Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grilled Potatoes

You guys have to try grilling potatoes!  I don't know how this idea escaped me all these years, but I'm in love and make them all the time now.

I needed a side to go with the steaks with cilantro chimichurri and I wanted to grill it.  I had red potatoes on hand and a light bulb went off.  Having never done this before, I did a little Googling, kept the recipe simple and hoped for the best.  The crunchy potatoes were my favorite, but the skin on each potato has a nice crispness in contrast to the tender centers.  Some of the grill flavor comes out in the potatoes too.

COOK'S NOTE:  I've been using salt, pepper and chili powder for seasoning, but use whatever strikes your fancy. 

Grilled Potatoes
Original Recipe

2-4 red potatoes per person (depending on size), sliced ~1/4" thick
Olive oil
Other seasonings

Preheat the grill.  Coat potato slices with olive oil and seasonings.  Grill the potatoes in a single layer for about 5 minutes on each side or until potatoes are golden and cooked through.

After removing them from the grill, taste and sprinkle with a touch more salt if needed.  These can be served with a dipping sauce, but they are pretty tasty one their own.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Grilled Steaks with Cilantro Chimichurri

Don't you love when you can cook most of your dinner on the grill?  With the exception of the tomato salad, I did just that with this meal.  I grilled some ribeye steaks and thinly sliced red potatoes and we were good to go. 

Traditional chimichurri is made with parsley, but when I saw this steak with cilantro chimichurri recipe I knew I would actually make it.  I already had cilantro in the fridge and ribeyes were on sale.  This dinner was fabulous!  I don't usually cover up a steak, but the cilantro chimichurri gave it something a little extra.  I love the slight heat that comes from the raw garlic in the sauce.

  • I didn't bother mincing the cilantro and garlic.  I just threw all the chimichurri ingredients into my mini chopper/food processor to do all the work for the sauce.
  • The leftover steak and chimichurri made excellent tacos the next day.  I added the chimichurri to sour cream to stretch it since there wasn't much left.

Grilled Steaks with Cilantro Chimichurri
From Eclectic Recipes
Yield: 2 servings

2 ribeye steaks
2 tsp steak seasoning
1 tsp chipotle chili powder

Cilantro Chimichurri:
1 cup fresh cilantro, very finely chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat grill to high heat. Allow meat to come to room temperature and rub the seasonings onto the steaks. Grill over high heat until desired doneness.

In a separate bowl, add cilantro, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Serve steaks topped with cilantro chimichurri.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wine Mint Julep

Every Saturday Western Reserve Wines has a wine tasting from 2-5pm.  We were there last weekend which was the same day as the Kentucky Derby.  In addition to the tasting lineup, Kathi made a wine mint julep for all to try.  She heard about this drink through a wine distributor and thought it would be fun since it was Derby Day.  I liked this version of mint julep better than the traditional bourbon and simple syrup.  These wine mint juleps were light and refreshing.  A great summer cocktail if you're looking to mix it up.

Wine Mint Julep
Inspired by Kathi at Western Reserve Wines

1 part Sauvignon Blanc
1 part Ginger Ale

In the bottom of the glass or pitcher (depending on how much you're making) muddle the mint with a wooden spoon.  Fill the container halfway with ice, then add equal parts sauvignon blanc and ginger ale.  Garnish each serving with a small sprig of mint.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lemon Gelato

What did I do when I bought a bunch of perfectly good lemons in the "Sell Now - Reduced Price" produce pile?  Well, I didn't make lemonade!  I made lemon gelato (or lemon ice cream, whatever you want to call it).  I used six lemons for this recipe and the rest went into various cocktails or cucumber lemon waters. 

You guys!  I think this might be my favorite ice cream I've ever made!  No joke.  If you like lemon, you must try this.  It's full of sweet, tart, creamy goodness.  My favorite time to eat it was after it had been in the freezer for only a couple hours and it wasn't totally hard yet.  Don't worry though, it's still amazing once it's completely frozen.  It's also good with fresh strawberries on top.

PS You don't need a gelato maker, any ice cream maker will do.

Lemon Gelato
From Bell'alimento
Yield: 2 quarts

6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
6 lemons, zested and juiced (it's about 1/3 cup zest & 1 cup juice)
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

**If you don't keep your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer, put it in the freezer the day before so it's completely frozen.

Whisk the egg yolks and heavy cream together in a bowl and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, add the half and half, lemon zest and sugar. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

Add some of the warm half and half mixture to the egg yolk mixture to temper the egg mixture. Gradually add the egg yolk mixture into the half and half mixture and stir well to combine. Return to medium heat and cook until mixture thickens. Remove from heat stir in vanilla extract.

Allow pan to cool slightly then cover with  wrap and place into the fridge to cool completely. When you’re ready to make the gelato, stir in the lemon juice and follow instructions on your gelato/ice cream maker.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Swordfish with Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce

I don't cook fish very often, but fresh halibut was on sale a few weeks ago and then swordfish the week after and I couldn't resist.  I've never cooked swordfish myself, but it turned out really well.

The fish was beautiful to begin with and this preparation is fairly simple.  I cooked it in a skillet with a little oil, then topped it with tomatoes, capers and a balsamic brown butter sauce.  It was amazing! The dish was sweet and savory and I loved the texture of the swordfish steak (it's more firm than your typical fish).  Everything came together quickly too.  I definitely recommend picking up some swordfish if you see it on sale at a reputable fish market.

Cook's Note: I only cooked 3 steaks, but made the full sauce recipe.  The extra sauce was delicious on mushroom ravioli the next day.

Swordfish with Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce
From Bon Appetit (Sept 2000 issue)
Yield: 6 servings

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper, to taste

6 (6 oz) swordfish steaks (each about 3/4 inch thick) Mine were bigger so I just cooked them a tad longer
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp drained capers
3 tomatoes, chopped

Simmer butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until deep golden brown, swirling pan occasionally, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in vinegar, honey and mustard. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Brush fish with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 swordfish steaks. Saute just until opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plates and tent loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining fish. Whisk sauce over low heat to rewarm if necessary. Spoon sauce over fish. Sprinkle with capers and tomatoes.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cooking Sausage Patties in the Oven

Last year I talked about Bakin' Bacon and how it's the cleaner and quicker method to cook bacon for a crowd.  Well I tested this theory with sausage patties as well, and it worked great.  I love not having to clean grease splatter from my stovetop!  The method is easy, I started with a hot oven and finished them off in the broiler to get them brown and crispy.

Sausage Patties in the Oven
Original Recipe

Sausage Patties
Rimmed Baking Sheet

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the patties on the sheet so they are not touching each other (use a second sheet pan if needed).  Bake the sausage for 10 minutes, then flip each patty and rotate the baking sheet back to front.  Bake for 10 more minutes, then broil for 3-4 minutes until the sausage is browned to your preference.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spaghetti and Meatball Pie

Spaghetti and Meatball Pie?!  I loved this dinner, it's such a fun form of spaghetti and meatballs.  It was a little more work than slapping noodles on a plate and covering with sauce, but not much (especially if you buy the meatballs like I did). I'm normally not a fan of spaghetti and meatballs (see other confessions here), but I loved the flavors and textures from this variation.  The creamy cheese and the noodle crust really did it for me. 
I used pre-made meatballs and doubled the recipe to make two pies.  I'm really glad I doubled it because it was really tasty and having an extra dinner in the freezer is convenient.  Doubling also made measuring a bit easier for using a full containers: a whole box of noodles, 16 oz can of tomatoes (I haven't seen 8 oz cans), full 1 lb container of cheese, etc.
Cook's Note: My pie took almost an hour to bake before the middle was warm.  All ovens are different and the temperauture of the ingredients will make a difference if you do some steps ahead of time.  To check the temperature, poke a knife into the middle of the pie (going down to the bottom) and put it to you lips.  If it's still cool, continue cooking until it's warm enough. 

Spaghetti and Meatball Pie
From My Retro Kitchen
Yield: 6 servings

8 oz (half a box) dry spaghetti noodles
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2  eggs, well-beaten
1 lb ground turkey or beef, divided (1/4 for meatballs and 3/4 for in the skillet sauce)
1/2 cup onion, diced
3/4 cup zucchini, shredded (optional)
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 (8 oz) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes (don’t drain) or 4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped or 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Mozzarella or Moneterey Jack cheese, shredded

Meatballs (makes 4-6)
The reserved 1/4 lb ground meat
8 Ritz crackers, crushed (or 1/4 cup bread crumbs)
1 tsp fresh oregano chopped
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

For the Meatballs:
Combine all ingredients and roll into golfball sized meatballs.  Brown on all sides and set aside. 

For the Pie:
Cook spaghetti noodles. Drain. Stir butter into hot noodles until melted. Stir in Parmesan cheese and eggs. Form pasta mixture into a crust shape in a buttered 9-inch pie plate.

In skillet, cook ground beef and onions, bell pepper and mushrooms until meat is browned. Drain. Add to meat mixture, tomatoes, zucchini, tomato paste, oregano and garlic. Heat through. Spread cottage cheese over bottom of spaghetti crust.

Top with tomato/meat mixture.  Cut the meatballs in half and arrange on top.  Sprinkle grated cheese over all.

Lightly cover pan with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove foil and bake for 5-10 more minutes until cheese is lightly browned.  Cut into pie wedges and serve.

Freezer Instructions: You can also prepare this dish ahead of time and freeze for later.  If you want to go this route, cover the pie pan with foil right after assembly; label and freeze.  When you are ready to serve: Thaw, bake covered for 25 minutes at 350 F. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes more until cheese is lightly browned.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Corned Beef and Cabbage

I have to admit, I had never made corned beef and cabbage before last weekend.  I knew I liked it, but usually made Ruebens for St Patrick's Day.  I was always afraid that cooking the corned beef would make a lot more than I wanted to eat.  I'm so glad I finally made it! This recipe was ridiculously easy and really darn tasty.  It uses Guinness as the cooking liquid instead of water and I highly recommend trying it.  And guess what? It didn't make too much!  I had a 3 lb flat and got 5-6 servings out of it.

Excellent pour by Kevin

Cook's Notes:
If you use a smaller brisket like I did, make sure you reduce the cooking time. 
We paired our Irish dinner with a Half and Half (Irish are offended if you call it a Black and Tan).

Corned Beef and Cabbage
Adapted From Steamy Kitchen
Yield: 6-8 servings

For the Corned Beef:
2 bottles Guinness beer (or other dark beer)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3.5 lb corned beef brisket flat, rinsed well, patted dry
1 Tbsp pickling spice (or the spice packet that comes with the beef)
1/2 onion
1 head garlic, halved

For the Vegetables:
1 head cabbage
1 big spoonful of bacon drippings (can substitute cooking oil)
a few carrots, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 pound of red potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Preheat oven to 300 F. In a large pot or dutch oven, whisk together the beer and brown sugar. Add the beef, it should almost be completely covered by the beer (I added about 2 cups of water to get the liquid higher). Add the pickling spice, onion and the garlic. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop, uncovered is best so you can keep an eye on it. Boiled-over beer is no fun to clean.

Once it begins simmering, cover the pot and place in oven to roast for 3-5 hours, flipping meat once during halfway point (reduce cooking time if using a smaller brisket). Remove from oven. Spoon out 2 cups of the corned beef braising liquid to cook the cabbage.

To make the vegetables:
Cut the cabbage into 8 wedges. In a separate large, wide pot, heat up the bacon drippings/oil on medium-high heat. When hot, swirl the pan around to get the fat to evenly coat the pan. Add the cabbage wedges, cook until browned and turn to brown the other side. 

Add the carrots and potatoes and pour in the reserved corned beef cooking liquid, bring to a simmer and cover the pot. Turn the heat to low and let cook for 10-15 minutes. Use tongs or a large spoon to carefully remove the cabbage and set aside. Continue cooking the carrots and potatoes another 5-7 minutes or until cooked though (pierce with fork to check doneness). Sprinkle with parsley.

Slice the corned beef across the grain and serve with the cabbage and vegetables. Pour a bit of the sauce over the corned beef just before serving.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! 

I hope you had a good one.  Attached or single, there is alway something or someone to love!  

I am currently loving my chocolates and candies class this week.  I made all of the treats pictured including the chocolate box.  Tomorrow I have caramels to cut then dip in chocolate and I'll be making a chocolate centerpiece.  Looking forward to telling you about it!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cake Pops

Happy February and Happy International Cake Pop Day! 

There is a food holiday for just about every day of the year and I don't normally follow them.  In fact, I had no idea it was Cake Pop Day until I opened Google Reader this morning.  Never heard of a cake pop?  Well, they are just cake balls on a stick!  Cake balls are cake crumbs mixed with frosting, shaped, then dipped in a chocolate coating.  They are perfect little bite-size desserts.

I recently had an order of cake pops for a baby shower (twins!) so I might as well share them today of all days.  I thought they turned out really cute.

**I'm available to bake for you!
Email me to get things started: sarah [at] sarahberridge [dot] com**

Cake Pops
Inspired by Bakerella

Cake Balls (left uncoated)
Chocolate or candy melts
Vegetable oil or melted shortening (optional, may be needed to thin the chocolate, add a little at a time)
Candy Sticks
Cake Pop Stand* (optional, but necessary if you don't want a flat top)

*You'll need somewhere to put the cake pops and if you don't have a stand you can easily make one.  Buy some thick foam board (found in the floral section of a craft store).  I used 2" thick 1'x3' and it worked well for large batches.  Poke holes with a candy stick about 2" apart being careful to push straight down and to not go all the way through the bottom.
  1. Roll and chill cake balls (Go here for recipe and instructions)
  2. Dip the stick about 1/4"-1/2" into melted chocolate, then stick halfway into cake ball. There will be a little chocolate that comes out around the stick.
  3. Let the chocolate set.
  4. Melt chocolate/candy melts
  5. Dip your cake pops. Make sure you cover the little bit of choclate that was popping out around the stick.  Swirl and lightly tap to get off excess coating.
  6. If using sprinkles, add them now before the coating hardens.
  7. Chill and let cake pops harden.
  8. Add decorations (swirls, baby feet, etc).
  9. Let coating harden before packaging the cake balls.
Pin It

Friday, January 25, 2013

Roasted Chickpeas

I've got another healthy snack to add to the roster:  Roasted Chickpeas!  They are crunchy and addictive and you should definitely try them.  Flavor them any way you want using savory and/or sweet seasonings.  Lately I've been using a similar spice combination that I do for the Spiced Almonds. I'd like to experiment with a sweet version too (brown sugar, cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg, pinch of cayenne pepper).

Sooo, where can I buy chickpeas in bulk? 

Side Note: I did a cost comparision of dried vs canned and it was cheaper to get the canned chickpeas.  I thought that was interesting so until I can prove otherwise, I'm going with canned.  Less work and less money!

UPDATE: Roasted chickpeas taste great on a salad!

Roasted Chickpeas
Original Recipe
Yield: 8 servings (about 4 cups)

4 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp of any seasonings (I've been using about 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp hot chili powder)

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line two rimmed cookie pans with foil.

Lay a dish towel (or paper towels) over the sheet pans.  Dump the rinsed chickpeas onto the towels and give them a rub to remove some of the water.  If any of the papery skins fall off, remove them.  Mix the chickpeas, olive oil and seasonings in a large bowl to coat evenly, then divide between the two sheets.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the insides of the chickpeas are dried out.  Stir occasionally, and keep an eye on them toward the end so they don't burn.

Pin It

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pickled Turnips

I love the pickled turnips that come with the hummus platter or on certain "sandwiches" at Middle Eastern restaurants.  I didn't have plans for the turnips in the fridge so I pickled them.  I even had a few tiny beets from our garden to stain the turnips their signature pickled pink color.
The pickled turnips made an interesting and colorful addition to my usual veggie tray.  They were very popular too, I was constantly refilling them.  I know a few ladies that will be very happy that I finally posted this recipe.
Raw veggies and hummus are a favorite for snacking, but I think a lot of us get stuck in the pepper, carrot, pea pod rut.  Add some pizazz to the mix with pickled turnips!
Like most pickles vegetables, these turnips are much easier to make than you think. 
Pickled Turnips
From David Lebovitz 

3 cups water, separated
1/3 cup (70 g) coarse white salt, such as kosher salt or sea salt
1 bay leaf
1 cup white vinegar (distilled)
2 lbs turnips, peeled
1 small beet, or a few slices from a regular-size beet, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

In a saucepan, heat one cup of water. Add the salt and bay leaf, stirring until the salt is dissolved.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, add the vinegar and the rest of the water.

Cut the turnips and beet into batons, about the size of French fries. Put the turnips, beets, and garlic slices into a large, clean jar or bowl, then pour the salted brine over them in the jar, including the bay leaf.

Cover and let sit at room temperature, in a relatively cool place, for one week. Once done, they can be refrigerated until ready to serve.  They'll keep well in the fridge for about six weeks.

Pin It

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Blog Goals for 2013

Like most people, I seem to do much better completing goals if they are written down.  I'm more likely to remember and there's the added bonus of having a list to refer to as a reminder.  I've been blogging for over 3 years now, and this year I created some goals for myself and the blog for the next 12 months. 

Blog Goals for 2013
  1. Make at least 9 things from my List
  2. Blog makeover
  3. Set up a menu for my baking "business"
  4. Set up a recipe index
  5. Post at least 3 times per month
  6. Guest post on other blogs at least 3 times this year (at least one won't be a recipe)
  7. Weed down my Google Reader subscriptions
  8. Comment more on other blogs
  9. Host a giveaway
  10. Be more active on Twitter
  11. Be more active on the Facebook page
  12. Add all my posts to Pinterest
  13. Start pastry school (first class is in Feb!)
Do you set goals/resolutions once a year (New Years)? Or do you break it down into smaller chunks of time so you can reevaluate and create new goals? What are some of your goals?

Pin It

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Signed Up For Pastry School!

Yes folks, it's true!  I am officially enrolled in the professional pastry program at The Western Reserve School of Cooking in Hudson.  It's a part time program that'll take about a year and a half to complete if all goes well with scheduling and availability.  Most of the classes are week-long, all-day series offered a few times a year, but there are some offered at night as well.  I'll still be working full time and just take time off as needed throughout the year to be in pastry school.  This is the best of both worlds because I'm not committing to any major life changes, and I'm taking classes I've wanted to take anyway.  So even if nothing comes of it professionally, it's definitely not wasted time/money/energy.

The cooking school is located at First and Main in Hudson in the back of the Cookery (cooking store). Over the last few weeks, the kitchen has been getting all new equipment and appliances.  I've never taken a class at WRSOC, but I've been volunteering there for a few months to get a feel for the classes. Volunteering consists of doing dishes during class and cleaning up afterwards. You're right there during class listening to everything with the ability to turn around and watch anytime. Volunteers get a copy of all the recipes for that class and every time I've volunteered the chef has given me samples of all the food.  Oh yeah, and you earn credits to take classes at the cooking school and get a discount in the Cookery.  They are always looking for more people to add to their roster so if you're interested email Kathy Myers (kmeyers at kent dot edu), she coordinates the volunteers.

Before Christmas I signed up to take Begininning Pastry, but I got a call yesterday saying that it was cancelled due to low enrollment.  It was supposed to be next week, and they won't offer it again until the fall.  Luckily there are a few classes I can take that don't have pre-reqs.  In February, I'm taking Chocolates and Candies. It's the week of Valentine's Day so my family's packages might have some really special candy in them this year. 

I'm really looking forward to starting pastry classes!  I've been thinking about this for quite a few years now.  I even took tours at the various cooking school options in Cleveland.  I'm glad I made a decision and am finally making it happen!

PS Sorry no pictures, Blogger won't let me upload.