Saturday, August 25, 2012

Potato Salad

Just about finished making the potato salad for church tomorrow. The church is celebrating 25 years with a bbq lunch and a baked bean and potato salad taste off. The girls and I decided to make potato salad, we'll see how it does tomorrow. Sure wish it was for dinner tonight! This recipe is from my mom and grandma, which also means that there's nothing specific about it.

Potato Salad

Use freshly boiled potatoes (1 or 2 per person; we usually do 5 pounds for us which is enough for leftovers next day), peel and slice or dice. While warm, stir in some bacon drippings or salad oil and vinegar to taste. When ready to use, add chopped onion and celery, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

As you can see, nothing specific here. If I'm using 5 lbs of potatoes, I usually use one large onion and 2 or 3 ribs of celery.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Italian Sausage Grinders

I've been having the girls make dinner one night a week. They pick the menu, let me know what they need, and they cook (with help if they need it). They can do something simple (hot dogs and beans) or flip through my cookbooks and find something that will stretch them (or us). It doesn't matter to me, I just want them to get some experience cooking, learn some skills that will help when they head off on their own. Whitney made these awesome subs last week and a basic salad to go with them.

Italian Sausage Grinders
from Anyone Can Cook

1 lb bulk hot or sweet Italian sausage
1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried basil, crushed
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, sliced
1 small green pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 hoagie buns, split
4 slices provolone cheese

In a 3 quart saucepan cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink, stirring to break up meat; drain off fat. Stir in diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar (if using), oregano, salt, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Bring to boiling; reduce heaet. Simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until mixture is thickened.

Meanwhile, in a 10-inch skillet cook onion and green pepper in hot oil over medium heat until tender. Set aside and keep warm.

Place split rolls on a baking sheet. Spoon the meat mixture onto the bottom halves of the rolls. Top with the onion mixture and cheese. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts and is bubbly. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Note: You can use 1 pound of Italian sausage links, just take off the casing and break up the meat as it cooks.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Corn and Cheddar Fritters

I found this recipe in a magazine (Women's Day? Ladies Home Journal?) I was flipping through on vacation and it sounded good. Friday night we had a vegetarian dinner since I had a bunch of things left from the farmer's market I needed to use before they went bad. We had sauteed zucchini and onions, the corn fritters, and roasted asparagus. All of it was really good.

Corn and Cheddar Fritters
makes 8 fritters

1/3 c mayonnaise
1 tsp hot sauce
1/3 c milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c cornmeal
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c fresh corn (I used 3 ears)
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
canola oil

In a small bowl, mix mayo and hot sauce. Set aside in the refrigerator. In a medium bowl, mix milk, egg, baking powder, cornmeal, flour, and salt until smooth. Stir in corn, parsley, and cheese. Pour 1/4 inch of oil into a large skillet and heat. Working in batches, fry 1/4-cup scoops (or a large spoonful) of batter until golden, turning once, about 4 minutes total; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve hot fritters with spicy mayo.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mexican Pizza

I made chicken enchiladas the other night for dinner and had a lot of enchilada sauce leftover. I decided that a Mexican pizza sounded good and I could use the enchilada sauce in place of pizza sauce. This is a pretty healthy dinner, full of veggies and beans. For the corn, you can used canned or frozen; I had some fresh ears that I got from the farmer's market on Sunday and used two ears.

Mexican Pizza
makes 2 pizzas

cornmeal pizza dough (recipe below)
enchilada sauce
1 tomato, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 can black beans, drained
2 or 3 green onions, thinly sliced
shredded cheddar (or Colby Jack or Mexican blend)
optional toppings: sour cream, salsa, diced avocado

Preheat the oven to 425*. Roll the crust onto a pizza stone or other baking pan. Poke several times with a fork so it doesn't rise. Bake 10-12 minutes until slightly browned.

Remove from the oven and spread on the enchilada sauce then top with tomato, red pepper, black beans, corn and green onions (split toppings between the two crusts, use an amount that looks good to you, I didn't use the full can of beans). Top with cheese. Bake 12 minutes until the pizza is cooked and the cheese is melted.

Cornmeal Pizza Dough

2-2 1/2 c all purpose flour
3/4 c yellow cornmeal
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1 c warm water
2 Tbsp cooking oil

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 c flour, cornmeal, yeast, and salt; add water and oil. Beat with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, use that. After the dough is mixed, add in at least another 1/2 c of flour. Mix, then knead for 5 minutes. Add in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Divide dough in half; cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Friday, August 10, 2012

We're home!

Summer has been busy with the girls at camp and a wonderful vacation in Alaska. Before we left for Alaska it had been too hot to cook much but hopefully it'll start cooling down soon, at least enough so that I can cook.

We had a great time in Alaska and enjoyed some really good food. We were on a Princess cruise so there was food available pretty much all the time. We had to tell the girls not to get too used to that! They did enjoy having ice cream whenever they wanted and the pizza was good as well. Probably the best meals that I had were at the Copper River Princess Lodge. I had two great salmon meals there, one with a lemon-dill sauce, the other was red salmon with a cranberry-something sauce. While we did go to two salmon bakes and I had salmon in other places, Copper River is known for it's salmon and it sure didn't disappoint.

We (at least Bob and I) enjoyed the local beer. We had several types from the Alaskan Brewing Co. - the summer ale, white, amber, and Stout. In Skagway, Bob had some spruce beer, another local creation. According to the locals, when Captain Cook came ashore, his crew was suffering from scurvy. The local Indians knew just what to do - spruce tea, which apparently tastes pretty bad. The crew started refusing to drink the tea so Captain Cook came up with the idea to make it (or add it, I'm not sure which and think I heard both) into beer; they'd still get the vitamin C benefits but it tasted much better. I also had a red beer from a local brewery which was really good. In Anchorage, we went to the Glacier BrewHouse for my birthday and I had the raspberry wheat and Bob got the amber ale.

So now it's back home and I'll be doing the cooking for quite a while. I have some cookbooks I'm trying out, some new things I've found and put on Pinterest that I need to start trying as well as recipes that I've found in magazines that I want to try. Hopefully lots of good cooking coming!