Today I was thinking about Memorial Day and what to fix. To think about this holiday always brings me back to hot dogs and all the fixings. When I simply want a hot dog it would be with chopped onions and mustard. Of course you have to decide how to cook the hot dogs. Most of the time they are boiled in the kitchen, but this is a special day that marks the real start of the grilling season. I say the real start because we have already been cooking outside this spring as the weather has been beautiful. There are do's and don't's when you cook a hot dog. Do let a grilled dog get a little brown on all sides, turning them with tongs so you don't break the skin and never split or stick them with a fork. Making holes in the skin causes the juice to run out and you end up with a dry dog.
This special day calls for special toppings for the grilled dog and there are so many ideas. Most kids like ketchup on everything and to them it's as special as it gets. For special times, nice thick creamy coleslaw is delicious.
The kraut dog is good especially if the dog is cooked in the saurkraut.
Sometimes I like chili, cheese and onions. That's the way I order it from The Varsity in Atlanta, GA or at Hard Times Cafe in Frederick, MD.
Today at http://www.thedailymeal.com/10-tips-making-perfect-hot-do, I found new ways to serve a hot dog. How about wrapped in bacon?
How do you top your hot dog?
Monday, May 14, 2012
I have made gravy with almost anything, but this gravy from hamburger. I usually choose ground chuck as it has more flavor. I stay away from packages that say ‘hamburger’ as I don’t know what might be in there. Sometimes I make hamburger steak (in the restaurant we called it ‘chopped steak’), but when I want something a little different, I get this picture in my mind a dish of noodles with lots of meat and gravy.
First, sauté the meat (probably about 1 ½ pounds) in a skillet or an everyday pan, with some chopped onion and garlic (you could also add peppers if you like). You don’t have to have the meat cooked through, as it will cook more in the gravy. Push the meat to the edges of the pan, then, stir ½ cup flour in the drippings. Add 3-4 cups of milk, water, broth or stock to make a thick creamy gravy, add a little soy sauce for color and season with salt and pepper to taste. That night I served the gravy over noodles. Vegetable can also be added to this dish to give it a little color. Maybe a handful of frozen peas or perhaps carrots, or maybe some mixed vegetables. The leftover gravy is delicious over bread or hamburger buns.
Sometimes I make patties and fry them, save the drippings to make a roux, then add milk, water or broth for the gravy. Once the gravy is the way I want it, I return the patties back to the pan. When I was a child and my grandmother would cook like this, I would add ketchup. I was a big fan of ketchup back then.
My husband, daughter and son-in-law loved it. This recipe was a winner and so simple to make.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
When I was young, I walked into my parents house after school and the aroma drifted to my nose and I was immediately hungry and salivating. I guess this was my comfort food, as it always made my day better. It can be a very simple meal or very elaborate. It's always a very versatile dish, and could be changed into other things if there were any leftovers.
I like chuck roast as it is easy to work with and has so much flavor. Of course the flavor comes from the fat, which is why you don't ever cut it off. If meat is free of fat, it becomes dry and bland when cooked. Did I tell you that price plays a big part in the selection of chuck roast? Generally it is a low price and many times this cut of meat is used make delicious ground beef.
Put the chuck roast in a big dutch oven, cover it with water, add a small handful of salt (maybe 2-3 tablespoons, which can be adjusted later), 1 large onion cut in to eighths, 6-8 garlic cloves. Cover and simmer for several hours ( this was about 2 1/2-3 pounds, so it simmered about 3 hours). The last hour, add some small peeled potatoes, carrots and celery. If I would have had some very small onions, I would have added at least 6. Check the broth for salt, cover and simmer. When the vegetables stick fork tender, it's ready to serve.
Serve with a salad and butter bread.
I love a dish that is versatile. Add whatever I want and it always turns out good. Gravy is good on the pot roast. I put a cup or two of coffee in mine. When I did that one time, our son was over to dinner and he asked what the secret ingredient was that he was tasting. "It's not bad Mama, but I can't tell what it is," he said. I leaned over and whispered, "it's coffee!" Well, you should have seen his face, a look of total surprise. Then he leaned toward me and asked, "Does Dad know?" To say my husband hates coffee, would not be true. He absolutely detests it. He says, "Good and coffee don't belong in the same statement." I love coffee and so do our children.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
I had some leftover zucchini and squash dish. What to do with it? Okay, I will turn this into soup.
I cut some sweet Italian sausage into very small slices, sautéed it in a little olive oil and added some more chopped onions, about 1/8 cup chopped orange peppers, and 5-6 minced garlic cloves. Added about a quart chicken broth, more seasonings—fennel seed, oregano, basil, marjoram, and Italian seasoning and about a cup of macaroni noodles—letting it simmer until the macaroni was almost soft, then put in some spinach. Check for salt and serve with lots of shredded asiago cheese.
My husband wants me to remember how I made this. I don’t really measure anything. Sort of go by feel and taste.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Zucchini and squash are favorites of mine. They are easy to cook and very versatile. My oldest daughter loves them both with onion sautéed in a skillet with olive oil until tender. While she was here during Thanksgiving week, I quartered the squash and zucchini then sliced it into small chunks and cooked it with onion and salt in my everyday pan and took out just enough for her. Then I added some diced tomatoes, fresh minced garlic, fennel seed, oregano, basil, marjoram, and Italian seasoning and shredded some fresh asiago cheese. I served this as the vegetable to accompany most any meat.
It does not take long to cook and the calories are very low. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins and lycopene, which is good for the eyes and the heart.