Granny’s Tamale Pie

October 3, 2009

IMG_0393I just made this last week from Cook’s Country’s Best Lost Suppers and it turned out fantastic!   One thing to keep in mind, it takes a long time to make with the 2 cooking cycles and also the prep time for cutting the vegetables.    The sauce is delicious.   I actually had to make a new batch with canned chicken stock.    The one adjustment I made was I didn’t enter the remaining oil at step 3.    It seemed like a lot of oil.

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Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole

September 27, 2009

IMG_0396Just tried this out today.   It’s a recipe from Cook’s Country, one of my favorite magazines for home country comfort food.   It was fabulous and very easy to make.    You can make it the day ahead and it makes a ton of food for a group of people.   I was looking for a recipe like this + we enjoyed the crispy crust on the outside.    The inside had a nice custard center.   I will have to try the variations.    It’s probably key to allow it to soak overnight.    I didn’t have any problem with it overcooking in the oven.   It went for the full hour.

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Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Roja

July 22, 2009

IMG_0116_enchiladasI got this recipe from the Latin American Spice & Recipe Kit, which was on clearance at Williams Sonoma.    Not sure if they have any more, but I got mine at the store on Walnut.    It’s a nice box with 6 different mexican spices (Cumin, Guajillo Chili Powder, Achiote Powder, Ancho Chili Powder, Chipotle Chili Powder, and Mexican Oregano).   I’m pretty sure you can buy most of this in the Giant Eagle Mexican section or Reynas in the Strip.    It’s an interesting recipe as in it requires you to make your own enchiladas sauce, but with a blender – it’s very easy to get everything down to a puree.    I was blown away by the tastiness of the sauce paired with the sour cream.   For the radishes, slices seemed kind of big, so I cut it into planks and it was a nice complement to the other flavors.    I might try not to reduce it too much in the pan, because it didn’t seem like I had enough sauce.    Or possibly double the sauce recipe to have enough left over.

IMG_0116_enchiladas_2Another thing I really like was running the tortillas thru the hot oil.   Not only did it get the tortillas very pliable to roll, it added a little crust and really brought out the flavors.    I’ve used this to much success for making soft tacos out of the remaining corn tortillas.   Usually I’ve been more of a flour tortilla guy.   

One last thing, I might keep the enchiladas in the oven a bit longer to warm especially if it’s taking you awhile to assemble the dish.

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Brooklyn Cheese Puffs

May 31, 2009

brooklynpuffsI’ve been reliant on Cook’s Illustrated lately for discovering great recipes.   They are consistently good.    I’ve wanted to get their America’s Best Lost Recipes for awhile.     It’s a collection of 121 kitchen-tested heirloom recipes.   I finally bought it, and this recipe happens to be the first one in the book.   I’m not sure exactly what the Brooklyn connection is, but I’m guessing that the author’s mother grew up there.    I tried it out last night before Stanley Cup Game 1, and it was delicious!   We couldn’t stop eating them.    Lisa suggested maybe pairing it with a marinara sauce for dipping.    My first thought would be the sauce from Figaretti’s, a great Italian restaurant out by Wheeling.   You can buy the sauce in a jar.   Last time I checked they had the sauce at Penn Mac in the Strip.    It’s my usual go-to sauce for pasta.     Enjoy!

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Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta

May 19, 2009


This recipe is from the Cook’s Illustrated, Best Cover and Bake Recipe book.   This is the same book with the Mac and Cheese masterpiece.    I tried it out on Sunday with the tomato and basil variation.   Check out the bottom of the recipe for that + another variation with proscuitto and peas.   It’s pretty good and easy to make.   The white sandwich bread topping with a little butter is a great accent.    One note, for the sauce… I had to double check the 2 teaspoons thing to see if it was a typo.   In a stick of butter, it’s only 2/3 of a tablespoon.   Enjoy!     Read the rest of this entry »

Perfect Steak in the Skillet

May 12, 2009

New_York_Trip_HI saw this recipe on Amateur Gourmet.   It’s a new online show on Food Network’s Food2 TV site.     The show has 3 short episodes so far.   The host gets instructional help from various restaurant chefs on their specialty.    So far they’ve done an omelette then making fresh pasta.   They’re pretty funny so definitely check them out at    I saw the steak one, and I’ve recently become a big fan of making steak at home.    The recipe is similar to the ribeye one in my blog.    It seems that a cast iron skillet is always a must, but this recipe has a lot more flavor by adding more salt and pepper for the coating + butter, garlic, and thyme in the oven.    It was divine!    I’m turning my house into a steakhouse!

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Baked Macaroni and Cheese

May 6, 2009

macandcheeseThis is another recipe I got from Cook’s Illustrated.  It’s from their book, Best Cover & Bake Recipes.   I love to cook casseroles because you can just assemble them ahead of time and let them cook for long periods in the oven.    They also travel pretty well and allow you to freeze them.    I made this for one of our beer brewing sessions, and it was the real deal..  got a lot of raves… probably better than what I’ve had in the restaurants.   Although I hear Kelly’s Bar and Lounge makes a mean Mac and Cheese in East Liberty.   The flavors go really well together and the bread crumb crust is divine.  

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Provencal Vegetable Gratin

April 25, 2009

I made this dish last week for the meeting of the two families.   My parents got to meet Lisa’s parents for the first time.    It’s an old favorite I saw on FoodTV – decided to pull it out for something I can make here, assemble and transport to Wheeling to cook.    I used regular vine tomatoes but I think if I make it again, I would use the firmer roma tomatoes and maybe slice at an angle for bigger pieces.   The regular tomatoes got kind of mushy when I had to toss with the olive oil.   It got rave reviews from the family plus the presentation is great with the red, yellow, and green colors.

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Kentucky Burgoo (Lamb/Chicken Stew)

April 20, 2009

burgooI tried this recipe from Cook’s Country last week.   It’s another magazine by Cook’s Illustrated (highly recommended magazine) but focuses more on home cooking, comfort foods.   It’s a pretty simple recipe other than you need to brown the meats, stew and break apart from the bones.     I’ve had a craving for mutton ever since I tried it in Kentucky.   This recipe just uses lamb for a similar taste.   It seemed appropriate for Easter.

It was fantastic!   You know a recipe is good when there are no leftovers.   My Mom even commented that she liked it better than the canned burgoo from Moon Lite BBQ.    It works really well with some bread on the side especially toasted white bread for dipping.   Also with the leftovers, you can use it for a filling for shepard’s pie.

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Steak Tacos / Carne Asada

March 19, 2009
Steak Tacos

Steak Tacos

I found this recipe from Cooks Illustrated and it was delicious!    Top notch.    For a less spicy dish, remove some or all of the ribs and seeds from the jalapenos before chopping them in the marinade.   In addition to the toppings suggested below, try serving the tacos with Sweet and Spicy Pickled Onions (recipe inside), thinly sliced radishes or cucumber, or salsa.   When I tried out the recipe, I just used some Roasted Tomato salsa and it was fantastic with the onions and lime juice on the side.    I also used corn tortillas but using flour is fine according to your tastes.

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