Tag Archive: garlic

Zucchini Bruschetta

I like this dinner because it checks all the boxes for good for you and good flavor.  I don’t think I could ever be a complete vegetarian but I could stick with just having an occassional burger or steak.  This is a fast and easy weeknight dinner that requires just a little of everything and a LOT of zucchini.

Beef Pinwheels and Gravy

Beef Pinwheels

Sometimes you just need a steak!  I was feeling like that this Sunday.  It was raining outside and I was feeling creative.  This is what we ended up with.

Beef Pinwheels with Gravy

  • 2lb. steak  1 ½ inches-2 inches thic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • String for tieing

On a counter or cutting board cut steak in half lengthwise and cover with plastic wrap.   Pound to ¾ of an inch think equal in all areas.  Use a rolling pin to ensure equal coverage.  Place three or four strands of kitchen string underneath pounded steak.  Season steak with salt and pepper.  Spread spinach and mushroom mixture equally over steak.  Top with cheese.  Press into steak.  Roll steak tightly into pinwheels and tie string to secure.

Preheat oven to 400.

Preheat an oven safe pan over medium heat with olive oil.  Sear steak on all sides (about 2 minutes a side).  Place pan into oven until meat registers 150-155 on a meat thermometer.  About 30 minutes.  Remove steak to cookie sheet and cover with foil.  Don’t put that pan in the sink!  Add the gravy mix started earlier to use all those pan drippings for sauce.  Slice roll into 1 inch pieces.  Serve with gravy over potatoes or rice.

For Stuffing

  • .5 oz fresh greens (spinach and kale)
  • 8 oz portabello mushrooms finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 clove shallots
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella

Sautee shallots and garlic in oil until tender over medium heat.  Add crushed red pepper.  Add mushrooms then greens.  DO NOT STIR.  Allow the greens to steam in the flavor of garlic and shallots while they reduce.  Reduce until greens look dehydrated over mushrooms.  Then stir and continue to cook until all water is cooked out.

 

For Gravy

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour to pan and stir to incorporate.  Continue stirring until roux becomes dark brown, 6-8 minutes.  Add shallots, garlic and thyme and soften for about a minute.  Add Worcestershire sauce and cook until evaporated. About a minute.  Add beef broth and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer until sauce has reduced.  About 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Add mixture to pan that steak was cooked in with drippings.  Heat over medium high and stir scraping bottom ofpan.  Bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes until thickened and very dark.

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Andiamo! Italy

Olympics IV

Ciao,

We continue with our 2012 Olympic food challenge in Italy.  I like (love) Italian food.  Whenever I can’t think of anything to eat, Italian is the second thing that comes to mind – Mexican food being the first.  On my bucket list is a trip to Tuscany.  The scenery and the food and the art sound like my sort of place.  In the meantime I learn a little about Italy, listen to opera, and eat Italian when I can.  A new Italian Bistro is opening in my neighborhood.  I plan to sample a few dishes.  Red Mountain – can’t wait, Chef Jason.

A little bit of Olympic information concerning the Italians including their flag.  The flag is of course important to every nation.  Italy’s flag design was inspired by that of the French flag which was brought to Italy by Napoleon in 1797. The colors are those of Milan – red and white – combined with the green uniform color of the Milanese civic guard.

They have earned 522 medals with 190 Gold, 158 Silver and 174 Bronze.  Italians are champion fencers but also pick up medals in cycling and athletics.

The cuisine in Italy as well as the wines are different from the North to the South and the east and west coasts.   Northern Italy has polenta in place of a lot of the pasta, fish is important in that region as well as beef, veal, and pork.   Southern cuisine focus is on pasta, tomatoes, rich dark green vegetables, cheese, lamb, seafood and herbs.

Where did lasagna originate?  Italy, of course. Not so!  Lasagna originated in Etheopia. The Italians attempted to take over Etheopia, but they failed.  The one thing they did take away from Etheopia and began to call their own is Lasagna.  True story!!  I’m glad to know that little bit of history because every Italian restaurant I eat in has lasagna on the menu and it is my favorite.  I love the Bechamel sauce,  cheeses and marinara sauce combo.  It is rich, spicy and so comforting.  These roll ups have all the flavor combinations I like, but are a quick meal to prepare and serve your family or a group watching the games.  Serve this with a huge bowl of salad and some Espresso ice cream with Amoretti cookies crumbled on the top is a great meal.

Lasagna Rolls

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg

Lasagna Roll Filling:

  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mushrooms diced
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups or more marinara sauce – jar or homemade*
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)

To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the Bechamel sauce.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Whisk the ricotta, mushrooms, 1 cup Parmesan, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.  Add 1/3 cup of the marinara sauce to this.  (I like a little of the taste of the sauce in the cheese.)

I used an egg slicer to slice the mushrooms.  I remove the stems and slice in one direction.  Then carefully holding the mushroom together I turn it 90 degrees and slice it the other direction.  A quick run of the knife through them is the perfect size for this roll.

 

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a glass baking dish large enough to place the rolls.  (9X13”) Pour the Bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish.

Lay out the lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread a large spoonful (about 3 tablespoons worth) of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. (had to use my  fingers to get this spread evenly) Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the Bechamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture.

Spoon some marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.

*I make my own sauce and it has been featured previously as Spicy Spaghetti Sauce   on this blog.  I use this for almost every red Italian sauce I cook.  I always have some in the freezer ready to use at an insane “craving Italian” moment.

Now make your own Italian dinner and celebrate the Olympics.

Buon appetito!

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Pizza Haters Pizza-Fresh from the Garden

Almost too pretty to eat....ALMOST!

A Guest Post from BigSister

Can you believe The Tumbleweed Contessa doesn’t like pizza?  How does one not like pizza?  I don’t understand.  Accordingly, I keep trying to invent combinations to trick her into liking something pizza like.  Let’s see if she likes this one.  She also claims not to like goat cheese but sometimes she likes things that have goat cheese as an ingredient.  Huh?  Welcome to my world of trying to please your mother.

The beets, garlic, rosemary and arugula are fresh from my garden.  I killed my squash.  Apparently I did not get the TWC’s squash growing genes.  I got most of the other ones from her though.

Roasted Beet and Garlic Pizza Topped with Arugula Salad

  • 2 individual pizza crusts (7 inches)
  • 1 large or 2 small fresh beets-tops removed
  • 1 head of garlic top removed + 4 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • salt
  • 3 tablespoons of finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 medium ball of fresh mozzarella (in case I lose my nerve)
  • 4 ounces of crumbled goat cheese (in case I am feeling brave)
  • arugula (enough to make a salad for 2….I can’t ever figure leafy vegetable measurements)
  • 4 tablespoons of roasted walnuts
  • balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Roast the beets and garlic.  Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and put in a 375 degree oven for an hour to an hour and a half.  They are done when easily pierced with a knife.  As soon as they are cool enough to touch, peel them under running water to avoid stains in your kitchen and hands.  At the same time roast the garlic.  Slice the top off the head of garlic and place in center of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place alongside the beet(s) for about an hour.  Remove and let cool.  Leave the oven on for baking your pizza.

Slice the beets very thinly using a sharp knife or mandolin.  Holding the garlic head face down over a small bowl, squeeze the sides until the roasted cloves pop out into the bowl.  Using a fork, mash the garlic cloves to create a paste.

Make the sauce.  While the garlic and beets are roasting, create the sauce.  This is a simple infused olive oil.  Place ½ cup of olive oil, crushed red pepper, chopped rosemary plus the 4 cloves of garlic into a small pan.  Heat for 15 minutes over low heat.  Turn off heat and let sit until you are ready to assemble the pizza.

Make the toppings.  Wash and dry the arugula and tear into bite size pieces.  Also, while the garlic and beets are roasting, toast the walnuts.  Place the walnuts in a small pan over medium heat until you can smell them, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and let cool.

To assemble:  Place the crust on a cookie sheet.  Remove the crushed garlic cloves from the oil and baste the crust generously with the oil.  Distribute the garlic paste and spread evenly between the two crusts.

Place the sliced beets on top evenly.  Sprinkle with goat cheese or lay thin slices of the mozzarella on top of the beets and crust.(As pictured below, I wanted to compare the tastes side by side.)  Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the goat cheese is puffy or the mozzarella is bubbly.   Sometimes I broil it for a minute at the end.

Remove pizzas from the oven and top with arugula and walnuts.  Just before serving, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and, if you choose, leftover oil.  If not, save it for salad dressing some other time.  Serve with a knife and fork.

I am glad that I tested this before I tried it on mom.  Next time I would slice the beets even thinner (noted in the ingredients above).  The goat cheese half tasted great but so did the mozzarella so I’ll let you be the judge.  Think she’ll go for it?  I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime…I am going to take this to It’s So Very Cheri’s Sunday Party.

Keeping notes on recipes…..Or escapades with Customs at the border crossing!

Our favorite family recipes aren’t written down except in the collections I have put together for my children.  They probably were at some point. (The side of a can of soup or the back of a box of pasta)  The recipe as we know it today has evolved and I never write down those minor tweaks to remember what I did.  You know what I’m talking about.  Those foods someone asks you to make for their birthday or a holiday.  Repeat requests for a special food is what I deem traditional food.  Those things that everyone will gather round to eat at dinner time if you mention that is what you are making.  It makes them feel loved because you are making what they like best.   Without fail I could tell my son I was making Dorito Casserole or Broccoli Rice Casserole and he would make sure to be there.  He loved the leftovers too.  The same with my youngest daughter.  Scalloped potatoes always brings “Yum.” Brisket does the trick for my oldest daughter.

Have you ever made something off the top of your head and then you can’t remember exactly what you put in it to make it so good?  I have done this forever.  Or I found a recipe in a magazine, bought the ingredients, made it and totally lost the recipe or couldn’t remember which magazine it was in.  That is the one thing everyone liked the best.   I have never had the presence of mind to write things down as I get the creative juices flowing or tear out that page.

It seems I made the same things over and over because my kids would eat it and their dad liked it.  Actually, I don’t remember my children complaining about too much we had to eat as they were growing up.  They didn’t like tuna fish sandwiches.  I discovered much later my oldest daughter doesn’t like anything with mayonnaise in it.  I never noticed she didn’t eat creamy potato salad, but she never said a word until she got much older.  I don’t remember my son ever complaining about any food I made.  I probably would have made it anyway if their dad liked it.

One time I made a pork roast for my mother’s birthday that was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and simple to make. I put it in the crock pot and we took off for Juarez, Mexico (about 20 minutes from my house!) to buy yarn.  My mother had heard we could buy yarn to knit with on her knitting machines there at very reasonable prices.  So we took plastic garbage bags with us and took off.  Once we found the shop we loaded the back of my car with black bags of yarn and headed for the bridge to get back on US soil.  I can’t imagine how naïve I was to think Customs wasn’t going to want to examine those bags and questions us about what we were going to do with it. To this day I am amazed we made it back with the yarn.  The woman who went through the back of my station wagon and each and every bag just kept asking us what we were going to do with it.  When I told her my mother practiced knitting on knitting machines, and she would use every ounce of this yarn for her children and grandchildren she finally shrugged her shoulders and walked away.  I put those bags back in the car and headed across that bridge!  We neither one spoke until we were back on this side of the river.  Then we laughed just to relieve the tension.  (Back to the meal.)

I can still remember the ingredients for this pork roast today.  My dad was on a special diet for his heart and she had not fixed pork in a long time.  He wasn’t with her on this trip, so it was a special treat for her.  I scribbled the recipe down for her on a piece of paper.  Years later I found that piece of paper in a drawer in her kitchen when I cleared out her house to sell.  I remembered then how good that meal was.  It was for her birthday.

 

Pork with Garlic in the Slow Cooker

  •  4-5 pound pork loin roast
  • 3-4 garlic cloves peeled, cut in half length-wise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 package Lipton dry onion soup mix
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced into ¼ ” thick slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Cut pockets in the pork roast and insert the peeled garlic cloves liberally all over the meat.

In a large pan (I like a Dutch oven) heat the olive oil.  Season the roast with salt and pepper and sear the roast until brown on all sides.  Remove the roast from the pan.  Cover the bottom of the slow cooker with the onion slices.  Place the roast on top of the onion slices. Sprinkle the roast with the dry onion soup mix and thyme.  Combine the mushroom soup and wine/chicken broth.  Pour this over the roast.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

You can use the sauce to serve over the meat.  This is delicious served with oven roasted butternut squash and new potatoes.  We had a Pumpkin Cheesecake for Momma’s birthday.