Monthly Archives: March 2017

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Spareribs

We are getting very close to the end of March and we still have a ridiculous amount of snow on the ground. It is actually snowing as I sit here writing this blog.  Us up here in the North East are itching to get outside, I have already started planning what I want to grow in my garden this year. I also have a Beef Tri Tip steak that I REALLY want to cook out on the grill.  Unfortunately the weather is NOT cooperating at all and even though I have done it before cooking outside in the “winter” is not fun.
IMG_5016It’s funny how people including myself have certain meals they eat at certain times during the years. Colder months people want soups and stews, warmer months they want burgers and pastas. I do use my grill quite a bit in the summer. Some people put their slow cookers aka crockpots away in the summer. I do not, I will use it whenever I need a little break from the stove/oven/grill. It makes great pulled pork anytime and in the dog days of summer it is a great way to have a nice dinner ready for you when you get home. Bonus you don’t have to overheat the house because you don’t need to turn on the stove or oven.

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I pulled out an old recipe that my sister shared with me before I had kids, maybe even before I was married and had my own home.  Yeah it’s that old but it is pretty darn delicious and super easy. You might even have most everything on hand.  It comes together in less than 10 minutes. Cooks all day while you are at work, or out enjoying the day and voila dinner is served.
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Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Spareribs

1 large can of crushed pineapple
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup Vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Boneless spare ribs or whatever your favorite ones are
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Place the ribs in the bottom of your slow cooker, in a small bowl combine all the other ingredients and then pour over the ribs. Cook on low all day. When you get home you can make some mashed potatoes, egg noodles or polenta.
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Have to share that I spent 10 minutes or less making the ribs and then decided to make polenta for the first time in my life, which took me a good 30+ minute to make.  I even laughed at myself while I was doing it.

Chocolate Martini

This is my first time sharing a Martini recipe so I hope you will make it and forgive me for not having a food recipe on this one blog. My daughter told me not to, my girlfriend said why not! So I went with the why not; sorry Abbi
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Using a shot glass for your measuring cup this makes one, which who would ever make just one!
1 1/2 Godiva chocolate liqueur
1 1/2 creme de cacao
1/2 vodka my go to is Ketel One
2 ½ milk
Chocolate sauce

Fill your shaker with ice, add all the ingredients and shake shake shake. swirl chocolate sauce around your martini glass and fill with the cocktail straining out the ice ENJOY!
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I am not one to make New Year resolutions; at least out loud. I mean I do think the standard get in shape one but that is daily so that one doesn’t really count. I am not a huge fan of clutter yet it seems to be almost impossible to control. There are SO many things that come into the house that stay for sometimes way longer than they should. I will take full blame for most everything that has to do with the kitchen, cooking, cupboards and pantry.

We’ve been in the house 14 years this week. I went from having barely any storage to having what most would consider a ton. It might have taken me a while but I am now over flowing with “stuff” It might have something to do with me loving theme parties, me writing a weekly food blog, or me just loving glasses, dishes, bowls, serving trays, appliances and gadgets, oh so many gadgets.

I have decided that this will be the year of tackling a drawer, cupboard, room or closet one at a time. I figured that wouldn’t be too difficult. I didn’t give myself a time table, I didn’t tell myself I HAD to do this; I figured it would be best to just do it. So far I have gotten through 5 or 6 cupboards and a portion of my clothes closet. In one cupboard I had a dozen or so margarita glasses??! I don’t even like them; tequila and I broke up well over 20 years ago. So they all; along with many other things went to Goodwill. I now I must make a small confession. After I left goodwill, I immediately drove to Pier One and bought martini glasses ahhhhh Life is Good!

Crispy Risotto Cakes

I am SO excited to have another trick up my sleeve for leftover risotto. I only have leftovers because I double or so the batch every time I make it 🙂  My daughter works at my favorite local restaurant and she has a tendency to text me when she knows that her dad and I would love their special for the night. This is both awesome and terrible. Awesome because we have an amazing dinner, terrible because it gets mighty costly since they make such amazing food we can’t seem to resist.
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One such dish is dayboat scallops over a crispy risotto cake with some greens and a light sauce. Let me just say that seared scallops are just plain heavenly; all they need is a little salt and pepper and I am one happy camper. Throw in a crispy risotto cake and ahhhhhhhh!
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I am in the habit of making a double batch of risotto. While it is not difficult to make it is a little time consuming as you can’t or at least shouldn’t leave the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong you can still multitask but it’s best to hang around the stove so you can be sure to add more liquid to the rice before it dries out completely.
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I have shared with all of you how I make Arancini see link for the post/recipe https://cookingatclarktowers.com/2016/03/20/arancini/

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I started out using the wrong pan

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had to switch to a nonsitck

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I made a mess of the first pan!

The guys at the restaurant shared with Abbi how they make the crispy risotto cake. She came home and declared we can totally make them; So we did!

Directions:
Spread out the risotto on a nonstick sprayed rimmed sheet pan, using a cookie cutter that I would also spray with nonstick spray.  Cut out your rounds, on tray that will fit into your freezer, cover it with wax paper and freeze your rounds for an hour or so.  Transfer to a freezer bag for use anytime you want to make them. Great for a quick side during the week.

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It is a messy job but my rice was super wet, I might dry it out a little more next time.


Shirred Eggs

A few weeks ago I ripped out a page from a cooking magazine that looked like something we would eat. I do this ALL the time and have SO many pages that I don’t really know how to deal with them. Or at least I haven’t actually done anything with all of them other than place them in “like” piles such as seafood, sandwiches, salads, side dishes etc. you get the picture. Not the most efficient if you are looking for something in a hurry but until I find some miracle way of organizing them; it’ll have to do.
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I find that when I start looking through these papers, I want to make 4 or 5 different things and then I spend the day or weekend cooking and baking; once you do this someone has to eat it all. I do share my food with whoever is interested and thankfully I have a pretty good reputation of making  yummy food so I tend to have a lot of takers.
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I had planned to go to the store last night for the week’s groceries and never got there. It’s Sunday and I sometimes make a clean the fridge frittata but I only had 3 eggs left; there were 3 peeps for breakfast. I remembered the shirred egg picture/recipe and thought I could try making something similar with what I had on hand thinking it was meant to be.
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I did google what shirr meant so here is a quick wikipedia definition for you. While the 3 of us were eating them I also shared this info with my fam.  They both LOVED them and were both coming up with what they would put in theirs.
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Shirred eggs are eggs that have been baked in a gratin dish with a flat bottom. Traditionally they have been cooked in a dish called a shirrer, from which the dish gets its name, but the name now applies regardless of the type of dish in which they are baked
img_4993img_4995Shirred Eggs

Breakfast sausage, crumbled and browned
½ onion, diced
Roasted tomatoes
Asparagus, sliced
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese, grated
Scallions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
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In a small saute pan brown the sausage along with the onion, add the tomatoes and asparagus for 1 to 2 minutes. Spray your small dishes with nonstick cooking spray. Fill with sausage mixture, cover with cheddar cheese, crack an egg in each dish. Sprinkle with parmesan and scallions. Salt and pepper then bake at 375’F for 12 minutes or until the whites are set.  They look adorable and special plus super easy.