Monday, March 28, 2011

Homemade White Castle Sliders



I have to say that sadly I have never had the opportunity to eat at a White Castle and sample the incredible sliders I hear so much about. I have purchased the frozen ones and thought they were pretty dang good.

I was shopping at my local bakery and they had the cutest little buns which inspired me to make Sliders! These turned out so delicious and tasty that I will be making them again and again for parties!

I checked out a few recipes online and this is what I did!

1/4 to 1/2 cup dried onion flakes

2 pounds ground chuck- 80/20 ground beef

1/2 t. seasoned salt

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp onion powder

Cheddar or Provolone Cheese (or whatever you like)

12- Small Sized Rolls

Evenly spread the onions on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish or a jelly roll pan (which I used). Gently press the ground beef on top of the onion flakes. Press evenly making one giant pattie.

Sprinkle with seasoned salt. At this point you can use a drinking straw and poke holes throughout the meat. That is what they do with the original white castle sliders.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, carefully remove from the oven and drain the excess oil off. If you have a big spatula I recommend turning the patty over.

Return to the oven and cook another 5 minutes.

Using a paper towel, pat the excess grease from the top of the pattie.

Sprinkle garlic salt and onion powder on the entire patty.

Cut into bun sized squares.

Slice open and separate each party roll. Place bottom of rolls on a large platter.

Using a spatula lift pattie with onion layer onto each bun bottom. Top each slider with a square of cheese and the bun top.

Microwave a bit until the cheese melts.

You can of course add the condiments of your choice. These re-heat very well the next day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Carmel Corn



In my quest to find yummy food my Mother In Law can enjoy while maintaining her Gluten Free diet, I found that Carmel Corn when made at home anyway is totally Gluten Free!

I have never made it before, and I must say my past attempts at making Carmel have been total failures. I looked all over the place for a recipe and decided on this one from Allrecipes.com, it has been reviewed by many folks. You can add nuts and it would still be Gluten Free. The last Carmel Corn I had that was homemade was grainy and not very good, this recipe is none of that.

After my initial fear, I made it and it is relatively easy. I took it to my Mother In Law in the hospital for a snack and she loved it as did her Nurses!

2 bags of popped Organic Lite Popcorn
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 250 degrees F

2. Place popped popcorn in a very large bowl.

3 In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring
4 minutes. (you are going to want to stir it, but don't, it will look scary and about to boil over, be patient)

4. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.

5 .Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Smoked Corned Beef Brisket


Happy St. Patrick's Day, if you aren't wearing Green, pinch yourself for me!

My husband loves to smoke meat as well as barbecue, you might say he is a fiend for it actually. St. Patrick's Day was coming up and we decided to smoke the Corned Beef Brisket for a change and see how it worked out. I did some research on the subject and the cut you really want to purchase is the Flat Cut, you pay a bit more that the Point Cut but it is well worth it.

I must say it worked out extremely well. This is our new GO TO method of making Corned Beef from now on. We smoked with Mesquite and prior to smoking plastered the meat with a wonderful mixture of flavor.

Here is how you do it!

1 Flat Cut (not point) Corned Beef Brisket
1/4 cup Grainy Mustard (we used a combo of honey, brown deli and horseradish blend mustard, use what you have)
2 tbl Apple Juice
1 tbl fresh ground black pepper
Pickling spices (which came with the meat)

Mix the above ingredients and plaster on your Corned Beef. Since this was a "cryo packed" corned beef, it's plenty salty so do NOT add additional for the rub.

Smoke at 250 degrees using Mesquite (or Hickory) for approximately 12 hours or internal temperature reaches 185 degrees. Pull it, wrap in foil and finish in the oven at 350 degrees until internal temperature reaches 195 to 2005 degrees.

Let rest for 30 minutes to an hour, slice (against the grain - typically the shortest direction; see the pictures) and serve. If you can do this a day in advance, immediately chill the brisket. The rendered fat will harden and other goodness will gel. Discard the fat and use the gel as a sauce (nice golden brown once reheated and it really carries the smokey flavor).

If you don't have a smoker, you could do it in the oven as well just make sure you monitor the temperature of the meat. I would consider adding 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of either Hickory or Mesquite liquid smoke to the paste/topping prior to cooking to get a good, subtle infusion of smoke. Though beef can be eaten at 145 degrees, briskets really need to go to 195-205 so you render the fat and connective tissues (also making the meat fall-apart tender).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Apple Braised Cabbage


My husband smoked a Corned Beef Brisket last weekend to celebrate St Patricks Day. I was in charge of the side dishes and knew we wanted Cabbage. I am not a huge fan of Cabbage in general, so I decided to see if I could make it a bit more palatable for myself.

I combined the Cabbage with Honeycrisp Apple Juice after sauteing in Bacon Fat (don't we all have that in our fridge), and wow was it delicious. This will be my new Cabbage recipe from now on, YUM. I will post the Smoked Brisket Recipe on St. Patrick's Day!

1/2 to 1 head of Cabbage cut into slices or however you like it
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cup of good quality Apple Juice
2 tbl Bacon Fat (or you could use vegetable oil)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tbl Apple Cider Vinegar

Place your bacon fat or oil into a pan on medium high heat, and add your onion and cabbage, stir occasionally until reduced and slightly caramelized

Add in your Apple Juice, Apple Cider Vinegar, salt and pepper and let cook for about 20 minutes without a lid, stirring occasionally

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vegetable Soup - My Mother In Laws Favorite


When my Mother In Law was sick a few months ago I just happened to have a fresh batch of Chicken Stock and decided to whip up some Vegetable Soup. She swears it is what cured her!

Recently she came home from the hospital after a knee replacement, and I decided I better make it again so she could enjoy it for a few days. It is so simple and easy, the key is homemade Chicken Stock! You can of course add chicken or use any veggies you have around!

I cook a batch of rice so you can put it in while you are heating it up, if you put it in when making the soup by the next day the rice has sucked up most of the broth. One more plus to this soup, it is Gluten Free!

3-4 quarts chicken stock
1 leek, peeled, cleaned and sliced thinly
1 medium onion cleaned, cut in half and sliced thinly
6 stalks of celery sliced
6 large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
5-6 button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 large zucchini ends removed and sliced
Cooked Rice

In a good sized stock pot saute the leek and onion in several tablespoons of oil at a medium high heat until reduced in volume and a bit caramelized, you will have bits of brown stuff in the bottom of your pot, you want that yummy stuff, add in a cup of chicken stock and stir until it incorporates into the liquid.

Add the remaining stock and carrots and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes to give the carrots a head start, then add the celery and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the carrots and celery are nearly done add in your mushrooms and zucchini, let cook an additional, 10 minutes or so and serve or if you are not eating it immediately immerse into a bath of cold water (I use my sink) to cool it down quickly, then refrigerate

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ham, Leek and Potato Soup


I have to say this soup does not look like much, and in fact the photo does not do it justice at all. It was a wonderfully flavorful and very rich and filling soup!

I took an idea from my wonderful neighbor and fellow food blogger Pam of For The Love of Cooking and used Evaporated Milk instead of heavy whipping cream and it still tasted very rich and decadent. Thanks Pam!

3 leeks white and light green parts only, ends removed and sliced thinly
1 lb or so of cubed ham
8 cups chicken stock homemade if possible
3 russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced into cubes
1 can of Evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
several dashes Franks Red Hot
chives for garnish (optional)

Place your leeks into a bowl of cold water and swirl them around to remove the dirt, it will settle at the bottom of the bowl, remove and drain on a paper towel

Add a few tablespoons of Olive oil to your soup pot and saute the leeks until they are translucent.

Add your chicken stock, evaporated milk, salt, pepper and Thyme, bring to a boil, then add in your potatoes and cook until they are fork tender. Using a blender or an immersion blender, work the soup until it is smooth and creamy.

Add in some Franks Red Hot for some spice if you wish

Garnish with chives /and or bacon bits

Strawberry Muffins

I had some beautiful local Strawberries that were looking a little sad, I decided to make Strawberry Muffins out of them.  I do have to ...