Monthly Archives: October 2014

Big Debbie – Oatmeal Creme Pies

Yep I did it again; my husband was reading his weekly Sunday magazine this morning and they have a Food & Drink section with a recipe of the week.  He said “honey you should make these and blog about them”.  I can read between the lines, he really didn’t have any preference if I blogged about them for not; he did however really want me to make them; SO I did – I did mention I was an enabler right!

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I didn’t have everything on hand so he said “give me a list and I will go and get what was needed”; like it was going to be an option for me to go. I feel it is a small price to pay for someone else to bake.  Similar to whoever cooks; someone else has to do the dishes.  It’s only fair right?

The recipe of the week was a play on the Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies.  I am calling them Big Debbie because they have a tablespoon of bourbon in the cookie part and the creme asks for some of the butter to be browned. They are kind of a grown up version of the tasty little morsels, over the years I have bought the little version of them on a whim or maybe a weak moment going through the store, not very often maybe a couple of times a year if that, but they never lasted long when in the house. These are pretty darn good; well see how long these last.

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Cookie

Preheat 350′

2 cups AP flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

2 eggs

1 tablespoon bourbon – I used Jack Daniels’

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

2 ½ cups oatmeal

Line a couple of sheet pans with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt.  In a mixing bowl, beat the unsalted butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in molasses and then the eggs.  Add the whiskey and 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla. On low add the flour mixture and then the oats.  Using a tablespoon, or similar size scoop for uniform cookies; place on parchment a few inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Creme Filing

3 sticks butter, room temperature and divided

3 tablespoon heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

3 cups powdered sugar

Melt 2 sticks of butter in a saucepan; swirl around until butter starts to brown. Pour into a bowl/cup. Cool 10-15 minutes; place in the freezer for about 30 minutes. You want it solid but not frozen.  Add to a stand mixer add remaining butter beat until fluffy.  Stop the mixer and add the heavy cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla and ¼ teaspoon salt. Mix to combine, slowly add powdered sugar on low speed. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Spread creme on cooled cookie and top with another. Makes about 20

New England Gumbo

I am definitely not from the South never living anywhere but NH; well technically I live in Southern NH; but I don’t think that counts. I do love food from all over the world so I thought I would try making a gumbo of sorts.  I say sorts only because I didn’t put okra in it and I don’t want to offend anyone; I have a feeling people who make a traditional gumbo will only call it so if it contains okra.

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I do love shrimp, sausage, cooked onions, garlic and chicken broth plus a little heat is a wonderful addition so how could it be nothing but delicious!  It was I think I am going to make it tomorrow night, I don’t have everything I need right now otherwise I would be making it right now as my mouth is watering  and have it for dinner tonight.  Who knows maybe I’ll pick up some okra and try it.  If I do I will make sure to share how it came out.

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New England Gumbo – only because that is where I live

¾ of cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 boneless skinless chicken breast chopped

1-2 links pork sausage either sliced; casing removed or crumbled in chunks

¾ cup flour

2-3 garlic cloves minced

3 quarts chicken broth

Bottle or can of beer

5 celery ribs, diced

4 Roma tomatoes, diced – Or use Can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes; squeezed while pouring; to break them up a bit

1 sweet onion, diced

1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, with liquid

2-3 jalapenos cleaned and diced

2-3 Tbs. Cajun seasoning – make sure you find a good one, or double check how much salt is included and adjust accordingly

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a dutch oven, medium high heat cook the chicken and sausage through around 6-7 minutes.  Drain meat and set aside, add onion, celery, jalapeno and cook for 3-4 minutes just till tender, add garlic cook another minute; add oil and flour; cook and brown a little 5-6 minutes stirring so it doesn’t stick.  Add the Cajun seasoning stir to coat and gradually add the broth and beer.  Add the can of diced tomatoes with chile peppers.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 40 minutes, stirring often.

Add Chicken, sausage, and shrimp into the broth mixture; Cook, stirring frequently, about 10-20 minutes.

Enjoy with corn bread and a beer – life is good!!!

Weeknight Marinara Sauce

I have had a cold all week and it stinks so I decided it was a good idea to make some soup. I pulled a half dozen or so butternut squash’s from my garden so why not make a butternut squash soup. I will admit I have never really had one that I liked so I was pretty skeptical about making one. I found one online that roasted squash, onions and apples together; I liked the sound of it the smell was awesome. Unfortunately I didn’t like this one either so I am not going to share it with you all. I am very lucky that when we do not like things I can send them home with my in-laws and they end up loving it; or at least that is what they tell me.

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I did make a delicious spaghetti sauce from most of the remaining tomatoes that I got from my garden and a tossed salad with the last of my cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. So it was nice I made something we all liked that I could share with you.

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Most people I know have a go to sauce that they make, one of my girlfriends takes all day to make and it is amazing so I get it. When I have the time that is fine to have it simmering on the stove all day; most times I decide last minute that I want spaghetti for dinner. Those times I have a quick marinara sauce that has lots of flavor and it perfect for a weeknight meal.

Sauce

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 small onions; chopped

3 cloves of garlic; minced

1 ½ tsp red pepper flakes or substitute with 2-3 jalapenos cleaned and chopped fine

1 ½ tsp sugar

2-28 ounce cans whole San Marzano plum tomatoes – or substitute with 8-9 tomatoes from your garden

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onions cook for 2-3 minutes; add garlic cook another minute; season with salt and the red pepper flakes cook till onions soften 7-8 minutes. Add the sugar and tomatoes; either squeeze them or break them up with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium low and cook stirring from time to time until the tomatoes are broken down, 10-15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

If you do use your tomatoes you are going to want to remove the seeds and skin – I cooked my tomatoes first then put them through my new food mill.

Cook your pasta of choice and enjoy!

Grilled Skirt & Flank Steak

If you haven’t ever purchase or tried a skirt or flank steak I really think you ought to check them out. I know they look pretty funky and not very appealing to the eye being all rolled up. And they are not as wildly available in stores as all the other yummy looking steaks; but if you do come across one or both of them give them a chance. They are fairly inexpensive, burn up fast and seasoning them is pretty endless.

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Sometimes you can find them in a cryovac bag which is even better. I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had taken something out of the freezer for dinner. When I see any of them I tend to throw one or more in my cart they are great to have on hand and I like that I can get to it when I want versus having to cook up whatever I wasn’t able to get to and is going to spoil. Life happens and plans change all the time in my crazy world.

If you do have time to plan a dinner ahead it is a perfect time to make a marinade so it can soak up all the yumminess and then you can burn it up the next night. If you decide last minute to make it tonight it is very easy to throw together a quick dry rub and burn it up now. Either way I don’t think you will be disappointed. Serve with a side salad or your one or more of favorite sides.

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There are a few tricks to these types of meat though. They are pretty fibrous and they really need to be seasoned well and they are best served medium rare and thin sliced. You also need to let them rest, but every meat is better if you give them time to rest to let the juice stay inside the meat instead of all over your cutting board. Once they have rested; slice them thin at an angle and against the grain for a tender bite. If you slice with the grain you will definitely know it as your jaw will be getting an incredible work out; and I fear you will never buy another one.

Dry Rub – enough for 2 or more Steaks

½ cup sweet Paprika

4 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp kosher salt

2 ½ tsp onion powder

2 tsp chili powder

¼ – ½ cup peanut oil

2 lb Skirt Steak

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

1-2 limes

Preheat grill to 450-500’ – cook meat about 2-3 minutes per side

Whisk the first 5 ingredients together; rub steak with peanut oil, sprinkle steak with salt and pepper and 4+/- tsp of rub on both sides; place on hot grill turning once. Remove from heat; squeeze fresh lime over meat, let rest for 3-5 minutes. Slice meat diagonally against the grain.

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Marinade – enough for 1 Steak

1½ cup soy sauce

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/3 cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped scallions

½ cup peeled chopped pear

1½ tbs sesame oil

1½ tbs grated orange zest

2 ½ tbs chopped fresh ginger

8-10 cloves garlic

2 lb Flank Steak

Place first 10 ingredients in a blender. Blend into a smooth sauce. Pour the sauce into a heavy duty Ziploc bag; add steak and marinate for up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Preheat grill 450-500’ brush grill with oil; place steak on hot grill 2-3 minutes per side turning once. Remove steak to a platter, cover with foil and let rest 3-5 minutes before serving. Slice meat diagonally against the grain.