Saturday, May 30, 2020

Grilled Pork Chops



Winter or summer. Pork Chops are my favorite Saturday night dinner. Chris grilled perfect Pork Chops! We marinated them in 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, salt, and pepper. All I did was put them in the marinate. Chris handled the rest.

Sides were Parsleyed Potatoes and Sauteed Swiss Chard.

And we had a lovely bottle of wine from our neighbors who borrowed our lawnmower!

This Week...

I love 4 day work weeks. I just have a problem squeezing 5 days of work into 4 days. It just is not a comfortable feeling. Dinners this week were pretty easy. No-fuss and certainly not a lot of dishes.

Monday, Memorial Day.
Burgers and Greek Pasta Salad.

Tuesday.
Chicken Cutlets with Zucchini and Bacon Tart.
I love having extra Pate Brisee in the freezer. 
The filling was fried bacon and sauteed Zucchini mixed with Ricotta, Parmesan, and egg. 
Leftovers made a perfect lunch!

Thursday.
Mozzarella in Carrozza with Tomato Soup. 
The soup was Campbell's.
I have always wanted to make Mozzarella in Carrozza at home. 
I had it once before at Three Girls Vegan Creamery. 
Theirs was much better. 
Lesson learned.


So What Are We Having For Dinner?

How do we decide what we are having for dinner? I can tell you it is rarely a spur of the moment decision. I like to have a plan. I like to make a list. I like to have a Plan A and even a backup Plan B.
I like to get in my car after work and know what I am facing when I walk in the door. That being said our meal planning usually starts on Wednesday or Thursday night for the upcoming week.

I check recipes I have posted to Pinterest, does anyone still use Pepperplate? I may have a recipe in mind from a cookbook or my recipe box. Next, I see what we have in the house. With Covid-19 directing our lifestyle, I make one trip to the store per week. I had been sticking with Big Y for everything but I do like Robert's Deli and Meat counter and I like Bishop's for produce.

That being said weekend meal prep is essential for the running of this household. I try to make at least one dish on the weekend with will give us dinner during the week and a dinner that can go in the freezer. Chicken Cutlets, Baked Macaroni, Sausage and Peppers, Meatballs, Pasta Sauce, Chicken Pot Pie. To to quote my Mom, those dinners are like money in the bank.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

My Mom's Fish Sauce

1996. The year my Mom started to forget things. That was the year I asked her for her recipe for Fish Sauce. The one she made every Christmas Eve. Have you ever asked an Italian Mom for a recipe? They measure nothing! Timing, forget about it. You just know when and what to do.

Well, I had a list of ingredients. I had the memory of what she did. And with the help of the internet,
I had confirmation from a couple of different recipes that I was on the right track.

I knew my Mom did not pre-cook the lobster tails. She cooked them in the sauce. I found a recipe that confirmed my thought. Lobster Tail Tomato Sauce from All-Recipes.

Next, I found a recipe from Memorie di Angelina for Zuppa di Pesce alla Napoletana that explained the cooking time for the other fish.

I made a simple Marinara Sauce. I simmered it for about an hour. I put the lobster tails in and let them simmer for almost 45 minutes. I dropped the Cod and Scallops in the sauce.  That simmered for 10 more minutes.
I had not experienced that aroma since I was in my Mom's kitchen on Lettney Place.

My Mom's Fish Sauce

Ingredients-
1 clove of garlic. Yes I used a clove of garlic!
1 tbsp olive oil
2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes, quantity is determined by how many people you are serving.
1/4 cup white wine, quantity is determined by how many people you are serving.
Lobster Tails, quantity is determined by how many people you are serving.
Cod Filets, quantity is determined by how many people you are serving.
Sea Scallops, quantity is determined by how many people you are serving.

Method-
Make the marinara sauce. Brown one clove of garlic in olive oil. Remove clove when it starts to brown. Add tomatoes and wine, let simmer for an hour.
Drop the lobster tails into the sauce, simmer on low for 45 minutes. Add Cod and Scallops. Simmer for 10 minutes.
 
 I had to serve the pasta with homemade Fettuccini. The usual recipe from Tide and Thyme.

And yes I had to make homemade Italian Bread too! Usual recipe from Noshtalgia.


Saturday, May 9, 2020

Delmonico Steak with Herbed Butter


I picked up a couple of Delmonico Steaks from Ferraro's on my last visit there. I was looking for an oven-roasted recipe and I found one perfectly fit the bill. Tender! And the butter! Oh yeah!
The original recipe is from Ivy's Kitchen. I, of course, omitted the garlic powder. I believe someone commented that the meat was so tender.
 

A New Cookie



This is probably a very old recipe but it is the first time I am making it. No, it will not be the last time. I love this cookie! I just need some expresso...

Tuscan Cantucci Almond Cookies

Ingredients-
2 cups flour
zest from 1/2 a lemon
1 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt, I used Kosher salt
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
7 oz Almonds, I used sliced blanched (Next time I will toast them)

Method-
Combine the flour, the lemon zest, the sugar, the baking powder, pinch of salt.

Then mix the almond and vanilla extract with the eggs and add to the dry ingredients. Next, add the almonds. Mix to combine all the ingredients.

Divide the dough into 2 ropes and place them on two baking trays lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes; remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and cut them into diagonal slices about 3/4-inch thick. Place them on the baking tray cut-side down and bake again for another 10 minutes at 400°F.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Let's Get Ready to Bake!

So on Friday night, I have something that I do that helps me unwind after a long week at work. Yes, I am still working. Thankfully Chris and I still have our jobs. But work is stressful. There is a constant air of uncertainty. But we will stay the course.

So Friday night I bake. I take my time and bake. I usually like to make something for breakfast and a cookie. Tonight I just did something for breakfast, the cookie will wait until tomorrow.

Tonight I made what is my all-time favorite breakfast cake. The Crumb Cake. Do you remember the Entenmann's Crumb Cake? This was as good if not, dare I say, better. I found a recipe online. Of course, I had to make a change...

Here is my version of the Crumb Cake, actually the same as the recipe in the link above. I just substituted sour cream for the buttermilk and left out the sugar topping at the end.

Ingredients-
For the crumb topping:
⅓ cup granulated sugar (2 ⅔ oz)
⅓ cup dark brown sugar (2 ⅔ oz)
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp table salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick or 4 oz), melted and still warm
1 ¾ cups cake flour (7 oz)

For the cake:
1 ¼ cups cake flour (5 oz)
½ cup granulated sugar (3 ½ oz)
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp table salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter (¾ stick or 3 oz), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
⅓ cup sour cream

Method-
To make the topping: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

To make the cake: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325° F. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of the dish.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With the mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and sour cream; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

Transfer batter to baking pan; using a rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces between your thumb, pointer, and middle fingers and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward the center.

Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Best Ever Swiss Steak

Another first for this weekend. Swiss Steak. I have never made this or eaten this cut of meat. I found a recipe on the Delish site. Best Ever Swiss Steak. No that is the name of the recipe. We loved this. Tender! And the sauce was not bad either. Click here for the recipe.

And we heated up the Mac and Cheese we got from Chapter One last night. Wow. Just Wow!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Chapter One Take Out

Chris had a brilliant idea for dinner. Take out! It was actually nice to have a Saturday and not have to fix dinner. Almost as good as going out to eat.
He picked a place in Guilford we had not tried. Chapter One. I was amazed at how delicious dinner was.
We ordered an app, Foccacia Bruschetta. The nut-free pesto was perfect.

I had a dinner that I can not believe I have never had before. Shrimp and Grits. OMG. I love shrimp and I LOVE grits. Add bacon and cheese and what a happy meal that was. And the portion was huge. I know what lunch will be on at least Monday, maybe Tuesday too!

Chris had the Texas Beef Brisket. He did not even need a knife because it was so tender.

We also got an order of the Mac and Cheese. We are saving that for tomorrow night. 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Escarole & Bean Soup and a Memory

This dinner could not have been easier.
Take chicken broth out of the freezer and thaw.
Dice onions, carrots, and celery.
Saute vegetables in a hot pan with olive oil until soft.
Add thawed Chicken Broth with an equal amount of water to the pan.
Heat to boiling.
Add rinsed and sliced escarole.
Add Parmesan rind. Thank you Ralph!
Bring to boil.
Reduce to simmer for 30 minutes, or until escarole is cooked.
Add drained can of beans and season soup with salt and pepper.
Remove Parmesan Rind and serve!

I just have to share a memory that popped up in my head. Tonight 14 years ago was the last time that our entire family gathered around my parent's dining room table. My Mom's wake was 14 years ago tonight and after the wake one of my parent's friends, I am pretty sure it was Mrs. Gilbert, sent over an amazing spread of food from Lorenzo's in West Haven. I remember sitting there in the dining room thinking that my Mom would have been happy that we were all together.