Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Glazed Kielbasa

Nice appetizer to serve at gatherings or parties.  If you do not want to include the wine, just substitute additional apple juice. 

1 pd  Kielbasa, ½ “ diagonal sliced
1 C. White Wine
¼ C. light Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ C. Apple Juice

Place kielbasa in large skillet.  Add wine and heat to medium heat.  Simmer until almost all of the wine has evaporated, stirring occasionally.  Add brown sugar, mustard and apple juice.  Simmer until syrupy.  Can transfer to a crock pot to keep warm until ready to serve. 


Bobotie is the national dish of South Africa.  It is the accumulation of many different influences that have passed through that region over the years.  Tamarind can be hard to find.  Look for it in an international store or the international aisles in the bigger supermarkets.  It has a flavor that is truly unique.  Like a traditional meatloaf, this meal has many variations, so feel free to substitute ingredients. 


2 Oz. Tamarind Paste
2 Slices White Bread, torn
½ c. Whole Milk
2 Lb. Ground Beef
¼ C. Almonds, sliced
3 Tbsp. Golden Raisins
3 Eggs
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Lg. Yellow Onions, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. Curry
1 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Mix tamarind with ½ C. water.  Set aside.  In large bowl, soak the bread with ¼ C milk.  Heat butter in skillet.  Sauté onions and garlic.  When onions are just beginning to soften, add the curry and sugar.  Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add beef to skillet.  Cook until beef is done and browned, breaking up into small pieces.  Transfer to bowl with the bread.  Add the tamarind, lemon juice, raisins and 3 Tbsp. almonds.  Season with salt and pepper.  Let cool slightly.  Add 2 eggs, slightly beaten.  Mix well.  Transfer to a 9” deep pie plate.  Press down meat mixture to compact.  In bowl, whisk egg and remaining milk.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour on top.  Sprinkle top with remaining almonds.  Bake about 30 minutes, until egg is set and cooked through.  Let cool 10 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Irish Beef and Stout Stew

Nice hearty cold weather stew.  If you’re not a fan of stout beer, don’t be turned off by the recipe.  I personally don’t like the taste of the beer straight from the bottle, but do love the taste of this stew when it’s been simmered for hours.  Serve with your favorite bread.

4 pds. Beef Chuck Roast, 1” cubed
¼ C. Flour
12 oz. Tomato Paste
12 oz. Irish Stout Stew
20 oz. Baby Peas
2 pds. Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 med. Onions, diced
4 C. Beef Broth
8 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350.  Toss beef with flour. Set aside.  In large Dutch oven, heat broth over medium heat.  Stir in tomato paste, until dissolved.  Add remaining ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to boil.  Cover with lid and transfer to oven.  Cook, covered until tender 2- ½ to 3 hours.  Adjust seasonings to taste. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Homemade Canned Italian Sausage

Every year the Rock Cave  IGA grocery store sells pork sausage labeled as “Ground Hog” for the week during Groundhog Day.  This may sound like just another sausage to some, but this is truly the best and leanest sausage I’ve ever eaten.  This year they sold 17,400 pounds in the one week selling period that they do every year.  They do their own grinding and custom seasoning per customer request.  We usually order their sausage with extra sage, but this year we also ordered 20 pounds of plain and seasoned our own.  We canned the Italian seasoning version listed below and also a hot version called mititei.

5 pds. Ground pork sausage unflavored
5 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
2 Tbsp. Parsley, dried
1 ½ Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 ½ Tbsp. Onion Powder
1 ½ Tbsp. Basil, dried
4 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Fennel Seeds
1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
½ tsp. Oregano, dried
½ tsp. Brown Sugar
½ tsp. Thyme, dried

Combine all ingredients until well incorporated.  Shape into desired size of fingers or into balls.  Bake for 20 minutes or until just browned.  Sausage will not be cooked through but will be able to hold its shape in the jar.  Pack into canning jars as tightly as you can without breaking or crumbling the meat.  Pressure cook for 90 minutes on 10 pounds of pressure. 

Swiss Cheese Fondue

This recipe was given to me by my sister, who spent several years living in Switzerland.  This was the recipe given to her by the locals.  The Gruyere is a must, but you can substitute the Jarlsberg for Emmenthaler.  The first time I tried this recipe it was a failure.  I overheated the cheese which turned it into a gooey mass.  Do not overcook or overheat the cheese; it will rebel against you.  Keeping a constant eye on the heat and stirring constantly will prevent this.  Once this dish is smooth and velvety, don’t hesitate to start dipping.  It won’t wait on you.  Truly a great dish for those who love cheese, bread and wine. 


Cut bread and place into bowl.  Let the bread openly sit and lose some of its moisture for 2 – 3 hours to dry out slightly.  Peel and cut a garlic clove and thoroughly rub the entire inside of the fondue pot.  Use more garlic if necessary.  Add the white wine to the pot and heat gently over medium heat.  Alternately add the cheese by small handfuls, stirring constantly after each addition to melt the cheese.  Once all of the cheese has been added and melted, dissolve the cornstarch in a small additional amount of white wine or brandy.  Add the cornstarch to the fondue stirring constantly to incorporate.  Serve with the cubed bread.
**If you do not have a fondue pot, you can use a thick walled small kettle.  Keep the kettle on the stove over low heat to keep the cheese in a smooth consistency.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Za'atar Dip

Excellent dip for bread.

1/3 C. Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. za’atar
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Bunch Cilantro, Minced

Combine all ingredients.  Mix well, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.  Let sit for 6 hours or overnight for flavors to develop.  Bring to room temperature before serving.  Serve with crusty bread to dip. 

Szechwan Spiced Ground Pork

Pork and dill pickles???  This recipe sounded so odd I had to try it and then fell in love.  It has a quite the flavor.  The dill pickles are not authentic, but are an acceptable alternative and are easier to buy.  Don’t hesitate to try.  Adjust the garlic and ginger to your personal taste.     

1 Onion, chopped
2 tsp. Oil
1 Pd. Ground Pork
1 C. Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp. Sugar
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ C. Dill Pickle, chopped
3 inch Ginger, peeled and grated
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 ½ tsp. Cornstarch, dissolved in water

Heat oil in skillet.  Sauté onion until translucent.  Add garlic and ginger.  Sauté 1 minute.  Add pork.  Cook until done, breaking up into small pieces.  Add remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine.  Simmer over low heat with lid on for 20 – 30 minutes or until sauce has thickened.  Serve over rice.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Spicy Sweet Meatballs

These are great meatballs whether you make them as an appetizer, for a party or for dinner.  Vary the size of the meatball for each occasion.  We have made them smaller when we have had them for a party, and bigger when we made them for dinner.  Try them over rice with some steamed broccoli or asparagus on the side.  Also great on a hoagie with some sauted strips of onions and peppers covered in provolone cheese.

2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ C. Breadcrumbs
1 Lg. Onion, minced
¼ C. Milk
1 Lb. Pork Sausage
1 Lb. Ground Beef

16 Oz. Apple Jelly
2/3 C. Spicy Brown Mustard
2/3 C. Apple Juice
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce                                                                                                                   

In a crockpot, combine all ingredients.  Heat on high until jelly melts and sauce is smooth.  Meanwhile, in bowl, combine eggs, bread crumbs, onion, milk, sausage and beef.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix well until ingredients are combined.  Shape into meatballs.  Cook in a skillet until browned on all sides but not cooked through.  Add meatballs to sauce in crockpot.  Cook on high for 5 – 7 hours or until meatballs are cooked through depending on size of meatball. 

Smoky Lentil Soup with Bacon

Comforting bowl of soup for a cold winter day.   When adding the paprika, use a good quality smoked paprika, not the regular paprika.  I never thought that there was much difference until I tried it.  There is a huge difference!   I like to serve this with a grilled provolone cheese sandwich made on crusty Italian bread.  But really, any sandwich would work well with this recipe.

4 slices Bacon
1 Onion, diced
3 Carrots, diced
2 Celery stalks, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
6 oz. Tomato Paste
1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
14 oz. Fire Roasted Tomatoes, diced
1 C. Red Lentils
4 C. Chicken Broth
Sour Cream
Parsley, minced

In a Dutch oven, cook bacon until cooked through and crispy.  Remove and drain on paper towels, leaving the grease in the pot.  Crumble the bacon.  Add the onions, carrots and celery.  Cover with a lid and cook until vegetables are beginning to soften, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and paprika.  Cook 2 – 3 minutes.  Add 1 Tbsp. of the tomato paste.  Cover and continue to cook and stir until vegetables are soft.  Add the broth, lentils, tomatoes and the remaining tomato paste.  Cover the cook until the lentils are tender, about 35 -45 minutes.  With an immersion blender, puree to desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into bowls.  Top with sour cream, bacon and parsley.