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Monday, November 17, 2014

Grandkid Weekend!!


I love cooking for our eldest son, David, his wife, Kara and our grandkids, Bradley and Rosie.  It is, however, a bit like camping because Kara really doesn’t like to cook and consequently is missing some critical tools.  Like a food processor.  And, more than a couple of bowls.  And, a good selection of pots and pans.  I have to plan carefully so that I don’t run out of bowls etc.  Like Saturday’s breakfast.  I had the big bowl and the little bowl to use.  The medium bowl was full of fresh fruit.  The menu was asparagus frittata, homemade sausage and pumpkin scones.  The eggs needed to be mixed with the sour cream, cheese and seasonings.  The scones required one bowl for the dry ingredients and one for the wet, then another for the glaze.  Mix the scones, put them in the oven.  Wash the bowls.  Mix the eggs, put them in the skillet with the chopped asparagus.  Wash the bowl.  Mix the glaze.  Wash the bowl.  Make the three bean salad for lunch.  Put the bowl in the fridge to chill until lunch.  The small bowl’s the only one available.  So, making cookies for that evening’s dinner would have to wait until after lunch…  I’m sure they think I’m a pain in the tookus because not only do I require that the cooking utensils be hand washed so I can reuse them (yes, they put EVERYTHING in the dishwaher) I also require that glasses not go in the sink while I’m cooking so I can toss things that direction and not worry about breakage.  LOL, at least they get to eat well while we’re here!

We got here on Friday evening after playing tourist in Indy.  Of course we had to start with breakfast.  At a new restaurant called The Grub House.  We both ordered breakfast sandwiches.  Look what was delivered to our table first...  

Yup, biscuits.  Perfect biscuits.  With just a bit of sugar.  And, apple butter.  My mouth is watering as I'm typing.  The sandwiches were equally good. 

At the Indiana State Museum there’s an exhibition on Prohibition.  It’s very well done.  I’d known a lot about how Prohibition really spawned a lot of the organized crime we have.  And, I’d known about the exceptions to the law.  But, I didn’t realize how truly ignored the law was until this show.  Across the hall was a gallery of Forsyth paintings.  My maternal grandmother studied under him.  That was fun to see.  Then, we went to the Indiana History Center.  They have a series of exhibits called You Were There.  They take a photo and make it come to life.  One was a relief station during the flood of 1913.  Five thousand families out of a population of about 233,000 were displaced.  We were able to trace the flooding on a map and see that our neighborhood wasn’t impacted but neighborhoods right down the street were.  Of course, back then what is now neighborhoods was farm fields and woods.   The second photo was a photography studio circa 1904.   From there we were going to go see the Georgia O’Keeffe show at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  But, we had a choice of getting to Columbus early enough for dinner with our grandkids or seeing an exhibition that just opened and is going to be there for several months… 

Dinner was apricot bourbon meatballs, buttered noodles and asparagus bundles.  I found the apricot bourbon meatball recipe on Authentic Suburban Gourmet when I was hunting for the recipe I’d chosen for the first Blogger C.L.U.E. Society reveal.  I had to make them.  They sounded divine.  They were.  Totally.  Great for party food.  Great for dinner.  Just fabulous.  The noodles were Mom’s recipe.  Thin noodles tossed with butter, parsley, garlic and finely shredded parmesan.  And, the asparagus bundles were a recipe from Ina Garten’s new cookbook.   Make it Ahead.  It looks to me like I’ll be making most of the recipes from that cookbook!  They’re typical Ina style.  Great flavor but easy.  And, now she’s thrown in the twist of a whole cookbook of recipes that can be made ahead. 

Saturday’s lunch was another new recipe.  Drip Beef Sandwiches from The Pioneer Woman.  The recipe called for a jar of pepperoncini.  Since I was cooking for kids too I decided to use a jar of pepper rings.  They're a bit milder.  About halfway through the process, Connie and I looked at this and asked why I'd  not used the pressure cooker.  Duh!  So, I cooled the beef and finished it in the pressure cooker at David and Kara's.  To serve the beef, I toasted Kaiser rolls and smeared them with a cheese mixture of shredded gruyere and cheddar, minced shallot and pepper rings and mayo.  That was broiled til it melted and the beef was piled on top.  Then, I used Kansas City style BBQ sauce on mine.  This was good but not worthy of posting the recipe.


Saturday’s dinner was a reprise of shrimp cakes with corn and avocado salsa along with roasted sweet potatoes.  I got the idea for the sweet potatoes from one of my fellow Blogger CLUE Society bloggers.  Then, I changed it up a bit to be more kid friendly…  Last but not least, we had pears to use up.  And, a jar of goat’s milk caramel that we got at a fabulous shop at Pike Place Market.  So, how about if I made a shortbread crust, topped it with pear liqueur sautéed pears and drizzled it with caramel?  Well, then in Make it Ahead I found a crystallized ginger shortbread cookie recipe.  Kids love to cut out cookies so we’d just make cookies and have them topped with the pears and caramel. 

The food was wonderful but I've got to say that the highlight of the weekend was watching Bradley score a goal during his hockey game!  I was amazed at how many layers it took to get Bradley ready to play! 

Grampy, Daddy and Mama were watching intently.  Rosie, not so much :-)

Happy boy for a job well done!


Apricot Bourbon Meatballs

For the meatballs:
½ lb ground beef
½ lb ground pork
4 small cloves garlic
1 small onion, finely minced
2 T olive oil
2/3 c Panko bread crumbs
2 T Milk
¼ c Parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1/3 c finely grated parmesan cheese 

For the sauce:

2 T butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 c apricot preserves
1 c chili sauce
1/2 c + 1 T bourbon
1/3 c cider vinegar
¼ c packed dark brown sugar
2 T spicy brown mustard
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 small jalapeno, halved, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced 


For the meatballs: 

Lisa’s recipe called for using two slices of white bread for the panade.  That’s the bread/milk mixture that you use to bind the meatball mixture together.  We don’t keep white bread in the house and I didn’t want to buy a whole loaf.  In fact, if I’m going to use white bread, I’ll usually make my step-uncle Bernard Clayton’s white bread recipe.  And, I didn’t want to do that…  So, I chose to use panko.   At any rate, if you’ve got white bread, you can use two slices with the crusts removed and tear them up.  Or, you can use the panko.  Soak it with the milk while you prep the rest of the meatball recipe.  Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until they’re translucent.  In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef and pork, parsley, salt and pepper, cheese, sautéed vegetables and panade.  Make meatballs with about one tablespoon of meat mixture each.  Once you’ve got the meatballs made, it’s time to cook them.  Lisa’s recipe called for browning them on the stove then finishing them in the oven.  Since I knew I was going to be reheating them, I chose to almost totally cook them on the stove then finish them in the sauce at David and Kara’s.  I think I’d recommend that method going forward.  I just sautéed them in a bit of olive oil, turning them a couple of times until they were nicely browned.  

For the sauce: 

While the meatballs are browning, you can make the sauce.  Start by sauteeing the onion, jalapeno and garlic in the butter.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer.  You’re going to want the sauce to reduce to about three cups, so be sure to allow it to simmer for 20-30 minutes.   Stir in the last tablespoon of bourbon after reducing the sauce

Serve the meatballs in the sauce.   You can sprinkle them with fresh parsley if you’d like. 

Adapted from Authentic Suburban Gourmet



Truffled Asparagus Bundles 



2 lbs asparagus, ends trimmed
Prosciutto slices, cut in half
2 T truffle butter
1 ½ T olive oil
Grated gruyere cheese 

Blanch the asparagus spears.   You don’t want to fully cook them, just get them started.  I use a couple of tablespoons of water in a big skillet.  Get the water boiling, toss in the asparagus, allow it to cook for about a minute, remove it from the heat and put it in an ice bath.  Then, take 3-6 spears of asparagus per bundle.  Three if the spears are big, six if they’re small.  Wrap them tightly in a prosciutto slice and lay them in a baking dish seam-side down.  In a small skillet melt the truffle butter.  Mix in the olive oil.  Drizzle the butter/oil mixture over the asparagus bundles.   Top with the grated gruyere.  Bake at    for 12-15 minutes. 

Adapted from Make it Ahead by Ina Garten

Spicy Shrimp Cakes with Corn Avocado Salsa and Remoulade Sauce


For the shrimp cakes:
1 lb medium raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 t olive oil
1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c thinly sliced green onions (white and green parts)
3 T mayonnaise
1 T fresh lime juice
1 1/2 t hot pepper sauce (I used Chipotle Tabasco)
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t salt
1 large egg
1/4 c finely chopped cilantro
1/4 c panko
1/2 - 1 c panko, mixed with Creole seasoning if you'd like

for the salsa:
1 c frozen white corn kernels, thawed
3/4 c diced, peeled avocado
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
3 T finely chopped red onion
1 T fresh lime juice
1/4 t salt

for the remoulade sauce:
ketchup or chili sauce
Dijon or yellow mustard
dill pickle relish
Chipotle Tabasco
garlic powder


Mix the salsa ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Set aside to allow the flavors to blend while you make the shrimp cakes.  Do the same with the remoulade sauce but pop that bowl into the fridge.  This is one of those recipes that I make by tossing things together so I'm not sure of the measurements.  I'd guess that I start with about a cup of mayo then add a couple of tablespoons of ketchup, a tablespoon of mustard, a couple of tablespoons of relish and a good dash of the Tabasco and the garlic powder.  Once the salsa and sauce are done, it's time to start the shrimp cakes.  Process the shrimp in a food processor.  You don't want it a complete paste but neither do you want it lumpy.  I quit processing when there are still a few quarter inch pieces left.  Mix the shrimp with all of the ingredients through the 1/4 c of panko.  Heat olive oil to shimmering in a large skillet.  Pick up a handful of the shrimp mixture (I'd call it goo, but that's probably not a great cooking term!) and pat both sides with panko.  Carefully put it in the skillet, making sure to not splatter the oil.  When the first side is brown and crispy. flip the shrimp cakes.  I usually use two spatulas to keep from breaking them up.  Serve hot with both the salsa and the sauce on the side.

adapted from Great Food Great Beer

Crystallized Ginger Shortbread Cookies with Sautéed Pears, Whipped Cream and Caramel


3/4 lb (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 c sugar plus extra for sprinkling (I skipped the sprinkling)
1 t pure vanilla extract
3 1/2  c all-purpose flour
1 t kosher salt
3/4 c minced crystalized ginger (not in syrup - I get mine at Penzeys)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar just until combined.  Add the vanilla and two teaspoons of water and mix that in.  Slowly add the flour and salt.  Once those ingredients are combined, stir in the ginger.  Now, you have a choice.  Either wrap the dough and put in the fridge for 30 minutes or roll it into a log then refrigerate it.  I chose the easy way - rolling it into a log.  If you've done that, you'll not have pretty round cookies because you'll be able to cut the log.  If you've done the lump, then you'll need to roll the cookie dough out to 3/8" thickness and cut out circles of 2 3/4" .  Whatever you choose, you can next either sprinkle the cookies with sugar or not then bake them until the edges start to brown.  That takes about 20-25 minutes. 

We served ours topped with pears, whipped cream and caramel.  To make the pears, I peeled, seeded and diced them then sautéed them in butter, ginger and nutmeg.  When they were about done, I added in some Domain de Cantone ginger liqueur.  Once that evaporated, we were good to go. 

The whipped cream had a bit of sugar and vanilla added.  And, the caramel was goats milk from a wonderful little shop in Pike Place Market. 

1 comment:

Debra Eliotseats said...

Totally full weekend, Kate. Love the one bowl dishes you whipped up. You must make that O'Keeffe exhibit before it leaves!