Monday, February 29, 2016

Weekend in DesMoines

We were supposed to discuss our upcoming vacation to Maine but Matt's job denied his vacation so it looks like just you and me darling.

We went to DesMoines on Friday at the Fangman's request to spend a little extra time (I know, who knew? I thought I was a pain in the a$$ but they like me, they really like me!)  We got there mid Friday evening to cocktails and snacks and Matt's sister and brother in law were there along with the 3 boys. So nice to see the McEntees and all the fellas.

The Fangman's have a way of making us feel like family literally and we were greeted with this:

The weekend was relaxed with a trip to West End Architectural Salvage in downtown DesMoines.  we spent the morning browsing 4 floors of junk and treasures then off to a late lunch.  Lori cooked a nice meal and invited the McEntees to join us. Lots of laughter and way too much information then up for a lovely Sunday breakfast and back to Omaha.

I'm gonna miss them in Maine....

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Steak Pasta and Ben's Birthday

Our schedule was a little wonky this week. Ben came into town for a grad school interview and it was his birthday. We could not hit his favorite restaurant, J. Coco's but we managed to catch a meal at The Millard Roadhouse for fried chicken which was on my pre Lenten bucket list so we killed 2 birds.

Since I was cooking last night I decided to make one of his favorite Dad recipe dishes, Steak Pasta.  I had to do a little shopping and found some nice Rib eye steaks to use for the meat portion and it turns out to be a  great choice. I will use Rib eye from now on. Tender and perfectly cooked when added to the rich sauce. I have posted this recipe before but failed to take a photo of it again so he it is without photos.

Steak pasta for 4

I used a pound of rib eyes (2 steaks) pre salted
Olive oil
8 ounces Cremini mushrooms sliced thick
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup white wine

1 cup or more of heavy cream
2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
4-5 ounces of halved cherry tomatoes
3 ounces crumbled blue cheese
3 ounces shaved Parmesan

1 pound Fettuccine pasta, cooked and drained

Starting with a  screaming hot cast iron skillet, I coated it with a thin layer of olive oil then added the salted steaks and seared each side for a few minutes till nicely browned and crusted. About a medium rare, I set them aside on a plate.

I added a tablespoon of butter and added the mushrooms and let them get some color. A little extra olive oil was added to keep them going then I set them aside. I de-glazed the pan with the white wine.

Meanwhile I trimmed and cut the steak into bite sized pieces removing the fat. 

The cream was put into the pan with the crushed garlic cloves.  After the cream came to a boil, I added the tomatoes and cheeses. Cook for a minute then add back the mushrooms with juices and steak chunks with juices. Let heat thru then serve over cooked pasta and top with blue cheese crumbles. The steak ends up a nice medium and very tender.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Anniversary of Our Engagement

Every year, for no particular reason but as long as I can recall, we celebrate our engagement of the day Brenda got her ring.  I always say she was too excited to wait till Valentines Day but the reality is I was probably too excited to give it to her.

So being both nurses, we of course were rarely on the same shift. One night while I was home and an ambitious young man, I made homemade fettuccine pasta with Alfredo sauce and happened upon a package of thinly sliced veal so I paired the pasta with Veal Saltimbocca. I am not sure where I got the recipe but have never been a hesitant cook was definitely pre-internet though so must have been a print book I had in my possession. I had a lot of cookbooks and real fascination with the culinary arts.

For the last 30 odd years I have made this dish every February 9th without exception but for one lean year where I could not find veal for the life of me. Now I buy it all up whenever I see it on sale and freeze it.
Just pounded the veal,  dredged in flour with a helping of sage, prosciutto and provolone cheese a top. Plenty of butter to fry it all up.  Usually we have broccoli but we were out so Brussels sprouts made a soggy appearance (a bit over cooked in the microwave I am afraid.)  Paired with a nice red, it is a nostalgic meal for us. I believe the first was served post shift, on the deck at a little bistro set we had with candles and the whole romantic silliness of young love that has obviously endured the decades.

Here's to you dear...cin cin! 
We had these portraits done for our 25th and lost them. There are just a few scans I can find.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sous Vide Steaks

I know I have posted Sous Vide before so don't act like you don't know what I am talking about. This weekend we were bored with nothing to do so we bought a couple of bone-in KC Strip steaks to place in the sous vide oven.

This time I let them go for close to 6 hours for a bit of tenderizing and then seared them off in a iron skillet.

I served them up with a little Artichoke Gratin. We found cheap frozen artichoke hearts at Trader Joe's and have been using them like this. Makes a nice side dish.  Basically saute them till the get a little crispy in some olive oil with slices of garlic then douse them with some white wine and cover them in seasoned bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. I placed this under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese and get it golden brown. Yum.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Breads and not baking any...

So sadly, I don't bake much bread these days. Mostly because my expanding waistline protests and it raises my blood sugar to new heights and I like my feet so plan to keep them.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I realize there are a lot of photos of breads I have made which for one reason or another, I did not post.  So here are some pics of the ones that made me proud....

We were having subs this day. I have been baking hamburger buns, kaiser rolls and whatever we need for the meal that day.

Finally! Look at that crumb...

Sadly these rarely make it off the cooling rack before being consumed

Kaiser rolls? There are no rules here

I use parchment paper as a couche and just put it in the oven to bake.

Leftover Meatloaf to Pizza

I am not sure what I was thinking when I thawed a pound of ground beef and ground pork. I made one very large meatloaf and we ate and snacked on it most of the week, but by the end of the week there was a good sized hunk left and I had no idea what to do.

I bought a pizza dough from Trader Joe's last Sunday and that had to be used as well so...meatloaf pizza. The dough came out of the fridge to rise on the counter a bit and I chopped up the remaining meatloaf and added it to a skillet with a bit of olive oil. In retrospect, it may have been best to use a non stick skillet. I added a bit of fennel to make it taste more like sausage and browned it up a bit using a bit of water to scrape up the brown bits and then set it aside.

I simply assembled the pizza as usual. Pre heat the oven to 450.  Oil the dough generously on a  piece of parchment and spread it out evenly. This crust is amazing and less than a $1.50.

Next came the remaining sauce form the last pizza I made (lucky me!), the newly revitalized meatloaf and a few handfuls of cheese.  Worked well. I did not take a picture as you have seen my pizza before but this time the unusual meat treatment was a bonus. It kinda tasted like sausage albeit I started with and Italian style meatloaf, but the addition of a teaspoon of broken fennel seeds made a nice change.

I see our life changing a lot lately especially with cooking over the last year. I really don't cook as much with our friends out of Omaha now and when I cook I am not so much about scaling back. I cook with an eye towards the rest of the week and what I can take to lunch the next day. On the other hand, I have made some great new food out of leftovers. 


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