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!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beef Tongue, Chili, and Pumpkin Muffins

This was a weekend for cooking. It was cold outside and warm in the kitchen. Since we are getting a side of beef soon, I have to use the other meat I have in the freezer. I decided to make chili and cook a beef tongue. I put that on my Facebook the other day, and it sparked some conversation in the lunchroom on Monday. Most people think beef tongue is gross, and I have to say that the thought is kind of icky. You have to look past the name and just try it. Beef tongue is actually very good.

I took several pictures of the tongue from its raw state to its final cooked state. I must say that I really enjoyed the tongue sandwiches that I made for Hubby and me. I used Cibatta bread, Dijon mustard, spinach, and salt. That’s it. Hubby laughed as I prepared the sandwiches for their picture debut, saying that when he grew up all they did was slap tongue and salt between bread and eat. He really enjoyed the sandwiches too.

Both boys tried the tongue and they really liked it….really! I was quite surprised. They have the strangest taste in food. The like tongue, pesto, shrimp, steak, pork steak, and of course spaghetti. They aren’t that fond of veggies – it’s like pulling teeth sometimes, and the little one doesn’t like apples. But overall they aren’t too bad about food. At least they try things without too much trouble.

I also made and canned chili. I often make a large batch of chili to can so that I have it one hand when I want it. On Sunday I made the chili, knowing full well that I didn’t have beans. I said to myself, “Self, you need to get beans on the way home from school tomorrow to add to the chili.” And I remembered that. My little one and I ran to the store before we picked up the older one at the skating rink –roller. Anyway, after I got the kids home, I had to get them dinner, get myself dinner and meet a friend. So…….I forgot the beans. The little one looked at me yesterday and said, with his finger pointing at me. “Mommy, don’t forget the beans again, they are the best ingredient in the chili.” For those of you hanging on to the edge of your seat, the beans are in the chili and the chili is canned – not downstairs put away yet, but canned nonetheless. My older one told me that he likes our pastor’s chili better….great. I guess I need to get his recipe.

Last but not least I made pumpkin muffins for the older one, you know, the one who likes our pastor’s chili better than mine. He just loves pumpkin muffins and says that he could eat them every day. They are so easy to make, and they make a large batch. I have been eating them too, and I really don’t need to. Here is the recipe for pumpkin muffins - I used pumpkin pie spice instead of ginger, the boys like it better that way.

Today, I think we are going to make sugar cookies. It is a snow day and my little one wants to decorate cookies. I see another post coming.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Shopping For Food

Today was a good day – I worked out this morning and went to the Hill in St. Louis. I love food shopping there. My friend, Dot and I left this morning, and hit the shops before we headed off to Cunetto’s for lunch.

Our first stop was Urzi’s Market on Southwest. Their sausage is probably some of the best I have ever had. The make it fresh weekly – usually on Thursdays, I think. I really like this market as it is really kitschy – there are so many different items available, you never know what treasures are waiting. The owner is from St. Rose – not too far from us on our side of the river.

After Urzi’s we headed over to Viviano’s Market on Shaw. They have tons of olive oil, great pasta sauces, fresh cheeses, and a large selection of Italian tomatoes. They have a large selection of wines and liquors, and are always helpful. When you order a case of canned goods, not only do you not pay tax on it, you also get help carrying your loot out to your car if you need it.

Our last stop of the day was at DiGregorio’s on Daggott. They have a large deli and meat section; I ordered spedini meat, which I love. I have cooked it before and posted here. I also bought fresh mozzarella, feta, prosciutto, cheese stuffed olives. They have fresh bread too, which I didn’t buy today as I knew I wasn’t going to be able to use it. But, boy is it good.

After our shopping, we were off to Cunetto’s, one of my favorite restaurants on the Hill. It was the first place I went to the first time I was in St. Louis, and I have been a fan ever since. My grandparents took me there for my 21st birthday and gave me the do not drink lecture. I ended up not drinking wine for lunch that day. Oh well..

I ordered my usual, Linguini Tutte Mare. Filled with seafood and a light sauce with butter, it is one of my favorites, and I just love it. Garlic cheese bread is another of my loves and I get that almost every time I go. Good thing I went to the gym today…..hehe. Dot ordered the special – Chicken Marsala. She has gotten that before and really enjoys it. Their food is just so good and always consistent. We ended up taking leftovers home to our husbands. Too much good food.

We ended the day stopping by Target near Hampton Village to get a birthday present for a party my son went to today. It was a nice end to a fun shopping day. I am blessed to have my friend, Dot, in my life. She is like a mom to me and for that I am truly thankful.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dinner Guests and a New Pasta Recipe - Presto Pasta Night

We had a party last night with good friends and good food. This is a group who comes over a couple of times a year. I always try to make different recipes for them. People always say that you should only cook what you know, but I decided to live life a little on the edge and try something new a different for dinner.

For this group – people who love to go dirt track racing – I usually make two pastas. Why? I don’t know, it just kind of works out that way. Anyway, I decided to go with BBQ spaghetti; see previous post, and a pasta that sort of came to me while I was cleaning out the fridge and eating leftovers.

My entry for Presto Pasta Night is a pasta that I made up. While searching through the fridge, I found some plain pasta that I decided to eat, and the rest of the taco meat from the night before – the boys had used the rest of the burrito shells. I decided to mix the two, add some cheese and heat up. It was really good. I ended up eating two helpings and saving some for my hubby. He added salsa, jalapenos, and beans and also really seemed to like it. That gave me the idea for Taco Pasta. I cooked pasta, added taco meat, black beans, and cilantro and combined. I also had condiments for the pasta; tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, olives, peppers, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and jalapenos. Dinner was served buffet style and everyone was able to add what they wanted to their pasta.

We also had Sausage Cups with Cheese and Ranch Dressing. I have made them before, but thought they needed a little zip, so I added chili powder and green onions to the mix and they turned out very well. Out of 40, there were only 4 or 5 left – I ate them for lunch today with some leftover Mungo Salad – one of my favorite salads. We served that too.

The boys love it when we have friends over – it gives them someone else to play with and show off to. they really like one of our friends and have actually named him Presto Boy, because he likes pesto sauce with noodles, and yes, he calls it presto, just to make the boys laugh. Anyway, they got to bowl with him and another one of our friends on the Wii. The little one beat them all.

The party broke up after 11 p.m. It was a really great night. Since we have had kids, we don’t get out as often as we used to, so it is nice to have friends over to visit and just hang out. We watched the car auction on TV and wished we could buy some of the cars. I do have to give out a big thanks to this group – they are the best, and I mean best helpers when it comes to cleaning up. When they visit, it is the only time that I have nothing else to clean in the morning. Thanks guys!

Taco Pasta

1 ½ lb pasta – I used Penne
2 lbs ground meat
Taco seasoning
2 14 oz cans black beans
One large handful chopped cilantro

Condiments: you may use what you want.
Sautéed peppers and onions
Black olives, sliced
Sour cream
Cheddar and jack cheese, shredded

Cook taco meat according to taco sauce directions. While meat is cooking, cook pasta according to directions and drain. Drain beans and heat up, either in microwave or on stovetop. Combine above ingredients. Add chopped cilantro. Serve alongside condiments and let everyone choose their toppings. Serve immediately so that flavors can blend.

Sausage Cheese Cups – adapted from a Allrecipes.com

Wonton wraps
2 lbs pork sausage, cooked and drained
2 cups cheddar and jack cheese, shredded
2 cups ranch dressing
2 tbsp chili powder
5-6 scallions, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan and insert wonton wrappers to form a small cup. Bake five minutes in a preheated oven. Allow to cool.

Combine rest of ingredients and add to cooled wonton cups – cook for 10 minutes or until mixture is bubbly. Cool five minutes and serve. Makes 40 Sausage cups.

This week's Presto Pasta night is being hosted by Cook (almost) Anything at least once. Presto Pasta is a weekly event that is hosted by a different blogger each week. Go to Cook (almost) Anything at least once and check out all the posts!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cooking Dinner and Working Bingo

Yesterday I worked my first bingo food stand. It was actually quite fun. I also made Ina’s Peanut Swirl Brownies for the food stand. In the winter, the Lions in our community host bingo, and other organizations man the food stand to raise money for their organizations. I was there with other ladies from our church to raise money for Sunday School. Even though we were there to work, it was a nice time, hanging out with old friends and making new ones. All the food turned out really well. My oldest and Hubby really liked the brownies, as did the ladies from church. Ina’s brownies always turn out well.

Tonight we had a simple dinner; grilled shrimp, pasta and salad. My boys really like grilled shrimp on a skewer – only on the skewer. They don’t eat shrimp when it is on the skewer. I don’t really understand it. Hubby said it was a perfect night to grill – full moon, no wind, and not too cold. I have to laugh, we grill out front in the winter, and in the back in the summer. The shrimp was sprinkled with Magic shrimp seasoning and brushed with olive oil. Since the boys don’t like salad, I gave them apple instead.

My next venture is with pasta. I am working on Italian beef pasta this week. Stay tuned, I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Linguini with Clams - an Eventful Dinner

I love Linguini with Clam Sauce – it has to be one of my favorite pasta dishes. It was so exciting when I found little clams in their shell at an Italian market in St. Louis. I bought two jars of them, excited that I was going to be able to make my favorite dish and use real clams! Now you know that I didn’t use these as soon as I brought them home – I wanted the luxury of being able to cook Linguini with Clams, using real clams at the drop of a hat.

Since there was no school today, I decided – at the drop of a hat – to cook, you guessed it, Linguini with Clam Sauce! It is such an easy dish to make; it only takes 10-15 minutes. While the pasta was cooking, I made my sauce. As I added the clams in their shell, I really started to notice just how tiny they were. I had a little bell go off in my brain, but I ignored it. After all, I had been waiting to use these clams – it was going to be great!

Ok, ok, the flavor was great – probably some of the best clam sauce I have made, if I do say so myself. There was one little problem. The clams I bought at the market, the little, little clams I bought at the market were so small, and broke so easily. My poor husband was eating, when all of a sudden - - - - - he started chewing part of a shell. It was then that I decided maybe the cute little – and I mean little – clams weren’t the best idea I had ever had. Who knew the shells would break and that Hubby would chomp on one or two shell fragments. Picking all the shells out of the pasta was next on the agenda – not part of the original plan. The meal, however, was very good, aside from the crunchy little extras.

Linguini with Clam Sauce – no shells, adapted from Rachel Ray

4-5 anchovy filets
Olive oil – 2-3 turns of the pan
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 pinches crushed red pepper
2 tsp basil
1 cup white wine
2 can baby clams, with liquid – no shells, unless you buy clams from your fish monger!
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 lb linguini cooked according to package directions
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot cook pasta in salted water until al dente. While pasta is cooking, heat up olive oil in large skillet, add anchovies and cook until melted into pasta. Add garlic, basil and pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Add wine and reduce by half. Add clams and juice, bring to a low boil – add cooked pasta and parsley. Toss to coat; let some of the juice get absorbed by the pasta. Serve with garlic bread and salad for a festive meal.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pizza, Mom, and the New Year

Today would have been my mom’s birthday – she would have been 68 years old. While there are days that go by where I don’t really think about her, most days I do, especially when I look at the boys and think that she isn’t here to see them grow up. I do miss her.

She would have liked dinner tonight. Growing up, I remember making pizza at home. Mom would make the crust and the sauce and we would add the toppings. The one pizza I will always remember is zucchini pizza – yuk. To this day I still don’t like zucchini, and I didn’t like it on pizza. We usually liked pepperoni and sausage on our pizzas.

I didn’t make my crust from scratch like my mom used to – I used Panini bread for my pizza crust. For the boys, I cooked sausage for their pizza. For Hubby and me, we grilled steak – pretty rare with Grey salt, pepper, and Herbs De Provence on before grilling. The herbs always add that extra little touch. I used pesto for my sauce and Hubby used BBQ sauce for his sauce. Our cheese of choice tonight was Gouda and fresh mozzarella. I cooked some onions, got olives and built my pizzas. Hubby’s pizza had BBQ sauce, Gouda, cooked onions, steak, and olives. Mine had pesto sauce, Gouda and Mozzarella cheese, steak and olives. After we grilled the steaks, we put the pizzas together and put them on the grill to cook them. We were both surprised how quickly they cooked.

To go with the pizza, I made Mungo’s salad. It has to be one of my favorite salads. Easy to make, and soooo good. The combination of the provel cheese and bacon just can’t be beat. the dressing – Italian – can be used with many different types of salads, so I usually make a double batch.

The pizza turned out well, there was nothing left. I think the next time we try pizza on the grill, we might try putting the pizza stone on the grill too. The crust got a little dark, but didn’t burn. I think my mom would have liked it – she probably would have liked the pesto sauce with steak the best; it had a nice mild flavor.

Happy New Year to everyone – I hope you all have a wonderful and prosperous year!!

Dinner at Neruda's with Friends

Going out to dinner with the girls is always fun. This time we stayed on our side of the river and dined at Neruda, an Italian restaurant that serves great Italian food with a southwestern twist. I must say that I really, really enjoyed the food; it is probably some of the best food I have eaten in a while.

While desserts aren’t my favorite, I just love appetizers, so I ordered the fried calamari – a true cooking test in my mind. If the amount of food I ate is any indication, the calamari was great! Tender, lightly breaded, golden, and simply delicious; the calamari couldn’t have been cooked any better. The dipping sauce was a departure from the normal marinara sauce. The mild taste of the Gouda cheese was a nice pairing for the calamari.

Caesar salad is always the salad of choice when I dine out. I must say that this was not my favorite part of the meal. While I always ask for light dressing on the salad, there was almost none on my salad this time. Even though the flavor was good, the salad was very dry.

For my dinner, I chose the Mare a Monte Pasta. It was soooo good. The sauce was light and flavorful, not heavy. The light sauce, made with white wine and garlic butter and finished with Asiago cheese, allowed the seafood to be the star of the show; mussels, clams, shrimp, and scallops. Tri-color pasta made for a nice presentation, and gave the dish dimension and depth.

The other girls ordered Pan Seared Boneless Half Chicken, Herb Encrusted Filet of Beef, and the Veal Portobello Ravioli. All enjoyed their dinners, and the evening was a success. It was a great start to a holiday season that was filled with joy and laughter. The new year is hear and it is almost time to go back to work and get back into the routines of life again. Enjoy your new year!