Friday, October 5, 2018

Pretzel Style Sausage Rolls

My Oktoberfest recipe for this year!

My wife has never been a fan of my original sausage roll recipe unless I take the time to trim all the casings off. This has always seemed a little too time consuming for me, so I don't and she doesn't eat them if I make them for a party. This time I just started with a pound of sausage meat and that made the whole thing much easier.

When I was coming up with this recipe I did some research on egg washes and discovered that doing an egg wash with just a beaten egg yolk gets you a deep brown color when baked. When you add a nice serving of large grain salt, it can give puff pastry a pretzel like exterior.

Ingredients:

2 sheets of puff pastry
1lb of pork sausage meat
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg yolk, beaten
salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400

Roll out the sheets of puff pastry. I like to use a rolling pin to smooth any creases, I think it makes it easier to roll in the end. Divide the ground sausage into 4 equal portions.

Take one portion and place it on the narrowest edge of the pastry sheet and form into an even log that stretches along the entire edge. Brush the sausage with some of the maple syrup.

Carefully roll the puff pastry around the sausage and right before the pastry would overlap, brush the bit that would overlap with a little egg yolk to seal it. To make sure the roll has a flat bottom, before I seal it up, I lightly dock, or poke with a fork, the piece that will overlap. This collapses the layers of pastry and keeps them from rising as much. This is mostly a cosmetic decision but I find that it makes the whole batch turn out more even and uniform looking.

Cut the roll off from the remaining sheet. Each roll should take half a sheet, feel free to stretch the dough or roll it out thinner if you find that you don't have enough space.

Repeat for the remaining sausage portions. When they are all rolled, lightly brush with the remaining egg yolk and then sprinkle liberally with large flake salt. If you can get pretzel salt, even better.

Cut the logs into 6 equal portions. I shallowly score the tops twice with a knife, not deep enough that it goes through the pastry, so that they don't expand too much. Again, this is a personal preference that helps the finished product look nice and uniform.

Bake on a greased or parchment covered baking sheet for 15-20 minutes until dark golden brown.

To make the dip, combine equal amounts of maple syrup and mustard. Enjoy!

 If you are interested, here is a great place to find some great info on egg washes and how they work and what they do

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Family Style Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Family Style Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
"But Matt," I hear you say, "you already put up a Spaghetti with Meat Sauce recipe. What is so different about this one? What makes it family style?"
A few things actually! This recipe does not have beer in it, to make it a little more family friendly; it has two different meats, to appeal to everybody; and it is a one pot wonder, as the dishwasher, I appreciate whenever I can make less work for myself.
This is a simple recipe and everything flows well, one step in to the next. It is a very hearty entree, good for the cold nights coming, and it makes plenty of leftovers.

Ingredients:

1 lb spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 lb spicy Italian sausage, sliced
48 oz pasta sauce
parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a stock pot, cook your pasta till al dente according to the package instructions (here are some tips to making better pasta). Strain and leave in the colander while you make the rest of the dish.

Add the oil to the pot and heat over medium heat until it shimmers.

Add in your ground beef and sliced sausage and brown until cooked through before adding in your pasta sauce and bringing it to a simmer over low heat.

Add your cooked pasta back in and serve, garnished with grated parmesan.

P.s. This would go amazing with my Cheesy Roasted Garlic Bread!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Irish Redhead

My wife, Laura, had been going through some stressful times and she needed a drink. She tends to drink very slowly, so it had to be strong, but not taste strong. I searched my kitchen for some inspiration, and came up with this. All the ingredients in this recipe are by volume (the imperial system is confusing).

Ingredients:

2 strawberries washed and trimmed
.5 oz of demerara sugar
1 oz of Ribena* or blackcurrant juice concentrate
2 oz of Irish whiskey**

Directions:

In a cocktail shaker, muddle together the strawberries and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the Ribena and whiskey. Fill the shaker with ice and shake thoroughly to combine and aerate. Pour through a cocktail or hawthorn strainer into a lowball or rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a strawberry and enjoy!

*Ribena is a British blackcurrant juice concentrate and is pretty much the only brand of the stuff I have been able to find in stores. I was first exposed to it when my family went on vacation to the UK and I fell in love with it, and I was so glad when I saw it in my local grocery store. If you can find a different variation, I am sure it will work just as well.

**If you replace the Irish whiskey with American rye, you have a cocktail I call a Strawberry Blonde, also named for my wife.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Mexican Risotto

In recognition of Hunger Awareness Month, I wanted to make a dish out of cheap, shelf stable ingredients. This is a slight modification of a dish I've made many times now and that I have dubbed Mexican Risotto. You can either serve this dish as a main dish, it's got plenty of protein, or a great side dish.

Ingredients:

1.5 tbsp taco seasoning
1 can black beans
1 can whole kernel corn
¼ C canned pickled jalapenos
¾ C arborio rice

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, pour in all the ingredients and stir to combine. Don't drain the beans and corn, you are going to need that liquid to cook the rice. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered, or until the rice is cooked and tender. Serve.

If you can, some great additions are: chopped onion, chorizo, monterey jack cheese, sour cream, and/or crema. Alternatively, you could always stir in some chopped or shredded chicken and a dash of your favorite hot sauce.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Traditional Shortbread Cookies

I love The Great British Bake-Off, I just really wish they would put more seasons on Netflix. Watching that show inspired me to start doing some more baking, and I thought I would start with a pretty simple and traditional English biscuit, traditional shortbread.

Shortbread is traditionally build off a 1:2:3 ratio, 1 of sugar, 2 of butter, and 3 of flour. I've stuck to that traditional ratio here but added a little almond extract since it is my favorite shortbread flavor.

Ingredients:

2 oz (by weight) sugar
4 oz (by weight) softened butter
6 of (be weight) AP flour
¼ tsp almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth then slowly add the flour in until a batter is formed. Chill the batter for 30 minutes before rolling out to a ¼ inch or 1 cm thick sheet. Cut into small rounds and bake for 30-45 minutes or until lightly golden and crisp. Let the cookies cool completely before serving or they won't have the satisfying snap that any good English style biscuit should.

Feel free to fancy them up by dipping in melted chocolate or caramel.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Lamb Meatballs

I did not make shepherd's pie for St. Patrick's Day, so I ended up with a pound of lamb mince (that's British for ground) in my fridge. I felt like doing something completely different with it and made these greek inspired lamb meatballs.

Ingredients:

1/2 C unseasoned bread crumbs
2 sprigs thyme leaves
1 sprig of rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 oz shredded pecorino romano cheese
1/2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
1lb of ground lamb

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine everything except the lamb in the carafe of your blender or food processor, and blend into a fine powder. Thoroughly mix your seasoning powder into the lamb and form the mixture into 1.5 inch or golf ball sized meatballs.

Space the meatballs out about an inch apart on a greased baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes or until the meatballs reach and internal temp of 160.

I recommend serving with fettuccine, wilted baby spinach, shredded pecorino romano, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh ground black pepper. Pro tip: after I drained the pasta, I quickly added the olive oil and spinach. The olive oil kept the pasta from sticking and the residual heat wilted the spinach perfectly.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Far Cry 5 Montana Burger

Far Cry 5 came out recently, and to celebrate this great game, I decided to create my Montana Burger. What is Montana known for? Game burgers! This bison burger is packed with sweet and savory umami flavor and is excellent paired with my maple glazed bacon.

Ingredients:

2 large white onions
½ C demerara or light brown sugar
1 lb ground bison
2 tsp salt (divided)
2 tbsp oil (divided)
¼ C ketchup
2 tbsp maple syrup
sesame seed bun
mayo
maple glazed bacon
cheddar cheese

Directions:

Slice the onions into medium slices. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a saute pan over medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onions and 1 tbsp of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions have significantly darkened, about 10-15 minutes. Once the onions have reached the level of brown that you like for sauteed onions, turn the heat off and add the sugar. Stir constantly and allow the reserved heat to caramelize the sugar onto the onions. Remove from the pan so they do not burn.

While the onions are cooking, form the ground bison into 4 patties and lightly salt each with a ¼ tsp of salt. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a cast iron skillet until the oil is shimmering. Sear the burgers, about 3-5 minutes on each side, until an instant read thermometer reads 155 internal or until juices run clear. Let the burgers rest for 5 minutes.

Mix together the ketchup and maple syrup and, once the burgers are rested, brush the glaze onto the paties.

To serve, I toasted my sesame seed buns on one side under the broiler with a thick slice of cheddar cheese on the top slice. I then put a thin spread of mayo on the bottom, and added 4 half slices of my maple bacon, topped with a generous heap of caramelized onions, the glazed patty, and then the top bun with the melted cheese. And, since Far Cry 5 is a bit of  a violent game, I finished the whole thing off by stabbing it with a steak knife.