all sorts of recipes, from me to you

all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mojo de Ajo






I am hooked on this stuff! 

A while back, I was watching “Mexico – One Plate at a Time” on PBS when Chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill in Chicago, along with his daughter, made Mojo de Ajo.  The title of the show was “Liquid Gold” and believe me, it is!

 If you are crazy about garlic infused olive oil and haven’t made it yourself, now is the time!  This is soooo good!  Rick says that he always has a jar of it in the refrigerator and from now on I will also.  It can be used to sauté about any meat, vegetables, pasta dishes or even on pizza.

Mojo de Ajo (garlic sauce) keeps in the refrigerator for 3 months.  It is easy to make and definitely worth its weight in gold.  Here are some suggestions for using it:

  • Dipping sauce for bread.
  • Spread over pizza crust and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • A brushetta topping.
  • Add it to soups.
  • Toasted French bread.
  • Brown a roast in it.
  • Add it to salad dressings.
  • Over most meats:  steak, chicken, pork.
  • With vegetables:  roast potatoes slathered with mojo de ajo.
  • Add it to pasta sauces.
  • With fish and seafood, such as shrimp scampi.
  • Marinades.
  • On popcorn!

You can use it for practically anything.  If you really like garlic the way I do, you have got to try this!  In Rick’s words:  “take it out of refrigerate and enjoy some deliciousness.” 







Mojo de Ajo
(Garlic Mojo or Liquid Gold) 

Ingredients:

4 large heads garlic 
OR 10 ounces (about 1¾ cups) peeled garlic cloves
2 cups fruity olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup lime juice

Method:

Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Break the heads of garlic apart, then mash each clove (a fist against the side of a knife is what I do) to release the clove from its paper skin.
If using already-peeled garlic, scoop the cloves into a heavy recloseable plastic bag and use a rolling pin to mash them slightly.
Stir together the garlic, oil and salt in an 8x8-inch pan (make sure the garlic is submerged).
Slide it into the oven and bake until the garlic is soft and lightly brown, about 45 to 55 minutes.  (Mine browned in 40 minutes.)
Add the lime juice and return to the oven for 20 minutes for the garlic to absorb the lime and turn golden brown.

Using an old-fashioned potato masher or large fork, mash the garlic into a coarse puree.
Pour the mixture into a wide-mouth storage container and refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it.
This mojo will keep for up to 3 months in the refrigerator as long as there’s enough oil to keep the garlic covered.
When you want to use it, you can let it come to room temperature (because the oil solidifies in the fridge) or just use scoops of the solid oil, which melts when it starts to heat up in the pan.

Makes about 3 cups 

If you really like garlic the way I do, you have got to try this!




Be sure to visit my friend Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes and cookbook giveaway!

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Tribute


Memorial Day is a time for us Americans to take a moment and reflect on the sacrifice and honor shown by our men and women in military uniform ~ this day is for ALL who served this great country. 

Memorial Day strives to stir the patriotic sentiments of every American citizen and remind us that we owe our freedom and liberty to the finest of young men and women who laid down their lives for us ~ they paid the extreme price for the freedom we enjoy today. 

Here’s the love of my life and my favorite veteran, Bill:


Home from basic training as a Private ~ 1965




Bamberg, Germany ~ early 1967 ~ Sergeant

Instructor at 1st Engineering Training Brigade
Ft. Leonard Wood, MO
fall of 1967 ~ Sergeant E5


God Bless all service members and God Bless the U. S. A.!

Have a happy, safe Memorial Day, everyone!



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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cuban-Style Roast Pork



I am fond of Cuban food so when I see a recipe for it, I am attracted like a moth to a flame.  This pork recipe definitely has a Cuban flair and delivers a succulent roast with a punch that is adapted from a recipe in the Chicago Tribune a while back. 

This is a full flavored-combination of garlicky citrus-infused pork that becomes fork tender after roasting.  Although I made this in the oven since it has been so chilly and rainy here for grilling, it would be just as good (better?) if done on the grill.  Then I let it marinade at least 4 or 5 hours and hand it over to Bill who is the master of our grill. 


By the way, are any of you familiar with pork roast supreme?  I’ve roasted a lot of pork over the years but this is the first time I’ve ever seen a “supreme” roast.  The butcher told me that it is similar to a loin roast but has more fat which keeps the meet from drying out.  He was right; it was very moist and tender.

This is not really food related but I just want to share with you a photo of the lilacs I picked from one of our lilac bushes yesterday.  They are definitely one of my favorite flowers and now their intoxicating smell drifts through the house just like it’s clinging in the air outside.  To me there is absolutely nothing like the heavenly scent of lilacs in the spring time!  Here’s hoping you too can take time to smell the lilacs!!!



Cuban-Style Pork Roast 

Ingredients:

1-1/3 cups lime juice
2/3 cup orange juice
1½ teaspoons ground dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 pork roast supreme boneless, about 3 pounds
1 onion, sliced into rings

Method:

Mix all the ingredients except the pork, onion and garlic sal
in a bowl.
Using a long think knife, make deep gashes all over the flesh.
Season the pork with garlic salt and place in a deep bowl.
Pour marinade over the pork, spreading onion rings over the
top.
Cover well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 
hours.
Remove pork from marinade and transfer to a baking dish.
Place the marinade in a saucepan and add the onions.
Heat to a boil, cook 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and arrange onions over roast and spread
some marinade over the roast.
Reserve remaining marinade for a basting sauce.
Place roast in 350 degree oven.
Baste every 15 minutes or so.
Bake for 1 hour or more until meat thermometer registers 150
degrees.  (The meat temperature will rise another 10 degrees while it rests.)
Slice and serve.

ENJOY!!!



Be sure to visit my friend Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes and cookbook giveaway!

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Shrimp and Sweet Pea Sauté




Until the local farmer’s markets are open here, I’m using frozen sweet peas and canned tomatoes in this dish.   In about 4 weeks, the farmer’s markets will open here and I can hardly wait for all the great local vegetables that will be available this summer.  I like the fact that I can financially support the local farmers who work so hard to produce their delicious bounties of the growing season!

It’s a beautiful blend of colors in this shrimp dish and I’m not sure whether the peas or the shrimp is the star here because they both add mouthwatering flavors.  Sugary sweet peas and succulent shrimp are a great marriage and a few more ingredients make it even better. 

We favor this served over pasta but rice or orzo compliment it also.  Here’s the recipe: 

Shrimp and Sweet Pea Sauté 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 green onions, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¾ cup chicken broth
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
2 cups frozen sweet peas, thawed
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
¾ pound pasta, cooked according to package directions

Method:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes, until the
are pink and opaque.  
They do not have to be cooked through at this point.
Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Place green onions in skillet and sauté for one minute.
Add lemon juice and chicken broth and stir until well heated.
Add tomatoes and peas, cooking until hot and peas ar
tender.
Meanwhile, cook pasta until desired consistency.
Add crushed red pepper and salt and pepper.
Return shrimp to skillet and cook for a couple of minutes
until shrimp are cooked through and sauce has thickened.
Serve over pasta. 

ENJOY!!!


Visit my friend Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes and cookbook giveaway!

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Grandma’s Bowl Cookies



Have you ever remembered a favorite food your grandmother made when you were young and wished you had the recipe for it?

I can’t count the number of times I have gone through Mom’s recipe box trying to find the recipe for Grandma’s Bowl Cookies.  I knew that Grandma didn’t write down recipes; at least I had never seen any but, I was hoping that Mom did write down this one.  No such luck.


Grandma - very young!



Then out of the blue, not too long ago, arrived a newsy letter from my wonderful Aunt Phyllis ~ Uncle Jake’s wife.  I opened up the letter and I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!!!  Out fell a newspaper clipping with Grandma’s recipe for her bowl cookies!  Oh my gosh!  I was shocked and thrilled at the same time!

Aunt Phyl told me that a friend of hers was looking through one of her friends’ cookbooks and came across the newspaper clipping with Grandma’s name at the bottom of the recipe so she gave it to Aunt Phyl.  The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) had a weekly column in which readers shared their favorite recipes ~ it may still have it for all I know ~ and Grandma mailed them her recipe for bowl cookies many years ago.
 
Aunt Phyl & Unc Jake

We always called them “bowl cookies” and I have no idea how Grandma came up with that name. The cookies are not rolled out, no cookie cutters were used; maybe Grandma used a small bowl to judge the size (?).   They are a sugar cookie that Grandma made with lard.  I’m sure it’s the lard that gave her cookies the unique taste and I doubt if they would be good using butter or margarine as they would be too bland and spread too much on the cookie sheet when baking.  Bowl cookies are large soft cookies, almost cake-like; baked until they are very lightly golden around the edges, requiring no frosting or decorations. 

My guess is that this would have been a Depression era cookie recipe since the cookies were made with just a few ingredients that were most always available and the price was right.   It seemed like she made these weekly when I was young and also another great cookie with walnuts; another recipe I don’t have!

I’m just sooooo happy to have this recipe and I’m sure Bill is also because he won’t have to listen to me whining anymore about how I wish I had this recipe! 

Sadly though, I must confess ~ when I made them,  they just didn’t taste the same as back then and I know exactly why:  because my dear Grandma didn’t make this batch and because she is no longer here to enjoy them with a cup of coffee and me...








Here’s Grandma’s recipe in her exact words:

Maude’s Bowl Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup lard
2 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup (8-ounces) sour cream
3½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Method:

Cream lard, sugar, salt and vanilla.
Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
Beat in sour cream and flour with baking soda and baking powder mixed in it.
(The secret of having these cookies stay soft is that the dough is not stiff enough to roll with rolling pin.)
Spoon out a “glob” of dough on a floured board.
Dash a little flour on top so your hand won’t stick, and pat to about 1/8-inch thickness, cut and put on baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

NOTE:   These will stay soft if kept in a covered container.


Pam’s notes:

I used an electric hand mixer to cream the lard and sugar for 2-3 minutes.  Then I blended in the sour cream and flour by hand.

For the “glob” of dough, I used a flatware tablespoon, heaping, and just swiped it through the dough.

I did not dash flour on top of the cookie before patting it down.  Instead, I ran my fingers through the flour on the board and then pat down the cookies to about ¼-inch thickness.  This worked much better as the dough is very soft and sticky.  By doing this, the dough did not stick to my fingers at all and was easy to work with.  Use a thin spatula to move the cookies to the baking sheet. 

I baked them at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, a light golden brown color around the edge.



Here’s to you Grandma and…


Thanks for the recipe, Aunt Phyl!




Visit my friend Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes and cookbook giveaway! 



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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm Celebrating Today!


Today is my birthday and I’m not saying yet how old I am but, gas cost 15 cents per gallon the year I was born.  The average new car was $1,020, a portable typewriter (remember them?) cost $68.37, and World War II ended.  And sadly, my favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs lost the World Series to the Detroit Tigers ~ 4 games to 3. 

The microwave oven had not been invented yet, nor had diet soft drinks, the hula hoop, Frisbees, the juke box and credit cards; not to leave out computers, cell phones and McDonalds. 

In Bubba’s words on his blog today:  “Today is the sixth anniversary of the thirtieth anniversary of Mrs. Bubba Sr.’s thirtieth birthday.”  I thank God for every one of them and especially my loving family! 

"The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."
Lucille Ball

Here's wishing you all a wonderful day!!!


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Friday, May 6, 2011

Best to Study French Before Ordering a Meal in Paris


I’ve taken a lot of Spanish classes throughout my life and even though my maiden name is French, I never studied it.  I should have though because…

Many years ago, before we were married, Bill and I and my parents liked the looks of a quaint restaurant in Paris for dinner.  The waiter, along with everyone else didn’t speak English any better than we spoke French, which was none.  I saw Steak Tartare on the menu and said we should order it.  I thought for sure I knew what it was:  “rare steak.”  



All too quickly, the waiter arrived with our meal.  Bill and my parents took a look at the plates laden with raw chopped beef steak with a raw egg sprawled over the top and then glared at me. Unfortunately, we then made a huge mistake ~ we told the waiter as best we could with a lot of gestures that we didn’t want the meat and sent the 4 plates of Steak Tartare back to the kitchen.  

With that the chef flew out of the kitchen toward us, swinging his knife and told us exactly what he thought.  Of course, we couldn’t understand a word of it but swiftly got the gist of what he was saying, re-ordered, ate something I don’t remember now and paid for 8 dinners.

I should have studied French back then, but lucky for those who are studying French now as StudyPoint offers French tutoring programs.  What a great way for students to learn the language!  By having his or her own private French tutor, he or she is enabled to confidently use the language as well as raising test scores in school. 

Obviously, steak tartare is not my favorite way of enjoying beef ~ cooked rare on the grill works for me.  When grilling filet mignon, or really any steak, less is more; less seasoning, less grilling time and less stabbing time with a fork. 

First of all, I let it rest on the kitchen counter to come to room temperature.  Then Bill fires up the grill and I season my steak with a sprinkling of garlic powder and both of them with a little salt when it comes off the grill.  It only needs a little seasoning as the meat stands on its own when it comes to great flavoring. 

Bill makes sure the grill temperature is just right; a high temperature to sear in the juices.  Sear for a couple of minutes, flip it with only using tongs and allow it to continue cooking to your desired doneness.  Here are some tips for using the “finger test” for doneness by gently pressing the steak with one fingertip:


  • It’s rare if your finger leaves an indentation.
  • It’s medium-rare if the steak just barely springs back.
  • It’s medium to medium-well if it springs back quickly.
  • If it is tough to the touch, it’s well done as in inedible, ruined.


When grilled to perfection, remove it from the fire and serve.

Cooking steak on the grill is easy; remember less is more and be sure you know what you are ordering in a restaurant!  




Visit my friend Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes and cookbook giveaway!


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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mediterranean Spinach Strata



This is a great dish for brunch or for a light dinner.  And what is just as good is that it can be made the night before; in fact, that is required.

This recipe is a savory bread pudding that you could add bacon, ham or sausage to.  Buy bakery fresh bread and after 3 or 4 days, when it is not so soft, slice and use it in this strata.  It makes a big difference in the end result. 

I like that this strata because is not filled with lots of oil, it uses low fat milk and does not have an abundance of cheese in it.  The recipe is from my Cooking Light Cookbook.  Here’s the recipe:




Mediterranean Spinach Strata

 Ingredients:

2 (8-ounce) loaves French bread baguette, cut into
¾-inch-thick slices
1 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon flour
2 (7-ounce) bags baby spinach
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper, divided
3 cups thinly sliced plum tomatoes, about 1 pound
1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese
¾ cup (3-ounces) grated Asiago cheese, divided
3 cups low-fat milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onion, garlic and mushrooms, sauté for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over onion mixture, stir well.
Add spinach and cook for 3 minutes until spinach wilts.
Stir in ¼ teaspoon each, salt and pepper.
Place half of bread slices in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish that is coated with cooking spray.
Spread spinach mixture over bread.
Top with tomato slices.
Sprinkle evenly with feta and half of Asiago cheese.
Arrange remaining bread slices over cheese.
Combine ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, milk and
remaining 4 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk.
Pour over bread; sprinkle with remaining Asiago cheese.
Cover; chill 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Uncover strata and bake for 1 hour or until lightly browne
and set.
Serve warm
About 8 servings



ENJOY!



Visit my friend Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes and cookbook giveaway! 

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