Sunday, February 28, 2010

Forgotten Hashbrowns

Most Sunday mornings we like to have more than our normal breakfast of yogurt. This is a dish that I used to make in college, and honestly had forgotten about. Recently a friend called and wanted some ideas for brunch dishes and asked about this one. I am glad he did. Maybe with this blog I want have the worries of forgetting dishes anymore. I would normally use frozen hasbrowns, but I happened to have a potato around so I grated it. To start I diced bacon, cooked and removed it from the pan. I left the grease from the bacon in the skillet and started the hasbrowns. After flipping them I added the bacon and onions.
I seasoned these with Boar's Breath Blazin' Cajun Seasoning. A friend of mine brought this back from Louisiana a while back and I love it, thanks Jake. It is not hot, just has great flavor.
After the potatoes are fully cooked add the eggs, careful not to break the yolks.
We don't have a lid for this skillet, so a plate will have to do. This allows the steam to cook the eggs and eventually melt the cheese.
I should have steamed the eggs a little longer before adding the cheese, if you don't this happens.
Even with the "sliding cheese factor" this was a great breakfast. Its nice to be reminded of dishes forgotten.

"Double Cheese" Burgers

The cheeseburger may be my favorite food item. I crave them. A simple burger topped with any kind of cheese is delicious. It is a perfect blend of all the food groups. Grain(Bread), Fruits and Vegetables(lettuce, tomatoes, onions),Dairy(Cheese),Meat and Protein(Beef), Fats, Oils and Sweets(Mayo, Ketchup). If I were ever in the situation to have a last meal, and I hope I never am, this would be it. But these aren't your normal burgers. A friend of mine at calls these his "middle burgers." His were the inspiration behind my concoction. Start with ground beef (80/20), seasoned with a little soy sauce, Worcestershire, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Make really thin patties for the bottom. Place a slice of American cheese on top. Then top with another thin patty. Make sure you completely close off the sides of the meat.. Then on to the grill.

I tried to leave them as long as I could on the first side. A good rule of thumb for burgers is to only flip them once, plus I was worried the cheese would come seeping out.

As for the fries, we decided to go with potato wedges. Take an Idaho potato and cut it in to 12 wedges. Soak them in cold water for a few minutes, then boil for about 5 mins. Remove, pat dry, then toss with olive oil and season. Place them on a nonstick pan and into the oven on 450 for about 20 mins. Season again as soon as they come out of the oven. We use McCormick's Broiled Steak Season.

The double cheese part comes from adding a couple slices of bacon then cheese to cover. Here it is on a toasted onion roll with the wedges.

These were delicious. It takes a little more work than a regular cheeseburger, but it was definitely worth the time. Next time I may try to place the bacon inside as well.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rib Goulash

Growing up my mom made goulash. It consisted of beans, ground beef and seasonings. It was delicious. With a little left overs from last night I thought I would make my own.

I chopped up some rib meat and onions.

Then added a little left over baked beans. Poured it over two slices of white bread and topped with diced dill pickle. Add some chips and deviled eggs and here we go.

Not the normal left over meal, but trying new things it always fun. It was delicious. After lunch I was posting last night's food and Byrd came in with these.

Obviously there were smores ingredients left from last night as well.

I love my life/wife.

Friday cookout

With a great forecast for the weekend, we thought a cook out was in order. I thought trying a new rib would be fun, so instead of baby backs I used loin ribs. A little meatier and a lot more fat. Also I am trying lump mesquite charcoal. I don't know why, actually I do, it was on sale at Sams. I have been using lump charcoal for a while now, but never mesquite. I was worried that the mesquite would be over powering, but why not. I also opted not to add any wood chips for smoke. I used my normal Rut's Rub and started them off at 215 degrees. I left one slab dry the entire cook. The other two I misted with a blend of Welch's Peach and White Grape juice mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar every 20 mins. I thought the sweetness of the juice would work well with the mesquite. I wrapped the last two slabs in tin foil with a little of the juice. After two more hours I unwrapped them and placed them directly over the fire and basted them for the last 15-20 minutes.

And sliced. Without the wood chips I didn't get the smoke ring , but I did get delicious tender ribs. I missed the ring.

No cookout is complete without baked beans. Canned beans with a little ketchup, mustard, onions, brown sugar, salt and pepper, mixed together in a bowl, then topped with bacon. I think everything should be topped in bacon.
Deviled eggs. This is my mother in laws recipe for them, and the first time Byrd has ever made them. These are delicious. Not your normal eggs, they have olives and bacon in the stuffing as well as the normal characters. I know it sounds a little weird, but try it. Not to take a slogan from a local restaurant, but "there is nothing like'em nowhere." It's true.
Here it is all together. Not the greatest picture, but....
Everything was great. Once again Byrd and I put good food on the table. But sometimes the food isn't the best part of the night. Fire pit, cold beer, iPod on shuffle, good friends and family, even if the food was horrible, it still would have been a great night.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Steak Frites

When trying to figure out dinner, steaks are an easy and delicious way to go. Steak and a baked potato will always be a great combination, but sometimes it's nice to change things up a little bit. I have a love for all cuts of beef, so going to pick out the steaks for the night I came across one I have never cooked. The Chuck Eye Steak. I have actually never heard of this cut of beef before, so I had to look into it. The chuck eye steak is cut from the chuck eye roast, makes sense. It is further down from the rib roast, the ribeye steak, so is less tender and flavorful than the delicious ribeye. It also said that it has a tendency to dry out. I hate dried out, over cooked steak. So I knew this was going to be tricky. I seasoned the steaks well with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. I cooked them over medium heat so they wouldn't dry out.

There are so many ways to cook the potato. One of our favorites is to cut them into 1/4 in sticks and then soak them in cold water. Then pat them dry and toss them in olive oil and a good dose of pepper. Into the oven in a non stick pan on 450 for about 30-35 minutes, flipping every so often.
A good drizzle of chunky bleu cheese dressing and it was delicious. I have no regrets on the chuck eye steak. It was delicious, as most red meats are.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bacon breakfast bowls??

We had a great weekend of family and food. We spent Saturday afternoon and evening with Byrds family cooking ribs, and I think everything else that you can put on a grill, then Sunday my folks wanted us to drive down for dinner. We usually don't like to travel on Sunday, but since we have plenty of time at the moment why not. It is not only good for your heart to get to see your family, but it's always a culinary treat. I have said it before, but I learned my love for food in my mom's kitchen. She taught me the basics, and is still teaching today. I am not sure what you should call this dish, but bacon breakfast bowls is what comes to mind. Taking half cooked bacon and wrapping them in a muffin pan, then placing some green onion and cheddar grits is the beginning.
You leave a small dent in the grits so the egg yolk will stay on top and the whites will run down.
This was a neat little trick, like I said she is always teaching and I am always willing to learn. Top with some shredded gruyere and mild cheddar cheese, green onions and thyme.

Bake on 400 until the eggs are done to your liking. These tasted as good as they look. Mom also made some baked french toast.
Brinner, or breakfast for dinner, is always a favorite of mine. Now this was a little fancier than the normal brinner, but I will say it was delicious and a lot of fun to make. This is a great idea for any meal. Using ham instead of bacon, polenta instead of grits, or next time I may use ham for the base and put bacon in the grits and on top. The combinations are endless.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Filet Oscar

With a little time off from work, and by a little I am not sure when we will go back, Byrd and I decided to take a trip to the coast. My favorite kind of trip is one with no agenda. This was definitely one of those. Relax, eat, regenerate, and of course eat more. No better place than the coast. Here is our view from the patio.
And here right before sunset.

After a couple days of doing nothing, which was great, we decided to head to a local cheese farm my parents told us about. So we drove into Elberta, about 20 minutes north, to Sweet Home Cheese Farm. A great little out of the way spot that offers a wide variety of homemade cheeses. After trying around ten different cheeses, we decided to get 7. All of the cheese was great, but our favorites were habanero with a slice of granny smith apple, toasted onion with pear, and garlic with the apple.
Being the night before Valentines Day we thought a steak dinner was in order. I seared the filets, seasoned with Cavenders, on both sides in a grill pan then placed them in the oven for about 8 minutes. Normally I don't leave them in this long, but they were thick steaks.
I also roasted some asparagus in the oven with a little olive oil and Cavenders. Since we were at the beach, and kinda on vacation, I made a Bearnaise sauce and added a little fresh lump crab meat, making it Filet Oscar, I think.
I am not really sure if this is exactly Filet Oscar, but in my mind anything with sauce, asparagus and crab meat is Oscar. Dinner was delicious and the company better. Also Byrd really loved the fact that dinner matched the plates.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sweet Pepper Spaghetti

Since Byrd and I met she has been the spaghetti sauce maker. Although I have several sauces up my sleeve, hers is that good. When it comes to traditional spaghetti sauce it is what I crave. The only problem is she doesn't share my passion for all things noodles. So eating spaghetti is a treasured night around here for me. Tonight was that night, but I thought I would make the sauce to give her a well deserved break. If I remember correctly, I got the original recipe for this one off a food show when I was in college. This sauce begins with thinly slicing a red onion, 3 yellow peppers and 3 red peppers. Heat up 6 tablespoons of Olive Oil on medium heat until smoking. Add in the vegetables, 1 Tbsp of CRP, and 2 Tbsp of Oregano. After about 5 minutes I added 4 gloves of minced fresh garlic and a pound of sliced white button mushrooms. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes total.

Since I posted this I did go back and find the original recipe: Spaghetti with Sweet Pepper--Spaghetti con Sugo di Peperoni

After the peppers are tender add a can of tomato paste and cook until it darkens, which takes about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.Then add in a cup of red wine. Use a dry red, it seems to work better with the sweetness of the peppers. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. I let this cook for 30 minutes or so, adding a little wine and water, to keep the sauce the consistency of ragu.

You can't have spaghetti without garlic cheese bread. Lately we have been using Arnold Select Sandwich Thins, which are lower in calories and get very crispy in the oven. So here it is with a glass of the same wine used in cooking.
It takes a while to cook a great sauce, but it was worth it in the end. Don't be alarmed that this is a vegetarian dinner, it doesn't happen often around here. Over the years I have added a variety of meat, but it is never as good as the original. But for a great sausage and peppers dish, add links of Italian sausage.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pizza Salad

There are many kinds of pizza: delivery, take and bake, frozen or homemade. It doesn't matter what kind, it is delicious. One quote that holds true, though I am not sure who said it, is "sex is like pizza, even when it is bad it is still good." Here is the latest pizza at our house. We used Flatout Multi-grain flat bread as the crust. After a couple of tries we found that 5 minutes in the oven on 350 before building the pizza is just right for a crispy pizza. We started with sauce, added CRP, then some mozzarella, then turkey pepperoni(trying to watch the calories and they taste good), diced onions and peppers, and jalapenoes. Topped with cheese and back in the oven. Then one on the right is Byrd's, she loves cheese.
An up close picture of mine.

On to the salad. Sometimes simple is the key to a great salad. While in college a great friend of mine introduced me to the best simple salad. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and Ken's Steakhouse Olive Oil Vinaigrette. Great and simple. I hate to admit it but it has been over 10 years now and it is still a great combination. I do add some onions and with pizza I mix a little blue cheese dressing with the vinaigrette. This has a lot to do with the amount of CRP that I put on top of the pizza. This is called Pizza Salad and not pizza and salad because I like a bite of the cold salad on top of every bite of pizza.
This was a great topping combination, and that's the great thing about pizza, the combinations are endless.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


After the "deer balls" the other day I have been thinking of a dish my mom used to make called Rouladen. I have never tried to make this particular dish of hers so she got the "mom I want to cook something you used to make phone call", which she gets often. Rouladen is basically a meat roll, that is not a technical definition but you get the gist of it. My mom used cube steak, but I happen to have a freezer full of venison, and we go to the local Publix enough so...we took venison cube steak seasoned it with salt and pepper, rubbed it in mustard then added diced onions and green bell peppers. The peppers were something we added it was not in mom's recipe.

Then rolled them tight and placed toothpicks to hold everything in. Then rolled them in seasoned flour.

I then pan-fried them in a little butter, and by a little I mean 3-4 tablespoons. Not for long due to the fact that venison will dry out if over cooked. Just enough to brown the outside. I removed them from the pan, added the rest of the diced onions and peppers, then some sliced onions with some beef stock to make a gravy. As the gravy started to thicken I added the meat back in to simmer for a bit. With this is another dish from my mom, which is her brown rice.

Here it is all together. It took me back to childhood. I have to thank my mom for raising us on such great food.
This was a great dish and fun to make. It didn't taste as good as moms, but they never do.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Smoked Chicken Salad

After a long weekend in the woods and a few days without a shower, I thought we should have something simple for dinner. I was a little wrong about the amount of food we were cooking over the weekend. Instead of 10lbs. of chicken leg quarters we cooked 30lbs. So there was a little leftover. I hate to see food go to waste, and around me it seldom does. Chicken salad is a great way to use leftover bird, and I have never made it out of smoked chicken so why not. I pulled the chicken off the bone and removed some of the skin.
Now chicken salad has always been a favorite of mine, and the best to me is simple. Chicken, mayonnaise(Hellman's only please), celery, salt and pepper. This is how my grandmother and mom have made it. And they make the best in the world. This is not my opinion it is a fact. Theirs is just that good, but this wasn't your ordinary chicken so it needed a little spicing up. While I was pulling the chicken the "in laws" stopped by to visit, and I thought 4 heads are better than 2 so we hung out in the kitchen and this is what we came up with. The pulled chicken, diced pickles and celery, Hellman's, salt and pepper, a boiled egg. I will say that it turned out delicious. The smoke flavor of the chicken came through but was not over powering.

Around here we don't just eat a salad for dinner. So with the theme of my weekend we took some left over BBQ bread and and toasted it in a pan with some butter. I added my cousin MR's mustard base sauce to my bread and some Wickles slices, if you don't know what these are ask your grocer to please order some for you, and that was my sandwich. All in all it was a great way to end the weekend. Weekends away are needed and well deserved, but there is nothing like being at home.