Joshua are two of my favorite guys.



    


Christian is almost 18 months old, and what a total joy he is.  He has a beaming smile and loves to show off his teeth.  He loves to give kisses, sing and dance.  A guy after my own heart.  He and Grammy "go crazy" quite often.  (God help me if anyone manages to catch our song and dance on video!)  This little guy doesn't do anything halfway.  I do love him.


     












Joshua is three and absolutely full of questions.  He is a total delight.  Every topic of conversation winds up with 20 more questions.  Usually beginning with "Why".   Three year olds are such fun. Joshua will make a good big brother.  That day is quickly approaching.  His little sister is due to arrive in late February.

Our family Christmas is sure to be awesome this year with these two at the center of attention!  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Snack Idea - Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch

Yesterday was "Let's Make Chex Mix" at the Pressons.  Like most years, we made the Traditional Chex Mix and the Chili Chex Mix.  They are always a hit - everybody loves them.  This year I've added a new one to the mix.  It's a yummy one too.

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal
2 cups Wheat Chex cereal
2 cups Honey Nut Chex cereal
8 oz pecans  (I don't like nuts, so I left them out - I didn't miss them.)

The modern day recipes for Chex Mix are all microwavable.  I don't make mine that way.  I prefer to make mine the old fashioned way.  Mix the cereals together.  Mix the butter and spices together in a saucepan on the stove.  Mix well until the butter is melted.  Pour over the cereal mixture.  Bake for one hour at 250 degrees stirring every 15 minutes.  Allow to cool and then store in airtight containers.

I took this to work today, and got the same comments from everyone.  "This is great, but it doesn't taste like pumpkin."  True, it doesn't taste like pumpkin, but it has all of the spices and sweetness you'll find in pumpkin pie.  Definitely give this one a try.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chili Chex Mix

This is my favorite variation of Traditional Chex Mix.  It is spiced up with chili powder and has just a bit of a kick.  Give this one a try this year.

3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Wheat Chex
2 cups bite-size cheese crackers (I like Cheez-Its)
2 cups pretzel sticks
1 pkg garlic bagel chips
2 cups peanuts
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic

Mix well in large pan and bake for 1 hour in a 250 degree oven, stirring every 15 minutes.  Store in airtight containers when cool.

Serve to friends often.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Venison Summer Sausage - Deer Sausage

A great big thank you goes out to our neighbors, Mr. & Mrs. Banks, for sharing their delicious Venison Summer Sausage recipe.  Paul and I made many batches this past weekend from the deer he brought home a few weeks ago.  The meat grinder I bought three years ago finally got a workout.  Paul actually told me never to go out and buy anything for processing deer meat again since he had a two-year dry spell after I bought the grinder.  From now on, I'll wait . . .

1 lb ground venison
1 lb pork sausage
1 cup water
3 tsp Morton Quick Cure Salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke

Mix all ingredients well.  Form meat into two long rolls about the size of salami.  Wrap in foil and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Re-wrap in foil and refrigerate.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How Is Your Christmas Mood?

Wow!  I ran across an article  tonight that appeared on Ladies Home Journal's website:  

Silent Night time again -- and all is not calm. Mom, expected by everyone to embody the joyous holiday spirit, wakes up each morning with that reindeer-caught-in-the-headlights feeling of having too much to do and only a small Advent-calendar window of opportunity to do it in. The kids are in a sugar-induced, jingle bell-fueled state of hyperactive euphoria, hubby "Scrooge" isn't much help, and each day is a blur of furious activity. But while hectic holidays may be as much a given as poinsettias by the front door and stockings on the mantel, it's one tradition you can leave behind this year.

Does this sound your holiday . . . decide to make a change this year.  

Friday, December 3, 2010

Whole Cranberry Chutney

If you like your chutney with some spice, this recipe is for you.  It's sweet, it's tangy, and it's spicy all at the same time.  It was a hit at our Thanksgiving table.  Try it for Christmas dinner.

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
4 shallots (finely chopped)
1 1/2 Tbsp mustard seed
3/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
2 bags (12 oz each)  fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

Heat oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat.  Add shallots, mustard seeds, and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally,, until shallots aresoftened, about 4 minutes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Athenos Greek Yogurt House Party on Thurs. December 9th at 6:00

The party package arrived today!  Guests will not only sample good food at the party next week, but you'll go home with coupons for Athenos Greek Yogurt, a stress ball, a notepad, and pen.  It will be an hour or two of good food and a few laughs.  Please plan to come.  Send an e-mail to keplen@charter.net and let me know if you can make it.