Sunday, June 17, 2012

CHEAP EATS!!! Loosemeat, or "maid rite", Sandwiches. Just try 'em. You'll love 'em.

There's just little recipes peppered through this post like Easter eggs.  Once I get started...

This is, I think a midwestern creation.
I'm sure an internet search would divulge the history of the loosemeat, or loose meat, sandwich. I did see a show on TV featuring the "maid rite" sandwich out of Iowa, and maybe another northern state, I think? But I just like to eat them.  Some Iowa friends passed this recipe to us. And I positively ADORE how cheap they are.  You even buy the cheap hamburger buns on this one, and use rehydrated onion flakes. Really.  

Sort of a savory take on Sloppy Joe's, which I absolutely LOVE, especially Sloppy Joe Cups:open a can of Grand's flaky biscuits, roll each biscuit about 6 or so inches wide, spray the underside of a muffin pan w/Pam, then press each biscuit on the bottom of a separate cup, bake as directed (may reduce a bit).  Cut the ones apart that baked slightly together, flip them out, and fill with Sloppy Joe mixture, topped with cheese and chopped onions.  Awesome and kinda fun.

Back to the loosemeat samwiches (that was for you Mom, sorry, I had to), I serve these little babies with crinkle fries, I dunno, something about the nostalgia of them.  Double fried, of course, for extra crispiness.  Just toss the fries in hot oil for about 3-5, just till they start really cooking, then pull the basket out, shake, and set on the fry basket rest on the side of your fryer.  Wait about 5 minutes, shake and return.  Fry till very golden and super crunchy, then toss on a pile of paper towels to drain.  And a little secret... this is over-the-top and most people can't catch what it is... sprinkle salt and a little sugar over the fries right when they come out of the grease.  DIVINE.  

And please no one turn me into your cardiologist.  I've been getting hate mail.

Maid Rite Sandwiches (easy and cheap "loose meat sandwiches") 1 lb ground chuck 12 oz coke 1 T Worcestershire 1 t onion powder 1 t yellow mustard 1/2 t salt 1/2 t black pepper for serving: 1 T dried minced onion 1 package cheap hamburger buns Sliced crinkle cut pickles (optional) Yellow mustard (optional) Rehydrate dried onions in warm water. In a large skillet, brown meat. Add remaining ingredients and summer until absorbed. Serve! NOT health conscious but our Iowa friends passed this to us and we love 'em!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Season's Eatings! Beef Stroganoff.

something warm and savory? How about classic Beef Stroganoff? Big, buttery, parslied (my own word there) egg noodles w/a rich and savory, creamy sauce studded with huge, chunky slices of unbelievably tender beef and roasted mushrooms; positively soul-satisfying on a cold and bitter night. AND and and and... please DO NOT forget the - and this is essential - SOURDOUGH French bread (slathered with good butter) alongside. Some magical alchemy occurs with the tanginess of the sourdough and the beefy sour cream sauce. Plus that sourdough is how you're going to get every last smear of that delicious sauce out of your bowl without sacrificing your dignity by resorting to swiping with fingers or outright licking the bowl. I've done all three and the sourdough is the way to go. Make this dish this winter season and share!

I'll post my pics as soon as I can - pretty busy lately - but I wanted to show my love and send out this recipe while its the PERFECT season for it. Meantime, enjoy the far superior photo above to get you in the mood!

  • Beef Stroganoff
  • 2 lbs. beef chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • ½ teaspoon dried chives
  • ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped white onions, optional
  • butter, for sauteeing
  • 4 fluid ounces sour cream, more (or less) to taste
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry, optional
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, lots, to taste
  • cooked egg noodles, tossed w/butter (depending on our mood - we sometimes get the Amish noodles - more rustic and really suits this dish, but the common lighter and wider noodles - pic above - are wonderful)
  • fresh parsley, chopped
Remove most of the fat and gristle from the roast (takes a little bit but worth it) and cut AGAINST THE GRAIN!!! into thin strips 1/8 inch thick by 2-3 inches long. Sprinkle with the Worcestershire. Season with bouillon granules and black pepper, toss to coat. Set aside.
Heat a very large skillet over high heat, melt and lightly brown the butter, add beef and brown the beef strips quickly (get all seasoning and juices into pan), then push the beef strips off to one side. Tilt the pan to allow juices to run to empty side then add the green onions to the juice and cook slowly for 3 to 5 minutes.
Whisk the flour into the juices of the pan; whisk and get most lumps out as you slowly pour in beef broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, whisking to remove lumps. Lower the heat and stir in mustard, beef granules, and herbs. Add some pepper and salt. Cover partially and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally.
(Optional - about 45 minutes before serving, caramelize the chopped onions over slow heat) About 20 minutes before serving, in a small NOT NONSTICK skillet, pan roast mushrooms over very high heat in 2 T butter (almost dry pan). Get them really good and caramelized by not crowding the pan.
Five minutes before serving, stir in the mushrooms, (caramelized onions if using), sour cream, and white wine. Heat briefly then salt and pepper to taste. If you like black pepper, give a fresh sprinkling on each dish - it really gives it that smoky flavor to set off the rich cream. Garnish w/coarsely chopped parsley, and serve atop the buttered and parslied egg noodles and the buttered sourdough.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sounds Good to Me. A teaser!

These aren't my photos but I promise they're temporary until I photog my own recipes and replace these stand-ins posthaste!!! Hey. I don't always stand around with a
wooden spoon in one hand and a Nikon in the other, k?

A couple things.

Requests for recipes from friends and family inevitably pop up for my version of "Springfield-style" Cashew Chicken, or Cashew Kitty, as we jokingly but frequently refer to it. I dunno. Some macabre local teenage myth of ethnic restaurants using unusual but convenient meats. Let's not think about that.

You guys are gonna LOVE this breading on the chicken! Its replaced our family chicken strip recipe for the last 14 years. And thank you, Mr. Leong, for the ingenious hybridization of southern and Asian cuisine - crispy fried chicken nuggets and a Chinese "gravy" we Ozarkers could identify with. For us, Mr. Leong, you are to Asian cuisine what Julia was to French. Start small, start simple. Now, some 50 years later, sushi, Cantonese, Thai, etc - all Springfield favorites. Awesome.

Okay! Our version is on the menu of posts of family favorites I'll try to get to soonly.

Oh! Oh! Oh! Want a GREAT recipe and all the tricks for the world's yummiest Shrimp Po' Boy? Or Shrimp n' Oyster Po' Boy, however ya like it. Fully dressed of course... (psssst. capers make the remoulade, which is what I use as my po' boy sauce. top secret, that.) I've literally seen this sandwich knock the breath out of people. No joke. I don't what it is that makes po' boys so addictive...

How about a simple and light recipe for Creamy Carrot Soup, from the old Tea Room in Mountain Home (a favorite spot for dress-up destinations when I was a little girl)? So delicious and summery and PERFECT with crunchy bread and butter and a very light salad of baby greens and white wine vinaigrette. I believe it was Ms. Pat Graves that graced us with that recipe.

How about a great Hummus recipe? Served with briny kalamata olives, cubed feta, and perfectly toasted pita triangles. We make a meal of that often in the hotter months of our summertime. Glass of slightly sweet and oak-y Chardonnay to offset the vinegar-y tang of the olives and feta and the slight heat of the garlic and cayenne in the hummus. Ummmmm. Refreshing! And food SHOULD be in the summer, don't you agree?

I'll even sneek the recipe to you for my husband's family's Oatmeal Lace Cookies. Light and crispy and not too sweet. Sooooo divine with vanilla bean ice cream (homemade if you're one of the lucky ones!).

Let me think on it a bit, guys. I'll get some really great summer EATS! up soon soon soon! Its going to be stroganoff and chili days before we know it.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Turkey & Brie. A highly complemented sandwich.

I love sandwiches. A girlfriend of mine always teased that whenever I was asked what sounded good for lunch, I'd reply, "Oh, I don't know. Some good bread, cheese, maybe some meat." To which she'd respond, "So. You mean a sandwich."

"Uh. Yeah! Sure. A sandwich."

They're my "go-to" of the food world. And it always amazes me that just a little extra effort on a sandwich is, like, SQUARED in the taste bud-reward-department. Which is a really great department. You spend half of the time of regular meal preparation and yet you end up with a delicious and satisfying repast. Who would argue with that?

I just found this beauty on, I think it was, Cooking Light's site. REALLY good sandwich. And GET watercress to make this, no substitutes. It COMPLETES this.

The flavors are so complementary and mild. I would be tempted to add some slivered white onion, but I think you'd lose the pepperiness of the watercress. And for all you southern Missourians - we get watercress at the Cabool farmers' market. Grown LOCALLY in our beautiful fresh springs!


Another watercress favorite is an incredible creamy potato, onion, and watercress soup!

Turkey, Brie, Green Apple & Watercress on Baguette
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons coarse mustard
  • 1 (8-ounce) French bread baguette
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced smoked turkey breast
  • 1/4 pound Brie cheese, thinly sliced - I probably used more. Okay. I used more.
  • 1 cup trimmed watercress
  • 1 cup thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apple
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 475°.

Combine honey and mustard in a small bowl. Cut bread in half lengthwise; place on a baking sheet and toast in oven 3-4 minutes, turn and toast just a bit longer (you want chewy, not tough). Spread honey mixture on bottom half of loaf; top with turkey and cheese. Bake until cheese begins to melt.

Arrange watercress and apple slices onto melted cheese; sprinkle with pepper. Cover with top half of loaf, and cut into 4 portions.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fresh Salsa

NOT ONE of these photos have been retouched, lightened, or altered. Maybe they should have been, but I wanted to prove a point. They're straight camera shots. THIS salsa is THAT good. Suck it up, get a food processor (so much better texture than the blender but those'll work in a pinch) and make a batch of perfect classic SALSA!!!


2 cans whole tomatoes

1 cup very coarsely chopped onion

1 medium jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1 medium red chile, seeded and chopped (or just another jalapeno or omit entirely for wussy purposes)

2 medium chipotle pepper (seeded if you're a superwus), add a little adobo sauce if you like it smokier and spicier

3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

big pinch sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 juice of whole lime

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, more or less to taste

Into a food processor, add one can of tomatoes into the bowl. Add the onion, peppers, garlic, sugar, salt, and lime juice. Process till smooooth. Or as you like... It'll get hit again in a sec.

Reserve the juice from remaining can of tomatoes, add remaining and PULSE until desired consistency, using juice only if necessary. (Salsa will create own juice).

Abuse this, without guilt!, on quesadillas, soft tacos and fajitas, add some with a little cumin when you cook rice as a great Tex-Mex side, drizzle on cheddar omelets,
or just wolf some down on
good tortilla chips!

We usually keep this or the fixins' on hand for emergencies.

I was innocently searching for "chile pepper" and he popped up.
It was too disturbing to me to just leave well enough alone.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Creme Brulee.

This is not, "Cooking Light".

The following post, good recipe, bad photos, is strictly for fellow hedonists. And its brief. Because I've been really, ruhhhheeeeally busy.

Necessary equipment you might not have:
  • good instant-read digital thermometer
  • (4) 4-5 oz creme brulee dishes or souffle ramekins (the former are more shallow with larger diameter - I can't find mine. they're somewhere. damnit.)
  • and a tea kettle makes pouring the water a lot less, um, dangerous. for you and the custard...

the rest of the equipment most people have, but again, in a hurry, so read through if you need to!

La Creme Brulee
serves 4

2 cups heavy cream, chilled
⅓ cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
½ large vanilla bean, halved lengthwise (really gotta get a real bean, this is serious stuff)
6 lg egg yolks (again, go cage free, organic, clean-hippy, "granola" eggs - you'll thank me)
2 tablespoons turbinado (often called "raw") sugar, or Demerara sugar

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine 1 cup cream, sugar, and salt in medium saucepan; with paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into pan, submerge pod in cream, and bring mixture to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Take pan off heat and let steep 15 minutes to infuse flavors.

Meanwhile, place kitchen towel in bottom of large baking dish or roasting pan and arrange four 4- to 5- ounce shallow fluted (creme brulee) dishes or ramekins on towel. Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to boil over high heat.

After cream has steeped, stir in remaining 1 cup cream to cool down mixture. Whisk yolks in large bowl until broken up and combined. Whisk about 1/2 cup cream mixture into yolks until loosened and combined; repeat with another 1/2 cup cream. Add remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into 2-quart measuring cup or pitcher (or clean medium bowl); discard solids in strainer. Pour or ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing it evenly among them.

Carefully place baking dish with ramekins on oven rack; pour boiling water into dish, taking care not to splash water into ramekins, until water reaches two-thirds height of ramekins. Bake until centers of custards are just barely set and are no longer sloshy and digital instant-read thermometer inserted in centers registers 170 to 175 degrees. This can be anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes, depending on the depth of the ramekins and your oven. Start checking at 15 minutes. Usually 25 minutes for creme brulee dishes and 30 minutes for traditional ramekins. NOTE: mine took almost 40 minutes this time. Your digital thermometer is your FRIEND. You want the coolest ramekin at JUST 170.

Transfer ramekins to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Set ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.

Uncover ramekins; if condensation has collected on custards, place paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 1 - 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar; tilt and tap ramekin for even coverage. Ignite torch and caramelize sugar. Refrigerate ramekins, uncovered to re-chill, 30 to 45 minutes but NOOOO longer; serve.

note the sugar is like glass and can be lifted from the firm, cool custard beneath...


Am I the only one that thinks this dessert is downright sexy?

Am I normal?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, Peeps.

Easter pics later!!!
Love what you see when you walk out your front door.