Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Very Evil Spinach

Living in wonderful Wisconsin, I am treated to very bipolar weather. Monday I was outside in a swimsuit, whistling while washing windows (alliteration anyone?), got a painful sunburn, and well is frikkin' cold as hell out where I have the heat turned on waiting for tomorrow's supposed snow. When it's cold out, I crave comfort food. This recipe for creamed spinach is essentially healthy spinach parading around in a devil's costume, because it's not good for you at all. It is delicious and it should be because the amount of butter and carbs in here make it SOOOOOOOOO good.

Creamed Spinach

1 stick butter
8 TBL Flour
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste
1 pinch ground nutmeg
ANOTHER 3 TBL butter....lord help me
24 ounces of leaf spinach

Melt 1 stick butter in a pot. Sprinkle flour in there and cook over medium heat until it turns to a roux that is light golden brown. Chuck that onion and garlic into the mix and cook for another minute. Pour in milk, whisking all the while, and cook for another five minutes.

While that is cooking, you need to cook the spinach. In a separate pan, melt the 3 TBL of glorious butter and add the spinach in increments until incorporated and cook until wilted but NOT soggy (approx. 4 minutes).

Season the cream sauce with the salt/pepper/nutmeg. Add spinach to the cream sauce and stir gently.

Flick that angel sitting on your shoulder, and ask the little diablo on the other side if you can borrow his pitchfork so you can dig into some buttery, creamy, spinach awesomeness.

Oh yeah, this probably should be served as a side to a nice steak, but I've heard that some people make this as their meal and eat it all alone. Gotta go....I've just been told I've got something green in between my teeth.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fu Manchu Bunny

Hope everyone's Easter holidays were incredible and full of delicious food. I know that I usually have tons of leftovers and I also have a terrible disease that only allows me to eat leftovers once afterwards. Nope, cannot force myself to eat the same food more than that without trying to re-invent it.

I colored eggs with my kiddo twice this holiday season, and what do I get? A ton of pastel colored eggs which will most likely end up in the trash if one doesn't get creative with these suckers. I came across this recipe last year, and it's a WINNER: Asian inspired deviled eggs.

Asian Deviled Eggs
12 servings
1 dozen hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (with 2 teaspoons reserved)
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 to 2 scallions, sliced

In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, mayonnaise, sesame oil, and sesame seeds (excluding the reserved 2 teaspoons), wasabi powder, salt and black pepper; mix well. Fill egg white halves with yolk mixture and place on a platter. Top each egg with sliced scallion and sprinkle with reserved sesame seeds. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

PREPARATION TIP: Place egg mixture in a resealable plastic storage bag, seal, and cut tip off one corner of bag. Pipe egg mixture into egg white halves.

Even if you don't have extra eggs to utilize this recipe, I suggest you keep this one in your back pocket as a great appetizer for when folks come over. It's always fun to throw a curve ball when it comes to a well established recipe.

Let me know if you have any great re-invention recipes for the holidays!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I know, I know.....

I have been a bit relaxed when it comes to posts lately. I haven't been doing a lot of cookig as I have been super busy with other things, so I hardly think that blogging about that fancy grilled cheese is worth everyone's while.

But, I'm back and feeling like cooking up a storm. I even bought a whole duck yesterday. Never made a whole duck before but I'm ready to give that one a whirl. What's even better, is I know my Dad will be smiling down on me. Goodness, that man loved duck something FIERCE.

So, I'm back on board. Get ready to hear about some quacky cooking.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Channeling Dahmer

We had a dinner party with friends on Saturday night with the theme being recipes by Giada De Laurentiis. We all did some prep work at home and came together to complete the dishes at my house. The protein which I plucked out of the Giada pile, was Crispy Lamb with a Honey Mascarpone Sauce.

I had to go for the lamb as I like making things at these dinner parties that I don't usually take the time for. Little did I know that finding rack of lamb in Racine is like hunting for the Holy Grail. I called multiple grocery stores only to hear 'NO'. I popped into two stores, asked within the meat butcher laughed at me and the other said that this cut of meat was "too expensive for Racine". Finally, I called up a supplier of meat to restaurants in the area, and hooray, they had it.

I've worked with rack of lamb before and apparently have lived in blissful ignorance in regards to the butchering process of this fine cut. Historically, my racks have come vacuum sealed, with almost all the fat trimmed, and beautifully frenched little tips. Let's just say that this "rack" that my hubby brought home was more of a ribcage. Spinal cord, check. Full on meat and fat all the way to ends of the ribs, uh-huh. I had to go to a very dark, primal place to even think about dismantling this sucker.

Ask me how I did it? With an electric hack-saw. Yep, right down the spinal cord. Two more diagonal cuts to completely rid us of that pesky backbone and then I had the frenching to do. Let me just tell ya, when I was done butchering this lamb (which took well over an hour), the corner of my kitchen where the dismantling took place was covered with: 1. blood 2. fat 3. bone 4. marrow. You must be smacking your lips right about now, right? Well, I knew that all the blood (literally) and sweat that it took to do this, I would be enjoying myself some tasty lamb that night. Did I ever.

Giada, thank you. It was delicious. Even Karri, who shys away from any protein that doesn't cluck, gobble, or oink, had a piece and liked it (or, so she says). And man, that sauce. I think I could just make that sauce and eat it by the spoonful while watching some sappy chick flick. It's that good.

Enjoy my before and afters of this butchering process. Please don't be afraid to leave your children with me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I am having an affair.....

Olive oil, you have been good to me. For many years you have been my culinary companion, and I will only look back on the time we spent together with great fondness. But, I have found somebody else. I have been sneaking around with grapeseed oil and I am beyond infatuated.

If you haven't cooked with grapeseed oil yet, go on and buy your self some. What I love most about cooking with grapeseed oil is that it has a relatively high smoke point, approximately 420 °F (216 °C), so it can be safely used to cook at high temperatures. This oil has allowed me to sear some serious meats and the oil never burns, and those gorgeous caramel brown sear marks on the meat......well, they make me shiver with excitement.

Let's talk about the taste. It has a clean, light taste that is described as 'nutty'. Nutty, but fresh. I love the robust, rich flavor of a good olive oil (especially for dipping bread), but man, this is a nice change. It allows the flavor of food to really seep through and it's not clouded by anything else.

Oh yeah, and did I tell you how healthy this stuff is? Brings the good cholesterol up, and the bad cholesterol down. Even more so than olive oil.....I am hooked.

Bottom line is that olive oil may need to sleep on the couch a while. Me and grapeseed will be in the bedroom for a bit longer. Oh, and if you are ready to fall in love too, then you should check out Wildtree for their grapeseed oil. A bit more expensive than olive oil, but SO worth it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Undercover Brother uh....Sisters

I promised photo documentation from my undercover trip to Taste of Home last week. Finally the PC/laptop/networking gods have allowed me to do so. Please note the test kitchen cook in the background baking away.

Frequently asked questions regarding Taste of Home's test kitchen.....

Do you even know how excited I was to read this.....test kitchen staff sometimes get to bring home food and have their families test it out. Not sure if anything is better than going to work, doing what you love, and then bringing home the goods and voila....dinner. Please pay me to make dinner for my family. You don't even have to pay me that much.

This is CJ. She has the job that I want, she has the white coat I want to wear, and she has perfectly coiffed hair that I would like as well. I sent her a card last week thanking her for spending so much time chatting with us, and casually mentioning this blog. Wonder if she is reading this? Wonder if she will ever tell me the name of those ridiculously awesome peanut butter cookies she is holding. Wanna see a better picture of them? Ok.....

Here they are. They are better tasting vs. looking. They are so good that I won't show you the picture that was taken after eating them. I look like I'm in a happy peanut butter coma with a pregnant belly. A true testament to the tastiness (alliteration, anyone), but my vanity will not allow the upload.

So, I thank my girl, Karri, for suggesting this trip. I had a great day and feel a baby step closer in making true contact with the folks "up there" at TOH.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Food made with LOVE

Make your sweetie something delish tonight. Stir in some crazy love and don't forget to ask for a big juicy kiss afterwards! Happy V day!