Fettuccine Parmesan

Looks pretty damn tasty:

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”: Make this dish!

 

Make this dish!

This is super fast and easy, plus it is damn tasty.

The base of this recipe is taken from the Joy of Cooking, which you should really consider buying if you don’t already own a copy.

Acorn Squash, Roasted Corn on the Cob, Skillet Steaks, & Duquesne Beer

Recently, we had a ridiculously excellent fall dinner.  I could eat this meal several nights a week, and not grow tired of it.

Delicious Fall Dinner
Acorn Squash, Corn on the Cob, Skillet Steaks, & Duquense Beer!

First up was the acorn squash, which is really easy to prepare once you get the damn thing cut open.  I have recently stopped trying to go through the whole thing at once.  I use a serrated knife and poke from the beside stem into the center, then slice out form the stem all the way back around until I hit the stem again, then crack it open.

After scooping out the seeds (which I always wonder about cooking like pumpkin seeds) and stringy gross stuff, I placed the two halves orange side up in a glass baking dish in about ½” to ¾” of water.  Don’t worry, they actually generally do sit up that way without a problem.  I sliced the tops/insides a little in preparation for the next part…

Acorn Squash, after roasting.
SQUASH!

I melted some butter (or some Country Crock spread actually) in the microwave, probably about 3 tablespoons worth, and added a little bit of brown sugar, stirred, then ladled it on the top & into the cup formed in the middle.  Add it to taste.  I don’t really ever measure this.  If you’re looking for a measurement form me, add what you think is too much brown sugar, then add a pinch more.  I also added a tiny bit of black pepper & paprika to mine this time… but I add that to almost everything.

After that, I placed it in the already pre-heating oven at 400° for about an hour and 5 minutes.  I was going for somewhere between an hour and an hour & 15 minutes, and it worked out closer to the hour this time.  Check on it around the hour mark.  This one was roasted perfectly… the meat of the squash was just melting on to the spoon, & peeling right off of the skin inside.  It was really a great flavorful vegetable.  I don’t know if this is baking or roasting, but whatever it is, it works.  It would have also been good scooped out & served like groovy orange mashed potatoes.

Corn, unressed, re-dressed, & bound for doom!
Corn, undressed, re-dressed, & bound for doom!

Up next was the corn, figuring temperature was more important for the squash, I typically roast corn at 425° or 450° for 20 minutes to a half hour… but figured why not let it ride along with the squash here?

My wife & I carefully pulled back all the husks… just pulled them back not off, then removed the silk.

We buttered (again, we used Country Crock’s butter approximation), salted, & peppered the corn.

Next we wrapped it back up, and tied the tops back together using a loose strand of the husk.  This doesn’t always work out, so sometimes I use foil & make little caps to keep ’em all bound together.

I did a whole post on corn & why you should keep it in the husk, and never ever boil it unless you’re making soup.  You can read that here if you’re interested.  As you can see, “other stuff in the oven” is not even a good excuse to boil corn.  It can go along for the ride.  Proof?  It turned out beautifully:

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob
Why would you boil corn, when you could have this awesomeness every time?

I wish my cell phone’s camera got better shots.  I need to think farther than Facebook or Twitter when taking food photos, and get the real camera so I can post more to this blog.  The corn husks did smoke a little… but I didn’t see any flames, and it let me know when it was done.  Ha ha ha.  I’ve grown to not rely on timers so much, but to go with temperature and a gut feeling.

Oddly enough for a carnivore like myself, the steak was not the star of this meal.  We just got some thin  skillet steaks and put them on the Foreman grill oiled, salted, & peppered for about 5 minutes, maybe a little less.  They turned out fine.  The Foreman Grill seems to be my go-to tool for cooking meat until I get new knobs for by real grill outside.  I’m in a Yahoo! Group that’s a really good resource for innovative GFG cooking.

I topped it all off with the newly resurrected Duquesne Beer.  [Insert zombie and or Jesus joke here.]  I have a collection of antique bottles and have a Duke beer bottle in with my local stuff… so when I heard that they were making it again, I knew I had to try some.  I was born after the company was dissolved the first time, so I can’t compare it to the original… but it is a nice mellow pilsner that goes well with this kind of dinner.  It rounded out the meal perfectly.

It was aggravating to get my hands on some though… they’ve had a weird release schedule, and no 6 pack shops around me were carrying the stuff.  When one local pizza joint was listed as having the stuff, I went there to buy some and they had no idea what I was talking about.  I ended up buying a case, but luckily I don’t feel “stuck” with something that I don’t like.

5 Ingredient Fix | Claire’s Spinach Carbonara

Originally from:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/claires-spinach-carbonara-recipe/index.html

We still need to try this.  You can’t go wrong with pasta, cheese, and bacon…  and spinach is good for you.

Prep 15 min
Cook 15 min
Total: 30 min

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 pound fresh or dried spinach fettuccine
  • 1 whole large egg, plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat and salt generously.

Put the bacon in a large high-sided skillet and cook over medium-high heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve bacon in the pan.

When the bacon is about halfway cooked, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook about 4 minutes for fresh or according to the package instructions if using dried.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg and yolks, 1 cup cheese and pepper together in a small bowl.

When the pasta is ready, return the skillet with the bacon to medium heat. Using a ladle, slowly whisk about 1/2 cup pasta cooking water into the egg and cheese mixture until loosened. Reserve some additional cooking water. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet.

While tossing continually, slowly drizzle the egg mixture over the pasta until it is completely coated. Add more cooking water if pasta seems dry. Add the spinach leaves to the pan and toss until combined. Transfer the carbonara to a serving bowl and serve immediately with more cheese sprinkled over the top.

Cook’s Note: The key to perfect carbonara is working while everything is piping hot; this assures the egg will cook and produce a silky, creamy sauce that sticks to the pasta.

Looks easy enough!

Leave your corn in the husk

Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob
Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob

The only way to cook corn on the cob to me any more is in the husk.  Be it on the grill, over a campfire, or in the oven… it’s the way to go.  Next would be microwaving… but for goodness sake… please stop boiling corn. All the flavor is sucked right out of it into the water.  Unless you’re making a creepy corn-based soup stock… quit it!

There are several methods online, but I’ve found this one to work well for our purposes…

  1. Soak the corn in water for a while (or even overnight) if you have the option… this prevents the husks from burning.  But, I must confessed that I’ve skipped this step several times with no disastrous consequences.  (Also, if you’re storing corn in the fridge, it may have the same effect.)
  2. Peel back the husks, don’t rip them off!  Leave ’em attached at the base.  Pull of the silk… we have a corn silk brush that works really well for this.
  3. Brush with some butter, I can’t believe it’s not butter, or even Mayo or Miracle whip.  The latter two sound crazy, but it’s unhealthy and decadently awesome.
  4. Season with your favorite spices… I prefer fresh ground black pepper, hot shot, and some salt.  The wife likes Season-All.  I hear lime juice goes well with the aforementioned Mayo slathering… I guess it’s a Mexican thing?
  5. Gently wrap the husk back up over the corn as closely as you found it.  If you’re adventurous, use one of the outer husks to tie it back together at the top.  If not, use a string or make a nice foil cap.

Now the cooking part…

  • The Grill: All grills are different, but this is probably my preferred method.  I generally put them on at whatever heat I need to cook my “main” dish… if they’re the star of the show, I’d say a medium-high heat is in order, turn them often.  You’ll get some nice grill-lines… it’s generally done once the outside layer of husks is charred & brown.
  • The Oven: The main advantage to using an oven is a nice even cooking.  We did these in the oven right on the cooking rack the other night at 425° for 30 minutes, just flipping once… and they were absolutely perfect.
  • The Campfire: If you haven’t cooked corn on the campfire, shame on you!  Get the fire going nice & hot with some nice white coals at the bottom.  (They’ll be glowing orange if it’s dark out.) If you’re using a cooking grate, I’d put the corn on top around the outsides, so it wasn’t being hit by direct flame.  The pre-soaking does come in handy here.  If you’re not using a cooking grate… I’d wrap the re-husked corn in foil and place it on the coals under your fire ring, or just on the inside.  Check it for done-ness when you’re nervous about it… ’cause you’re probably right… but be patient.

I’d love to hear how you cook corn, and what you top/pair it with!

Oven-Roasted corn in Bethany's little corn-dishes.
Oven-Roasted corn in Bethany's little corn-dishes.

Beer-Barrel Lima Beans

Got this one from:  Shine on Yahoo! / Better Homes & Gardens

Thought it looked interesting, might be a way to get the wife to eat Lima beans!  I might take a pepper slightly up or down the Scoville scale though depending on who’s dining, and substitute garlic for the onion…


Food

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Beer-Barrel Lima Beans

  • cook time: 12 mins

  • servings: 4

Better Homes and Gardens

This low-fat, high-fiber bean recipe makes a good side dish to grilled beef, pork, or chicken. The beans add fiber; the poblano peppers are sweet and mildly hot; and the dark beer adds robust flavor. If you want to add more fiber in your diet, you can try a variety of bean recipes.

ingredients

  • 12 ounces shelled baby lima beans or frozen baby lima beans
  • 1 tablespoon margarine or butter
  • 1 small poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark beer
  • 1 small red onion, quartered and sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

directions

  1. In a 2-quart saucepan cook fresh beans, covered, in a small amount of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. (Or, cook frozen beans for 6 to 8 minutes or until the beans are just tender.) Drain.
  2. In a large skillet heat margarine or butter; add beans and pepper. Cook and stir, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Stir in beer, onion, thyme, and salt; remove from heat. Makes 4 side-dish servings.

recipe source

BHG.com

Better Homes and Gardens

Eric’s Decadent Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

This past Christmas when we had the family over for a holiday dinner, I decided to try & make some scalloped potatoes.  I found a ton of recopies online, and took what I liked from some & what I liked from others and put them all together… leaving out the stuff I didn’t like.  They turned out really well, to the compliments of everyone.  The only problem is that I didn’t write down what I did… so I had no idea when I went to make them again for an Easter  dinner yesterday.  Last time, like everyone in the kitchen, I kept adding stuff until the sauce looked & tasted just right.

Friday night, I pulled out the same printed recipes from last time…. made sure we had most of the stuff here & popped what I needed on to the grocery list.  This time I wrote down what went into it, but I may have the portions off… Where I have “cup” or “Tablespoon”, I may have just dumped some stuff in by eye.

People have asked how I made them, so I’ll try writing it out coherently here.  I’ll add that  my wife, Bethany, washed & cut the potatoes while I made the sauce… which was invaluable… because the sauce needed to be watched, and cut potatoes that sit for any period of time get all brown.  I guess I could have cut them & put them in some cold water to halt the browning if I absolutely had to… but we get along well in the kitchen, and it’s nice to cook together sometimes.  (I offered for her to do the sauce & to put me on potato duty, but she declined in case the cause didn’t turn out well, the blame could go solely on me.)

Eric’s Decadent Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 5 lb. bag of russet potatoes
  • 2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I buy the stuff in bags, this is 1 small bag.)
  • 2 cups shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese (The store brand was 2 bags for $5 I think.)
  • 1 pint (2 cups / 16 fl. oz.) heavy cream
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 4 Tbsp. corn starch
  • Salt/Pepper/Season All to taste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (I used the stuff minced & put in olive oil, in little jars)
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. Miracle Whip or mayonnaise… (or 1 Tbsp. Each!)
  • 1 sm. bag bacon bits
  • bread crumbs (or crackers)

Stuff:

  • potato scrubber
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish
  • sauce pan
  • spoon and/or wisk
  • large bowl (if you’re gonna soak the potatoes)
  • measuring cup & spoons
  • aluminum foil
  • hot pads
  • oven
  • stove top

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Wash & slice the potatoes, store in cold water if you have to so they don’t brown… or have someone do that while you…
  3. Grease a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with the stick of butter.  Melt the rest of the butter on medium heat in a saucepan.
  4. Add the flour & corn starch to the butter to make a roux.
  5. Turn it down to low heat, & slowly stir in the cream, buttermilk, sour cream,  & mayo/Miracle Whip.  Stir like a madman.
  6. Add the bacon bits, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and salt/pepper/spices to taste.  Don’t forget to stir.
  7. Add about half of each kind of shredded cheese to the mix, keep stirring like a madman.
  8. Pull the sauce from the heat, keep stirring… add a little to the bottom of the baking dish.
  9. Later potatoes, sauce, & remaining shredded cheese… saving a nice amount of shredded cheese for the top.
  10. Cover with foil, bake at 350° for an hour.
  11. Pull it out, uncover, top with bread crumbs or crumbled up crackers, add some additional seasoning if so inclined, and pop it back in for another 15 minutes.

Well, there you have it.  Pretty simple, and nothing makes me happier than cheese & potatoes.  I noticed a lot of scalloped potato recipes don’t have cheese, but really… where’s the fun in that?  Some also used a cream of chicken or cream of potato soup… makes it too much like White Trash ‘Taters for me.  You may want to skip the breading, use chips or those crispy canned fried onions.  Everyone has their own thing that they dig.  Yukon Gold potatoes would make this really nice, probably wouldn’t need to cook as long…red potatoes might make it bitey…  A mix may be nice.  As far as the spices, I used coarse ground black pepper, I think some dry mustard, paprika, and some McKormick Season All.