Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fast and Slow - two meals out of very little

I have been trying to cook with what I have on hand because, brother, I have stashed a lot of stuff. 

Saturday night we try to eat a light dinner because of snacks with the horror movie later that evening.  I had leftover broccoli in the fridge and a 10 pound bag of onions I had just gotten at the wholesale club.  I was dying to cook some onions, slowly, with Aleppo pepper.  Two big onions filled my skillet, which had 2 tablespoons of butter melted in it.  I added a pinch of salt and the Aleppo and let it slowly turn into red gold.
Broccoli-cheese puffs

Into two individual dishes went the broccoli, chopped.  About 1/8 cup of the onion goodness in each, followed by 1/4 cup of shredded sharp cheddar.  I whipped 4 eggs with 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of self-rising flour, seasoned this with some salt, pepper and nutmeg, then poured it over the vegetables and cheese.  Into the oven for 25 minutes at 350 and dinner!

Today I went back to the freezer for turkey legs left from the fresh turkey that I dismembered last Christmas.  These were seasoned, browned and braised in white wine with all the usual suspects (onion, carrot and celery).  I put them in a 275 degree oven for 4 hours.
the bacon

I started this with two strips of bacon in the pan, browned then removed.

The turkey legs had been severed at the ankle, allowing me to remove those pesky leg bones and "needles" after cooking.  I seasoned them with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.
the legs, minus the ends
 About two small onions, 4 carrots and the inside of a bunch of celery heart that I found wilting in the vegetable drawer went in to brown up.  Then white wine, a little water a little pinch of salt and some pepper.

When it was done, I removed the meat, removed the skin and bones from the meat, then shredded the meat into bite-size pieces.

The vegetables in the pan were smashed with the potato masher to make the sauce.  The meat was added back to the pan and the whole thing tasted again for seasoning.


white wine and Penzey's poultry seasoning

Served with steamed brussel sprouts and smashed yukon gold potatoes.  All that was missing was the cranberry.  The best thing - the house smelled divine the entire afternoon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2 pounds of Sirloin, more than two meals

This is a one meat-two+ meals thing.  The sirloin in the marinade grills up beautifully but keep it on the rare side since leftovers are going to become Savory Sirloin with Peppers and Onions. 

 Grilled Sirloin in Kentucky Bourbon Marinade

1 cup  beef stock
1/3 cup  bourbon
1/8 cup  soy sauce
3 cloves  garlic -- minced
3 green onions -- sliced (these are totally optional and I've often used chives because they grow in my garden
                        fresh ground pepper
2 pounds  sirloin steak, trimmed and tenderized

Combine the stock, bourbon, soy sauce, garlic, onions and pepper in a bowl. 
Pour over steak and allow to marinate 4 hours, refrigerated.  Turn after two hours.
Grill over medium, medium low heat until rare.

Save half the steak for Savory Sirloin.

This is NOT a chinese pepper steak.  It really pops with some chopped pickled banana peppers on it but since we really like things that are vinegary that may be personal.  I did envision it as an open-faced sandwich and provolone melted over it.  Maybe Italian beef?

Savory Sirloin Beef with onions and peppers

 Leftover Grilled Sirloin in Kentucky Bourbon Marinade -- (1/2 recipe) sliced thinly against the grain
3 medium  onion -- sliced
1 Large  red bell pepper
4 tablespoons  butter
1/8 teaspoon  garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon  onion powder
                        salt and pepper
2 tablespoons  Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon  Tabasco sauce

Start 2 T. butter in a hot skillet.  Add the sliced onions and salt.  Caramelize slowly over low heat.
Add the sliced peppers, raising the heat.  Cook until tender and colored on the edges.
Add the sliced steak, seasonings, Worcestershire and Tabasco and the remaining butter.  Lower heat to warm without cooking.
Serve over toast, noodles, rice, potato, whatever you fancy.

Now the cost - I got the sirloin at about $3.50 per pound because I bought an entire sirloin and had it cut into 1 pound pieces, about 1 1/2" thick.  The thicker cut makes it more versatile.  Slice it raw and it becomes strogonoff or pepper steak.  Whole it grills, braises or sautes.  And there are a lot of steaks in a whole sirloin.  Red bell peppers were $1.50 this week and are a nutritional powerhouse, onions are about $2 per pound and I used 1/2 pound.  Bourbon is always around the house, as is butter, and it didn't take that much.  Beef broth was a little beef base dissolved in warm water.  Garlic, pennies.   So for less than $10 dollars I got two meals for two and leftovers of the Savory Sirloin to make a casserole with rice (also a leftover in the fridge) for lunch for two.
You should see what I can do with a chicken!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The garden is coming to a close

The heat and the drought have played a number on the harvest.  But we still have Okra.  Lots and lots of okra.  So tonight it was the major player in dinner.  We had Okra stewed with Tomatoes, Smothered pork chops and buttered rice.  A little trip to South Carolina.

I love those little Philly Cream Cheese Minis.  I like to keep them on hand to stir into sauces.  And I used Penzey's Cajun seasoning on the chops.  For chicken base the Sam's club Tone's chicken base is my choice.  I haven't found a good beef base but the chicken is great.  If the recipe only calls for a little chicken stock, rather than open a can or carton I will mix up the chicken base in hot water.

                            Okra and Tomatoes

  2             slices  bacon -- diced small pieces
  1              small  onion -- peeled, chopped
  1              clove  garlic -- minced
  1                can  diced tomatoes - (15 oz ea)
  1 1/2           cups  tomatoes -- diced
  2          teaspoons  chicken base
  2               cups  cut (1") fresh okra -- Top removed, cut lengthwise into 1" pieces
                        Freshly-ground black pepper -- to taste
  1              pinch  cayenne

Cook bacon until crisp and remove.  Saute onion and garlic in bacon fat until tender.  Add tomatoes, chicken base, and pepper.  Stir well and let simmer for about 20 to 40 minutes.  Adjust seasoning if needed.
Meanwhile wash okra and cut into pieces.  Add the okra and simmer until okra is done, about 20 more minutes.
This recipe yields 4 servings.

                           Smothered Pork Chops

  4                     center-cut pork chops, bone-in or boneless
                        Salt and freshly ground black pepper -- or Cajun seasoning
                        Ground cayenne pepper
  2        tablespoons  olive oil
     1/4           cup  all-purpose flour -- spread on a plate
  2             medium  green bell peppers -- stemmed, cored, and membranes removed, cut into strips
  1                     yellow onion -- trimmed, cut lengthwise
  2             cloves  garlic -- minced
  1                cup  chicken broth
  2        tablespoons  cream cheese
  1         tablespoon  Wondra® Quick-mixing flour

Trim the excess fat from the chops and season well with salt, pepper, and cayenne or Cajun seasoning blend. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Dust the seasoned chops in flour, shake off the excess. Brown well, about 3 minutes per side, and remove them to a plate.
Add the bell peppers and onions, to the skillet, and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook  about another minute. Pour in the broth and simmer 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Add chops to pan and move the vegetables to the top of the pork chops .  Cover the pan and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until chops are tender.
Stir cream cheese into the liquid in the pan.  When dissolved sprinkle the Wondra over the liquid and whisk in.  Bring to a boil to thicken

We still have okra, chard, some small tomatoes (really small) and there are still 2 basil plants.  I have already frozen basil but will probably freeze more.  We tried one of the jars of Okra Pickles and they were pretty good.