Friday, August 29, 2008

Tailgate Breakfast Casserole

This needs to sit overnight. So start it the day ahead.
  • 4-6 Slices of good white bread like Pepperidge Farm
  • 16 oz. Jimmy Dean's Hot Sausage, cooked, drained, and crumbled
  • 1 package shredded extra sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne

Grease the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Take bread and cover the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly. Evenly spread cooked sausage over bread pieces, cover with cheddar cheese. Mix eggs, milk and mustard together. Pour mixture over casserole.

Store covered, overnight. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes, cover and take to game!

Serves 4-6.

This needs to sit overnight. So start it the day ahead.

Tailgate breakfast squares

Since the 1st home game is at 12:30, the tailgate will be breakfast. I'm publishing some likely candidates to make & take. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Serves 8

Breakfast Squares
24 ounces shredded frozen hash browns, thawed
2 cups chopped cooked bacon or ham
6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, extra sharp
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
4-5 green onions, minced
1 cup milk

Place hash-browned potatoes in greased 9 x 13" pan.
Top with bacon and then the cheeses.
Beat together eggs, milk, and salt; add onion; pour over potatoes.
Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, until bubbly and brown. Remove from oven & let stand 10 minutes. Cut into serving size squares.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Italian Dressing

This is very good on a green salad with tomatoes.

1/4 cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard,
1 clove garlic diced finely
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
Big handful of chopped fresh basil & fresh oregano; sub dry herbs if you don't have fresh.
(1 tsp dry basil)
(1 tsp dry marjarom or oregano)
3/4 cup olive oil
Mix all together, taste & correct seasonings

Basic Vinagrette

This dressing is good on any salad of greens. If you are using regular vinegar you should keep a ratio of about 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, although this can be varied according to your taste. Since rice wine vinegar is much milder you can use 2 to 1.

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard,
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp thyme
1tbl sugar,
1/2 cup olive oil
Mix all together, taste & correct seasonings

Orange Vinagrette

This dressing is good on a salad of greens with fruit like oranges or peaches

approximately 1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard,
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp thyme
1tbl sugar,
1/4 cup olive oil
Mix all together, taste & correct seasonings

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Marcella Hazan's shrimp spiedini

This is a great recipe from Classic Italian Cooking. It's simple, easy, and wonderful. If you use wooded skewers, as I do, soak them in water while the shrimp is marinating in their coating. This is nice served with the Pazanella salad.

Serves 4

2 pounds medium shrimp, unshelledweight
3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup fine, dry, unflavored bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic chopped very fine
2 teaspoons parsley chopped very fine
Black pepper, ground fresh
OPTIONAL:a charcoal grill

1. Shell the shrimp and remove their dark vein. Wash in cold water and pat thoroughly dry with cloth kitchen towels.

2. Put the shrimp in a roomy bowl. Add as much of the olive and vegetable oil, in equal parts, and of the bread crumbs as you need to coat the shrimp evenly, but lightly all over. You may not require all the oil indicated in the ingredients list, but if you have a large number of very small shrimp you may need even more. When you increase the quantity, use olive and vegetable oil in equal parts.

3. Add the chopped garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper, and toss thoroughly to coat the shrimp well. Allow them to steep in their coating a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours, at room temperature.

4. Preheat the broiler at least 15 minutes before you are ready to cook, or light the charcoal in time for it to form white ash before cooking.

5. Skewer the shrimp tightly, curling one end of each shrimp inward so that the skewer goes through at three points, preventing the shrimp from slipping as you turn the skewer on the grill.

6. Cook the shrimp briefly, close to the source of heat. Depending on their size and the intensity of the fire, about 2 minutes on one side and 1 1/2 on the other, just until they form a thin, golden crust. Serve piping hot

Panzanella Pasta Salad

Tonight I'm making Marcela Hazan's grilled shrimp, and I thought that panzanella would be good with it; however, Jim wanted pasta. So, I decided to use the flavors and ingredients from the Italian bread salad to make a pasta salad. It's very good!

4-6 servings

6 oz.s of small pasta shells
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 purple onion, chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded & chopped
2-3 tbl capers
big handful of fresh pasta, chopped
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain & refresh with cold water. Drain well.
Add all ingredients and dress with oil and vinegar. I use about a 1/1 ratio of oil and vinegar, but it will depend on the vinegar you use. If you don't have balsamic, you'll need something like 3/1. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you're not serving immediately, you may have to add more oil and vinegar, and more salt and pepper.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chocolate Gelato - from Cipriani Hotel

I haven't tried this. The recipe is from Epicurious, as is the review with suggested modifications. We had fabulous chocolate gelato in Florence and I want to try to make something similar. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Servings: Makes about 3 cups
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3 1/2 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
4 large egg yolks, beaten lightly
In a dry 3-quart heavy saucepan cook 1/4 cup sugar, undisturbed, over moderate heat until it begins to melt and cook, stirring with a fork, until melted completely and deep golden brown. Remove pan from heat and dip pan briefly into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. (Caramel will harden.) Cool pan about 5 minutes and return to heat. Add milk and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until caramel is melted. Whisk in cocoa until combined well and keep mixture warm.

In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water (or a double boiler), melt chocolate, stirring, and remove from heat.

In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat egg yolks with remaining 3/4 cup sugar until thick and pale. Whisk in caramel mixture and chocolate in streams, whisking until combined. Pour custard into another 3-quart heavy saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 140° F. Cook custard, stirring (do not let it boil) 4 minutes more and remove pan from heat. Cool custard completely and freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.

Gelato will keep in the freezer for one week.

AWESOME!!! What an intense chocolate flavor! However, the recipe is way to complex and time consuming for it’s own good. Here’s how I simplified it: I cooked the ¼ cup sugar with 2 tablespoons of sugar on high without stirring until it started to caramelize (about 3 minutes). Then I swirled the pan until it reached a dark golden color. At that point I dumped in the milk that I had heated to almost boiling, and whisked like mad. After whisking in the cocoa, I mixed in the chopped chocolate. Thus a 30-minute process is cut down to about 7. Taking suggestions from the cook from Ann Arbor, I sifted a mixture of Cadbury and Droste cocoa into a 1-cup measure and that was perfect. I also used Scharffen Berger bittersweet for the chocolate. As this makes a batch about half the normal size, I found that it reached perfect consistency after about 20 minutes of freezing. The cook from Florida may have frozen the batch too long, but it still sounded yummy! To enhance and round out the chocolate flavor, I added a teaspoon of cognac and a pinch of salt to the mix just before freezing. Taking another suggestion from the cook from Ann Arbor, and because I am a chocolate fanatic, I mixed in a small handful of chocolate nibs (chopped roasted cocoa beans) to the gelato as I removed it from the freezer. Simply amazing! If you love chocolate gelato, this is definitely for you! Enjoy.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Stir Fry at the Galleria

I ate lunch yesterday at Stir Fry at the Gallery on Kingston Pike. I usually eat at the Turkey Creek restaurant which is always good, but we were going to the movies at Downtown West. We arrived at about 11:45 and there were only 2 or 3 occupied tables. Our movie was at 1:10 so we felt like we had plenty of time. The waitress promptly brought menus and water and took our orders. I ordered spinach salad with grilled salmon; My friend Connie ordered moo goo gai pan; My mom ordered pad thai , and then we waited, and waited, and waited. Finally at about 12:25, the waitress came by to say that the food would be out in just a few minutes. The food arrived and the salmon was very good, as was the moo goo gai pan, but the pad thai was cold and glued together in 1 large mass of noodles. It was also impossible to eat because it was on a teeny plate. If our waitress had ever returned to ask if everything was okay Stir Fry could have fixed this quickly. Instead we were forced to try to get someone's--anyone's--attention. We did and they graciously offered to make something else (moo goo gai pan). It came out very quickly, and they took the pad thai off the bill. It all turned out fine, but I think the Stir Fry at Turkey Creek is much better.

zucchini, corn, and basil fusilli with bacon

This recipe is from this month's Gourmet magazine. Ama B made it the other night and it was really good. She used bow tie pasta and not as much zucchini. I ate some yesterday sort of lukewarm with a tomato and cucumber salad dressed with balsamic vinegar. I mixed the two together and got a delicious pasta salad. If you don't have pesto, just add fresh basil, parmesean cheese, and some olive oil.

6 bacon slices
1 pound fusilli
3 ears corn, kernels cut from cob
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, coarsely chopped (1/2-inch pieces)
1 (5- to 7-ounce) container
basil pesto

Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp. Drain on paper towels; discard drippings from skillet.

Meanwhile, cook fusilli in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quart water) until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then add vegetables to pasta in pot and cook, partially covered, 2 minutes (water will stop boiling). Drain.

Add pasta with vegetables to skillet along with pesto and 1/4 cup reserved cooking water and toss. Season with salt and moisten with additional cooking water if necessary.

Top with crumbled bacon and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper.

For the pasta salad--Cool to lukewarm and add:

1/2-1 container of grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1 fresh cucumber, peeled, seeded & diced

dress with 1/4 cup or more balsamic vinegar

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Northshore Brasserie

We love Northshore Brasserie. If we were thinner and richer, we would eat there 2 or 3 times a week. I think that a lot of people think that this is a frou frou French restaurant and don't go because of that, but it's really a casual neighborhood steakhouse with a French take on down home cooking.

Jim orders the same thing almost every time we go. He starts with oysters on the half shell. Then he has the Frisee Lyonaise salad. It's curly endive dressed with a vinaigrette with lardons (chunks of bacon) and a poached egg on top. Finally, he has the Steak Frite--a NY strip cooked medium rare with a big portion of pommes frites (french fries ya'll). Occasionally, Jim is seduced by the whole fish special on Friday nights. The preparation varies, but it is always outstanding. Jim also thinks the Brasserie has some of the best french bread in town, and I agree.
What do I like? Unlike Jim, I mix it up. My favorite salad is spinach salad with poached pear, bleu cheese, and nuts. Although it's a starter I sometimes have the ravioli with sweetbread filling as my main course. I know, I know--sweetbreads??, but trust me, this is delicious. I also love the veal cheeks starter. I eat that as a main course also. The grilled calamari with tomato jam is also a favorite starter. Among the entrees I love the nightly specials. They are always wonderful. I haven't had it, but I hear fabulous things about the pork shank on Wednesdays. I love the duck, the lamb shank, and all the steak preparations.

The wine list is thoughtful and has some wines that you may not have tried. It's pricey, but which restaurant in Knoxville doesn't have its wine overpriced? The service at the Brasserie is almost always excellent. The restaurant is owned by a brother and sister. He cooks and she takes care of the front of house. The result is service that is warm and attentive, but not overly familiar.

Bone Fish Restaurant

I've always wanted to write Knoxville restaurant reviews because I think that our most "famous" reviewer has never been to a restaurant that he didn't like. I'm not going to do a comprehensive review--more like my thoughts on which dishes Jim and I like and don't like. Since we just went to Bone Fish Friday night, I'll start with them.

We really like the food at Bone Fish, particularly the appetizers. Friday we started with their feature appetizer of shrimp and scallop ceviche. DON'T BOTHER! It's mediocre at best. If you want ceviche, go to Casa Don Gallo. We then ordered the Bang Bang Shrimp--their signature appetizer. Hot, crunch, spicy, with just a touch of sweetness--this dish is absolutely perfect. It's also very generous; a good dish to share. I then had the Bone Fish salad--nice greens with hearts of palm, pine nuts, tomatoes, and a citrus vinaigrette. Jim ordered the small portion of the Ahi Tuna appetizer. It's not his favorite version, but it's good. Bone Fish's wine list is too expensive, but somebody has put some thought into it. Jim drank the Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc and I had a featured Gewurtztraminer which was too sweet to pair well with most seafood. Not a good choice.

On other evenings we have had the fried calamari which is served with 2 sauces--one Italian tomato sauce, one Thai sweet and spicy. I love it, although Jim isn't a calamari fan. I've also had the mussels which are to die for. The mussels are steamed in a fragrant, buttery broth which is delicious to sop up with french bread. My friend Debbie and I often share this as our main course. We've also had most of the fish preparations and they are all very well done. I can't really comment on desserts because we are invariably too full to eat it.