Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This goulash is not authentic by any Hungarian standards, but it is the goulash I grew up eating.  It's my Grandpa's recipe or at least how I remember it.  The main thing with his goulash was to include ground beef, bacon and pepperoni.  My variations from the way Gramps used to do it were because I didn't want to dirty another pot (from cooking the pasta) and my oven is broken.  Instead I cooked the pasta with all the other ingredients and didn't bake it in the oven at all.

Today would have been Gram and Gramps 53rd wedding anniversary, so in honor of them (they made it 41 years before Gramps passed away) I present Grandpa's Goulash recipe.   I just hope I did it justice.

Adapted from my taste memory of Grandpa's recipe

1-1.5 lb ground beef
3/4 lb bacon, chopped
1/4 lb (4 oz) sliced pepperoni, chopped
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 (32 oz) can tomatoes in puree, chopped
2 cups water
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika
Salt & pepper to taste
1 box (~13 oz) elbow macaroni
Parmesan cheese, grated (or shredded mozzarella)

In a dutch oven or large pot, cook ground beef on medium-high until no longer pink.  Drain juices, then remove the beef and set it aside in a bowl.  Cook the bacon in the same pot until crispy.  Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Remove all the bacon fat except about 2 tablespoons worth.  Lower the stove to medium heat and add the chopped onions.  After the onions start to soften, add the garlic and peppers and stir.  Push the vegetables to one side of the pot, then stir and cook the tomato paste in the empty space for about a minute.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, and stir everything together.  Cover the pot, then simmer (stirring occasionally) for about 20 minutes or until the pasta is done.  If the goulash starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, lower the temperature.

When serving, sprinkle goulash with some cheese.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Chili

I saw this recipe in Google Reader and the next day I made it.  I'm pretty sure that's the fastest turn around I've ever had.  The only thing keeping me from making it the first day was a trip to the store for chili beans.  I had never heard of chili beans, but what do ya know, there they were in the canned bean section next to the black beans and kidney beans.  While this is described as buffalo chicken (I mean, it's got all the right ingredients: chicken, celery, carrots, hot sauce, bleu cheese), it's not like you're eating buffalo wing flavored chili.  Don't get me wrong, this chili is really good!  I was just expecting something a little more "Buffalo wingy" flavored.  Maybe using dark meat and adding a little more hot sauce right before serving would do the trick? 

With Thanksgiving coming up, this would be a great way to use up some of that leftover turkey.  Just add chunks of cooked turkey when you add the tomatoes and beans.

Buffalo Chicken Chili

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 large red pepper, roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic
5 Tbsp of chili powder
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) black beans, drained
1 (15 oz) chili beans in sauce (do not drain)
Salt and pepper to taste
Bleu cheese crumbles for serving

Put chicken in food processor to grind up – if you can find ground chicken breast, you can use that too.  Heat oil and add ground chicken and cook about 10 minutes on medium heat until no longer pink.  Rinse out processor and add carrots, celery, garlic and red pepper.  Process until veggies are minced finely.  Add to chicken mixture and cook about 5 minutes until veggies start to soften.  Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese

The inspiration for this dinner was that Mile's Market had Yancey's Fancy Smoked Gouda with Bacon on sale.  I grew up in Western NY near Kutter's Cheese (now Yancey's Fancy) so I got a kick out of finding it in Cleveland at Miles Market a few years ago.  They usually have the horseradish or wasabi varieties, so when I saw the smoked gouda, I had to try it.  I went home and searched for a macaroni and cheese recipe to use it.

In my opinion, it's the cheese that really makes a macaroni and cheese.  I'm happy to report that Yancey's Fancy has got some excellent flavor going on with the Smoked Gouda with Bacon.  This recipe makes a very creamy and deliciously smoky mac n cheese.  Since the cheese had bacon in it already, I opted to skip the bacon in the recipe, but next time if I just have regular smoked gouda, I'll definitely try it with the bacon.

Smoked Gouda and Bacon Mac & Cheese
Adapted from The Adventures of Mindyanna Jones

1 pound whole wheat shells
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 small sweet onion or 1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
8 oz shredded smoked Gouda
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
4-6 slices crispy cooked bacon, crumbled

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating up, cook, drain and crumble the bacon.  Once the water is boiling, add salt to season the cooking water, then add the pasta. Cook for 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Drain well and return to the pot.

While the pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and heat with the butter until it melts. Add the onion and shallot and cook for 3-5 minutes to sweat them out. Raise the heat a bit, then whisk in the flour, cayenne, and paprika. Whisk together until the roux bubbles up, then cook for 1 minute more. Whisk in the milk and stock and raise the heat a bit higher to bring the sauce to a quick boil. Once it bubbles, drop the heat back to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the cheese to the thickened sauce and stir to melt it, a minute or so. Stir in the mustard and bacon and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Pour over the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Adjust the seasonings and serve.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Curd

This past Saturday, Nov 6th, was my birthday (I'm sure I'll be receiving your belated gifts in the mail).  Many people only have cake to celebrate birthdays, but there are tons of other excuses to eat/bake a cake (maybe yours is that today is a random Tuesday).  The reason for this cake was that on October 6th Kevin and I celebrated our third year of marriage.  For this year's anniversary, I made a lemon cake with raspberry curd (one of the flavor combos of our wedding cake).  The raspberry curd was amazing and the cake was perfectly moist and lemony!  I definitely recommend this combination when you are deciding on cake flavors for any occasion.

Lemon Cake
From Beantown Baker

1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool

Set oven rack in middle position. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans (or one 9x13 baking pan) with butter; line the bottoms with parchment. Spray the parchment, dust the pans with flour, and invert pans and rap sharply to remove excess flour.

Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.

Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add cake flour, baking powder, and salt to mixer bowl and mix at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.

Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium speed and beat 20 seconds longer.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.

Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks. Reinvert onto additional wire racks. Let cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

Raspberry Curd
From Annie's Eats

8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 pint ripe raspberries or 1 12-oz. package frozen raspberries, thawed
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice 

To make the raspberry curd, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar and salt, and cook, mashing the berries.  Stir frequently at first and then constantly at the end, until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Pour the mixture through a coarse strainer set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Cool to room temperature; the curd will continue to thicken as it cools.  Stir in lemon juice to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sugar Cookie Bars

Since some people don't like pumpkin so I felt like I needed to have a non-pumpkin dessert option at our Beer and Chili party.  I wanted something quick so I was thinking bar cookies.  That's when I thought of these sugar cookie bars.  After they were frosted I wanted to cut them into pumpkin shapes with a cookie cutter, but the cookies ended up being a little too thick to do that.  So after cutting two pumpkins, I switched to rectangles.  These cookies were quick and easy to bang out on the day of the party, and they turned out really tasty.  So if you're craving that cut-out cookie flavor, but don't want to spend all day rolling out the dough and frosting them, try this recipe!
Since I already had pumpkin cupcakes, I only made a half batch of this recipe and baked it in a 9x13 baking pan.
Sugar Cookie Bars
From The Repressed Pastry Chef via Beantown Baker
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla & mix well.

In a separate bowl combine flour, salt & soda & stir with a whisk to combine. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined.

Spread dough on a greased 11x17 jelly roll pan.

Bake for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and frost.

Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp milk
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

In large bowl, mix the butter, vanilla and milk with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.  Keep mixing until all of the sugar is incorporated.