Monday, April 30, 2007

What to do with a Can of Tuna...

Here is a nice little pan fried tuna patty I made tonight. While writing the title of this recipe it got me humming the old song - "What to do with a drunken sailor.....So what to do with a can of tuna....This recipe is damn tasty as the tarragon is really nice. There is no breading in it as it's only a month until summer and it's time for something low carb. It's simple to make and divine to eat. Simple add two cans of water-packed tuna to a bowl and add, one slice of lemon juice, one egg, 1 tbsp. of tarragon, 1/4 cup of crumbled up feta cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. It will be slightly moist, but you could add some breadcrumbs if you like, but I haven't tried breadcrumbs, so I'm not sure if it would take away the unique flavour. Then in a frying pan over high heat, melt a tbsp. of butter. Take a handful of the tuna mixture and squeeze out excess juice or moisture. Form a little patty (they may be easily breakable because they aren't loaded with gluten) and put into pan right away. Once it's nice and toasty on the one side having formed a crust, flip over and do the same on the other side. Only cook these patties for a couple of minutes so it doesn't get too dried out. I actually topped mine with a curry mayo which was tasty too.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Some Easy and Delicious Recipes to Try This Week

This past week, as I get my house in order, I've been joyfully revisiting all of my old cookbooks and recipes. Many of these recipes were born in the 1980's and I've been making them ever since. It's time I make them famous by posting them on the web. Finally they will have their 15 minutes of fame!

Mushroom Cream Patty Shells (I can't remember what cookbook I got this from back in the 1980's, but it is a Southern appetizer/lunch).

Here is a nice fattening appetizer that will truly ruin your diet. There is nothing comparable to these mushroom patties. They are 5 star and can be served with a salad and a glass of white wine.

First make the patty shells using 1/4 cup of unsalted butter or margarine, and 24 soft white sandwich bread slices. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim crusts off of the bread. Then grease up 2-12 cup muffin tins with the butter and press a slice of white bread into each one making sure they are snug and fit in the muffin tins. Bake shells in the oven for 10 minutes, or until nicely but ever so lightly brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Now you are going to prepare the filling that you will put into the shells. I just keep the shells in the muffin tins until it's time to fill.

Now for the mushroom cream. You will need 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, 4 green onions, chopped, 2 tbsp. of parsley, 2 tbsp. of minced chives, 1/2 lb. of mushrooms chopped, 3 tbsp. of all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup of whipping cream, 1/4 tsp. of thyme (this is perfect in this dish, you can really taste it), 1/4 tsp. of cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 tsp. of black pepper, salt, 1 tbsp. of lemon juice, 24 baked patty shells, grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. of butter. At least the body can process butter!

Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add green onions, parsley, chives, and cook until veggies are wilted which will be about 3 minutes. Stir in washed and cleaned mushrooms, cook 10 minutes until liquid evaporates. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir. Cook 2 minutes stirring. Mixture will be very dry. Stir in cream, thyme, cayenne, pepper, salt, and lemon and blend very well. Now reduce the heat to low; cook for 5 minutes until thickened. Preheat oven to 375 deg. Put mushroom cream into each patty shell, top with Parmesan cheese and 1/4 of butter. Bake in oven until topping is bubbly about 10 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 24.

Pork Tenderloin with Cream Gravy

2 lbs. of Pork Tenderloin, 4 tbsp. of butter, salt, pepper, paprika, 2 medium onions, cut up, 3 cups of beef bouillon (2 cubes and three cups of water), then a couple of strips of bacon or ham thinly sliced to put over the meat.

Gravy: Beef juice, 1/2 cup of cream, 2 tbsp. of flour to thicken, 3 tbsp. of butter.

Season meat with salt, pepper, paprika. Put butter in pan over med. heat and melt with onion and brown meat on both sides. Once the meat is browned, take out of pan and put into a casserole dish. Top the tenderloin with your choice of thin stips of ham or bacon (you need not cook the bacon prior). Then pour beef broth into the casserole and place in a 350 deg. oven for 20-30 minutes. Take out and put the meat aside so you can make gravy with juices. Mix cream and flour and stir to make a paste. Bring juices to a light boil and add cream/flour mixture, stirring vigorously, turning heat down to low. If any lumps occur, using the flat part of the spoon, stir and mash lumps against the side of the dish and add a little more cream if you like. I like using a whisk whenever I am making gravy to cut any lumps that may form.

Finally, lay the tenderloin on a nice serving platter, spoon gravy over tenderloin, garnish with parsley and serve.

Here is another scrumptuous pork tenderloin recipe.

Dijon Pork Tenderloin with Green Apples Wine and Cream

2 pork tenderloins cubed into 2-3 inch slices, 10 small peeled, cored, and sliced thin granny smith apples, 1/4 cup of butter, 1 cup of whip cream, 1/3 cup of Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup of white.

Generousy butter a 10 X 10 long casserole type dish and layer thinly sliced Granny Smith apples in to the dish. Put into a 400 deg. oven for about 10 minutes. Next, combine whip cream with Dijon mustard and mix just until blended. In a lightly greased frying pan over medium heat brown the pork tenderlion slices. When finished, put into casserole over apples. Take 1/2 cup of white wine and put into the pan stirring over heat to scrap brown bits and let come to a boil. Then po9ur wine mixture over casserole, then finally pour mustard cream sauce over casserole and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Learning to Cook 10 Things Well for the Culinary Inept

A post or two ago I mentioned that it is not cool to be culinary helpless. I've seen a lot of changes over the past decade. One big change that really floored me was an advertisement I read in the newspaper a few years back, of a company that "made meals from scratch for busy families." I didn't clue in at the moment that many families weren't getting homemade meals anymore and that busy families were longing for something soulful and nourishing when they got home from work. I was perplexed. Many people I knew were taking out huge loans to install state of the art gas stoves and stainless steel refrigerators....of course people were cooking for their families; I mean what ass would take out a $30,000 loan for a new kitchen and then spend their lives paying for someone else to cook the from scratch meals for them; or worse, take their children through the drive through to clog their kid's arteries with lumps of congealed and greasy sealed beaks and assholes? Apparently many. It seems that a beautiful kitchen is a status symbol kind of like new boobs and a joker's smile.

Though I've always cooked, there was a two year period in my life when I lived in Toronto that I ate at a restaurant almost every night. Being a "busy" sales administrator I also often ran like a farm animal does when he hears the farmer's bell, as soon as the breakfast truck pulled up at my office door. Needless to say I got rather portly. The same thing is happening to our children today. Statistics tell us that this generation of children will not live longer than their parents! That should scare the hell out of you. Even if you are taking your children to the fancier fast food places that serve roasted chicken instead of fried or nicer restaurants in between hockey, ballet, and Kumon, please realize that there are many hidden fats and food enhancers that are killing your kids. As a kid I remember McDonald's or ordered in Pizza being a treat. My mother was a full time outside of the home divorced working mother, and every night we had a home cooked meal. She'd also get up early and prepare our breakfasts, and in the evening make our lunches for the next day at school. Today's parents have all but abandoned the kitchen and the supper table. Want to keep an eye on your teenager and their the parent who cooks for them or has yummy snacks at home. Want your kids to bring their friends to your place so you know who they are hanging out with....cook for them. Stats show that families who eat together stay together. Get back into the kitchen for your family's health and for your family's soul and keep your children close.

If you are a busy parent, invest in a slow cooker. You can make gorgeous beef bourginons, chicken wings, and soups using this Grandmotherly like cooking aparatus. Simply toss a bunch of vegetables and a lump of meat with a little liquid and seasonings, turn it on and dinner will be ready for you when you get home from work.

Picky kids? I would say that 50% of children are picky eaters. It's when we indulge the pickiness that our children will only eat chicken mcnuggets or white food. Start having some fun with your children. Kids aren't inspired by cranky stressed out parents who chase them around the living room with spoonfuls of mush trying to force nutrition down their throats. I dare my kids not to try something. Kids have a natural rebellious streak - take advantage of it. I've also gotten my kids to try new foods by pretending we are on the show survivor. Lay on the praise too. When your kids try something new tell them how proud you are that they are adventurous. Bring them into the kitchen. I recently got my kids to start picking out meals to make from a kids' cookbook I have. They take great pride in being involved and can't wait to serve their meal to the family. Also a couple of other tips for young children, don't over flow their plate. Kids are stimulated visually and can get turned off when there is too much on their plate. I have found kids love succulent tender and flavorful meals. Put away the hotdogs and chicken strips and try some of these easy meals.

Here are some of my children's favorites:

Meatloaf (with wheat germ and bran - they will never know you slipped a little fiber in).
Greek Chicken with Chinese flavored broccoli
Easy Spaghetti
Roasted Chicken and mashed potatoes
Slow Cooker Roast Beef
Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce
Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Steak with olive oil and Montreal Steak Spice
Boiled and Oven Baked Ribs
French Burgers
Deckfast - this is when you serve breakfast for dinner sometimes.

If money is tight, make lots of casseroles using hamburger, chicken thighs, or drumsticks. Toss an inexpensive roast into the slow cooker with lots of flavorings and broth. Next post I'll start writing the recipes. Bon Appetite!