Summer Produce in Fall

I have a pagne of guilt when I clean out my refrigerator and throw away food. Especially produce.  I visit the Farmer's Markets and stock the kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables, but with an overactive travel schedule of late, tossing uneaten, inedible food happens more often than I would care to admit. As the summer wound down, farmers were eager to sell their summer stock to consumers and we were the fortunate recipients of (not kidding) 20 pounds of tomatoes. Ok, maybe it was 15 pounds, but the point is, both the crispers were full to the top as was the veggie bowl on the counter.  The bottom shelf was also covered in round, red tomatoes. There was an abundance and while full of lycopene and clearly great for your health, one can only eat so many tomatoes before the acid feels like it's burning the inside of your mouth.

Of course, I thought, I will can them!  Reality set in and I realized that by the time I found a full day to can them, the tomatoes would have canned themselves. Next.

Then, I came across the idea of freezing the tomatoes.  Easy Peasy. Here are the steps:

  • Wash tomatoes
  • With your knife, hull out the stem portion at the top, digging about half-way into the tomato.

  • Repeat with each one (I had six that made the cut, with another six that were too soggy)
  • Place tomatoes into a quart sized bag.
  • Ensure all the air has been depressed from the bag.  If you have a machine that does this, by all means, use it.  I used a straw.
  • Place in freezer until you are ready to use.

The second part of this entry will come when I use a frozen fruit, but the directions for using are as simple as those for preserving.

  1. Remove tomato from the freezer and let it rest on the counter for 45 minutes
  2. Place into a sauce pan over medium heat, where the tomato will break down, creating a chunky sauce, to which you can add butter (to thicken and flavor) or spices and herbs.
  3. Voila, an easy and quick sauce for pizza, pasta or dipping.

Recipe: 2011 Super Bowl Foods

How many of you watched Super Bowl XLV last night? At home, we made our usual: a large plate of nachos for two and enjoyed every down played.  This morning, I was thinking about authenticity, which translated into authentic football fare, specific to each of the teams locations, as well as Dallas, respectively, the sight of the storied game! Here's what I found: Green Bay Packers:

What says Wisconsin more than cheese? I mean, the fans wear cheese hats on their heads with impunity! Wishing I had found this recipe well in advance of the game, I have yet to make it, but thought it looked too delectable to keep to myself!

Fried Cheese Curds:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 pound Wisconsin cheese curds, 1" wide
  • Oil for deep frying

Directions

  1. Combine bread crumbs, cornstarch, cayenne pepper and chopped thyme in food processor. Process until bread crumbs are finely ground. Place in a pie plate.
  2. Place beaten eggs in another pie plate and flour in a third pie plate. Dredge the cheese curds in the flour, then the egg and lastly the bread crumb mixture.
  3. Place battered curds on a baking sheet. Set in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  4. Heat 3 inches of oil to 365°F to 375°F. Fry the cheese curds in batches until they are crisp and warmed all the way through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Notes:

Cheese curds are pressed into a mold during the process of making cheddar cheese.  The curds, as used above, are extracted before the molding process and should be used that day.  You can extend the live of the curds by purchasing them in a vacuum sealed pouch, which is also suggested if you are unable to purchase them from a farmers market. (recipe and photo adapted from thenibble.com)

Pittsburgh Steelers:

In Pittsburgh, the "almost famous" slogan on the sign for Primanti Brothers is not entirely accurate... they ARE famous! And quite delicious! While most of us can't travel to Pittsburgh to purchase the sandwiches ourselves, we can create one of their famous sandwiches at home.  What makes them famous? The subs come with french fries and cole slaw... in the sandwich! Enjoy!

Genoa Salami and Cheese:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bagettes
  • 1 pound of genoa salami
  • 1 pound of cheese (your choice)
  • 12 oz. french fries, still warm from the fryer
  • 1  cup of cole slaw
  • 2 tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Make the french fries according the the directions (or your favorite recipe)
  2. While the fries are cooking, slice each of the bagettes lengthwise.
  3. Use 1/2 pound of both the genoa salami and the cheese on each one of the loaves
  4. Divide the cole slaw and spread 1/2 cup on each of the loaves
  5. Once the french fries have cooked and been drained on a paper towel, divide and spread evenly on each of the sandwiches
  6. Slice one tomato for each bagette and lay across the sandwich
  7. Enjoy!

DALLAS

Everything is bigger, bolder and brighter in Texas... so what else but a Beef Brisket would do? This recipe, I have made, and it's delicious! Hands off and tasty.

Texas Oven-Roasted Beef Brisket

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

     

  • 2 tablespoons salt

     

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

     

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

     

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

     

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

     

  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard

     

  • 1 bay leaf, crushed

     

  • 4 pounds, beef brisket, trimmed

     

  • 1 1/2 cups of beef stock

     

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

     

  2. Make a dry rub by combining chili powder, salt, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, sugar, dry mustard, and bay leaf. Season the raw brisket on both sides with the rub. Place in a roasting pan and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.

     

  3. Add beef stock and enough water to yield about 1/2 inch of liquid in the roasting pan. Lower oven to 300 degrees F, cover pan tightly and continue cooking for 3 hours, or until fork-tender.

     

  4. Trim the fat and slice meat thinly across the grain. Top with juice from the pan.

     

(*Recipe and photo from Paula Deen and the Footnetwork.com)