Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

A Time for Everything

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

When I was a kid, I was so obsessed with ketchup.  It went on/in everything.  From mac’n'cheese to the more conventional french fry, I was obsessed.  And then, with no real warning, our sordid love affair was over.  Ketchup was disgusting, and I didn’t want it on my hamburger, let alone my mac’n'cheese.  Everything was barbecue, those days.  And really, barbecue is an ideal dipping sauce: spicy, sweet, with a little tanginess thrown in for good measure.

And then Joel and I went to the Old Salt Restaurant in Beaufort, NC.  First, let me begin by saying that they have a fantastic gluten free menu and a staff that’s actually educated on it.  Second, they have these sea salt brined fries…

I recognize the fact that in creating a food blog, I’m signing on to be able to write about food.  But sometimes… the texture and the flavor are just absolutely so amazing, that you don’t even have words for them.  And to be honest, I’ve been chasing that sea salt brined high ever since.

Five Guys fries are not a bad stand in when I’m back in Durham.  They’ve got the flavor just right, but the texture isn’t quite there.

But the thing is, the fries weren’t even it.  They serve them with their own homemade ketchup that is unbelievable.  I just… words…. not there…

And ever since, I’m back on the ketchup wagon.  I knew I was going to have the house to myself on Friday night with a new season of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix (I recognize that I should be watching Orange is the New Black, but that’s a together show while Joel doesn’t really care for PLL).  I was out running errands, and I thought some fries with some sort of fancy ketchup would exactly do the trick.

Balsamic Ketchup

Oh man, did they ever!  Heinz has this ketchup with balsamic vinegar.  The fries were everything that prepackaged frozen fries are, but this ketchup is a game changer.

When I told Joel about it after, he wanted in on that mess.  So we manufactured an excuse to use it again: corndog muffins with tater tots (a preference of his I’ll never understand).

Corndog Muffin

Corndog muffins were a pinterest find from forever ago.  They’re the easiest way to satisfy a corndog craving, which, if you’re anything like me, come fairly regularly.  The recipe is from Iowa Girl Eats, and while I like the concept, her method simply doesn’t work for me.  A) I don’t have a mini muffin tin.  B) I have found the best gluten free cornbread mix in the whole wide world, and I really don’t see any reason to mess with that.  C) I also think we can do a smidgen better than regular ol’ hot dogs.

So let’s simplify this a bit.

Corndog Muffins

  • Prepared cornbread batter*
  • Kielbasa sausage, cut into 12 equal pieces

Pour batter into muffin tins as the recipe directs (do not overfill).  Insert a sausage piece into the middle of each filled muffin tin.  If there is batter leftover, I like to pour it into a small pan and bake plain to have with butter and honey for dessert.

* My personal favorite of the gluten free varieties is Pamela’s.  My homemade cornbread isn’t that good.  I figure if I’m having corndogs for dinner, I might as well go whole hog and treat myself with my favorite cornbread (see what I did there?).

P.S.  The combo with the ketchup.  Absolutely divine.

Meal Planning

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Before there are groceries, there are meals.  There’s a plan.  Built on the weather, what’s fresh at the farmer’s market, what’s cheap at the supermarket, and whatever my/my husband’s work schedule looks like this week.  I always try to plan the more complicated meals earlier in the week, because I know I’ll have more energy.  Warm meals should coincide with cold nights.  Grilling with warm nights.  And these days, North Carolina is getting both in the same week.  Plan a salad for Tuesday instead of Thursday, and you might seriously regret it.

Completely unrelated, but I fell asleep while watching Scandal last night, which means I was watching what I had missed this morning, and I just spent the last 5 minutes with my hand covering my mouth, gasping repeatedly as things became more and more intense.  Why did I think this could be a chill watch-as-you-write-a-blog-post show this morning?

And that’s how we ended up with shepherd’s pie planned for this last Monday.  Monday was supposed to be cold.  I had come across a picture of shepherd’s pie on pinterest, and very much wanted to eat it.  Joel has been requesting shepherd’s pie basically since we got married.  I didn’t grow up with it, and thought the whole concept was gross.  But oh, that picture.  I wish I could find it again, but well… you know the internet.

I didn’t even realize Monday was St. Patrick’s Day until I got to school that morning and saw my colleague’s shamrock tie.  But even then, I didn’t put together that shepherd’s pie was a good St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  And if I’m being really honest, Monday was a rough day for me.  I got home and made a huge mistake.  I sat down.  As soon as I sit down in the evenings, I don’t get up.  Knowing this, I sat down anyway.  I browsed instagram.  And whoa… St. Patrick’s Day was happening in a serious way.  It was all soda bread and Guinness.

The coincidence was irresistible.  To the point that I actually got off my hindquarters and made it.

Shepherd's Pie

In the end, it was a whole lot easier than I expected.  Here’s how it went down:

Shepherd’s Pie

Adapted from Alton Brown

For the potato topping:

  • 1 1/2 pounds red skin potatoes, chopped with skin on
  • 3 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 t. salt

For the filling:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 2 T. corn starch
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 t. tomato paste
  • 1 t. gluten free Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 t. dried thyme
  • 1/2 c. frozen corn
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas

Get the potatoes in boiling water.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large (preferably oven safe) skillet, cook the onion and carrot in olive oil over medium heat until the onion is just barely translucent.  Add in the ground beef.  Cook until browned.  Add salt and pepper.  Stir the cornstarch into the chicken broth until mixed completely.  Set aside.  Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and chicken broth mixture to the ground beef mixture.  Continue to cook until just barely thickened.  Add corn and peas.  If your skillet is oven safe, you can use that.  If not, transfer to a casserole dish.

When potatoes are cooked through, drain.  Add butter, milk, salt, and pepper.  Mash.  Spread over the filling, beginning at the edge and working your way to the middle.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until potato topping is just starting to brown.

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

I got this slow cooker cookbook at a yardsale a while back, and now I’m ready to start trying out the recipes.  Winter is the perfect time for crockpot recipes.

The first recipe I tried out was “Beef and Bean Tamale Pie.” Basically, it’s chili with cornbread on top. You cook the whole thing in the crockpot, and the chili juices soak up into the bread. It turned out great!

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

I changed the recipe around a bit. First of all, they called for cornbread mix, but I made my bread from scratch. Also, I wanted more fresh ingredients than they called for, so I added a pepper and some tomatoes. Also, the recipe was originally for a 3 1/2 to 4 quart cooker. Mine is bigger, so I increased some ingredients. So here goes:

Beef and Bean Tamale Pie

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 15-oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 10-oz can enchilada sauce (I used a “tomato and chiles” sauce)
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, juice included
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

In large skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until beef is thoroughly cooked. Drain and place in slow cooker. Stir in beans, enchilada sauce, tomatoes, and bell pepper.

  • 1 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1/2 c flour (gluten-free folks can probably substitute cornmeal)
  • 1 t sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c buttermilk (or milk with vinegar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c cheddar cheese
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include the seeds if you want it more spicy)

Mix all ingredients except cheese and jalapeno together, beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Stir in cheese and pepper. Pour into slow cooker over top of beef mixture.

Cook on low setting for 5-6 hours, or until bread is done. Cornbread is done when you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. Serve topped with sour cream and chopped green onions.

Growing Up

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

I’ve been trying to get at least 3 servings of veg into my diet every day.  It’s harder than it sounds.  Maybe it’s not, but it is for me.  That means I have to have 1 serving for lunch, 1 serving for snack, and 1 serving for dinner.  Snack is easy: carrots and hummus.  Lunch is always leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, so… I mostly just have to make sure I eat some veg in my dinners.  I made lettuce wraps early on this week.  I was doing quite well with those.

Then I saw this come up on my google reader.  For starters, I don’t make anything fancy.  I take fancy and make it casual.  It’s what I do.  I’m good at it.  So “Fancy Sloppy Joes” isn’t really my style.  But do you know what is?  Sneaking veg into sloppy joes.  So I ran by the grocery store on my way home from work, all prepared to pick up some carrots and zucchini to put inside of them.

Sloppy Joes

These are a bit on the spicy side of things, but feel free to modify them to your taste.  I wouldn’t at all frown on you if you wanted to use a spice pack, either.  I was going to, but the only brand I could find put all kinds of gluten into it.  Dumb.

I ate it on two slices of Rudi’s multigrain, and while the flavor was great, the texture wasn’t quite right.  The bread fell apart in my hands so I went at it with a fork.  Manageable, though not ideal.

Sneaky, Sloppy Joes:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste (I probably used a couple teaspoons)

Cook the ground beef and onions over medium high heat.  Drain off any excess grease.  Mix in veg, water, tomato paste, and the remaining ingredients.  Cook until veg is soft and cooked through and excess liquid has thickened.

I really do have recipes!

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

This meal was made pre-gluten free days, but aside from that little biscuit off to the side it totally fits the bill.  And it was AMAZING.  No joke.

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

I have this steak marinade recipe that came from my brother’s roommate’s mom.  Did you follow that?  It’s really good.  But what I realized is that it’s really good even if you’re missing half the ingredients.  So here’s the deal.  You should make steak sometime.  And when you do, use garlic, vinegar of some sort (red wine, white, balsamic, whatever…), brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and steak sauce (if you have it; I didn’t).  Marinate half an hour.  Then make your roommate grill them to perfection while you finish off the mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

Photo by Nathan Clendenin

Then eat like a pig.  It’s the only way, really.