Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Couple of Things

OK, so it's been a while, but I've been on vacation. Mental health is important ya know!! So while the Mr. and I were on vacation, we made a few meals, some dessert, some appetizers, ya know, the good stuff! Here is the best of the best of the best of the best sir! (5 points if you can tell me what movie that's from!)

Dill Dip - this one is a blast from the past. I remember getting containers of this stuff from the deli with my mom when I was a kid. Here's my recreation of the classic (I'm working off of taste memories so bear with me!!)

32 oz. sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup fresh chopped dill (mince it really fine please!!)
onion flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried dill

mix it all up. real good. This dip gets better with time. Let it sit for an hour before you serve it. It's really good with marble bread, or pumpernickel or potato chips, of pretzels, or fresh veggie. Ok, so it's good on just about everything.

Next up blueberry peach pie.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Parm is on!

Last week my coworker gave me two fresh eggplants straight from her garden. My eyes lit up like the Rockefeller Christmas tree! Eggplant Parm!!! Oh the pure joy of it! Even better yet, for date night, the hubby cooked! Heaven. Pure heaven. So alas, dear readers, the recipe I share with you tonight, is not my own. It is a Pierce, I uh, errrr, Mucci family tradition. (maybe a little bit of both)

I give you...homemade sauce.

2 28oz cans Cora whole plum tomatoes. (Please make sure to shake the cans in the grocery store, so that you get the least amount of juice, and the most amount of tomatoes possible ;-P )
1 can tomato paste and once it's empty, a can of water
1lb link sausage
3 garlic cloves
a pinch of sugar
a pinch of baking soda

Ok. Get ready to make a mess. All good sauces come from a good mess.

In a stock pot, heat up 3 T of olive oil. Start sauteing your garlic, I like mine minced, but the hubby states "Grandma never minced it, she cooked it whole". Reader's choice. Once you can smell the garlic, add in your link sausage. Cook these until they brown on the outside. I say don't cook em through all the way at this point, hubby says do. Again, reader's choice. Ok, so we're browning, and smelling, time to add in the tomato paste. stir that around til it's warmed through, then add in that can of water. You'll want to cook this little concoction until it reduces a bit. Meanwhile..time to make a mess. Git ur blender out folks. Ok, one can at a time, blend the heck out of the whole tomatoes and their scant amount of juice, because just like a good little old italian lady, you shook the cans, just like I told you to. One they're pureed to divine perfection, I say dump em in the pan, but according to the little old sicilian who I'm related to by marriage, that's not how you do it. If you fell like taking the extra time to strain the seeds out of the pureed tomatoes, by all means. Go for it!!

Ok, so back to the sauce. We've poured in out two cans of tomatoes. Without the seeds. Give her a good stir. Now it's time to add in that pinch of sugar. And we're stirring....Ok next, it's time to add in that pinch of baking soda. Cool science experiment. Watch as your sauce begins to boil boil toil and trouble...

OH WAIT! I forgot to tell you the most IMPORTANT of ingredients!!! CHEESE!!! About 1/2 cup of pecorino romano. Must have it!!!

Add in you cheese. Now it's time to simmer. And simmer. Simmersimmersimmer. For about 2 1/2 hours on as low as you can go without turning your stove off.

goo stuff folks. Now go slather it all over the eggplant parm cutlets you've procured while that sauce was a simmerin.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

For Dinner Last Night

I had no idea what to make. I knew we didn't have any major proteins in the house ( I know, I'm a slacker because I haven't gotten to the grocery store in a couple of weeks) so on my way home I picked up a steak from Price Chopper. Yum!! I just got a generic boneless chuck steak, but hey, it was extremely tastey! Didn't know what to do for a side dish though, so I rummage through the freezer and came up with a bag of hash browns.....I was thinking of doing steak and eggs, but didn't think the hubby would appreciate that as much as I would. SO I made a potato pancake.

Potato Pancake:

2 eggs
"House" seasoning to taste (recipe to follow)
2 cups shredded frozen potato hash browns
1 T water

Mix the eggs, seasoning and water together in a bowl. Add in the potatoes and mix very well. You want all of the potatoes covered in eggy goodness. While you're doing all of this, like a good chef, you have a frying pan heating over medium heat with 3 T of olive or canola oil.

Put the egg/potato mixture into the frying pan and pat it down until it's flat. Cover and cook for 6 minutes.

Ok, so here's the tricky part. I learned this trick from watching Food Network, so no credit is due here. Take the cover off your frying pan and replace it with a heat-safe plate. Careful to watch your fingers, flip the frying pan over. Your pancake should fall right out. Place the pan back on the heat and add in 2 T more oil. Slowly slide your pancake back into the frying pan. (Slow is key here folks, otherwise the oil splatters. Big mess.) Cook uncovers for 4 more minutes. Viola, potato pancake.

"House" Seasoning:

This is just a combination of spices that I use regularly. Kind of my go-to for pumped up flavor.

1tsp onion powder or flakes (note: powder, NOT salt....ewwwww)
1tsp garlic powder (see above note)
1tsp paprika
1tsp Celtic salt (way better for you than table salt. This stuff has good minerals in it)
2tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Now some of you may think that I have the salt/pepper ratio backwards. This is not the case. ***slight rant warning*** I find that in today's cooking style many people over salt their food and call it well seasoned. Salt is not a flavor I enjoy. I use very little salt when I cook. I want to actually taste the FLAVOR of my food, not a salty interpretation of it. That being said, I am not against salt entirely. I just use it in very moderate portions. Salt should be an accent to the food, not the first thing you taste. Rant over.