Monday, March 30, 2015

Oven Roasted Asparagus

This is easier than sin and you keep all of the nutrients in the vegetables by not boiling the life out of them.

What You Will Need:
Parchment Paper
Baking Sheet
Oven Mitts

1-Bunch of Asparagus Spears
1-Teaspoon Sea Salt
1-Teaspoon Garlic Powder or Granulated Garlic
3-Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil **I have a pump sprayer which I really like.  You can get them anywhere that sells household items.  Just fill with the Olive Oil, pump and spray.**

Pre-heat your oven to 400-Degrees F.

What you will need:
A small baking sheet-tray lined with parchment paper. I find using parchment paper is so much easier for clean up. After all....who enjoys scrubbing pots and pans? Not me.

Cut off the bottoms of your Asparagus Spears, usually about 2-inches from the bottom if they are thicker. can hold each end of the Asparagus Spear, with one hand and gently bend it. It will break at the thicker part of the stalk,  thrown away the lower broken piece. This is fibrous-woody and you don't want it.

Lay the Asparagus Spears on to the parchment lined baking sheet-tray 
Spray or drizzle the olive oil over the Asparagus Spears
Lightly sprinkle the garlic powder or granulated garlic on each Asparagus Spear
Lightly sprinkle the sea salt on each Asparagus Spear

Bake in the oven for 15-minutes or so, depending on your oven.  The spears should be tender not mushy. 

This was for supper-dinner tonight.  Oven Baked Corn Flakes Chicken, Oven Roasted Asparagus and Buttermilk Onion Rings. The Onion Rings recipe is already listed here on my blog.  I'll be posting the Cornflakes Chicken soon.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Buttermilk Onion Rings

These Onion Rings are not only delicious alone, but you can sprinkle them on Green Bean Casserole, in salads, etc.,.  Now you don't have to buy those Fried Onions in a Can.  I normally double the batch because they go so quickly when I make them.  Whatever is left over, if there is any, you can store them in a zip-lock storage bag in your refrigerator.  **This recipe is for one large batch.**

2-Large Sweet or Vidalia Onions
2-Cups (1-Pint) of Whole Fat Butter Milk *If you don't have butter milk, for each 1-Cup of whole milk add 1-Tbls of either vinegar or lemon juice. Stir well and let set for 10-minutes until milk curdles-thickens.**
2-Cups All-Purpose Flour
1-Tablespoons Salt
1-Tablespoons Crushed Black Pepper
1/4-Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
3-Cups of Cooking Oil.  **I like using Peanut Oil.**

What You Will Need:
Cooking Thermometer
Large Cast Iron Skillet or Electric Frying Pan **I like using the Electric Frying Pan because I can accurately set the temperature.**
Large Zip-Lock Bag
Medium Size Bowl
Spatula or whisk
Paper Towels or Clean Brown Paper Bag
Mandolin or Sharp Knife
Measuring Spoons
Measuring Cup

Peel both of the onions, slice medium thin. You can use a sharp knife or a mandolin, I use either or.

Separate the rings of the onion by pushing your finger into the middle, the rings will just pop out. Do this with each ring. Put the rings in to a Zip Lock Bag.  Now pour your 2-Cups Buttermilk into the Zip-Lock Bag.  Zip the bag shut.  Shake the bag and squeeze the onions throughout making sure that they are fully covered by the Buttermilk. I turn mine upside down a couple of times. Once you do this, put the bag in to a medium bowl, this will help stop a mess if by chance the bag springs a leak. Put the bowl in to the fridge for at least an hour, more is better.

Take the onions out of the fridge.  In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper together and then set aside.

Remove about a handful of the onion rings from the zip-lock bag with your tongs, put them into the flour mixture, toss them around and make sure to coat the onions well. You can use your hands if you like. Pick up the onion rings with the tongs and gently tap them against the side of the bowl removing excess flour mixture.  Put the coated onion rings on to a large clean plate.  Keep doing this until all of the onions are well coated.

Add the oil to a cast iron skillet or Electric Frying Pan. If you are using an electric frying pan, set the temperature on 375-degrees F.  If you are using a skillet, set your stove top at medium high, attach your cooking thermometer inside of the skillet.  When the skillet or frying pan is at 375-degrees you can start adding in the onion rings. **Tip...put a little water on your finger and let it drip in to the oil, if it bubbles it is at temperature.**

Pick up the rings with your tongs and slowly drop them in to the hot oil. This will prevent the hot oil from splashing up and burning you. **Use extreme caution because this oil is very hot!**  Don't over crowd the pan.

Cook the onions for about 3-4 minutes or until a light golden brown.  Remove the onion rings from the oil with the tongs and place them on to a plate with either paper towels or a clean brown paper bag to absorb the grease.  Sprinkle with salt optional.

As soon as I pulled them out of the hot oil and put them on to a plate, my kids were eating them quicker than I can make them.  These go really fast here in my house.

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Weights and Measures

I added this so it will help those that don't use the same weights and measures that we use here. This will also be so much easier to break-down a recipe if you need to or, if you don't have the right measuring utensils, ie,. measuring cups, etc..

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

S.O.S. What we call Sh*t On A Shingle or Creamed Chipped Beef

S.O.S. was a staple in my house when I was growing up.  My Gramma Donovan made it, my Dad, along with other relatives on both sides of my family. It's really easy to make once you do it a few times.  It has simple ingredients and it's very filling.  Sometimes we would have it with a fried egg on the side for breakfast or even for lunch or supper-dinner.  We call it supper here in New England.  It's versatile and you can exchange the dried beef for cooked hamburger.  Just chop up the hamburger with a spatula when frying. Drain the oil off and follow the directions as given.  I also have used caramelized onions or even roasted garlic and added them in to the recipe.  I try to switch it up once in a while. I add peas to my recipe. If you don't like them just leave them out.  I also make home made biscuits, you can buy the store brought brands that's fine. Which ever way you choose is up to you.  I like all of the above. My family always made it without peas and used toast.  Don't fret over the fats used in this recipe, you get at least 6-hearty servings depending on how much you pour over your biscuits or toast.  And a rule of thumb....everything in moderation. This got it's name because the dried beef laid in the sh*t sauce and looked like little shingles.

What You Will Need:
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons
Baking Sheet lined with Parchment Paper if you are baking biscuits
Large Cast Iron Skillet, if you don't have one, a regular frying pan is fine.

1-Package Dried Sliced Beef (Normally it comes in 4.5 oz either in a jar or a foil type package)
16-Ounces Green Peas frozen or fresh is fine
1-Cup Butter
1-Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1-Teaspoon Salt (I use finally ground Sea Salt)
1-Cup Bacon Fat (If you don't have any just add extra butter to the Roux)
6-Cups of Whole Milk
1-Cup of All-Purpose Unbleached Flour
1-Dash of Paprika
6-8 Slices of Toast or 6-8 Biscuits.  **Do this last.**

First rinse the dried beef under warm water for about 20-30 seconds, this removes excess salt. Trust me, it's salty.  Rinse each piece and when you are done, clump them back together into a stack and squeeze the water out of them. Taste a piece of the beef to see if it is still too salty, if it is, rinse and then squeeze the excess water out once again. Blot the beef dry with a paper towel. Now, make two stacks of the beef.  Put them on a cutting board and cut them in to 5-strips horizontally, more or less. Do this to both stacks. Then turn the cutting board around and cut strips vertically.  This will make small square pieces. Now separate the beef squares, I put them between my two palms and rub my hands together. Set aside.


Next, if you are using frozen peas put them in a colander and run them under warm water.  When peas are frozen they tend to get some ice particles inside of the bag, you don't want added water in your sauce.  Once they are rinsed, shake the colander a few times to get rid of the excess water.  Set aside.

Put your frying pan-skillet on the stove top medium heat.  Add your bacon fat and then your butter, let the butter melt, when it turns a golden brown color add in the flour a little at a time and whisk. Continue adding the flour a little at a time, continue whisking until all of the flour is incorporated into the melted butter. This will form a paste so don't panic, it's suppose to do this. This is called a Roux.

Add in the milk one cup at a time while continually whisking.  Add another cup of milk and continue whisking, keep doing this until all of the milk is added and the roux becomes silky smooth. 

Add the peas into the mixture which is now called a Bechamel Sauce. Stir them in well so they are all covered by the sauce. Add in your sea salt and black pepper. Continue stirring.

Add in the beef squares, stir until everything is well blended. Using a spatula, keep stirring for about 10-minutes until all of the flavors are married. Using a clean tasting spoon, aka: teaspoon, taste and see if the mixture needs more salt and pepper.  You can always add but you can not take away.  I keep 3-tasting spoons on the side of my stove every time I cook. I use one, then put it in the sink or dishwasher. If something needs more spices or herbs, I add them in and taste it again. Always taste your food, you don't want it served bland or over spiced.

Serve over toast or hot out of the oven biscuits.  Add a light sprinkling of Paprika which is optional.
Shown here are two biscuits open-faced with my home made Cranberry Sauce which is also listed here on my blog.  

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Clams Scampi

I try to be a bit creative in all of my cooking, always switching up the ingredients.  I had purchased some clams and wanted to do something different with them and so I had. I made Clams Scampi instead of Shrimp Scampi. You can always use shrimp for this recipe or even use both if you like.  Taste the seasonings once they are added in. I always keep several clean tasting spoons near by when I am cooking. This is from Emeril Lagasse's recipes. I take no credit for this, it's for sharing purposes only.

You can forgo the Creole Spices if you like and move on to the next set of ingredients if you don't like spicy.

What You Will Need:
Measuring Spoons
Small Size Bowl
Medium Size Bowl
Large Cast Iron Skillet *Whatever Skillet Type You Have*
Pot for Fettuccine - *Cook as instructed on package or use my recipe on my blog*

Creole Spices Essence:
2 1/2-Tablespoons Paprika 
2-Tablespoons Salt
2 -Tablespoons garlic powder 
1-Tablespoon Black Pepper
1-Tablespoon Onion Powder 
 1-Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
1-Tablespoon dried oregano
1-Tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.  Store in an air tight jar or container the remainder of what you don't use. You only need 2-Tablespoons of this.

2-lbs of Clams.  You can buy them already chopped. 
*I rinse the clams under cool water in a colander.  **The clams almost always have grains of sand still attached to them.  Press the water out of the clams.**

2-Teaspoons Essence **Recipe Above.**
2-Teaspoons Olive Oil
1/4 -Cup Unsalted Butter
1 1/2-Tablespoons Minced Garlic
1-Tablespoon Capers, crushed
1/2-Cup Dry White Wine *I used organic fish stock*
1/4-Cup fresh Lemon Juice
1/4-Teaspoon Salt
1/8-teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1/2-pound cooked and drained pasta. Fettuccine or Egg Noodles (I had posted my home made egg noodles here on my blog)

Mix the clams in a medium bowl with the Essence.

Place the 2-Tablespoons of olive oil and 2-Tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over high heat.

Add the clams and spread them out evenly in the skillet. Cook for 2-minutes and quickly turn then turn over. Add the garlic and capers to the pan and cook for 30-seconds. Add the fish stock, lemon juice, and remaining 2- tablespoons of the butter to the skillet and cook for 1 1/2-minutes.

Season with the salt and pepper and add the cooked and drained pasta, tossing to coat well.  * I use tongs it makes it easier to mix the pasta.*

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the parsley. Serve hot. *I served mine with a slice of home made Brown Soda Bread, divided and put in to the bowl. The recipe is also here on my blog.*


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Home Made Egg Noodles

I had used my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with the Pasta Roller and Cutting attachment for the egg noodles. You will need both to make these noodles. If you don't have a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer and the two attachments, you can do this by hand. You will just have to knead and roll out the dough and then roll the dough out in to sheets. Then cut the dough in to strips. First I will post the directions for the Egg Noodles and then post the directions on how to use the mixer and the two attachments.

What You Will Need:
Above Kitchen Aid Mixer and Attachments
Rolling Pin
Pasta Fork

4-large eggs
1-Tablespoons water (You may need a bit more depending on how your dough forms)
3 1/2-Cups of sifted All-Purpose un-bleached flour.

Directions: Place the eggs, water and flour in to the mixing bowl.  Make sure that the bowl is locked in to the mixer. Use the flat beater. Turn on the mixer to Speed #2 and mix for about 30-seconds. If the dough is still stiff and it usually is for me, I add another tablespoon of water.  Mix once again for 30-seconds.  Check to see if the dough is still too stiff, if it is add some more water. You don't want the dough to be tacky, but you do want it to be a bit firm to the touch.

Remove the flat beater and attach the bread hook. Turn the mixer on to Speed #2 and knead for 2-minutes. Shut the mixer off, now hand knead the dough for about 30-seconds to 1-minute. Cover the dough with a dry clean towel and let it rest for 15-minutes.

Now.... roll the pasta dough out and form a log.

Next... cut the dough lengthwise into about 3/8-inch strips.

Remove the bread hook from your mixer and re-replace it with the Pasta Roller.  Set your mixer on setting #2 or #4.   Feed the dough strip through the roller to knead.

Now lightly dust a little flour on each side of the dough once it is done kneading.  Fold the dough in half and feed it back through the Pasta Roller.  Do these steps several times until the dough feels pliable and becomes the width of the roller.

Now.... change the setting on the Pasta Roller to #3. Don't change the mixer speed.  Repeat the folding and dusting with the flour a few times until you reach the thickness that you want for your pasta.  Do this process with each strip of dough that you had previously cut in to lengths.  Once all of the strips have been processed and they are the length of the roller, set aside on a clean dry surface.

Remove the Pasta Roller attachment and put on the Pasta Cutter attachment, which ever one you have. I used the Fettuccine-Egg Noodle one.  Now feed the the flattened dough through your Pasta Cutter attachment. Put your hand under the attachment to catch the pasta. You don't have to pull the past out, let it work on its own.

Take the newly made pasta and give it a little twirl, twisting gently so they look like little nests.  Each piece of flattened dough that you run through the cutter, do this to. Let the nest rest and air dry for a little bit. Don't touch them. Your done.

Your pasta can either be air dried on a pasta drying rack, cooked right away, frozen or stored in an air tight storage container in your refrigerator.

Cooking Instructions:
Fill a large pot with water.  Add 1-Tablespoon Sea Salt and 1-Tablespoon Olive Oil to the water.  Put the temperature on high and let boil. **This pot cooks 2-lbs of pasta. If you use less pasta, adjust the sea salt and olive oil.**

Gently add in the pasta to the boiling water.

Give the pasta a few gentle stirs so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan or each other.

Cook the pasta until it is "al dente" meaning slightly firm to the bite. (To the teeth) Pasta will float to the top of the water, so continue to stir.  Usually fresh home made pasta takes about 3-6 minutes to cook, depending on the thickness.  Keep 1-Cup of hot pasta water a side. Now once the pasta is cooked, drain in to a colander.  Add the pasta back to the pan. Add in the hot pasta water that you kept at the side.  By adding in the pasta water it will help whatever sauce you may choose stick evenly to the pasta, due to having starch in the water.  Serve however you like. Bon Appetite.

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