Bobotie

January 19th, 2016

Bobotie 1

Bobotie (pronounced bo-bo-tie or bo-boo-tee) is my first foray into South African cuisine.  South African food is influenced by the native population and the Dutch, French, Indian and Malaysian immigrants.  The resulting dishes are complex and exciting to the palate.  Bobotie is the national dish, thought to be introduced by the Malaysian and Indian servants during Colonial times.  Curry and turmeric have always been important spices in Indian cuisine.  In Bobotie, minced meat is simmered with the spices, almonds and dried fruit, then topped with milk and eggs and baked until set.  It is similar to a Greek Moussaka.

Bobotie 2V

 

I have always been fond of curries.  We had several acquaintances from India through David’s job as an engineering professor.  Dinner parties in their homes always included flavorful and interesting dishes.  One Indian friend came to my home to teach me several Indian dishes including dal and saag, which is a dish using mustard greens.  So when I saw this recipe for Bobotie, I knew that I would love it.  There are so many complex flavors in it.  The curry is there, but you can also taste the sweet dried fruit, the crunchy almonds, the hot chutney and the mild custard.  It is a perfect make ahead dish for company; something a little different.

Bobotie 3

Our Midwest and East coast is supposed to get a major snow storm this weekend.  This would be a great warming oven dish to serve with Cinnamon Basmati Rice with Golden Raisins.  Winter is the best time for arm-chair or kitchen-stove travel.  South African cuisine is very colorful, spicy and sometimes amusing.  One of the roadside dishes that you can get in South Africa is grilled chicken feet and heads.  It is called Walkie-Talkie.  Think I will stick with Bobotie.

BOBOTIE (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (1 1/2-inch piece)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup slivered almonds (1 ounce), toasted
4 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 3/4 cups whole milk, divided
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 tablespoon hot chutney

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups remaining milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
4 fresh or dried bay leaves

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, then onions, apple, and ginger; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown and tender, about 15 minutes. (Reduce heat if vegetables brown too quickly.) Add turmeric and curry powder to onion mixture; stir to combine. Add beef and cook, breaking up large pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in almonds, and cook for 2 minutes more.

2. Tear bread into large pieces, and place in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and let stand until milk is absorbed. Add bread mixture to beef, and cook, stirring frequently, until bottom of pan begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in dried apricots, apricot preserves and chutney, scraping up browned bits from bottom. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Spoon beef mixture into a 6-cup shallow baking dish. Whisk eggs, nutmeg, lemon zest, and remaining 1 1/2 cups milk in a medium bowl. Pour over beef. Place bay leaves in dish, pressing into filling. Bake until set around edges and center is no longer runny, 35 to 45 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with Cinnamon Basmati Rice.

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Crock Pot Flank Steak Fajitas

July 13th, 2015

Crock Pot Flank steak Fajitas 1

Busy days on the lake call for easy meal preparations.  Flank steak fajitas cooked in the crock pot could not be easier.  But my hands off plan was somewhat thwarted when I realized I had forgotten to buy flour tortillas.

Crock Pot Flank Steak Fajitas 2V

I googled homemade tortillas and found a recipe that I was able to turn into the very best tortillas I have ever had.  It was not complicated and made me happy that I had forgotten to buy them.  Also, the bonus is having additive free tortillas. I did substitute half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour though.  It called for only whole wheat flour.

Gampy Fishing with kids

There are so many things going on around the lake.  Gampy has enjoyed taking the grandkids fishing this summer.  So far they have not caught anything.  Maybe it is because getting them up early when the fish are biting is not easy.

Crock Pot Flank Steak Fajitas 3

Add all the condiments you would like to this simple recipe.  It is sure to be winner with the whole family.  The recipe came from a new cookbook that I checked out of the library.  It is 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake.  She also has a blog of the same name where she stresses a diet based on whole foods rather than processed foods.  The only change I made to the crock pot flank steak fajita recipe was holding out some of the bell peppers to cook separately because the long cooking in the crock pot made them very soft and colorless.  The flavor of the meat is mild, so if you want more kick add the seeds of the jalapeno and a few pepper flakes.

CROCK POT FLANK STEAK FAJITAS

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds (grass fed) flank steak
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (leave seeds in in you like it spicier)
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 or 5 bell peppers, any color, cored, seeded and sliced (Save two to saute separately)
1 onion, sliced

In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper.

Rub the spice mixture over all sides of the flank steak, place it in the bottom of the slow cooker, and add the soy sauce.

Top the flank steak with the jalapeno, garlic, 3 of the peppers, and onion.  There’s no need to add any water or other liquid.

Cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or on low for 8 to 9 hours, or until steak can easily be shredded with two forks.

Near the end of cooking time, heat a small amount of oil in a medium saute pan and cook the 2 remaining sliced peppers until softened, but still retaining their bright color.

Thoroughly drain the meat and peppers, saving the juiced.  Shred the meat, and serve with the fajita fixings of your choice.

Recommended accompaniments:  Whole wheat flour Tortillas, freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese, sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, fresh chopped lettuce, sour cream and/or diced jalapenos.

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Ground Beef Stroganoff

April 16th, 2015

Ground Beef Stroganoff 1

Cooking has been a challenge for the past week.  We visited the kids in Cary over the weekend.  Upon arrival at their new house our dog Daisy got away from us.  In an effort to help recapture her and wearing my pretty new impractical flip flops, I fell on a pine needle covered incline.  I wrenched my right leg badly and probably have a sprained ankle.  My week has been one of pain pills and limping.  I am starting to feel better but complicated meals are not something I want to tackle.

Ground Beef Stroganoff 2V

That’s one of the reasons that I loved this Ground Beef Stroganoff recipe.  It is cooked in one pot from start to finish.  Not to mention the fact that it is very tasty.

Ground Beef Stroganoff 3

I am trying to stay off of my feet.  Thankfully we just got Netflix streaming and I have started watching Bloodline.  I am also reading the best novel about food and cooking.  My next post will have a recipe from this delicious book.  In the meantime, if you are out of sorts, just tired, or looking for something quick to make other than Hamburger Helper, you need to try this recipe.

GROUND BEEF STROGANOFF ( Chow.com )

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium beef broth or stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 8 ounces dried egg noodles
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring rarely, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper, and break the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s just cooked through and no longer pink, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and paprika, stir to coat the meat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the raw flavor has cooked off the flour, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pot, until almost evaporated, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth, measured salt, and measured pepper and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the noodles and reserved mushrooms along with their accumulated juices and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are just cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

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French Onion Salisbury Steaks

March 2nd, 2015

French Onion Salisbury Steak 1

This is a quick meal that brings back memories of an earlier time.  And a more simple time.  Most people equate salisbury steak with the TV dinners that were popular in the ’50’s and ’60’s.  We have come a long way since that time.  Even though that time was known for TV dinners, it was also the era of simple meals of meat and potatoes.  My Mother was known for her pork chops, meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  We never had such exotic food from other countries like pizza pie.  Technology and Julia Child changed all of that.  With the advent of cooking programs on television, many people were introduced to food from other nations.  Now with the internet, we can even cook the same food that is currently being prepared in home kitchens all over the world.  Social media has introduced us to quinoa, chia seeds and hemp hearts among other things.  I have been adding hemp hearts to my morning oatmeal.  Who would have thought?

French Onion Salisbury Steak 2V

But sometimes, an old-fashioned meal like this “updated” salisbury steak with French onion gravy is most welcomed.  Instead of potatoes it is served with  toasted slices of sourdough bread with Swiss cheese.  The gravy is a riff on French onion soup with beef broth, lots of onions, a little wine and a touch of tomato paste.  I enjoyed this combination.

French Onion Salisbury Steak 3 close

Hope you enjoy this blast from the past.  To be honest, I am glad that we now have so many options, but still love the classics.

FRENCH ONION SALISBURY STEAK  (Adapted from Cuisine at Home )   

1 1/4 ground chuck
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
2 Tablespoons scallions, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups onions, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup dry red wine
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
4 teaspoons minced fresh parsley for garnish
4 teaspoons Parmesan cheese, shredded
Cheese Toasts – Recipe follows

Combine chuck, parsley, scallion, salt, and pepper.  Divide evenly into 4 portions and shape each into 3/4-inch-1-inch thick oval patties.  Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge each patty in flour.  Reserve 1 teaspoon flour.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add patties and saute 3 minutes on each side, or until browned.  Remove from pan.  Add onions and sugar to pan; saute 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and tomato paste; saute 1 minute, or until paste begins to brown.  Sprinkle onions with reserved flour; cook 1 minute.  Stir in broth and wine, then add the salt and thyme.

Return meat to pan and bring soup to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes.  Serve steaks on Cheese Toasts with onion soup ladled over.  Garnish with parsley and Parmesan.

CHEESE TOASTS

4 slices French bread or Sourdough baguette, cut diagonally (1/2-inch thick)
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
Pinch of paprika
1/4 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place bread on a baking sheet.  Combine butter garlic, and paprika, and spread on one side of each slice of bread.  Combine cheeses and sprinkle evenly over butter.  Bake until bread is crisp and cheese is bubbly, 10-15

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Ham Loaf for the Holidays

December 14th, 2014

Ham Loaf 2V

Nothing brings back memories of home more than this sticky glazed ham loaf.  My Mother made this for many special occasions.  Forget the prime rib roast or the whole filet of beef.  To my Mother, a celebration required ham loaf.  We are not sure when she latched onto this dish.  We just always knew that it would be served when she gathered the family together for a holiday.

I don’t make it often anymore.  But at least once a year I have to make it, if for no other reason than the smell of it cooking takes me back to her kitchen.  She basted it often with the glaze and, at the end, it caramelized into the sweet coating that was one of her favorite parts of the ham loaf.  She always made two loaves so that she was assured of at least one of the end pieces for herself.

Ham Loaf 1

Scoring the top of the ham loaf looks lovely and also holds the glaze better.  It makes a festive presentation and tastes wonderful.

The ham loaf is a mixture of ground round and ground ham.  There was a time when you could ask the butcher to grind a ham steak together with the ground round, but not anymore.  For some reason, most supermarkets will not do this.  I either grind my own ham in my Kitchen Aid with the meat grinder attachment or buy a tube of ground ham.  I just discovered this product.  You may find that small supermarkets will be more willing to grind a piece of ham.  However you arrive at the mixture, you will not be disappointed.

On anther note, one of the things I try to do during the holidays is to support local businesses.  The big box stores are not in danger of losing customers, but by supporting small businesses we can make a big difference.

Eldred Williams

We were very impressed with this young entrepreneur who showed up on our doorstep one evening.  Eldred Williams is 8 years old and with his brothers and father have started a soap company featuring soaps with all natural ingredients.  He was engaging and enthusiastic about his soaps.  The name of the company is Gone Natural; 4 kids and a Father.  Check out the link for more information.  I am very happy with the soap that I bought.  Hopefully, this young man has a bright future.  With his attitude, he is well on his way.

Ham Loaf 3

Here is the recipe for my Mother’s Ham Loaf.  She would have been proud to share it with all of you.  For me it represents family, fellowship and one of the things that is important about the holidays.

My Mother’s Ham Loaf

1 pound ham steak, ground
1 pound ground round or lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
2 cups saltine crackers, crushed (about 1 sleeve)

2 teaspoons mustard
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup brown sugar

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.  I sometimes combine the ground meats before adding the rest.  Form into a loaf and place in a 9″x13″ baking dish.  Score the top diagonally in both directions with a knife (about 1/4-inch deep).  Mix together the mustard, vinegar and brown sugar in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Bake the ham loaf in a 325 degree oven for one hour.  Pour sauce over meat and bake an additional one hour, basting frequently, especially during the last 1/2 hour.  Place on platter, slice and serve.

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