Monthly Archives: November 2010

Sausage Stuffing

Would it really be a holiday meal without some sort of stuffing? I think not! Well, that’s my opinion, but of course if you don’t like or don’t have stuffing at your meal, it’s all good, lol. I love all types, including ones made with rice, regular bread, or one of my favorites, corn bread.

I decided to make the stuffing again this year for Thanksgiving. It’s a simple recipe, but tasty, and includes some very easy to find ingredients. The bread itself is interchangeable (last year I think I used an onion rye bread).

I was supposed to group this post together with the pumpkin soup, but am still writing out that recipe.

Ingredients:

– 1 ½ lbs ground sausage (I used sage sausage)
– 1 large loaf of bread (any type, this year I used marble rye, but challah or brioche are amazing as well)
– About 1 ½ cup chopped onion, cubed (medium to large cubes, depending on preference)
***Note: Some people use stale/air dried bread, I cut up the bread and toasted the bread in a low oven (250 degrees until toasted/dried out, about 30 minutes for me)
– About 1 cup chopped celery (4 stalks, small dice)
– About 1 cup chopped carrot (2 – 3 large carrots)
– 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
– ½ teaspoon toasted and ground fennel seed (I toasted whole ones in a dry skillet, then ground them up)
– 2 Granny Smith apples, medium dice
– 2 large eggs, beaten
– 2 to 3 cups of chicken broth or stock
– salt and pepper
– Olive oil

Ignore the bacon in one of the ingredient slideshow pics. It was used for the Pumpkin soup, not in the stuffing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The Steps:
Preheat oven to 350

1: In a non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat, add 1 to 2 tsp of olive oil and cook the ground sausage until brown. Then transfer to a bowl. I left the drippings to cook the vegetables in. Otherwise, you can drain the sausage, toss the drippings, and add fresh oil.

2: Add all of the vegetables and garlic to the skillet and cook over medium until they become somewhat tender and the onions start to become translucent. You can add the apples toward the end of this step to sauté them. I did this last year, but this year just chopped them and added them later.

3: After cooling for a few minutes, transfer the vegetables, sausage, ground fennel seed, and dry bread cubes to a large bowl and mix lightly, but thoroughly. Add the apples if you didn’t already in step 2.

4: Add the beaten eggs to the stuffing, and begin to add the broth until the bread has absorbed all of it. Start with 2 cups, add more as needed. It shouldn’t be soaked to the point of floating in liquid, but should be very moist.

5: Transfer to a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Remove foil cover, then bake until brown on top, another 10-15 minutes.

EAT and Enjoy!

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Top Chef All-Stars Poll (Re-post)

I posted this as one of my first posts on this blog, and am re-posting for all TC fans to take the poll again. The premiere of the new Top Chef All-Stars (season 8), is on Wednesday, December 1st. Just wanted to get a sense of who people think will take this second-chance and come out on top.

Happy Voting!

Don’t remember some of these contestants? Here are links to their bios on the Top Chef website:

Here is the full list (I updated the links to the newer Season 8 Bio links from the TC website:

Season 1:
· Tiffani Faison
· Stephen Asprinio

Season 2:
· Marcel Vigneron
· Elia Aboumrad

Season 3:
· Dale Levitski
· Casey Thompson
· Tre Wilcox

Season 4:
· Richard Blais
· Spike Mendelsohn
· Dale Talde
· Antonia Lofaso

Season 5:
· Fabio Viviani
· Jamie Lauren
· Carla Hall

Season 6:
· Michael Isabella
· Jennifer Carroll

Season 7:
· Angelo Sosa
· Tiffany Derry

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Tired of leftovers…

I’ve pretty much had my fill of Thanksgiving leftovers.

This is what I’m resorting to for lunch, lol. An English Muffin pizza. Luckily I had some homemade pizza sauce in the freezer, or it would’ve been the third day of leftovers. Reminds me of an after-school snack or something, lol.

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by | November 28, 2010 · 3:06 pm

Say Cheese(cake): Pumpkin Cheesecake

Okay, so all these headings themselves are a big ball of cheese. Sue me, lol.

Who out there has eaten WAAAAY too much already? Lol. Count me in that crowd.

I love pumpkin anything. As I raved about in my “Wabbit Season!…Duck Season!…Wabbit Season!…Pumpkin Season” post, I definitely enjoy eating various foods made with pumpkin, whether savory or sweet. The first pumpkin dish I made this month was pumpkin cheesecake. Creamy, rich, and a sign of the season.

I didn’t make this dish for Thanksgiving, but I did make it for a cultural diversity potluck at work this past Monday. I got some positive response from coworkers, so I’m guessing it turned out well. It was almost another Cooking Fail due to some small mistakes made here and there (i.e. not buying graham crackers for the crust, and not putting the scant amount of flour into the cheesecake batter).

You’ll see some smaller, individual-sized cheesecakes in the pictures next to the large one. Those were made for testing purposes, and to make sure I had some left at home. All were made with the same crust and filling. This yields a semi-thick cheesecake, but not really the texture of a New York cheesecake, which is think and very rich. This is thicker than pumpkin pie, but thinner than a stiffer NY cheesecake.

And yes, finally, this one does have a concrete recipe. It’s probably why I don’t always do so well with baking/pastry/dessert stuff. I’m a non-measurer, so it takes a lot of discipline to follow instructions. Haha.

 Ingredient List:

 Filling:

– 3 (8oz) packages of cream cheese (room temperature)

– 1 ½ cups granulated sugar

– 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk (room temperature)

– 1 15oz can of pumpkin puree (not the pumpkin pie filling)

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– ½ to 1 tsp ground cinnamon (depending on how much cinnamon you like)

– ¼ tsp ground allspice

– freshly grated nutmeg (just a few short grates, not a lot), or 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

 Crust (Graham Cracker):

I didn’t make this one, because I forgot the crackers, but if you’re a traditionalist…

– 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs

– 3 Tbsp packed brown sugar

– ½ tsp ground cinnamon

– small pinch of salt

– 1 stick of melted butter (I prefer unsalted if you add the salt to the crust)

 Alternate Crust (Shortbread):

I made this last minute because I didn’t have the ingredients to make a graham cracker crust, and I like shortbread crusts as well.

– 1 stick of butter (room temperature)

– ¼ to ½ cup granulated sugar

– 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

– 1 large egg (room temp, beaten)

– Zest of 1 small lemon

 The Steps:

 (Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit)

 Crust (Graham cracker instructions): This is the one I did not make this time

 1: Break up graham crackers (or use pre-crushed crumbs) and measure out the 1 ¾ cups needed. Place in a bowl

2: Add cinnamon, sugar, pinch of salt, and butter

3: Combine until the mixture looks like wet sand

4: Press into a springform pan evenly across the bottom, and 1 inch or so up the sides

5: Place into oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes (it varies, check so that it does not dry out or overbake)

6: Take crust out of the oven, and let cool before adding filling

 

 

Crust (Shortbread instructions): I made this instead because I didn’t have graham crackers

 

1: Place room temperature butter in a bowl.

2: Add the lemon zest, beaten egg, sugar, and flour

3: Combine the ingredients until it resembles wet, sandy dough

4: Press the crust evenly into a springform pan and about 1 inch up the sides of the pan

5: Prick the crust all over with a fork so that it will not bubble as much

6: Bake in oven until it just starts to brown (varies by oven, but check at about 10-15 minutes)

7: When it starts to brown, take the crust out of the oven and let cool before adding filling

 

Cheesecake filling:

1: In the bowl of a stand mixer (or if using a hand mixer, a large metal or glass bowl), open all 3 packages of room temperature cream cheese. To the cheese, add the sugar, then beat. Start on low to combine, then turn up the speed to medium and mix until the cream cheese and sugar have become fluffed up, probably 3-4 minutes, or when you feel it is there.

2: To this mixture, add the vanilla, eggs and egg yolk, and dry spices. Mix slightly until combined, then add in pumpkin mixture and flour. Mix until smooth and combined, probably another minute or two.

 

Note: Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure that all of the cream cheese is evenly mixed in.

3: Pour mixture into baked crust and smooth out using a spatula.

4: Bake for one hour at 350 degrees until the center has set, but still slightly jiggles when you move it. It shouldn’t be moving freely, but just a little. If it’s moving a bit, let it bake for a few minutes more, then check again.

5: After the cheesecake is done, take out and let cool for a bit, maybe an hour, then let chill covered in the fridge overnight if possible. Let it cool before trying to remove from the springform pan, otherwise you may have more difficulty. (I only got a picture of the smaller ones, but the big one turned out fine as well)

 

Note: Some people choose to do a water bath. I didn’t on this one and it didn’t crack, however you can if you’d like. To do so, wrap the bottom of the springform in a couple layers of foil (to avoid leakage), place in a deep baking dish, and surround the pan with boiling water, an inch of two up the side of the pan.

Alright folks, enjoy. I know Thanksgiving has passed, but try this out for yourself for any other occasion. It doesn’t even have to be a holiday! Just for eating purposes, haha.

– Anthony

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Filed under Baking and/or Pastry, Cooking, Dessert, Favorite Foods / Drinks, Recipes

Good Eating on the Road: Dan’s Super Subs

Just a quick blurb about something I had while I was out in Los Angeles for my friend’s wedding a couple weeks ago. He and his bride-to-be had a get-together the night before, and had the food catered by Dan’s Super Subs. Seen below is the 6 food party sub, half of which was roast beef, and the other half which was turkey. It was really good, especially accompanied by the housemade dressing.

If you live in the Woodland Hills area of the Los Angeles valley, check them out at Dan’s Super Subs.

– Anthony.

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A Culinary Mulligan: A Vaca Frita Do-over…

Who hasn’t made a stupid mistake that ruined a meal? I’ve made several…from undercooking pasta (al dente or toothsome does not mean jaw breaking) to breaking a glass oil container, which sent shards of glass all over, including into the ground burger meat I was mixing. What better way to learn (aside from repetition)?

I attempted to retry the failed Vaca Frita recipe from about a month ago, as referenced in a previous post titled “Cooking Fail”.

This time, the dish was pulled off without a hitch. It makes me, and I’m sure everyone else, feel a great sense of accomplishment when a dish works out. It feels even more rewarding to correct mistakes and make it even better the next time.

I love vaca frita, and I often order it when I go to a Cuban restaurant. This was a recipe that was kind of pulled from several other ones and adapted to my tastes. Feel free to change it up to how you desire it.

All measures are approximate since, as usual, I hardly measure a darn thing (unless I’m baking or making some sort of pastry/dessert recipe).

Steps 1-7 should be done a few hours before you plan on serving, if possible. Otherwise, at least an hour ahead so the steak can absorb some flavor and marinate.

Ingredients:

– 1 to 1 ½ pound flank steak

– 2 bay leaves

– 2-3 whole garlic cloves

– 2-3 finely minced garlic cloves

– 1 Tbsp ground cumin

– 10 whole black peppercorns

– 1 medium onion, cut into thin slices

– Juice of 2 limes (or 3 if you like more citrus)

– Salt and pepper (to taste)

– Olive or canola oil (for the “frita” part of the recipe)

– Cayenne pepper (optional) for some heat

The Steps:

1: Make sure the stupid plastic pad is not on the steak, as I forgot to do last time, lol.

2: Place the steak into a large pot and fill with enough water to cover the steak (keep an eye on this during cooking to make sure it does not get too low)

3: To the pot, add the bay leaves, cumin powder, whole garlic cloves, and black peppercorns

4: Cook over medium heat until the water boils, then reduce slightly so that it is not boiling too rapidly. Cook for about an hour to an hour and a half. You don’t have to babysit this, just check periodically to make sure the water level is okay.

5: Take the steak out and place into a bowl. Let it cool for about 10-15 minutes.

6: Shred the flank steak using two forks. It doesn’t have to be done with too much precision. Big and small chunks make it seem more rustic and homemade.

                                                                                                                          

7: To the shredded steak, add the lime juice, minced garlic, a few teaspoons of oil, and the onions. Also add the salt and pepper (Measurements weren’t given, but about ¾ to 1 teaspoon of kosher or regular salt, and as much pepper as you like). You can always add more salt if it’s not salty enough. Add the cayenne if you want as well. Mix and make sure all of the meat is evenly coated. Let sit for at least an hour, or for up to 6.

8: When ready, heat a large nonstick skillet and add a few teaspoons of the oil. Add about 1/3 to ½ of the steak and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning the meat or garlic. When it is golden brown and the onions are soft, transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining meat.

 Serve over rice and beans, or however you like. This may also be good in tacos or in a burrito.

 

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Anthony

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Oh, go stuff it!: Feta-stuffed Chicken Burgers (and oven fries)

Opa! Lol…this isn’t really a greek recipe, but it does incorporate feta, oregano, and some paprika. The seasoning flavor combinations were used in both the burger and the oven fries.

I wasn’t even planning on cooking that night, but since I’ve grown tired of eating a bunch of crap from a drive-thru or take-out place (been busy lately, don’t judge, lol), I figured I’d try to make something quick.

I was already in the store anyways buying bread to make sausage-rye stuffing for Thanksgiving.

Here’s the ingredient list

Burgers:
– 1 lb ground chicken
– Garlic Powder
– Onion Powder
– Dried thyme
– Dried oregano
– Smoked Paprika
– Salt/Pepper
– Feta Cheese
– 1 Tbsp Olive Oil (I use extra virgin)
– Garlic Aioli (Mayonnaise) – See recipe below

Garlic Aioli:
– 3/4 cup mayonnaise (homemade, or jarred for convenience)
– juice of 1 lemon
– 1 clove garlic, finely minced, or mashed into a paste
– pinch of salt/pepper
– Worcestershire sauce (a few drops)

Oven Fries:
– 3 to 4 medium sized red potatoes
– Garlic powder
– Onion powder
– Dried Oregano
– Dried thyme
– Smoked paprika
– Salt/pepper
– Olive oil

The How-To:
Burgers:
1: Place ground chicken in a bowl


2: Add all the spices (I did not add measurements on spices because you can do whatever you like)


3: Mix to combine (do not overmix, or burgers will be tough)
4: Divide mixture into 3 or 4 sections


5: Split each section into two (for top and bottom halves)


6: Put feta one one half, then cover with the other and press edges to seal


7: Cook in pan until cooked through (180 degrees F), turning once – Carryover cooking will cook the burger another few degrees, so be careful it does not overcook.

Garlic Aioli:
1: Place mayonnaise in a bowl and add garlic and worcestershire sauce. Mix, then add lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix again until smooth

Oven Fries:
1: Rinse potatoes and then either peel (or not, depending on your preference)


2: Slice potatoes into 1/2 inch sticks


3: Place potatoes in a bowl, and toss with olive oil and all dry ingredients, coating evenly


4: Place seasoned potatoes on a baking sheet (with parchment paper or Silpat if you like) and bake in a 375 oven, turning potatoes halfway through. Cook until golden brown and cooked through.

It didn’t take much longer than 30-35 minutes to assemble all the food and get it cooking. Also, on the burger, you can add caramelized onions as I did, but it’s not necessary.

Eat up!

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