About Me

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I started cooking as a kid and have found it to be a passion for me throughout my life. I've worked in a cooking specialty store, ran a catering company and most importantly, fed my family and expressed my love for them through food.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cry Me a River...Tip for taking the bite out of onions

With chili season in full swing, and I love chopped onions and cheese on mine, I thought I'd share this easy tip for taking the bite out of onions.

If working with chopped onions to be used raw, simply place them in a strainer (the wire mesh kind) and place the strainer in a bowl of cold water for about 5-10 minutes.  Pull the strainer out of the water, shake off the water or pat with a paper towel.  That's it. 

You'll be amazed by how the onions are now crisp and flavorful without being too overpowering.  Happy Eating!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mashed Potatoes the Morning After

I had made a HUGE batch of mashed taters last night so this morning I transformed them into these delicious, light crispy pancakes which went great with regular breakfast fare, but somehow elevated the ingredients.

I took about 2-3 cups of stiff mashed potatoes along with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese (grated) and one egg, beaten.  I mixed this into a stiff (but slightly wet) batter.  On a dinner plate I put about 2 cup of panko bread crumbs (could also use regular dry breadcrumbs).  With wet hands, I made balls of dough about the size of a small plum.  I rolled them in to a ball and placed them on the crumbs and pressed down lightly to flatten.  I flipped them over in the crumbs gently and pressed again very lightly.  Into a hot 10 inch saute pan with about 2 Tablespoon of veggie oil, I placed the patties.  I cooked them for about 4 minutes on each side till medium brown. 

YUMMY!  Happy Eating!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Red Wine Winter Stew - comfort for a winter's night - and a bonus meal

As the snow comes down here in Nebraska tonight, here's an actual crock pot meal (which I rarely do because frankly, they don't always taste good).  This one includes dry soup mix....BLASTPHOMY...unless it is in this recipe.  I'll get to some more complicated things later but for now, just sharing the good stuff.
Here ya go!

Dredge 2 pounds of lean stew meat (cut in 1 inch cubes) in about 1 cup of flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  Brown in a large skillet (you'll need to do it in 2 batches at least) and put into your slow cooker.  You're looking to get really good color on the meat.  Add to the meat one 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained, along with two envelopes beefy onion soup dry mix.  Into the pan that you browned your meat (with the heat on high), add 2 cups of hearty red wine.  Scrap all those yummy bits off of the pan, bring up to a quick boil and then pour this ito the slow cooker.  Give everything a good stir.

Cook it on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4 hours. 

Serve over cooked egg noodles - I love those kuluski egg noodles...they have more thickness and hold up to this dish.  Some other options are mashed potatoes or maybe some polenta.  hmmm.

Now for the fun part...this makes a BIG batch.  Take the leftovers (no noodles, just stew), pour into a 8 inch square baking dish and top with pie crust.  Cut vents in the crust and bake for about 30 minutes.   Yummy beef pot pie.

Happy eating!

I awoke thinking of Chorizo

Chorizo in Nebraska grocery stores...the kind in the long tube package...is TRULY HORRID. 

However, La Mexicana market near downtown Lincoln, NE makes great chorizo.  It's so flavorful that it can be used not just as a protein but as a flavoring. 

And if you haven't been to the market, it's a true treat.  Full of great stuff...the sweet rolls are in a case between the meat counter and the restaurant and can't be missed.  Though the produce section is small..the cilantro is almost always perfect.  There are usually homemade tamales on the front counter on weekend mornings.  Yummy.

One caution...the ceiling is covered with pinatas.  If you take a child into the store, be prepared to take a pinata out. Just sayin.

Easy Eating - pasta carbonara

Last night when I got home from work, on a snowy Friday, I contemplated take out.  But then realized I had everything to make a quick pasta carbonara and thought you might enjoy the recipe. 

This is bacon and egg pasta.  It's super easy and can be prepared in about 20 minutes. 

It's so flavorful and usually you'll have these ingredients on hand.  This recipe is super easy...here's the key...get all of your ingredients READY before you start.  Put a pot of water on to boil, have your cheese grated, get out the olive oil, red pepper flakes and parlsey and bacon.  Beat 2 eggs in a cereal bowl with a splash of milk.  Chop 3 cloves of garlic. Stick the collendar in the sink.  Get your serving bowl out.  Put a paper towel on plate.  Get those tongs out along with wooden spoon.

Take a full package of bacon...cut 1 inch pieces across the entire slab of bacon.  In a large skillet (it will need to hold a pound of cooked pasta), or dutch oven, add about 1 tablespoon of oilive oil and brown the bacon pieces till crisp.  When you add the bacon to the pan, it will seperate as it cooks so just keep moving it around with a wooden spoon.   Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel.  Meanwhile, cook and drain 1 pound of spagehetti.  In the bacon pan, remove the drippings, add in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan  and turn on the heat to medium and add 3 cloves of chopped garlic and a few good shakes of red pepper flakes and saute for about 1 minute.  It will smell great.  Add the cooked and drained pasta to the garlic oil.  Beat two eggs in a small bowl, add a splash of milk and about 1-2 ladles of the pasta cooking water.  Give it a good beat/stir and pour it over the pasta.  With tongs, stir, mix and keep the pasta moving till the egg mixture is well distributed.  Throw the bacon back into the pasta, along with 3 good handfuls of greated good quality parmeson cheese and small handful of dried parsley.  Mix it up well with the tongs.

This is a crazy part...that's all there is to it and it is smoky and cheesy and satisfying and truly comfort food.  Most of the time, I have bacon, eggs, pasta and cheese on hand so it is a great go to.  Add a salad and some bread and you're set.  

 Happy Eating.