A Perfect Meal

March 30, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Salads, Soup | 26 Comments
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In my humble opinion a perfect meal, anytime of year is a luscious salad, a well-flavored delicious soup and a chunk of crusty bread. 

Here’s the latest trio I served up.

Creamy Olive Soup.  This is a delicious and elegant soup and with white wine, both black and pimento-stuffed olives, light cream, is a knockout anytime of year. This can be served as a first course, or add some chicken to make a heartier entrée. You’ll find the recipe below.

Orange, Avocado Spinach Salad.  How is this for a blend of flavors and textures: lush fresh spinach, juicy oranges, smooth creamy avocado, green onion, garlic with the tang of vinegar and sweet orange juice. Anyone interested?  A lot of salads come out of my kitchen and this is one of my favorite recipes ever. You’ll find my personal salad rules and the recipe below.

Costco has some of my favorite little chewy yummy baquettes. They come in a bag of six and I always grab a sack for the freezer.

Let’s talk about salads.  My rules for pampering those beautiful greens into deliciousness are simple.

  • Use the best ingredients
  • A thorough washing.
  • A thorough drying (moisture dilutes dressings).
  • A large salad bowl to make vigorous tossing easy.
  • Garlic, crushed, and rubbed around your serving bowl before anything else is added.  Some say peel the garlic clove and rub over inside of bowl then discard garlic. Don’t be a wimp, add the whole crushed clove.
  • Chilled salad plates from the freezer always make a salad taste better.
  • Tossing the greens in oil before applying and tossing with dressing.  This seals the leaves’ own moisture, flavor and will keep it looking fresh and crisp.
  • Try always to make your own dressings. Why not? Easy, delicious and better tasting.

So with all that said, let’s make that salad.

Orange, Avocado and Spinach Salad

6 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried

Shake in a jar:

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 T. red wine vinegar (I used white balsamic raspberry vinegar this time)
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. sugar or honey (warm honey so it will blend easily)
  • 1/2 t. soy sauce
  • 1 t. grated orange rind
  • Several good grinds of fresh black pepper

Set aside

In your serving bowl, squeeze 1 clove garlic through a garlic press. Rub the garlic around the bowl. Pour in 1/2 cup peanut oil. Add the spinach and toss to coat.  Working quickly add:

  • 1 – 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced with green tops included

Shake the contents of the jar vigorously, pour over the salad, toss a couple of times and divide onto chilled plates. Serve immediately.

Creamy Olive Soup

In a saucepan melt 4 T. butter

Saute 1/4 cup each finely diced onion, carrot and celery

When vegetables have softened sprinkle them with 5 T. unbleached white flour

Gradually whisk in 4 C. chicken stock

Stir vigorously with the whisk as you raise the heat to medium to prevent lumps. When stock is smooth and slightly thick, transfer from skillet to your soup pot. Add 1 C. white wine.

Simmer for 20 minutes then stir in 1 1/2 C. half and half.

Lower heat, do not allow soup to boil.

Add 1/2 C. cooked white rice

1/4 C. each sliced large black and pimento-stuffed green olives.

1/4 C. frozen peas

2 C. cooked chicken breast which has been cut into bite sized pieces.

Heat through, taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle in some white pepper and salt if needed.

 

Enough for two meals, I changed it up a bit for leftovers and made it a triple olive soup with a sprinkle of sliced green olives stuffed with jalapenos. 

And with enough dressing left, same salad without the fruit, simply topped with sunflower seeds. Delicious.

This soup is heading to paradise, as I’m sending it to Deb over at Kahakai Kitchen for her Sunday Souper feature.  You can visit her HERE.

 

Soup, Salad and Bread.

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Ham Hash with Mustard Cream Sauce

March 28, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Posted in Breakfast | 2 Comments
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I’d be willing to bet that after next weekend, we’ll all have some leftover ham and hard-boiled eggs. This is a great way to use up some Easter leftovers.  It only took about 30 minutes from start to finish and made for a fantastic Sunday breakfast.

 I found this over at www.inmamaskitchen.com.  I put my own spin on the recipe by adding a finely chopped jalapeno, seeded and veins removed, and a sprinkle of cilantro. 

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I purchased a large bag of red-skinned, yellow-flesh, Yukon Gold Idaho potatoes a couple of weeks ago at Costco. These things are so good that I’ve been keeping them in the basement in the “wine cellar” with fingers crossed that they won’t lose any of their unique sweet flavor. 

They worked great in this hash. Their creamy texture and sweet taste really complimented the salty ham and sweet onion. I love these potatoes and this recipe with the elegant mustard cream sauce is just flat-out delicious!

Ham Hash with Eggs in Mustard Cream Sauce
Recipe by Diane Nemitz, B&B Owner.

•3 tablespoons butter
•3 tablespoons oil
•3 large potatoes, peeled,cooked and cubed (I did not peel the potatoes)

•1/2 lb. ham, chopped
•1 tablespoon finely minced onion
•1 tablespoon butter
•1 tablespoon flour
•1 cup milk
•1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
•4 hard cooked eggs, peeled and sliced

My additions:

  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 T. chopped cilantro to sprinkle on top

Method:

In large skillet, heat butter and oil until butter is melted. Add potatoes, ham and onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring and turning mixture over until crispy brown.

While hash is cooking, make mustard cream sauce. In small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Stir in flour to make a roux. Add milk and stir over low heat until sauce begins to thicken. Stir in mustard. Continue cooking until sauce is thick. Add sliced eggs to sauce, but do not stir.

When hash is finished cooking, place in serving bowl. Pour eggs with sauce over the middle of the hash. Serve at once. Nice with toast or biscuits.

Serves: 4

Ham Hash with Mustard Cream Sauce.

It’s What’s For Sunday Breakfast.

Snow Bound With Hudson Cream Flour

March 26, 2010 at 1:56 am | Posted in dessert | 30 Comments
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Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning we totaled over 12 inches of snow. Schools and businesses were closed, so what the heck, we called a family pow-wow and declared our household observe an official snow day.

Snow bound and mind clear of normal weekday responsibilities,  one can find time to clean out an unruly closet, work on that cluttered basement, catch up on some household bill filing, dust…

Forget that, let’s bake a peach pie.

Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve baked a pie?

Baking in Colorado’s high altitude can sometimes be a challenge. About 20 years ago, using my mom’s no-fail pie crust recipe, which failed, I remember throwing my hands up in the air surrendering and swearing never to make another.

So what the heck, let’s give it another try.

Let’s start with the flour I’m going to use.  When I was back in Kansas I picked up a sack of Hudson Cream Flour.  

The flour mill is about 20 miles west of the wheat farm where I grew up,  located in Hudson Kansas, population 125. It is one of the last independent flour mills left in the United States. 

Hudson Cream Flour is made using a “short patent” milling process, a method that was much more common a century ago than today. The difference is that in short patent milling the wheat is ground more times and sifted with finer-meshed sieves than in standard milling. Also, the short patent process sifts away more by-product, leaving only the heart of the wheat kernel. The result is a flour that is smoother in texture and produces baked goods that are consistently light and fluffy. (I didn’t know that part,  it’s on their web site and for more information please visit http://www.hudsoncream.com/contact.html)

Before we go any further, take a look at what my Mom gave me for Easter. Take a closer look and you’ll see her dress is real live authentic old-time Hudson Flour flour sack.  Is that just “way” cool or what?

Not only did I pick up the sack of flour, I also found these peaches at Smith’s Market. Vanilla Peaches? Who could resist a jar.

So using my Mom’s pie crust recipe and that Kansas Short Patent flour, let’s get started.

Mom’s No-Fail Pie Crust:

  • 2 C. flour
  • 1 C. Crisco (Thanks to Buffalo Dick I used lard)
  • 1 tsp. salt

Add ice water to form a consistency for a ball of dough.  Makes two crusts.

Using my Little Red Corvette and it’s dough hook, I blended the ingredients. Removing the dough to my work space, I formed it into a ball, added a bit more flour and ice water to achieve just the right consistency, then rolled it out into a large round. (by the way did anyone notice little Alfred Hitchcock Goofy Cat in the background?)

Carefully lay the dough into your pie plate then using a knife, trim the excess from around the edges. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch edges to form a ripple design, poke bottom of dough a few times with a fork and you’re ready for your filling.

I sliced about 4 – 5 of those vanilla peaches.

I topped the peaches with a crumb mixture from a friend’s “Aunt Wilma’s Peach Crumble Pie” recipe.

Popped it into the an oven preheated to 375 degrees and baked for about 50 minutes, or until bubbly and the crumb topping had started to brown.

OK, so here’s the good news. My pie crust was very nice. The bad news is, if I plan to get obsessed with making pies, that means I’ll have to increase my gym time from 3 hours a week to 25 hours a week, which means I’ll have to quit my job.  🙂

Here’s the recipe for the crumb topping:

1/4 Cup Butter
1/2  Cup Flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients and sprinkle over pie.  Drizzle with liquid.
5 Tbs Water (I used liquid from the jar of Vanilla Peaches)

Just look at that vanilla ice cream melting over that warm peach pie.  Mmmmm.  But really I’m posting this photo to show off that creamy crust.  Hudson Cream Flour, you are my hero!  My first successful high altitude pie crust, kudos to you. 

That crumb topping almost makes it look more like a cobbler, doesn’t it?

Wait…wait…wait, I’m not done yet, we’ve got to talk about the “twisties”. When I was growing up on the farm, I swear my mom made a pie, if not two, every single day. With her practice of wasting nothing, here’s what she did with that extra dough that had been trimmed around the edge of the pie plate.

Roll it out, cut into strips, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, twist up the strips, place on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. A tasty little treat.

Peach Pie and Twisties

It’s What’s For Dessert and Snacks.

White Bean Huevos Rancheros

March 25, 2010 at 11:38 am | Posted in Breakfast | 16 Comments
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This is for all my breakfast-food foodie friends…and you know who you are.

This is kind of a pain in the butt to make but soooo worth it. 

I wish I had a better photo. There is so much light that pours in our South facing kitchen window this time of year. Lots of shadows. Plus I didn’t take the time to relocate for a better photo, as  this is such a time sensitive recipe. If you’re not digging into this dish pretty quickly, the egg will continue to set and the texture of the warmed corned tortillas will lose their charm (excuses…excuses…).

I think this would be a difficult recipe to serve to 6 people, especially if plated all at the same time. Maybe you could do it, but I think I’d need a couple of sous chefs to accomplish that.

I obviously scaled this recipe way down for Bob and me. No, we did not eat 12 eggs.  🙂

This is a lighter take on classic huevos rancheros, which can include plenty of refried black or pinto beans. This version uses white beans; the beans are then mashed with ham to form the base of the dish, then piled with corn tortillas, fried eggs and queso fresco before broiling. A warm tomato salsa tops it all off.

7 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 canned chipotle chile in adobo, minced (about 1 teaspoon), plus 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce from the can
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbs very finely chopped cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oz thickly sliced ham, coarsely chopped
Two 15-ounce cans white beans, drained
1/2 cup water
12 corn tortillas, warmed
1 dozen large eggs
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
Sour cream, for serving

1. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and half of the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce and cook over low heat, stirring, until the tomatoes have broken down but are still slightly chunky, about 20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and season with salt and pepper; keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the remaining onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ham and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and water, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately low heat, about 10 minutes.  Gently mash beans.

3. Preheat the broiler. Spoon the bean mixture into 6 ovenproof shallow bowls and top with 2 folded tortillas. Set the bowls on a sturdy baking sheet.

4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Crack 4 eggs into the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the bottoms are just set, about 2 minutes. Transfer 2 eggs to each bowl. Repeat 2 more times with the remaining oil and eggs.

5. Sprinkle the queso fresco over the eggs. Broil the eggs 6 inches from the heat, until the cheese is lightly browned and the egg yolks are just set. Spoon the warm tomato salsa on top and serve with sour cream.

  • Servings: 6
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

White Bean Huevos Rancheros:

When you’ve got some time, It’s What’s For Breakfast.

Easy Cheesy Chicken

March 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Chicken | 41 Comments
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Whew! I’m out of breath. Busy, busy, busy at work coupled with a quick road trip back to Kansas to celebrate Mom’s birthday hasn’t left much time for me to blog or to even read yours. Just so you don’t forget about me, here’s a quick meal that allowed me to cook during all of the hullabaloo.

In spite of our 12 inches of snow a couple of days ago, it is Springtime in the Rockies. I love this time of year in Colorado. Our big spring snows followed by 65-degree days equal quick melts revealing green grass that wasn’t there before the snow, irises poking up through the dirt and a Weber grill that has come out of hibernation.

So let’s grill some chicken.

This is a throw-together meal using ingredients I had on hand. No recipe required. 

I call it Easy Cheesy Chicken…

I simply pounded a couple of chicken breasts with my meat mallet to an equal thickness. Sprinkled with Mexican oregano, salt and pepper I threw them on my pre-heated grill…

Meanwhile, I sautéed some sliced green onions in a butter and olive oil mixture…

Whisk in some milk and shredded cheddar cheese…

Add enough cheese to obtain that ooey-gooey consistency…

Add a couple of tablespoons of your favorite bottled salsa…

Add a few shakes of handsome (and well dressed) Mr. Tapatio Hot Sauce.

Plate the chicken, drizzle on some of the ooey-gooey cheese, top with a beautiful handful of cilantro and voila!  Easy and cheesy.

So, let’s talk about Spring. Spring’s is a great time for us.  As you know, we’re avid birdwatchers and the miracles of migration are about to unfold all around us. Birdwatching is our favorite spring activity…what’s yours?

Did I mention there is another foot of snow in our forecast for this afternoon?  Which will make for some grumpy little migrants.

Where are Idaho Potatoes Grown?

March 17, 2010 at 1:07 am | Posted in Vegetables | 28 Comments
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Remember when our teachers used to encourage us to be stupid by saying  “There are no stupid questions!” 

You see…I bought this bag of potatoes at Costco. It reads “Idaho Potatoes, Product of USA”.   These beautiful potatoes are just a tad larger than fingerlings, and with their perfect rosy complexion appear as just harvested new potatoes. Just like the ones we clamor for in early summer. 

But wait a minute! Isn’t Idaho potato harvest in late summer??? It’s March.

The first question that came to mind was “Can Idaho Potatoes be grown in warmer climate states and still carry the Idaho Potato logo?”  If not, have these little beauties been in some sort of high-tech cold storage all this time? I assume the later, and  impressed with whoever and whatever preserved these little guys, considering installing a unit in my home and I’ll sit around in it!

Back to this purchase.  These potatoes seem perfect. Ruby Red on the outside with buttery gold flesh inside they are creamy, sweet, tender and a rare treat any time of year. I’ve never had them before and where ever they’ve been hiding,  I want them year ’round. If you see a bag, I highly suggest you grab it and give them a try.

So with all that said,  let’s talk potato salad. 

When I think of potato salad, I think “All-American…summer…picnics…back yard BBQ’s…”    But is Potato Salad really All-American? From what I read on a Google search, our cold mayonnaise based version was surely inspired by German immigrants who served theirs warm and with vinegar. 

While I like German Potato Salad, our version, with creamy mouthfeel and served up just right and wrapped around a dependable American potato just can’t be beat.

What’s your riff on potato salad? Let me know in your replies. Here’s how I do potato salad.

  • I take about 8 medium-sized red-skinned potatoes, all about the same size.  I use red-skinned potatoes because they are lower in starch so they hold their shape better.  Higher in sugar, I think they make a better tasting potato salad.  
  • Cover un-peeled potatoes in water in a large kettle and gently simmer until tender.  You’ve got to watch them closely. If you cook them too long, you’ll have mashed potatoes when you mix the salad, not enough and you’ve got that raw potato taste.
  • Meanwhile, chop your vegetables. I use about a cup of sweet or green onion, 2 – 3 stalks of celery, thin sliced  pimento-stuffed green olives and some chopped bacon.  Place them in a large bowl.
  • When potatoes are cooked perfectly, drain them in a colander. Here’s where I decide if I leave the skins on or off.  If the skins are sweet and tender, I leave them. At this point, I take a knife and very coarsly chop them while they’re draining in the colander. 
  • Pour steaming chunks of potatoes over the bowl of chopped vegetables and let sit for about 5 minutes before stirring. I like to do this so the flavors marry a little bit.
  • Top with 1/2 cup mayonnaise and a tablespoon of mustard. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and gently mix. At this time I start adjusting the flavors, adding more mustard and mayo, if needed, for both texture and taste. 
  • Refrigerate until serving time.

Yum!

Potato Salad

It’s What’s For A Side

Here some Tater facts that I found on the www:

Varieties:  Potatoes with a high starch content, like russets, bake well and yield light and fluffy mashed potatoes. Those with a low starch content, like red-skinned potatoes, hold their shape after cooking, and are great for making potato salads and scalloped potatoes.  Medium starch potatoes are called all-purpose potatoes, and they’ll work in most potato dishes.  

Best for baking: Russet potato

Best for potato salads, gratins, and scalloped potatoes: Yellow Finn potatoes, new potatoes, red-skinned potatoes, white round potatoes, and purple potatoes 

Best for mashing: Russet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, Caribe potatoes, and purple potatoes 

Best for soups and chowders: Yukon gold potatoes, Yellow Finn potatoes, red-skinned potatoes, white round potatoes, and purple potatoes 

Best for pan-frying: Red-skinned potatoes, white round potatoes, new potatoes, and fingerling potatoes

Best for French fries: Russet potatoes, purple potatoes, Bintje potatoes

Best for purees: Fingerling potatoes

Best for roasting:  New potatoes, Bintje potatoes

Best for steaming:  New potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes

Best for potato pancakes: Russet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes

Glazed Corned Beef

March 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Posted in Beef | 23 Comments
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This coming Wednesday, no matter what our lineage, we’ll all be Irish.  It’s the rules folks. Even for Goofy Cats.

I’m getting a head start on the culinary celebration of St. Patrick’s Day because I’ll be attending a business networking event on Wednesday which will prevent me from spending time in the kitchen. It’s a “must attend”, as many of Denver’s top movers, shakers and hoppers will be there!

It’s our annual Realtor Association Bowling Tournament where about 500 of us who make our living in the Real Estate Industry take to the lanes. The only moving will consist of rolling balls down alleys at some pins. And the shaking?  Well that would be the bartenders shaking green food color into pitchers of beer. And more shaking when Realtor Debbie leads the group in the Electric Slide and then of course the annual group Hokey Pokey embarrassment.  The hopping???  Why that would be when the D.J. plays Cotton Eyed Joe, of course.

My company (Title Insurance) has two teams which I’ve named The Bowling Stones. Even though I stole that name from a good friend, I’m very proud of the steal and taking full credit for its cleverness.

With all that said, as predicted and right on schedule, Safeway put corned beef on sale last Wednesday. Friday morning I put the brisket in the crockpot for an all day slow simmering. 

Friday evening we enjoyed Glazed Corn Beef: (photo too horrible to post – but believe me, it was delicious).

1 lb to 4 lb corned beef brisket
2 Tbs prepared mustard
1.5 tsp cream-style horseradish
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/4 cup molasses

1. In a slow cooker, cover corned beef with water. Cover and cook on low 10-12 hours or until tender. Drain corned beef and place on a broiler pan or ovenproof platter.

2. Preheat oven to 400F. In a small bowl, combine mustard, horseradish, vinegar and molasses. Brush on all sides of meat. Bake, brushing with sauce several times, for about 20 minutes or until meat begins to brown. Cut into thin slices.

I served this with a simple side of Cole Slaw.

Saturday for breakfast was over easy eggs, warmed corned beef and some pumpernickel toast. To warm up the corned beef without drying it out, I simply sautéed it in a little butter. 

Saturday night we enjoyed Glazed Corned Beef Sandwiches. I just popped the bottom half of the sandwich which consisted of shredded corned beef  topped with some Swiss Cheese and broiled until warm and oozy. Along with the Cole Slaw I added a side of potato salad.

So there, I feel amply Irish to start out my week. How are you culinarily celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?

Corned Beef and Potatoes

It’s What’s For St. Patrick’s Day.

By the way, just what the heck is Corned Beef?  According to Wisegeek.com:

Corned beef, also called corned beef brisket, is a popular meat item which hearkens back to the days before refrigeration. Faced with the challenge of preserving fresh meat for the winter season, butchers would routinely pack beef or pork products in salt to prevent the formation of bacteria and mold. Meats like beef brisket could also be pickled in a spicy, salty brine. At one time, the word corn referred to a number of kernels or seeds, including the coarse salt granules packed around the brisket. Thus the meat was called “corned beef ” in reference to the corns of salt.

I Call It “The Spaniard”

March 11, 2010 at 1:10 am | Posted in Sandwiches | 42 Comments
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I call it “The Spaniard” even though the only thing Spanish about the final version of this sandwich is the Manchego Cheese.

I call it “The Spaniard” because I swiped this recipe from a local liquor store and they had named it “The Spaniard”. You’re probably scratching your head and asking “HUH, food? liquor store, Spaniard???” Let me explain. 

A couple of years ago, a huge liquor super mart, about the size of a Costco Warehouse opened up on the West side of Denver. I kid you not.  HUGE store, almost laughably huge. The name of the store is Tipsy’s Liquor World and it sports a two-story neon martini glass on the back of the building,  which faces the highway, and I’m sure is also visible from the Hubble Space Telescope. In other words, ya can’t miss Tipsy’s Liquor World.

The south end of Tipsy’s Liquor World houses a specialty food store/deli counter. It’s actually kind of a cool idea. Tipsy’s is located on our main highway that leads up into our beautiful Rocky Mountains and I’m thinkin’ that they’re thinkin’ that on your way up to the hills you’ll stop for some wine and picnic lunch. 

Anyway, we were browsing  in Tipsy’s Liquor World around lunch time one Saturday and decided to grab a sandwich. We each ordered  “The Spaniard”. DEElicious. About halfway through the sandwich, coming up for my first breath and with glazed eyes, I said to Bob “I can make this at home”.   So you know I did.

Here’s what you’ll need for “The Spaniard”

  • 8 slices of Black Forest Ham
  • About 8 thick slices of onion, caramelized
  • One roasted yellow bell pepper
  • One roasted red bell pepper (both divided in half for each sandwich)
  • 2 thick slices Manchego Cheese

I think the original sandwich had Serrano Ham, which I’ve used. Black Forest Ham seems to be easier for me to work with.

4 slices of pumpernickel bread slathered in mayonnaise

Starting with the ham, layer ingredients on one slice of bread with the Manchego Cheese ending up on top. Place the two sandwich halves on a baking sheet and broil until cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown.  Remove from oven, top with remaining slice of bread, press down to a bit on the top to press everything together, plate and dig in. Makes 2 sandwiches.

I like to serve a lot of simple garden salads with my meals.  Makes me feel healthy.  This time served with a tangerine vinaigrette.

What is the name of your local liquor store?

Invite the “The Spaniard”.

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Western Slope Peach Clafouti

March 9, 2010 at 1:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 31 Comments

 

I’m Public Relations Coordinator for the Highlands Ranch Rotary Club. One of our annual fund-raisers is to sell delicious Colorado Western Slope Peaches after they are harvested and in our hands in August. I’ve come up with this big idea to produce a little cookbook full of peach recipes submitted by our members.  A fun little handout when folks pick up their peaches they’ve ordered from us. I’m getting an early start on this production, so over the next few months, you’ may be seeing some tested peach recipes on my blog. This is the first. 

But first, let’s talk geography.  Denver lies on east side of  the Rocky Mountains. We call our area the Front Range.  On the west side of our mountains, Colorado’s Western Slope is home to orchards and vineyards.  Juicy peaches, sweet apples, pears and grapes for wine are grown here. 

Nearly 200 orchards are located near Palisade, CO.  The Colorado River Valley of Colorado’s Western Slope has a unique mix of ideal climate and soil full of phosphates, sulfates and nitrogen and has been churning out consistently flavorful peaches. You can pick up some of these summer treats along roadside stands throughout August. Farmers also deliver their crops to Front Range Farmers Markets.  

I won’t test all of the recipes for this little cookbook project,  just the ones I’m unfamiliar with or curious about. Using frozen peaches from last August’s purchase, Here’s my first test recipe. 

Peach Clafouti (Custard): 

Submitted by Jan Keyton, Highlands Ranch Rotarian
Adapted from a Tony’s Meats Recipe 

4 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream (or half-half)
½ cup milk
3 Tbs flour
¾ cup sugar
3 Tbs unsalted butter
6 medium peaches – peeled & quartered 

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.  In a blender, combine eggs with cream, milk and flour.  Add ½ C sugar and blend till smooth. 

 

2. In a medium heavy skillet, melt butter over med-high heat.  Add peaches, sprinkle with remaining ¼ C sugar, and cook till tender, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Butter a 10 inch round deep dish pie plate. Pour one quarter of batter into bottom, spoon peaches with remaining liquid into dish, and pour remaining batter on top. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top if desired. Set pie plate on a baking sheet & bake for 55-60 minutes, or until golden and just set. Transfer to a rack & cool to room temperature before serving.   Top with some whipped cream. 

Right Out Of The Oven

3. Make ahead: Can be refrigerated overnight.  Gently rewarm in a 300 degree oven before serving. 

This was easy to make and very tasty.  

Peach Clafouti 

It’s Whats For Dessert.

Lard

March 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Posted in Breakfast | 29 Comments
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I bought some lard yesterday. Ok, pipe down everyone and don’t have a heart attack (pun intended). It’s not like I”m going to be frying up vats of flour-dredged deep fat fried food everyday, I just happen to like lard for certain things and the last time I looked, Safeway was lardless. And look, the logo even sports a graphic of a heart. (wink)

Yesterday we set out across town on a Foodie Field Trip. Our destination was the Mexican grocery store, Avanza. 

I recently complained about our lack of  Chipolte Peppers in Adobo Sauce selection here on the South side of town and fellow Denver area blogger Drew, over at Grubology came to the rescue. He reminded me about the Mexican Market over on Federal Blvd. in Denver.  So, yesterday morning Bob and I loaded up and headed over to do some shopping. If you’d like to visit Drew’s blog  click HERE.

Thanks Drew, I loved this market, brimming full of items not found here in Highlands Ranch. Fabulous selection of peppers, beans, rice, hot sauces and too many other items to list. 

Yes, I picked up some Chipolte Peppers in Adobo along with some other loot.  Goya black beans, and some Tapatio Hot Sauce.  Move over Tobasco, I’m broadening my horizons.

Imported Mexican Coca-cola bottled with “good-tasting”  cane sugar.

Just look at that fluffy scoop of lard. Seems like there should be a little skier swishing down that pristine slope. We see now why Morrell has so suitably named their product Snow Cap.

Lots of Goya products are available at Avanza. I picked up this Adobo with Bitter Orange flavor. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with it, but it sounded so exotic. Not pairing up for a culinary event, I just thought this made a pretty picture next to bits of orange bell peppers I chopped up for country-style potatoes for breakfast. 

Avanza has a fabulous selection of Mexican Cheese and at a fraction of the cost when I buy them in Highlands Ranch. I picked up some crumbling cheese and some Manchego.  I use Manchego for my “Spaniard Sandwich” which  I’ll be making this week and, of course, blogging about.

I love pork chops for breakfast, so I bought these very thin sliced pork sirloin chops which I flash-fried in my cast iron skillet. Beautifully yummy. 

With my Avanza inspired pork chops, brunch was a sunnyside up egg, country-style potatoes sautéed in lard with orange bell peppers and green onions and pork chops. Look at those pork chops, they’re just barely thicker than the fried egg white.  And darn it Larry (Big Dude Eclectic Ramblings) there weren’t enough pan drippings from these lean pork chops to make some of that delicious cream gravy you’ve been slathering all over everything in sight. 

So with all of that said, we’ve got a spring-like day here in Denver, so I’m off to walk the dogs a couple of miles. Afterall, I don’t want to turn into a lard-ass!  🙂

Pork Chops, potatoes crispy on the outside but steamy tender on the inside fried  in a dollop of lard and a perfect sunny-side up egg (with a little bit too much black pepper)

It’s Whats For Brunch.

http://www.avanzasupermarket.com/

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