05 July 2010

4th of July 2010 - Food in Review

I'm finally getting a little more back in the kitchen - at least on the weekend (sometimes). Still not my normal style, but ... Keep Calm and Carry On -- right? Right. And I made home-made Lemonade - what can beat that (besides beer, perhaps)? 

Burgers / Hot Dogs - cooked on the grill by MotH
Baked Beans
Mac n Cheese
Garlic Cheese Bread
Oatmeal Cookies
Chips n Salsa

The Lemonade was just fantastic and took just no time to make - just need lots of lemons and a little help from the Boy to squeeze them all. (Thank you Cook's Country - the membership is totally worth it!) I could easily find myself making this every weekend just to have, esp. in this hot, humid, oil-polluted summer (how depressing). 

The Garlic Cheese Bread is really just obscene, but I do love it. It's too rich, can't be good for you and is probably technically a sin somewhere. I think I got the recipe from some newspaper somewhere about 20 or so years ago. It's French bread or Cuban bread or a baguette - whatever. split horizontally. Melt butter and add minced garlic, and spoon this over the bread, top with good blue cheese dressing (think Marie's), and some chopped onions. Put the bread back together and wrap in foil - 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes  - long enough to get warm and mushy. Remove from oven - unwrap and open and top w/whatever type of cheese you want - return to oven until cheese is gooey. Yes, totally disgusting sounding if you don't care for cheese, but only weird people don't like cheese. No picture because it's not all that appetizing to look at. Still good though. 

I have no real recipe for baked beans or mac n cheese. I just know how to do it - learned mac n cheese from my mom, but don't measure anything. I start w/ a bechamel sauce and just keep adding cheddar until is seems right - then mix in the pasta - usually penne and bake it up - it's a pretty forgiving thing really. 
Even more forgiving are the baked beans. The baked beans are a mixture of different things I have had and enjoyed - mustard (dijon, if possible), worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and chopped yellow onion mixed into vegetarian baked beans - usually Bush's or Publix brand. I taste it before it goes into the oven to see if the balance is there and adjust accordingly - no measuring, just tasting. Sometimes I top with bacon - sometimes not. 350 degree oven until they seem done and bacon, if using, is cooked through. 

Salsa is home-made ... to a degree. I start with Ro-tel tomatoes (one original and one Mexican) and then start adding tom them. Dried basil, dried oregano, lots o' cumin, and chopped jalapeno pepper and some onion (small yellow onion), some Tobasco sauce, lime juice, and black pepper. If I have cilantro growing in the herb garden, I'll add it. If not, no biggie. Needs to be done ahead so it can sit in the fridge and all the parts can get to know each other in a personal way.  

Nectarine Cobbler

I really don't have a recipe for this either, but it's based on what my mom did with a few changes.

Nectarines (about 2 pounds)- peeled and sliced into chunks into a saucepan
3/4 cup sugar
2 T butter
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
All this goes into the saucepan and set on medium low heat. Stir often and be mindful of the heat - adjusting to make sure the fruit starts to break down, but not cook at too high a temp to get mushy. It's good if the mixture thickens as well. 
This typically takes 15-25 minutes depending on how ripe the fruit is. I tend to pick a little firmer nectarine for this recipe. If the fruit mixture is not thickened enough 1 T of cornstarch dissolved in a little milk will help. 

The biscuit topping is also simple.
1 cup self-rising flour
3 T unsalted butter, softened
1 t sugar (optional)
1/2 c milk

Mix biscuit topping together in a small bowl until blended, but do not overmix.  Once fruit is complete, pour into a glass baking dish (This fits perfectly in a 8 x 8 glass baking dish.) and top with little spoonfuls of the biscuit mix. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.   

This is wonderful warm or at room temperature.