18 April 2012

Salt Preserved Lemons

Salt Preserved Lemons - Recipe form Serious Eats 

Special equipment: Quart-sized mason jar

yield: makes 1 quart, active time 10 minutes, total time 3 weeks

1 1/2 pounds Meyer lemons (approximately 8 lemons
1/2 cup sea salt
1 cup lemon juice

Wash Meyer lemons well. Trim away both ends of lemons. Cut them into 4 quarters leaving the connected at the bottom by about half an inch of fruit.
Pour 1 tablespoon of salt into the bottom of the jar.
Hold cut lemon over the jar, spill 1/2 tablespoon of salt into the cut. Rub it around to moisten. Place lemon into the jar.
Repeat previous step for remaining lemons, packing them tightly into the jar.
Let jar of salted lemons sit overnight.
The next day, open the jar and wiggle the lemons to see if you can pack them any more tightly.
They should have released more juice during the night, but it may not yet be enough to cover the fruit. Add additional lemon juice to cover.
Place jar in a cool spot that's out of the way of direct sunlight. Check every day for 2-3 weeks, pressing fruit down so that the lemons remain submerged.
When rinds are soft, place jar in the refrigerator and use. They will keep at least 6 months in cold storage.

17 April 2012

Three Cheese Proscuitto Alfredo Baked Ravoli

One of my favorite food blog is Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and that's where I found this excellent recipe. I made a half version, but it was outstanding. MotH loved it.*

Three Cheese Prosciutto Alfredo Baked Ravioli

1 Jar (26oz) San Marzano marinara sauce (you can use your favorite)
2 pounds store-bought fresh three cheese ravioli
1 batch Prosciutto Alfredo Sauce (see below)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cook ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water just until they float to the top (pasta will continue to cook in oven). Drain pasta; return to pot. Make the Alfredo sauce.
Spoon some marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. Layer one layer of cooked ravioli. Spoon over 1/3 of the Alfredo sauce. Then spoon over a thin layer of
the marinara sauce. Sprinkle with ½ cup mozzarella, and 1/8 cup Parmesan. Repeat until you get to the top of the baking dish. Cheese on top should be the last layer. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Prosciutto Alfredo Sauce:

4 ounces Prosciutto, small dice
6 TBSP unsalted butter
2 tsp. chopped garlic
6 TBSP flour
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups milk
8 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add prosciutto pieces and cook for two minutes. Turn heat down to medium and add the butter and garlic and let sauté for one minute. Then add the flour and stirring the whole time sauté another minute. It will be clumpy at this point. Add the cup of heavy cream and the milk, whisking the whole time. Turn up to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. The minute you get to the boil. Turn down to low-medium and add the cheese, whisking the whole time. When cheese is completely melted and sauce is smooth (minus the prosciutto pieces) the sauce is ready.

*Man of the House

16 April 2012

Reuben Casserole

Reuben Casserole
1 1/2 cups thousand island dressing
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced onion
6 slices dark rye bread, cubed
6 slices light rye bread, cubed
1 pound sauerkraut, drained
1 1/2 pounds corn beef, cut into bite-size pieces
2 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
In a bowl, mix the thousand island dressing, sour cream, and onion. Arrange the dark and light rye bread cubes in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, reserving about 1/2 cup each for topping. Layer the bread with sauerkraut and corned beef. Spread the dressing mixture
over the corned beef. Sprinkle with Swiss cheese, top with remaining bread cubes, and drizzle with margarine.
Cover, and bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Uncover, and continue baking 10 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Homemade 1000 Island Dressing
Bench Notes: I make my own 1000 Island dressing - an idea from, who, imagine that, America's Test Kitchen (join them now) from their reuben sandwich recipe - a mix of mayo, chili sauce and minced gerkins - it is unbelievable. I won't ever by 1000 again. This is so easy, it's almost stupid. 
If you like a reuben sandwich, you will love this and it reheats very well - lovely left over lunch.

15 April 2012

Our New Friend

Last year was horrible with the loss of my little (in comparison to Duke) Husky boy, but I now have a new friend... He's still a puppy and he has a lot to learn since he's going to be a therapy dog for me to take into hospitals and other places, but I am so pleased with our new friend - Hood.

He's half Border Collie, half Labrador Retriever and way too smart for his own good and way too smart for me too. He's 70 pounds and not even a year yet. I think Duke hates me at this point. They get along, but sometimes Duke looks at me and it's like why the hell did you do this to me? Groan - yes,  he's a very smart puppy. And yes, one eye is blue and one is brown and he has Border Collie ears  - too cute.

Music I cook by ...

When Somebody Loves you, there is nothing you can't do.
Public Enemy
Robert Pollard at his best (and worst)!
Guided by Voices - Alien Lanes
Klezmatics - Jews with Horns
Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark
Public Enemy - It takes a Nation of Millions to hold us Back
Elvis Costello - King of America
Tom Waits - Rain Dogs
Alan Jackson - When Somebody Loves You

Could you get anymore strange a compilation of music than this? Love it!
My Favorite Klezmer

Have no idea when this came out, but I love it!

He thought he was the king of America

Splashing all the wine with the Rain Dogs

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

Homemade Breakfast Sausage (America's Test Kitchen)
2 pounds ground pork
1 garlic clove
1 Tbs maple syrup
2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 Tbs unsalted butter, for cooking

Combine pork, garlic, syrup, sage, thyme, salt and pepper and cayenne in a large bowl. Gently mix with your hands until well combined. Form mixture into 2 1/2 inch patties, about 1/2 inch thick.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook half of patties until well browned and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and tent with foil. Wipe out skillet. Repeat wiht remaining butter and patties. Serve.

Raw sausage patties can be refrigerated, covered, for 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month. To cook frozen patties, proceed with step 2 cooking patties for 7 to 9 minutes per side.

Bench Notes: Added cracked fennel seed. If you have limited funds for kitchen ideas - you need to take them and subscribe to America's Test Kitchen online recipes - it's so worth the money. I'm not kidding.