a community blog of gastrophiles for all seasons

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beard on Burgers

The recipe was almost too simple, I thought, when I first read the ingredients.
But I guess James Beard is James Beard for a reason.

So I made them. But I didn't use chopped round or chuck, mainly because I didn't really read the recipe first and instead pulled out some ground meat from the freezer. And in lieu of cream, I used a little whole milk I had on hand from another recipe.
The burgers were simple, but surprisingly flavorful and delicious.
We ate them on buttered buns that I broiled, mayo, mustard and tomatoes.

I realize that the above photo looks ... gross ... but the burgers were great, and that stuff on the side is coleslaw the fantastic Alabama-made John's coleslaw sauce.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Grillades and Grits

Made it for the first time on New Year's Day - and really enjoyed it! Might be the beginning of a new annual tradition.

Started with a Cooking Light 2004 recipe and went from there.

Ingredients (roughly):

- 2 pounds thin beef (I went with flank because it was the thinnest I could find, but a thin-cut round steak would be the way to go. Pound the HELL out of it so it's tender enough)
- 1 cup of diced onion (white)
- Around 1/2 cup of celery
- Around 1/2 cup of green bell pepper
- Around 1/4 cup of garlic
- Some flour (a few tablespoons)
- 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 small can sliced ripe olives (I went with black, can was around 3 or 4 oz)
- 1 14 oz can low-sodium beef broth
- A few tablespoons of basil
- Some thyme, parsley
- Hot pepper sauce (per preference)
- Salt and pepper for the steak

Directions (roughly)

Cut steak into 3 or 4 long strips. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a dusting of flour. Sear in oil over medium-high heat for less than a minute per side. Remove from pan, keep warm. Repeat with remaining steak.

Add a bit more oil and sauté the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic until tender. Sprinkle some more flour over vegetables, and stir well to combine. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, olives - stir well. Add broth, a touch more pepper, basil, thyme, hot sauce, and parsley. Stir well to combine.

Return steak to pot. Bring to boil and simmer for AT LEAST AN HOUR. I'd recommend 1.5 to 2 if you have the time. You want the steak to be unbelievably tender.

Serve over buttery grits. I used Zingerman's grits because they were the only grits I could find in town. Amazing, but way expensive.


Monday, October 20, 2008


I found this recipe at, which is an awesome foodie website. I stuff this in a pita with a little shredded swiss cheese and it's ohhhhh sooooo goood. I think it would be easy to make variations of it to fit various purposes. Enjoy!

Ratatouille’s Ratatouille
As envisioned by Smitten Kitchen

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant (my store sells these “Italian Eggplant” that are less than half the size of regular ones; it worked perfectly)
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.

On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.

Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.

Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. (Tricky, I know, but the hardest thing about this.)

Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.

Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mary's Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

It's been such a long time that I've posted to this blog that I can't remember any of my sign-in information. Richard was kind enough to let me use his...

I used a regular scalloped potato recipe as my guide for creating this sweet potato version (it was useful for figuring out cooking times as well as how much liquid to use). It isn't a fast dish to put together - it has to bake for about an hour and a half - but it is very good. I think we might make this instead of traditional sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving this year.

2 lbs sweet potatoes, sliced and peeled
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk (skim is fine)
1/3 apple butter (you can usually find this on the jam aisle, pumpkin butter would also work)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 oz (approximately) grated Gruyere cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Saute the onion in the olive oil. Add the lemon juice and cook until the onion turns translucent.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Layer half of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper. Top with the cooked onion. Put the rest of the potatoes on top of the onion. Sprinkle more salt and pepper on the potatoes.

Over medium heat, whisk together flour and butter until smooth and bubbly. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and apple butter. Slowly add to the butter and flour being careful not to let lumps form. Cook until it starts to boil and thicken. Add parmesan cheese and curry powder, and if you like, more salt and pepper (depending on how much you already put on the potatoes). Pour this sauce over the potatoes.

Cover the casserole dish loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Take off the foil and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Finally, top the potatoes with the gruyere and bake an additional 10 minutes


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mom Cooking: Pasta 'Jambalaya'

So now that I have even less time and ambition to get really creative in the kitchen, I'm doing a lot more 'pantry' dishes and/or one pot meals. Perfect for nights when you realize you only have half the ingredients for what you really wanted to cook and everyone's too tired to go out. This is one of those recipes that the magazine wanted to sound exotic so they threw in Cajun seasoning and viola!

Oil for pan
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 tin beans, rinsed and drained (black and pinto both work well)
1/2 package sliced smoked sausage
1 fresh vegetable of some sort (squash, pepper, cup of okra, whatever you've got in the crisper).
1/2 package of rotini.

Boil your water and toss in your pasta.
Warm the oil, fry up the garlic, stir the veggies around with the seasoning.
Toss in the sausage.
Dump in canned ingredients and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer for about ten minutes.

Toss with pasta to coat. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Leftovers make great lunch. Toddlers love it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Embrace the Lentil

So Rachael Ray sort of irritates me sometimes, but despite a bad experience with her gazpacho recipe, we decided to make her Sausage and Lentil Stoup. It was friggin yummy. Chad described it as, "the strangest non-ethnic food I've ever eaten...but it was good."

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds bulk hot Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 portobello mushrooms, gills scraped out, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup lentils
1 large starchy potato, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, on stems
1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted chopped tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
4 cups kale or chard, a small bunch, veins removed and chopped

Heat a medium soup pot over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, then add sausage and brown it, then add garlic, onions and mushrooms. Cook a few minutes, then add carrots, lentils, potato, salt and pepper, bay leaf, paprika or substitute mixture and rosemary (leaves will fall from stems as stoup cooks). Add tomatoes and broth and cover pot then raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Uncover pot and place heat back a bit but keep stoup at a good rolling boil. Cook 15 minutes until lentils and potatoes are tender. Wilt in greens in small bunches, remove rosemary stems and turn off heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sweet & Sour Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs

Last week when Taylor and I went to the Asian market with Lynn, I spotted a bottle of chili sauce, so I picked it up. They had both hot and sweet, so I got the sweet version. I had seen this recipe on the Food Network a few weeks ago, but wasn't sure where one would buy chili sauce, so I was happy to find it. I assume it would be in the asian section of a normal grocery.

I put everything in the crockpot this morning, and we had meatball sandwiches on some whole wheat rolls with grilled onions & peppers and a little bit of shredded mozaralla cheese for dinner. It was pretty tasty and very easy.

This recipe makes a decent number of meatballs. We liked them they have just a touch of heat and a little bit of tanginess. I put my alterations in brackets below.

2 pounds ground turkey breast
2 teaspoons salt-free garlic and herb seasoning or poultry seasoning [I used veggie pepper]
1 egg white
Salt and ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar [I used rice wine vinegar, b/c that's what I had]
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried thyme
Mashed Red Potatoes, recipe follows
Steamed Broccoli, recipe follows

In a large bowl, combine turkey, garlic and herb seasoning, egg white and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper [I used a whole teaspoon of Tony's instead]. Mix well and shape mixture into about 32 meatballs. Place meatballs in bottom of slow cooker.

In a medium bowl, whisk together tomato sauce, broth, chili sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and thyme. Pour mixture over meatballs.

Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. [I gave the meatballs a stir about an hour and a half or two hours into the cooking on the low setting to break up some of the meatballs that stuck together. I was envisioning one enormous mega-meatball, but they actually broke apart pretty easily. I am curious how they would come out if you just left them all day without stirring.]