Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oktoberfest Dinner

Sausages with caramelized onions, roasted brussel sprouts & roasted potatoes.

For the sausages: simmer some bratwurst sausages & 1 sliced onion in about 1/2 a bottle of  good German beer for 10 minutes.  This should cook them most of the way through.  Drain the sausages & onions and saute them in a hot pan with a little olive oil until the onions are nice and caramelized.

For the veggies:  Boil the fingerling potatoes in heavily salted water for 10 minutes.  Steam the brussel sprouts for 8 minutes.
Spread the veggies and taters out on a foil lined baking sheet.  Toss with olive oil.  Sprinkle with spices.
Veggies=garlic granules, salt & pepper.  Potatoes=aleppo  pepper, black pepper, salt, garlic granules, savory & parsley.
Roast at 425 for 20 minutes.

I also served a side of baked beans because that's what he wanted.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread with Walnuts

Preheat Oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan or muffin cups.

Ingredients: 1 can pumpkin puree or one roasted baking pumpkin, 1/2 stick room temperature butter, 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, 3 eggs, 3-4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons baking powder, a few dashes of cinnamon, clove & nutmeg, 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of walnuts.

Baked Pumpkin Directions:  Cut in half, scoop out innards and play cut side down on a lined baking sheet.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 90 minutes.

Pulse 3 cups of flour, salt baking soda & spices in the food processor.  Pour dry ingredients into a large bowl and set aside.   If using a baking pumpkin scoop out the baked  flesh and add to the food processor.  Pulse until well pureed.  Add in the sugar, butter, vanilla paste and eggs.  Pulse to combine.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry.  Mix to combine.  Add in chocolate chips and nuts.  Mix.  If the batter is too thin add in flour about 1/4 cup at a time until nice and thick.  You want a spoon to be able to stand up right in the batter.

Pour into a loaf pan or muffin tins and bake at 350 until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.  This will take about 50 minutes in a loaf pan.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roasted Acorn Squash and Porterhouse Steak

Dinner tonight was Roasted Acorn Squash, Porterhouse Steak, Steamed Broccoli & Sauteed Asparagus.

Roasted Acorn Squash:  Cut the squash in half.  Scoop out the seeds and play on a baking sheet.  In a small bowl mix together 1 tablespoon of melted butter, 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar and a dash of nutmeg.  Using a pastry brush coat the inside of the squash.  Roast cut side up in a 400 degree oven for an hour.

For the Porterhouse (A nice one serves two people easily): rub down with your favorite salt and spice blend*.  Place in a plastic bag and add in a few tablespoons of olive oil and a couple of splashes of red wine.  Marinate for about an hour. 
Spice Blend: Kosher Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Hot Aleppo Pepper & Garlic Granules.

In a very hot cast iron pan cook each side about 3 minutes and 30 seconds.  You want a nice caramelized appearance.   Then finish off in a 475 oven for about 4-6 minutes depending on your taste.  Let rest off the heat for 15 minutes before serving to make sure it stays nice and juicy.

I ate both halves of the acorn squash while making the steak and veggies.  Mr. Man doesn't like squash.  At least that means more for me.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

3 Layer Lasagna

Ingredients: 2 cups sliced button mushrooms, 2 large Portabellas, 1 lbs ground beef or hot Italian sausage, 1 small tub each of low-fat cottage cheese & ricotta, 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan, lasagna noodles ( I use no bake),  2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, white sauce*, marinara sauce & spices.

Spices that I used: garlic granules, garlic paste*, salt & pepper, sun-dried tomato blend & savory.  *I like to add some garlic paste to my white sauce for a more intense flavor when making baked pasta dishes.

Saute the mushrooms until nice and brown.  They will release a lot of liquid.  Remove the mushrooms using a slotted spoon from the pan and reserve for later.  You can save the mushroom liquid for later to incorporate into a veggie based broth if your feeling adventurous. 

Brown the meat in the same pan as the mushrooms.  I added some garlic granules and some salt & pepper to my beef as I browned it for added flavor.

Mix the cheeses together in a medium bowl with some sun-dried tomato spice blend or whatever you like.

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a rectangular baking dish with non stick spray.  Add a few spoonful's of marinara sauce into the bottom of the baking dish so the noodles don't stick.

Now get ready to build the lasagna. 
First Layer: Noodles, white sauce, mushrooms, & some more white sauce.

Second Layer: Noodles, cheese mixture & some more white sauce.
 Third Layer: Noodles, ground beef, some more white sauce, noodles and some marinara sauce.
Top the whole thing off with lots of shredded Mozzarella.

Bake for about 45 minutes until nice and bubbly.  Let it set up for about 20 minutes before serving.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients: 2 sticks of butter at room temperature, 1.5 cups of brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extra, good dash of ground cinnamon,  1 tsp. each of salt & baking soda, 1.5 cups of all purpose flour, 3.5 cups of quick oats, 1 bag of chocolate chips.

Cream the butter & sugar together.  Then add the eggs and vanilla.  Beat to thoroughly combine.  Then start adding in the dry ingredients.  I add them about a cup at a time until everything is well incorporated.

You can drop them by the spoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet or you can mold them into little balls.  I tend to make my dough in the morning and the put it into fridge for later use.  

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Oinkster

Thursday night was a double date at the Oinkster in Eagle Rock. 

I ordered the Gruyere Cheese Burger with Fries and a Beer.   He had the Pastrami Sandwich.   The place gets 4 out of 5 stars from me.  I'm dinging them because of poor bread.  The hamburger bun was cheap tasting.  The pastrami came out on soggy bread.  They also got my friends order wrong and it had to go back for a fix.

My hamburger was perfectly cooked and the cheese was phenomenal.   I ate all my fries + 1/2 of his.

I'd eat there again.  Next time I'm trying the Pumpkin Shake.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies with a Little Chocolate

Ingredients: 1 cup flour + up to an extra 1/4 cup, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 cup each of shortening, white sugar, brown sugar & creamy peanut butter, dash of vanilla and 1 egg.

Mix all ingredients together except the extra 1/4 cup of flour.  If mix looks to wet start adding it in a spoonful at a time until its a nice consistency.  Put dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 and line some baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out dough balls in the palm of your hand using about 1 tablespoon or so of dough.  Press into the dough balls some choco chips or a Hershey's kiss.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Max's Apothecary

Max's Apothecary is now carrying bath salts made from Dead Sea Salt & 100% essential oils.  Current offerings: Vanilla or Honeysuckle.  Custom Orders always welcome.

Each 8 ounce bag is selling for $8. That's only a dollar an ounce!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Bread Machine

This weekend I picked up a used Oster 5821 bread machine.  In order to test it out I made a very simple white bread.

Ingredients: 8 oz. warm milk (2%), 1 tsp salt, 1 large egg, 4 cups of white flour, 1 1/2 Tbsp butter, 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar, & 2 tsp (1 little packet) active dry yeast

I placed the ingredients in the order listed above in the bread machine and set it to a medium crust.  The whole process took under 3 hours and all I had to do was sit on the couch and smell wonderful bread baking.

This bread turned out pretty dense.  It tasted pretty good with a little butter and honey.  I'm thinking my first loaf will get turned into either bread pudding or french toast.   My goal is to get a nice light loaf.  

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Big Steak Dinner

As requested I made him a big steak dinner.

Corn on the Cob: buttered corn sprinkled with salt and aleppo pepper and then baked at 350 for an hour

Steamed Broccoli: tossed with a pat of butter, black pepper and fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Mashed Potatoes: smashed with 1/2 & 1/2, butter, goat cheese, aleppo pepper, salt & black pepper

Asparagus Spears:  sauteed in a small fry pan with a little extra virgin olive oil and salt & black pepper

Beef Tenderloin: neatly tied up with string and then marinated in olive oil,  Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, savory, salt & pepper.  I basically rubbed down my tied up tenderloin with the marinade and let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes while I prepped all my veggies.  I then seared each side for 3.5 minutes and then finished it off in a 425 oven for 6 minutes.  Make sure you let the beef rest under a sheet of foil before slicing.

Max's Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:  1 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of caramelized honey, 1 tablespoon agave/maple syrup, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 1/2 can pumpkin (about 8 ounces), 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 splash of whiskey, 1/2 teaspoon each of the following spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, black cardamom.  Feel free to adjust the spices to your taste and you can easily omit the liquor.

Preheat oven to 350

Optional nut topping: 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and about 1/4 cup of finely chopped pecans.  Combine in a small bowl and reserve.

Pulse all your dry ingredients together in the food processor.  Then add all the wet ingredients and pulse a few more times to combine.

Spoon batter into a muffin pan.  I like to fill  mine pretty full.   This recipe makes 1 dozen large muffins and about 1 1/2 dozen smaller muffins.  After filling the pan you can sprinkle some of the nut topping onto each muffin.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.