Monday, July 4, 2011

Aunt D's Kitchen Is Moving!

Aunt D is relocating the kitchen from Blogspot to Wordpress.  I'll leave everything as is on Blogspot for now, but all future posts will appear at the new Wordpress site.  Here is a direct link:

I'm still learning about Wordpress but I can tell already that it has a lot more functionality.  I'm looking forward to enhancing the blog with all the new toys and trinkets.  I hope you will all continue to follow and keep up with Aunt D!

For those of you who formally follow Aunt D's Kitchen, you can continue to do so on Wordpress.  Just click the 'sign me up' button on the right side of your screen and enter your email address.

Hope to see you all on Wordpress!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cowboy Cut Ribeye with Green Bean Salad

Saddle up, boys and girls, and head on over to the ranch!  Ok, so I don't have a ranch - or a saddle, for that matter.  Luckily, one doesn't need to be a cowboy (or cowgirl) to enjoy this beautiful cowboy cut ribeye.

I have to confess that I don't know what a cowboy cut is or how that differs from an ordinary ribeye.  I'm pretty sure I don't care, though.  Any steak this tender and juicy can call itself whatever it wants.

With such a huge steak, I decided to go easy on the side dishes.  Ordinarily, I would make a big batch of mashed potatoes.  This time, though, I went with a warm green bean salad.  It was the perfect combination.

Here's what you need for the steak:

1 steak (any cut that you prefer)
Fresh garlic, minced
Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt
Dale's Seasoning (I use the low sodium version)

Smear fresh minced garlic on both sides of your steak then season each side evenly with Jane's.  Place the steak in a zipper back and add about 1/3 cup of the Dale's (use more or less depending on the size of your steak).  Shake the bag to ensure that the steak is completely covered with the marinade.  Let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.  Remove the steak from the fridge about half an hour before you intend to cook it. 

For the green bean salad:

Fresh green beans
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Mozzarella cheese
Olive oil
Sea Salt

Steam the green beans for  7 or 8 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook them.  When they're ready, toss them with the mozzarella.  Add the cherry tomatoes, a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt to taste.  Toss well and serve immediately.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sweet Summer Appetizer

I was wandering through the grocery store yesterday minding my own business when the guy from the Murray Cheese bar in Kroger literally chased me down to taste the goat cheese he was sampling.  I tried to decline, because I'm not always fond of goat cheese. It was on a lovely cracker, though, and topped with a drizzle of honey.  In general, I do like cheese (a lot) so I decided to give it a try. It was really good and, of course, I rushed right over to grab a wedge.  I have to confess that this is not the first time this has happened to me.  I guess those Murray Cheese guys can spot a sucker from a mile away.

I wanted Michael to taste my new find, so I offered him a snack.  He thanked me for my offer and explained that he wasn't really hungry, so I made one anyway.  I added the strawberry and served it right up.  He immediately asked if I could make about 200 more.  He also insisted that I share it with the rest of the world - or at least the 18 people who actually follow this blog. 

One of those requests is actually doable, so here's what you'll need to dazzle your own family with this sweet summer appetizer:

Sesame crackers
Humboldt Fog cheese

Top each sesame cracker with a smear of Humboldt Fog and a drizzle of honey.  Add a strawberry and dig in!  You could also use apple wedges, blueberries or just about any other fresh fruit.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Habanero Burger & Homemade Onion Rings

I'm not normally an eater of spicy things, but I've recently decided to try and be a little braver about that.  It may have something to do with my newest addiction - the Food Network and any show with Bobby Flay in it.  Everything Bobby Flay makes just looks delicious and peppers are his signature ingredient.  I wouldn't be surprised if he put them in ice cream.

The new addiction is working out pretty well for Michael.  He loves spicy food. 

I was poking around in the produce section at my local store recently, when I came across the habanero and scotch bonnet peppers.  Yes, I know they are supposed to be the hottest peppers in the world.  Don't ask me what I was thinking.  I have no idea.  Needless to say, both peppers found their way into my grocery cart.  They've been sitting in the fridge for two weeks while I worked up the nerve to actually use them.

Today was the magic day.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to eat the burgers, but I was having a brave moment so I decided to go for it.  I wasn't brave enough to use more than one, so that may have been my saving grace.  The burgers were spicy, but definitely delicious.  The onion rings were a perfect companion for them.

Here's what you'll need for the burgers:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 habanero pepper, finely chopped
1 thick slice of onion, finely chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 thick slice of red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tbsp of brown sugar
Splash of pepper juice (I used the liquid from a jar of banana peppers)
Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt
Freshly grated asiago cheese

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and work them together with your hands until everything is well combined.  Form four large patties.  Cook them until they are just done.  Overcooking will dry them out.  Top them with tomato, onion, cheese or whatever you like.

Here's what you'll need for the onion rings:

1 large yellow onion
1 1/2 cups of flour
2 tsp of salt
1 egg
Bread crumbs
Sunflower oil

Combine the flour, salt and egg in a large bowl.  Add milk until you have a good batter.  It should look like thin pancake batter.

Cut the onion into thick slices.  Dip them in the batter and then dredge them in the bread crumbs until they are well covered.  Fry them in the oil until they are golden brown.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fresh Creamed Corn

I've often said that I'm not the most southern southern girl you've ever met, but there are a couple of really southern things that I do like.  One of them is my Mama Sue's creamed corn. 

Mama Sue was my great-grandmother - the one who desperately tried to turn me into a girl when all I wanted to do was climb the giant Magnolia in her yard.  She's been gone for several years now, but she would be happy to know that I turned out to be a decent cook.  It seems to me that she was good at everything but cooking was definitely her special skill and the creamed corn that she made with the fresh corn from her own garden was my absolute favorite.

Today's recipe doesn't attempt to duplicate hers.  Instead, it's my own variation on the theme.  With some fresh corn from the farmer's market - or even your local grocery store - you can serve up this version of an old southern favorite any night of the week.

Here's what you'll need:

4 ears of fresh corn
2 tbsp of bacon grease
1/2 tbsp of butter
1/4 cup of milk (or heavy cream)
1 tbsp of flour
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste

Shuck the corn really well and get as much of the silk out as you can.  You'll need a large bowl and a sharp knife to remove the corn from the cob.  Using the sharp side of the knife, carefully cut half of the kernels off the cob.  Make sure you don't cut all the way to the cob. Next, use the dull side of the knife to scrape the rest of the corn from the cob.

I used my greasy bacon pan from breakfast to cook the corn.  If you want to do that, too, pour out most of the grease, leaving just a couple of tablespoons plus the crispy bacon pieces that are still stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add the corn to the skillet, heat to medium and stir well with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape the bacon pieces from the bottom so that they get incorporated into the corn.

Add the butter and the milk or cream.  I included the flour here because I used 2% milk.  If you have whole cream on hand, you can probably do without the flour.  Either way, stir well to keep things from sticking.

Add the salt and chili powder to taste.  I recommend starting small with the chili powder and working your way up.  You don't want it to overtake the dish, just to contribute.

This only takes about half an hour, so it's an easy weeknight dish.  You can also make it in really large quantities and freeze it for later.  Serve it with fried chicken and mashed potatoes for a full blown southern meal!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mahi Mahi Burger

Fish is one of our favorite things to eat but finding new and interesting ways to prepare it can be a challenge.  The recipe that inspired the Mahi Mahi Burger actually called for salmon.  I was salmon shopping when I found the mahi mahi on sale.  Voila!  A decision was made.  It's not like I really follow recipes anyway so what's one more substitution?

For a low carb version, you can try this patty without the bun and add some steamed veggies on the side.  I would probably cover it in honey mustard.  Of course, that just replaces the carbs with a bunch of fat.  It wouldn't be the first diet rule I ever broke.

If you try this one, be creative.  You could make a spicy version by replacing the banana peppers with something hotter.  You could also replace the peppers with dill pickle relish.  If you go that route, I'd recommend plain mayo instead of the cilantro-lime version used here.

Here's what you need:

1 lb mahi mahi fillets
Bread crumbs
1 thick slice of red onion, chopped
4 thick slices of red onion
4 thick slices of tomato
1 whole banana pepper, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Jayne's Krazy Mixed Up Salt
Sunflower oil
4 bakery buns
Cilantro-lime mayo (see recipe below)

Chop the mahi mahi well with a heavy knife - or use a food processor.  Place the fish in a large bowl.  Add the onion, banana pepper and garlic.  Mix thoroughly with your hands.  Add bread crumbs a little at a time, mixing well after each addition, until the mixture is thick enough to form into four patties.

Heat about 1/4 inch of sunflower oil in a large skillet on medium.  Cook the patties for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until they are completely done.  Spread the mayo on the bakery buns.  Add the fish patties and top with the sliced tomato and onion.

For the mayo:

Combine one quarter cup of mayonnaise with two tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro and lime juice to taste.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cheesy Bacon Chicken Breasts

Weeknight meals can be such a challenge, especially for us working moms.  It's so easy to throw a frozen pizza in the oven or just grab some takeout on the way home.  That always feels like cheating to me, though.  I have this strange compulsion (it's not strange to me but it may seem strange to others) to cook everything myself.  I often have to find a way to balance that with the time constraints of every day life.  This dish is fast, easy and satisfies my need to do things myself. 

I recently started using chicken from Springer Mountain Farms.  It has such a natural, clean, unadulterated chicken flavor.  I was completely floored the first time I used their chicken.  For this recipe, I used the boneless breasts.  Because they are thin, they cook really quickly.

You can use any kind of  bacon, but my preference is the thick sliced market bacon from Earth Fare, my favorite healthy supermarket.  They also offer an apple wood smoked version which I use on occasion.  To speed up your weeknight meal, I recommend having the bacon cooked in advance.  If you do that, make sure you save just a little of the bacon grease for cooking.

The cheese I've used here is Havarti.  It's light, creamy and melts very nicely.  It's mild flavor complements the other elements of the dish perfectly.  If you don't have Havarti, Provolone or Monterrey Jack would work just as well in this dish.

The remaining ingredients, banana pepper and red onion, really make this simple meal stand out.  I use red onions in just about everything and the banana pepper has a flavor that really comes through without overpowering that awesome chicken.

Here's what you need to impress your family with a takeout-free weeknight meal:

4 small chicken breasts
4 bacon slices
4 large slices of Havarti cheese
1 large banana pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 slice of red onion, finely chopped
Bacon grease
Sunflower oil
Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt

Start with your grease and oil.  Because I did not cook my bacon in advance, I used the bacon pan for the chicken.  I poured the majority of the grease from the pan, leaving the bottom covered with greasy bacon goo.  Yummy!  If you cook your bacon ahead of time, just save a couple of spoonfuls of the grease for the chicken.  I added just a little bit of the sunflower oil to dilute the bacon grease.

Seed and chop the fresh banana pepper, then dice your onion.  Add them to the pan and let them soften a bit in the grease.  Push them to the sides of the pan to continue cooking and place your chicken breasts in the center.  Season them with a little Jane's, then flip them and season the other side. 

Cook the chicken until it's just about done.  Then place half a piece of cheese on each breast.  Top that with a piece of bacon, then cover the bacon with the other half of the cheese slice.  Cover the pan until the cheese is completely melted.  When you plate the chicken breasts, scoop up the onions and peppers from the pan and put them on top.

Enjoy!  If you decide to try this one, I'd love to hear how it turns out.