Sunday, January 30, 2011

You've Been Chopped! - Mushroom and Sour Cream Sauce Phaedra Style

This was the last recipe! It was yummy. I channeled my mushroom alfredo sauce, but with a twist. I used the sour cream which was the last ingredient and instead of putting it over pasta, it was used as the sauce for our polenta.

1 pkg crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 leek, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 milk
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1/4 white wine
2 tbsp sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste.
slices polenta, fried

In a large saute pan, heat extra virgin olive oil. Saute the leeks, until limp. Add the garlic, and mushooms and saute until cooked. Add the white wine. Saute for about 7 - 10 minutes. While the mixture is cooking, spray a hot griddle with Pam. Cooked the sliced polenta until golden brown. Right before serving, slowly add the milk and continue stirring. The milk has the potential to curdle so make sure you either turn the heat down to low or turn it completely off. Add the cheese a little at a time and stir until completely melted. Again, the cheese could clump, so you want to make sure you don't add it all at once. Stir in the sour cream. On a plate, place 1 - 2 slices of the sliced polenta and spoon over the mushroom mixture.

You've Been Chopped! - Parsnips and Brussel Sprouts Phaedra Style

This was the second recipe I came up with tonight. I gotta tell you I had a blast thinking up recipes. Especially since I had no clue what parsnips tasted like and had never cooked them before. I assumed they tasted a bit like a cross between carrots and turnips.

4 Parsnips, peeled and cubed
7 Brussel sprouts, quartered w/ends cut off
5 strips of bacon, chopped
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

In about 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter, add the parsnips. These little beauties are quite hard and will take a bit to get soft. Saute on medium to high heat, stirring fairly frequently. Add the bacon and keep stirring. Add the quartered brussel sprouts. Add the chicken stock and continue sauteeing. Add salt and pepper taste and the freshly ground nutmeg.

You've Been Chopped! - Pork Tenderloin Phaedra Style

Have you all seen that "reality" show on Food Network, Chopped, where there are three chef's who are given a basket of 3 - 4 ingredients and they are given a time limit to come up with a main course with those ingredients that the judges actually like. A friend of ours came over tonight and we decided to have our own version of chopped. It was a blast! I will give you the three recipes I came up with. The 5 ingredients they brought over were: Crimini mushrooms, Sour cream, Parsnips, Polenta and Pork tenderloin. The first recipe is for the Pork tenderloin:

1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin
3 tbsp dried rosemary
3 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp jerk seasoning
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp chipotle powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 chicken stock.
In a bowl mix all ingredients together into a paste. Rub the tenderloin with the paste. Place in a shallow baking dish. Preheat oven at 425 degrees. Bake the tenderloin for about 40 minutes until the internal temperature reaches about 170 degrees (well done). At about 10 minutes prior, add about 1/4 cup chicken stock to the bottom of the dish. This will create a nice little gravy for the pork.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Refrigerator Pickled Jalapenos

Back when I got into jarring/canning, we were big into going to the farmer's market and picking up fresh fruits/veggies and canning everything under the sun. I started making refrigerator pickled jalapeno's for Dave because we found a bushel of them for really cheap!! Well now whenever I find these babies on sale, I pick up a crapload and pickle them for him. They are usually twice as big as the ones you get in the jars on the shelves and I can make them a heck of a lot tastier ;O). Hope you enjoy!

The jalapeno's at the store today were huge!!! Usually I wait for a sale, but I just couldn't pass them up.

As many jalapenos as you can fit into whatever jar you are using...Cram 'em in there!!!
Distilled white vinegar
2 - 3 heaping tbsp minced garlic
2 -3 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 heaping tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt

To prepare the jalapenos, wash them very well. I trim the ends off, so they don't take up precious space. I also take a sharp knife, and slice just a couple of holes in the peppers, so the brine will seep into the peppers, and help them sink, rather than float when I pour the brine into the jar. I clean the jar very well and stuff those beautiful peppers into the jar as many as I can get. Once you pour the hot brine over them, they will also shrink. While you are doing this, you can bring the vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil and just let it cook for about 4 - 5 minutes. Continue stuffing the jalapenos into the jar. Add the garlic and the crushed red peppers. When the vinegar has been boiling for a few minutes, bring the jar over to the vinegar. Begin ladleing the brine into the jar up to the rim. You will have air pockets...make sure you use a plastic handled spoon to try and remove some of the air pockets. A metal handle may actually shatter the jar. If you find some of the liquid has receded, add more. Seal the jar. Cool completely before you put into the refrigerator. Let the jalapeno's pickle for about 2 weeks before you eat them.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Penne with Vodka Sauce

I had made this a while back but actually forgot to put it on my blog. I had found this recipe on food network, a recipe provided by Giada and it was yummy! I hope you enjoy it. I didn't change much from the recipe, because I love Giada's recipes!

1 quart Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe is below.
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound penne

Simmer the tomato sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir the cream into the tomato and vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to the pan with the sauce, and toss to coat.

Simple Tomato Sauce:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, Muir Glen Fire Roasted, no salt added
4 to 6 basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning. If sauce tastes too acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavor. Pour half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dave's Apple Dumplings

Well today is National Pie Day, and we decided to celebrate early. Last night Dave had a craving for dessert and a bit of nostalgia and wanted to make something that his momma used to make for him when he was a kid. The premise is that each person has an "individual apple pie." They are little apple dumplings. You use a standard pie crust, take a peeled apple and use all of the fixins of an apple pie and stuff it inside the pie crust, seel it up and bake it. They were so yummy! Hope you all enjoy it!

Pie Crust

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick well-chilled Crisco all vegetable shortening
3 - 6 tbsp ice cold water


3 apples, any kind, peeled, cored
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon
1 stick of butter, softened

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. For the pie crust, blend flour and salt in medium mixing bowl. Cut chilled shortening into 1/2 inch cubes. Cut in chilled shortening cubes into flour mixture, using a pastry blender, in an up/down chopping motion, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with small pieces remaining. Sprinkle half the recommended amount of ice cold water over the flour mixture. Press chunks down to bottom of the bowl with a fork. Add more water by the tbsp until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together. Shape dough into a ball for single pie crust. Divide into three parts, one per apple. You will be rolling each section out to envelope the apple. Work with 1 section at a time. Roll into a ball and flatten into a patty. With a rolling pin, keeping it round, flatten into an 1/8 inch thick, enough to cover the entire apple. Peel and core 1 apple. Baste the top of the dough with the softened butter. Crumble about 1 tbsp of brown sugar on top of the butter. Dust with cinnamon, about 2 tsp. Dust the apple with cinnamon, both inside and out. Set in the center of the dough. Put about a tsp of brown sugar inside the core of the apple and about a tsp of butter in the core of the apple. Fold up the sides of the dough, and squish together. Make a point at the top, it will look like a teardrop. You can cut the top of it to make it flat (for presentation). At this point, prepare the other two apples. Put them all in an oven safe bowl, because they will make syrup. At this point point, take the rest of the butter, melt it, and baste the outsides of each of the dumplings. Dust the outside with cinnamon and put about a tsp of brown sugar on the top. Bake for 15 minutes, and then knock the temperature down to 350 for another 45 minutes. They were very yummy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dave's Fried Taters

Sometimes you just have to have breakfast for dinner! Well tonight was one of those nights. We both weren't in the mood for cookin and we had some spuds that were yelling at us from our pantry that they were lookin to take a dip into the oil! So we decided to make fried taters and scrambled eggs. Dave was tasked to do the spuds and he came up with some mighty tasty ones! Hope you enjoy his spin on them!

6 - 7 potatoes, sliced
8 mushrooms, sliced
6 scallions, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 flower of garlic, whole
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and scrub the potatoes, and slice, leaving the skins on. Peel the garlic, but leave the cloves whole. In a very large skillet, preheat 1/3 cup of olive oil. Put all of the garlic into the olive oil. On very low heat, saute the garlic in the oil, until brown. You don't want it to burn. Once brown, remove from heat and set aside. Raise the heat, then add the potatoes. You want to make sure the potatoes brown on the bottom. Make sure you don't stir frequently, because the potatoes will turn to mush. It is important to keep them "clean", don't add oil, salt, pepper, spices, etc. This will minimize sticking. Once you have turned them 3 - 4 times and they are about 3/4 of the way done, this is when you will add the onions and the mushrooms. Periodically turn the mixture, making sure they are browning all sides. Since the onions have sugars in them, you want to keep them from sticking, but again, you don't want to turn to frequently. Just stick your spatula underneath the potatoes to prevent them from sticking but try not to flip them. While the spuds are cooking, chop the garlic that you removed earlier from the oil. About 3 minutes prior to serving the potatoes, add the garlic, salt and pepper and stir to blend. Serve the spuds!

They were excellent.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Autumn Risotto

The hubs and I were in PA on vacation meeting our new grandbaby Wyatt. We came back and found a few science projects in our fridge. After cleaning a few things out, I decided to make a risotto with what was salvagable! I found when making risotto, that it is one of the things my father used to call a pastish. When my dad was in the mood to clean out the fridge, he would call it a pastish and put anything and everything into the dish he was making and it would be edible. I have found that risotto is very forgiving when it comes to what you can add to it. It is your basic standby, arborio rice and stock, and then whatever your lil heart wants to add to it! I hope you enjoy.

5 - 7 cups homemade chicken or veggie stock
4 chicken breasts, cubed
1 1/2 cups of arborio rice
2 small acorn squash, peeled and diced
2 portobello mushrooms, diced
1 leek, cleaned and chopped
1 elephant garlic, chopped
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbsp dried sage
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
Grated parmesan cheese (garnish)
Crushed walnuts (garnish)

In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil. In a dutch oven, preheat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the cubed chicken and saute until cooked. Remove from the heat. In the same pot, add the leeks and the garlic and cook until limp. Deglaze with the white wine. Add the rice and stir until all liquid has evaporated. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add 2 ladles of stock to the rice mixture and stir until liquid has evaporated, over medium low heat. About 3/4 of the way through the stock, add the spices, nutmeg, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, and stir in the mushrooms, squash and the chicken. Continue adding the stock until you have used it up, 2 ladles at a time. After the liquid has evaporated, you will be left with a creamy rice and a yummy dish! Pour rice into a bowl and sprinkle with the crushed walnuts and the grated parmesan cheese.

Steak Marinade

Dave makes an awesome marinade for steak. This is something that is best used if you are able to let these babies rest for at least 2 hours in this juicy goodness!

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp Montreal steak spice
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
1/2 cup zesty Italian dressing
(with the dressing, you can use Italian dressing, he has used vidalia onion dressing, zesty italian dressing, balsamic vinagrette, etc, nothing really creamy such as ranch or blue cheese, but I don't see why you wouldn't be able to if you wanted to get creative)

Combine all ingredients into a Ziploc bag and place the steak inside and seal. Let stand for about 2 - 3 hours before grilling. As you are grilling, pour the remaining marinade over the steak.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignion

I have been dying to try Julia's Boeuf Bourguignion. For my birthday Dave got me a gas grill (yippee!!) and I thought now would be the perfect time to try the recipe! I used my dutch oven and found the recipe on . Now to be honest, I have never seen the actual recipe so I am not sure how authentic this truely is, but I am guessing and hoping it is as accurate as possible! If you happen to try this recipe, seriously, make sure you devote at least half a day to making this. It is very labor intensive and time consuming but what you end up with is pure gold!

For the Stew
6 ounces bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp salt
14 tsp pepper, freshly ground
2 tbsp flour
3 cups red wine (a full bodied wine like Bordeaux or Burgundy or Chianti), I used Bordeaux
2 - 3 cups beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
5 garlic cloves, mashed
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh

For the braised onions

18 - 24 white pearl onions, peeled
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup beef stock
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 sprigs parsley

For the sauteed mushrooms

1 lb mushroom, quartered
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil


First prepare the bacon, cut the bacon into 1 1/2 inch long pieces (lardons). Simmer the pieces for about 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry the "lardons" and reserve. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a tbsp of olive oil in a large (9" - 10" wide 3" deep) fireproofe casserole or dutch oven and warm over moderate heat. Saute the lardons for 2 - 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Dry off the pieces of beef and saute them, a few at a time in the hot oil/bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Once browned, remove to the side plate with the bacon. In the same oil/fat, saute the onion and the carrot until softened. Pour off the fat and return the lardons and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion. Toss the contents of the casserole with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour. Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes. Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for 4 more minutes. Now, lower the heat to 325 degrees and remove the casserole from the oven. Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove. Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for three to four hours. the meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms and set them aside till needed.

For the onion, if using frozen make sure they are defrosted and drained. I used fresh. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet. Saute over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart. Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover. Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated. remove the herbs and set the onions aside.

For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet. As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove the heat.

To finish the stew; when the meat is tender, remove the casserole from the oven and empty its contents into a sieve set over a saucepan. **This is where I strayed from the recipe. I did not do this. I left the carrots and onions in the stew because we just couldn't discard them...they were just to tasty!** Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it (discarding the bits of carrot and onion and herbs which remain in the sieve). Distribute the mushrooms and onions over the meat. Skim the fat off the sauce and simmer it for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat which rises to the surface. You should be left with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Taste for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. If you are serving immediately, place the covered casserole over medium low heat and simmer 2 - 3 minutes. Serve in the casserole or on a warm platter surrounded by buttered noodles sprinkled with fresh parsley.