Breakfast Baked Apples

Here’s a way to really enhance and turn that morning oatmeal for two into something special. Take two large Granny Smith apples and turn them into apple-bowls. The Granny Smiths are a great baking apple. With their bright green skin and creamy white flesh, Granny Smith apples are crispy, pleasantly tart and are available year-round. Their distinctive tartness pairs well with the cinnamon, sugar and butter needed for a classic baked apple recipe. They hold their shape very well when cooked, resulting in a professional-looking dessert.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup of cooked oatmeal
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar
  • Raisins
  • Butter
  • Maple syrup or honey

Yeah, I know there are no amounts for most of the ingredients, it’s because they are all measured ‘to taste’.

First, make the oatmeal, where its those steel cut oats or instant oatmeal, whichever you prefer. Add the cinnamon, sugar, raisins ‘to taste’. This will be the stuffing mixture for our apples. Now, core the apples, cut them in half, and hollow out about a third of the center forming a ‘bowl’ in the middle of the apple half. I like to take the apples removed from the hole and adding it back to the oatmeal mixture.

Take a scoop and divide the mixture into the four apple bowls and drizzle some maple syrup, or honey, over the mixture. Top each with about ¼ tsp of butter.

Place them into a baking dish and pop into a 375 degree oven for about ten to fifteen minutes.

baked-apple-87064592m

Bay Crab Chowder with Corn

As the weather turns cooler, thoughts turn to… chowder! Since I used one can of crab for the appetizer, I will use the other can of crab meat for… you guessed it, chowder! You can’t just buy one can of crab… or at least I can’t. Add it to some chicken broth and milk, with some corn, and a shake or two of Old Bay seasoning, and you can make a simple Chesapeake Bay style staple.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces lump crabmeat
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 teaspoons OLD BAY® Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 leaf McCormick® Bay Leaves

Heat butter and oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add potatoes, onion, celery, bell pepper, Old Bay Seasoning and bay leaf; cook and stir 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and chicken broth. Bring to boil. Add corn and crabmeat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

corn-crab-chowder-finished-1

Salmon Cakes – With No Evil

What to do with that can of salmon? Make fish cakes! “Oh no! All that oil! Frying is evil” you say. Wait, Wait… you can make these in the oven, or more accurately, bake these in the oven and not have to deal with all that ‘evil’ frying. Although it is my firm belief that not all frying is evil.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 15 ounces canned red salmon, flaked
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs (2 bread slices)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

First, start by preheating you oven to 400°F. Then spray a cookie sheet with nonstick vegetable cooking spray, or use a nonstick cookie sheet.

Combine the salmon, bread crumbs, scallions, egg, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce in a medium-size bowl; stir the mixture well to combine. Then, shape the mixture into 4 equal patties. Place the patties on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake the patties in the preheated oven for 5 minutes on each side or until the patties are golden and heated through. What could be simpler, and no evil frying. Top these with some homemade tartar sauce and enjoy without the fat-guilt.

fishcake02

Captain’s Liquored Bananas

Bananas ar forty nine cents a pound at Best Yet market this week! So… let’s make some for dessert. I haven’t made bananas foster in quite some time. So, with a fresh carton of vanilla ice cream and some ‘on sale bananas’ let’s get these two together. Now THAT’S cooking with rum!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp banana liqueur
  • 2 under ripe bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup Captain Morgan spiced rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Melt butter in a heavy skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar, allspice and nutmeg and stir until sugar dissolves. Add banana liqueur and bring sauce to simmer. Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning sauce over bananas as they are cooking. Remove bananas from pan to a serving dish. Bring sauce to a simmer and carefully add the rum. If the sauce is very hot, the alcohol will flame on its own. If not, using stick flame, carefully ignite and continue cooking until flame dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If sauce is too thin, cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is syrupy in consistency. Add orange zest and stir to combine. Immediately spoon the sauce over bananas and serve. Serve with ice cream.

bananasfoster04

Mac and Cheese with Ham and Jalapenos

Ah what to do with the left over ham wen there’s not a lot of ham left over. Everyone has that problem every so often. There’s this left overs that aren’t really enough for a meal in themselves, but there they sit and wait… and wait.. and wait.. and, oh no they’ve turned green! What to do before the ‘turns green’ stage. Well, here’s a quick and easy way to get rid of a little bit of ham, say a half a cup or so…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups or so of leftover macaroni, elbows preferred
  • 1 cup of grated American or Velveeta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of milk, leftover milk is ok
  • 2 table spoons butter
  • 1/2 cup of diced leftover ham
  • 4 medium jalapenos diced

over low heat, melt the butter, blend in the milk, then gradually add the grates cheese whisking to keep everything in motion. This makes your basic, ya very basic cheese sauce. Then, add in the cooked macaroni coating the pasta well. Then stir in the ham and diced jalapenos. Mix this well and pour it into a. oven safe baking dish.

Bake this in the oven at 300 degrees for about twenty minutes.

Remove from the oven, let it cool just a bit. Them spoon it out and enjoy that left over ham with the jalapenos… even if those jalapenos aren’t ‘on a stick’.

jalapeno ona stick

 

Parrot Bay Fruit Salad

With the fourth of July here already, it’s time to think of eating out doors. I know I’ve covered lots of salads and picnic foods here on this blog, but I don’t recall doing much in the way of fruit salads. So, because the where is hot, there’s sales on fruit, and the rum supply is ample… let’s get some things tossed together and put on ice.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ of a pineapple
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 2 kiwi
  • 1 mango
  • 3 tablespoons Parrot Bay coconut rum

Peel, halve, and core your pineapple. Dice up half of it and toss it in the bowl. Peel and slice up the kiwi fruits, and peel, pit and cut up as best you can that mango. I say this which the experience that dicing these stone fruits can be very dicey indeed. Peeling and slicing your bananas is simplicity itself in comparison, so go and do that now…. Tossing the slices in the bowl.

Now for something creative. Cut the top and bottom off the oranges just deep enough to expose the inner fruit. Following the curve of the fruit cut the skin and pith off the orange in panels. Holding the orange over the bowl cut between the membranes to free the citrus segments. Let them fall into the bowl as they are cut free. By hand, squeeze all the juice from the remaining membrane over the fruit, then discard. Repeat with the other orange.

Now, splash this collection of fruits with the coconut rum, about three tablespoons or so, and let this sit in the fridge for a ½ hour or so letting all the flavors meld.

Serve this with a light topping of whipped cream if you like that, or, chiffonade of fresh mint leaves for a slightly different sensation.

fruit-salad

Swiss Cheesy Mashed Spuds

Stop me if you’ve heard this one already… I may be repeating myself. These days I’m not so sure, but I did find a good price on Swiss cheese at Best Yet Market, they’re having their crazy 88 sale. So, as I have some potatoes here hat as starting to soften, I figured I would make some Swiss cheesy mash potatoes to accompany the pork chops Best had on sale (three buck for two nicely sized chops).  The chops were simply sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and broiled. The ‘fancy’ part of our dinner was the potatoes, the pickled beets part of the dinner came straight from the jar, but that’s just between us.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Six medium Long Island potatoes
  • ½ stick of butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup chopped chives

Start by peeling and quartering the potatoes, toss then in a pot with some salt and some water and boil them up. Let them boil about fifteen minutes and then sit for five to really soften them up. In a large mixing bowl add the butter, cubed, and the milk. Add in the drained potatoes and start mashing… working the cheese in a little at a time so it melts into the mixture. Once that’s accomplished, add the chives and mix well… transfer this into a serving bowl and get it to the table.

cute-mouse

Quick Red Borscht

So I was running errands in the city yesterday and passing by a German bakery. All of a sudden I had a hankering for fresh pumpernickel rolls. So I picked up some rolls and went over to the Polish deli for a length of smoked kielbasa. So a couple of beets, an onion, and some cabbage later and dinner was in the making. The past couple of days have been cold and rainy and a steaming pot of comfort borscht sounded perfect.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 small beets
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/l pound of kielbasa
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2 tablespoon course sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

I grate the beets right there in the soup pot to make things easier, then dice up the onion and toss that in, and add the water, salt, and pepper. Get this on the stove on medium heat for about ten minutes.

Add in the cabbage and the kielbasa and cook another ten minutes.

Ladle out into deep soup bowls and serve with slightly toasted buttered pumpernickel rolls.

pumpernickel-rolls

Eggs in a Skillet Italian Style 2

Now that we know the difference between a frittata and an omelet, lets make a more Italian variation of the frittata. We’ll swap that asparagus for some tomatoes and swap the ham with some Italian pancetta. Just before transferring the frittata from the stove to the broiler, sprinkle the top with some oregano. The fresher the better!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1-ounce Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes
  • ¼ pound of sliced pancetta
  • 1 tablespoon oregano leaves

Preheat oven to broil setting so that we can set the top of the frittata.

In medium size bowl, using a fork, blend together eggs, Parmesan, pepper, and salt.

Heat 12-inch non-stick, oven safe saute pan over medium high heat. Add butter to pan and melt. Add pancetta and tomatoes to pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour egg mixture into pan and stir with rubber spatula. Let this cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top. Sprinkle with oregano.

Place pan into the broiler for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy. Remove from pan and cut into 6 servings. Serve immediately.

frittata

Eggs in a Skillet Italian Style

Yeah it’s a frittata, not an omelet. There are a couple of things that separate the omelet from the frittata. Frittatas are not folded like and omelet would be. Also, the ingredients are added to the beaten egg mixture, not folded in side, and the eggs are often beaten more than the omelet it incorporate more air, making frittatas fluffier than omelets. As to serving them, the frittata is usually cut into pie shaped slices where as omelets are often served whole. So let’s make a simple frittata.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1-ounce Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted asparagus
  • 1/2 cup chopped country ham
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves

Preheat oven to broil setting so that we can set the top of the frittata.

In medium size bowl, using a fork, blend together eggs, Parmesan, pepper, and salt. Heat 12-inch non-stick, oven safe saute pan over medium high heat. Add butter to pan and melt. Add asparagus and ham to pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour egg mixture into pan and stir with rubber spatula. Let this cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top. Sprinkle with parsley.

Place pan into oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy. Remove from pan and cut into 6 servings. Serve immediately.

frittata