Welcome to One Little Corner of the World. I share with you new recipes, some family recipes, and the antics of my kids. Enjoy reading!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Soup, Travel, Family, and Living Green

I just got back from a trip to Canada yesterday – got to spend time with family. It was great. Since it was such a fast trip, though, I arrived home tired. Flying out early Saturday morning meant I had to get up at 4:00 a.m. to get to the airport on time. There are several things about Canada that I like. The main thing being that live a much greener life than we do. They even have plans to ban bottled water.

Anyway, on to dinner. The whole time I was gone I wanted to cook dinner for my family. Strange I know, but that is just the way it is. The night I got home, I ended up ordering out because I was just tired, tired, tired. Tonight though, I decided to make Beef Vegetable Noodle Soup. I did use one pound of sausage and one pound of beef, so maybe I should call it Sausage Beef Vegetable Noodle Soup. It was my aunt's recipe, and Benny was sure to point out to me that Aunt Violet's carrots are better than mine - oh well, at least he eats carrots. I will have to call my aunt and see what carrots she uses.

1 lb ground sausage
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
½ medium head cabbage cut into small pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 quarts beef stock
1 can 14 oz. diced tomatoes
¾ lb. frozen mixed vegetables
1 tbsp chili powder
¾ lb noodles – your choice

Brown meat in large stock pot, drain meat. Add onions, garlic and cabbage, cook until cabbage is wilted and soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and beef stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil add noodles, chili powder and vegetables. Cook until noodles are done. Serve immediately.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Presto Pasta Night

This is my second Presto Pasta night hosted by Once Upon a Feast. Not wanting to go to the store, I decided to clean out my fridge and see what I could come up with for this week.

For this week’s Pasta Presto night I decided to make a chicken pasta. I just looked in my fridge and pulled out some ingredients to cook. What was created was liked by both my husband and me. I really like experimenting with flavors and textures – sometimes it turns out well, sometimes not so good. This time, the result was very tasty.

1 lb linguini pasta cooked per package directions and drained
1 ½ lbs chicken breast tenders, diced up
1-2 tbsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp thyme
2 pinches crushed red pepper – more if spicier taste
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
¾ cup quartered artichokes
3 cups fresh spinach, cleaned
½ cup heavy cream
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp parsley chopped

Combine chicken, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning – set aside. Heat up oil in large skillet. Sauté chicken in olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Add garlic thyme and pepper; cook for 1-2 minutes or until garlic gets soft. Remove chicken, add wine and stock; bring to boil and reduce by one third; add chicken back to skillet; cook until chicken is just done. Add artichokes and spinach, cover and wilt. Stir to combine. Add cream, cooked pasta, parmesan cheese and parsley; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dinner at the Top of the Riverfront

Last night three friends and I went to the Millennium Hotel for dinner at the Top of the Riverfront restaurant. Every few months, my friends and I choose a restaurant and go have a girls’ night out. It all started with my friend Beth wanting to go to this Japanese restaurant a couple of summers ago, and now we are a group of five, although tonight only four could go. The evenings are always fun, and the company is great.

The night was perfect and the views from the restaurant were fabulous, as you can see from the pictures I took. We started our rotation by the Arch in St. Louis and saw sights like the new Cardinal stadium. The neatest part of the restaurant, Top of the Riverfront, located on the 28th floor of the Millennium Hotel, is that it gives a 360 view of the city. About every hour and one half, the restaurant makes a full rotation. As a guest, one can really see and feel the restaurant move if you look at the right time. You can also see how high the Mississippi river is. It is an amazing site to see. The road by the river is under water, some of the steps to the arch are under water as well.

I started with the Peekytoe crab cakes with a cilantro aioli and field greens. The crab cakes were very mild in flavor with a smooth texture that almost melted in your mouth, and the cilantro aioli didn’t have a whole lot of flavor, which was disappointing as I love aioli. The field greens were very fresh, but there wasn’t anything to really dress them up, and the crab cakes and aioli didn’t provide much for the greens.

I followed that up with a Caesar salad, with imported white anchovies and a lot of creamy Caesar dressing. I forgot to ask for light dressing. Why restaurants feel the need to drown their salads in dressing is beyond me; I truly enjoy tasting the lettuce. The anchovies added a lot to the salad; it isn’t often that you can find actual anchovies in salads, so this was a nice addition.

For my entrée, I chose the Primo Tuttomare. Seafood pasta has to be one of my favorite dishes and I try it whenever I see it on the menu. Sometimes I am disappointed, but not this time. My pasta was very good and quite different from other tuttemares I have eaten in the past. The shrimp were large and cooked to perfection, the crab and lobster meat added different textures and distinctive seafood flavors. The noodles were long thick ribbons of pasta that tasted like it was made fresh. Basil, one of my favorite herbs was included as well, and the sauce was a light cream sauce – pink in color, made with roma tomatoes, garlic and cream. Usually the sauce is either a basic white sauce or a white wine and olive oil sauce

Dessert was something we weren’t going to get, that is until we saw the black and white cheesecake. Mmmm good. It was a three layer cheesecake with chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate cheesecake, topped with cherries and either raspberries or blackberries in a fruit sauce. The four of us split one. It was soo good.

It was a very nice evening. Great views of the city, good food, and good friends – what more could you want?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pasta Presto Night and Oxtail Sauce with Pasta

This is my first Pasta Presto night. This event is hotsted by Equal Opportunity Kitchen I decided to make a completely new pasta dish that I had never made it before. As I have been trying to do, my goal with this dinner was to use ingredients that I already had on hand.

For the past couple of years, we have gotten a side of beef. With the side of beef comes the oxtail. I finally decided to cook the oxtail. After searching and searching for a recipe, I found one that Emeril wrote called Homemade Pasta Squares with Oxtail Sauce.

There were a lot of steps for this recipe – as there often are with Emeril’s recipes. This was the first time I have eaten oxtail and was quite surprised how long it has to cook. The entire dinner took over three hours to prepare. It was, by no means, a difficult dinner to cook, it just took a long time. Since I don’t have a pasta maker, I didn’t make the pasta. I found some egg pasta at the store and used that instead.

Having never had oxtail before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The pasta was somewhat greasy, and I can only attribute that to the oxtail, as there wasn’t much else to make the dish greasy. I really liked the flavor of the sauce – I love pancetta and garlic, and the oxtail added a different beefy taste – I really can’t describe the flavor. It is just different from, say a steak or a roast.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sick Boy and Cookies

My little one has had a fever for the past two days, so when he asked me today to make cookies, what could I say? We made M&M cookies, which basically means that we made Chocolate chip cookies with M&M’s instead of chocolate chips. My oldest ate three cookies, and my little one ate almost an entire cookie. They both helped stir the batter and each got to eat a spoonful of the dough. I love raw cookie dough; I think my favorite, though is sugar cookie dough. I am glad that it only took cookies to make Benny happy. I just hate it when the boys don’t feel good.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter – one stick
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 (12 oz bag) chocolate chips or M&Ms
2 ¼ cup flour
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine salt

Evenly position 2 racks in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone sheets.

Melt butter in microwave, cool slightly. Whisk the sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Stir the fry indredients into the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon; take care not to over mix. Stir the chips or M&Ms.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared pans. Wet hands slightly and roll dough into balls. Space the cookies about 2 inches apart on pans. Bake until golden but soft in the center 12 to 16 inches, depending on how chewy you like them. Transfer hot cookies with a spatula to a rack to cool. Serve.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Interview on Great Cooks Community

I don't know how many of you have heard of Great Cooks Community, a great website that other bloggers compare to facebook. Someone blogged and said that it was like Facebook for foodies. I like it because there are forums for great discussions, places to post photos and recipes and other really cool things to do. Jill McKeever, one of the main people on the site, interviews some of the members on the site for their Great Cooks Radio Podcast. I was fortunate enough to be interviewed. It was really a neat experience, and I am gladd I got an opportunity to do it. Jill sent me a link to the interview for anyone who might want to listen to it. If you have an extra few minutes, take a listen to my very first interview.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hot Chili Sundaes and Rudy's Hot Dogs

Last month our family went to Toledo, Ohio to see my aunt and grandma. My grandma is 97 and still going strong – slower, but strong – and my aunt is one of my favorite people in the world. We try to get up there every year to see them and so they can see the boys. It is usually a fast trip as school is always about to start.

This year we took the boys to one of my favorite fast food restaurants in the world; Rudy’s Hot Dog. I have been going to Rudy’s for as long as I can remember. They have the world’s best chili dogs. They steam their buns, boil their hot dogs, and put no beans in their chili. My aunt gave me a recipe for a chili that is similar to Rudy’s. Tonight I made it for the boys. Mmmmm good. They really liked the chili, but they did think it was a little hot. We took them there this past visit – my oldest had a chicken tenders, and my little one had a bowl of chili. Now my oldest likes chili dogs.

During my visit, my grandma was telling me how she goes to Tony Packo’s – of Mash and Klinger fame. When she is there she likes to order chili – a small portion. They serve it to her like a sundae. I thought it was such a cute idea that I would try it myself. I must say that I did really enjoy eating my chili out of a crystal sherbet glass.

Since I served my chili in such a fancy glass; the crystal was from my parents’ wedding, I decided to serve the hotdog on a china plate that had been my grandparents and given to me for my wedding china. It is from a set that I had always wanted. While tonight’s dinner was very simple, I had plenty of fun cooking and sharing with my boys. Thanks for letting me share with you too.

Chili Dog topping and Chili; adopted from Rudy’s Hot Dog

2 lbs hamburger
3 cups water
½ tbsp thyme
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp salt
2 garlic cloves minced
Dash cayenne pepper

Brown beef in 4-6 quart stock pot. Add all other ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. Serve immediately either with hotdogs, or alone. Add condiments of choice – cheese, onions, green onions, green peppers, etc.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Dinner I Wasn't Going to Cook

Tonight was a night I didn’t want to cook; however, I ended up grilling a steak and making pasta with Eggs and Bacon; otherwise known as carbonara. While I think I may have put too much cheese it the sauce, it still turned out well. I also made a sirloin steak with herbs de Provence, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. For someone who didn’t want to cook, dinner turned out really well, I think.

Pasta with Eggs and Bacon – Carbonara

2 tbsp olive oil
5 oz bacon – pancetta
1 garlic clove, crushed
14 oz linguini
3 eggs at room temperature.
¾ cup freshly ground parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium frying pan, heat pancetta with olive oil and garlic until bacon begins to brown. Remove garlic. Keep bacon and fat hot until needed. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, warm a large serving bowl and break eggs into it. Beat the parmesan cheese with a fork and season with salt and pepper. As soon as pasta is done, drain quickly and mix it into the egg mixture. Pour on the hot bacon and its fat. Stir well. The heat from the pasta and bacon fat will lightly cook the beaten eggs. Serve immediately.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Cooking Big for the Weekend

Tonight was cooking night. Not only did we grill backbone (large pork chops), we also grilled shish kabobs, and made linguini with clam sauce. It was a busy night in our kitchen, but we have food for a couple of days.

After swimming I started on a rub for the backbone. Each year the fire department sells backbone, ribs, and sausage to raise money for the fire department in our little community. Each year, I buy lots of meat and vacuum seal it before I freeze it. It is nice to have a variety in the freezer for any type of cooking. The shish kabobs started with a sirloin tip roast I had in the freezer as well. We buy a side of beef each year also. I love getting my beef that way. It is way better than anything I can buy in a grocery store. The pasta for the linguini was actually fettuccine that I bought on the hill in St. Louis. I love shopping on the hill.

The shish kabobs were something my husband wanted. I happened to ask him last week what his favorite food was from his childhood and he started telling me about these shish kabobs that his mom used to make. She would grill beef, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions on the grill, and then finish it off on the stove simmered in bbq sauce. Making that put him in heaven tonight. He loved his dinner tonight.

Linguini with Clam Sauce

6-7 anchovy fillets
5 garlic cloves chopped
2 tsp dry thyme
½ tsp cracked red pepper
4 tblsp olive oil
1 cup white wine
3 10 oz cans clams with juice
40-50 cherry tomatoes

2 lbs. fettuccine
1 large handful parsley chopped.

Cook fettuccine according to package directions. While noodles are cooking heat oil in large skillet, add anchovies and cook into oil, making sure that anchovies dissolve. After anchovies have started to melt, add garlic, thyme and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes at medium heat. Add tomatoes and heat. After tomatoes are heated, add wine to deglaze pan and let wine reduce by 1/3 with pan covered. Tomatoes should be breaking open at this point. Start breaking tomates to ensure that juice from tomatoes is added to sauce. Add clams and heat through. Add noodles and parsley to sauce and combine. Serve immediately.

BBQ Shish Kabobs

1 sirloin tip roast cut into cubes
3 tblsp steak seasoning
3 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
½ lb mushrooms with stems removed
3 green peppers cleaned and quartered
1 onion quartered and halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 skewers – if using wood, soak for 30 minutes in water before using.
3 cups your favorite bbq sauce

Cut steak into cubes that can be skewered. Put in plastic bag with steak seasoning and olive oil and let marinate for at least one hour. Skewer steak, peppers, onions and mushrooms drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Grill until steaks are medium rare. Add all to a large Dutch oven with bbq sauce and cook on low heat for 1 hour at low heat. Serve immediately

Grilled Backbone

4 backbone steaks
3 tblsp fresh rosemary chopped
2 tblsp fresh thyme chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 pinches cayenne pepper
juice of one lemon
3 tbsp olive oil

Put rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, pinch of cayenne, and lemon juice into a mixing bowl; stir. Slowly add olive oil and whisk entire mixture together. Spread mixture with hands onto steaks and let set in refrigerator of at least one hour. Grill over medium to medium high heat until cooked through and no pink remains. Let meat sit for 5 minutes before serving.

End of Summer BBQs

It is getting to be the end of bbq season, so we grilled last night. we don’t, however, let the end of summer dictate our grilling schedule. If the weather is decent, we grill. The entire family loves to eat food grilled and my little one loves to especially eat outside either by the pool or on the deck at the picnic table made for us by our good friends across the street.

Since one of my friends from home was visiting, we decided to make cheeseburgers, and I decided to try lamb chops just for giggles. I had bought some at the Farmer’s Market in St. Louis a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t think too much about her eating schedule, so I know we ate way past her bedtime. She seemed to like the food though, so all was not lost. Even though we didn’t do much, I really enjoyed my visit. It is great to hear about people from home. We talked and talked about the people and places that I grew up with. Since I don’t get home very much it is really nice.

I tried a little something different with the cheeseburgers – I put the cheese inside; fresh mozzarella. Mmm mmmm, good. The cheese was nice and melty, but not so much that it made the burgers mushy. Served with arugula lettuce and fresh tomatoes, the burgers were a hit.

The lamb chops were marinated in rosemary, thyme, garlic, and olive oil. I tried to make a paste in the food processor, but wasn’t too terribly successful with that so I just dolloped the marinade on the chops and left them in the fridge for an hour or so before grilling. The flavor was wonderful – I had forgotten how good lamb was. We used to eat it quite a bit when I was growing up. It brought back some good memories. The next time I go to the meat market in St. Louis, I will be sure to get some more lamb. Maybe next time I will try a rack of lamb.

With the chops and burgers, we also had oven roasted potatoes with garlic, salt and pepper, along with a crisp salad with fresh homemade Italian dressing. It was a satisfying meal that seemed to work for everyone.

Summer is coming to an end, but the memories of our first summer with the pool will stay alive, not only in our minds, but also in the food we make.

Melty Mozzarella Cheeseburgers

3 lbs. hamburger
4 cloves garlic minced
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Sliced fresh mozzarella – sliced thinly

Make two thin patties per burger. Put a slice of cheese on one burger and place another patty on top of the cheese. Pat two patties together so that cheese is sealed tightly between both patties. Heat grill to medium high, place burgers on grill and cook to desired doneness. Be careful about turning burger too much as the cheese might ooze out the burger. Let burgers sit for a couple of minutes before serving.

Lamb Chops –adapted from Everyday Italian

6-8 lamb chops trimmed
2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1-2 pinches cayenne pepper

Once all herbs are chopped mix together with a mortar and pestle, slowly add olive oil and mix together. Spread mixture on lamb chops and let sit in refrigerator for at least one hour. Remove from fridge and bring to room temperature for about 20 minutes before grilling. Place on medium high grill and grill for 2 minutes on first side, 3 minutes on second side for medium rare. Add 1-2 minutes on second side for medium. Let sit for 5 minutes and serve.