Homemade Sloppy Joe’s Sauce

Tue, Feb 26 • 0

A recipe from Gourmet, October, 2007, which they call “Sophisto Joes.” I’m betting it will taste just as good on spaghetti as it would on a kaiser roll. Sort of like a bbq’d bolognese.

1 14½oz can of whole tomatoes, drained
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 T unsalted butter
1 medium carrot, chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1½ lb ground beef, chuck
1 T chili powder
1 t ground cumin
½ c dry red wine
2 T worcestershire sauce
1½ T packed brown sugar
4 kaiser rolls

Puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Heat a 12″ heavy skillet and brown the onion in the butter (4-5 min), adding the garlic at the last moment. Add the carrot, celery, and a little salt (½t) and cook another 4-5 minutes until veg are soft. Add the beef and break up the big lumps while browning, 5-6 mins. Add the chili powder and the cumin, another ½t salt and ¾t pepper (maybe a mix of black and red, if you like it spicy?) and cook, stirring, for 2 more mins. Add all the liquids (tomatoes, wine, wooster sauce) and the brown sugar, and cook to thicken — about 10 mins.

Basic Baked Potato

Thu, Feb 21 • 0

po tay toe

Set your oven to 450°. Wash the potato, removing all the dirt you can. Then, fill a deep bowl with warm water, and a bunch of salt. Pierce the potato with a fork all over, and then let it sit in the salt water while the oven preheats. Put the potatoes in the oven, right on the rack, and let them cook for an hour. How do you like to top your baked potato? And do you eat the potato skin, or do you leave it on the plate?

Jan/Feb Contest Winner

Sat, Feb 16 • 0

Congratulations go out to Hanan Levin, the winner of the Cooking Monster Tote Bag give-away! Says Hanan : “Sometimes the bear eats you, other times you eat the bear…” Thanks to everyone that entered. Better luck next time! And be sure to stay tuned in coming weeks for the next give-away; probably a Cooking Monster apron. (Also, be sure to check out Hanan’s great weblog, grow-a-brain.)

Can’t wait for the next contest? Order your Cooking Monster loot directly!

Spaghetti Carbonara

Sat, Feb 16 • 0

spaghettiTwo recipes, very different techniques; similar but subtle flavor differences. I’ve had mixed results with the second version, but the vinegar adds an interesting tone.

Quick & Dirty

1lb spaghetti
8 slices bacon, diced (8oz)
1T olive oil
3 eggs, beaten
¼c whole milk (or half-and-half)
¾c shredded Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Boil salted water for the pasta, and cook 9-12 mins. Cook the bacon in the olive oil until browned and crisp, about 10mins. In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Add the hot pasta to the egg mixture, which will cook the eggs. Serve on hot plates, and top with the bacon and a little more parmesan. Based on a recipe from Everyday Food.

More Involved and with Vinegar

¼lb bacon (2 slices)
1 stick butter
1c whole milk
2T wine vinegar
1lb spaghetti
2 eggs, whipped
½c grated Parmesan
salt & pepper to taste

Cut the bacon into little pieces, and cook in the butter until clear. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, and add the bacon and the butter. Add the vinegar; this will turn the milk into cheese. Simmer for 15 minutes, until smooth.

Boil your favorite pasta al dente. Drain and return to the pan. Immediately throw in the eggs, the bacon sauce, and the grated Parmesan. Add salt and pepper, toss, and serve. Source: The Frugal Gourmet by Jeff Smith.

Win a Free Cooking Monster Tote Bag!

Mon, Feb 11 • 7

Cooking Monster Tote

Simply submit your name and email address, and you could win this great Cooking Monster tote, valued at $17.99! It’s great for carrying groceries, and it’s printed on both sides.

The drawing will be held at 5pm on February 15, 2008, and the winner will be notified by email.
Keep reading…

Baked Manicotti

Sat, Feb 9 • 0

I’m trying a recipe for Baked Manicotti from America’s Test Kitchen. Instead of the premade manicotti tubes, they suggest using softened no-boil lasagna noodles. You soak them in hot water for 5 or 10 minutes to make them pliable, and it works really, really well. I managed to find some whole-wheat no-boil lasagna noodles, but they behaved exactly like regular ones.

They also suggest that when buying ricotta, you look for one without any gums or stablilizers.

I followed their recipe to the letter, deviating only in that I added some minced shallot to the marinara with the garlic, and that I added some chopped chives to the cheese filling along with the parsley and basil. It turned out very well, although I recommend you put a layer of parchment paper between the foil and the tomato sauce in the pan if your pan isn’t particularly deep.

Ruhlman on Chicken Stock

Wed, Feb 6 • 1

On The Splendid Table (a public radio program that I listen to on podcast), their guest, Michael Ruhlman, suggests an unusual way of making chicken stock. He recommends putting the aromatic vegetables in only at the last hour. He says that by putting them in at the start, they overcook and fragment, clouding up the stock. But, more importantly, after all that time, they’ll soak up too much of the precious liquid. Makes sense to me. I’ll have to try it next time.

Here’s a link to The Splendid Table’s website where they have his recipe for veal stock — a magical elixir that he claims will allow an ordinary cook to be an extraordinary one.

The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef’s Craft for Every Kitchen by Michael Ruhlman.

Making Butter on Purpose

Wed, Feb 6 • 0

butterOver at TuttiFoodie (a foodie weblog that emails new content to subscribers) today’s entry is all about making butter. Talk about turning a mistake into an advantage. I’ve done it before, but never on purpose. If you try to make whipped cream and you get distracted, it’s easier than falling off a log. And I’m not really sure that the end result is really anything to swoon over. I doubt it’s more economical.

But anyway, if you’re going to make your own butter, I think I’d probably add a little salt into the mixer, but I bet some brown sugar or honey, after you’ve drained off the butter milk, might be pretty good, too.

Recent Food Neologisms

Tue, Feb 5 • 0

flossy adj. Most of the good Portland restaurants serve what is known as “flossy” food (for fresh, local, organic, sustainable, seasonable). Flossies are people who believe in these ideals and try to eat in that manner.

foodshed n. the area which can, or is sufficient to, provide food for a given location.

meat diaper n. the absorbent pad packaged between a (styrofoam) tray and meat for sale.

smash cake n. a celebratory cake intended to be destroyed, especially by a child.

For more, food-related or no, check out The Double-Tongued Dictionary.

Classic Bugs Bunny

Tue, Feb 5 • 0

French Rarebit (1951)

(Keeping this page up-to-date is pretty tricky. Sorry if the videos don’t work for you.)

Rabbit Fire (1950)
Bugs: “Filet of Duck Bordelaise Maitre d’Butter. Yum-yum… Duck Polonaise Under Glass. Mmm-mm.”
Daffy: “Rabbit au Gratin de Gelatin under tooled leather. Oh, drool-drool.”
Bugs: “Barbecued Duck Meat with Broiled Duck Bill Milanese. Yummy-yum.”
Daffy: “Chicken Fried Rabbit with Cottontail Sauce braised in carrots. Mm-mmm. “

Please note: Cooking Monster is in no way related to the trademarked characters of Muppets, Inc. Co.
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