Monday, March 26, 2007

Credit Where Due

I started out using my crockpot years ago and love that its easy and ready to go as soon as I get home. Here's my primary crockpot cookbook. I rarely use the recipes as they are published, b/c I find many of them a bit bland.

However they make wonderful starting points for my own deranged experiments (cue evil laughter.) It's also real helpful to determine how long to cook something, and a good ratio for ingredients. (i.e. 1 can of tomatoes to 2 LBS roast.)

Fix it and Forget IT Cookbook

Pegs Mom's Chicken

Peg and I dated for about a year. She was a good friend, but we've lost touch. She's shared this recipe form her mother, and it was so damn good and basic I wrote it down.

1 Roasting Chicken - clean out the stuff inside and discard.
1/2 Apple
1/2 Orange
1 Stalk of Celery - chopped
1/2 Onion - chopped
Ground Pepper
2 TBS Butter
1/2 tsp Rosemary
1/2 tsp Sage
1/2 tsp Thyme

Rub the spices and butter inside the cavity and on the skin
Stuff the fruit and vegetables into the cavity

1 Cup prepared Bullion
2 tbs Flour to thicken

Oven per direction on package, until timer pops

Shake the bullion and the flour in a jar.
add to saucepan
add drippings to saucepan
heat over med. heat
stir to thicken - add add'l flour as needed.

Basic Goulash (Crockpot)

I love Central European Cookin' - My mother made pierogies from scratch when I was a kid (She's half Lithuanian). Anyway , I was fortunate to study in Vienna, Austria and Sophia, Bulgaria while I was in college. So I learned about even more delicious food. (And some pretty scary soviet-era food. After I left Bulgaria, they "threw off the yoke of Soviet Oppression. That's part of my secret CIA resume' you can ask Valerie Plame.)

Goulash is a Hungarian meat stew, with a Tomato and Red Pepper base.

2.5 lbs stewing meat
1 Lg Onion, chopped
3 TBS Oil
8 oz tomato sauce
28 oz can whole tomatoes - chopped up.
14 oz can mushrooms
3 Lg carrots chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 C. H2O
2 beef bullion cubes
2 TBS ground hot pepper Szego Hot or hotter depending on your taste
3 TBS regular or "sweet" Paprika
2 TBS Flour
3-4 TBS dried parsley
Dash Pepper

roll meat in flour, brown in skillet
All Into the crockpot - 8-10 hours on low

Middle Eastern "Kefta" Meatloaf - Experiment in Progress

I love middle eastern food: Hummus, Babaganoush, Shwarma, Falafel, Cous Cous and Kefta Kabobs. Kefta Kabobs are ground lamb rolled up on a skewer and grilled. Think sausage without the benefit of casing.

I was in Shoprite the other day, and don't normally shop there. To my delight, the had ground Lamb! So I passed on the "meatloaf mix" b/c I can get that at the Acme in Trolley Sqr. I also got some ground veal. Yeah, I know, I'm a veal eating heathen. So I decided to make a Kefta Meatloaf. It was yummy but
needs some seasoning work. - It was mild, slightly creamy and you could taste the lamb. I think it needs Cumin. And Mint is an option too.

1.15 LBS ground lamb
1.15 LBS ground veal (a lean beef prob. would have worked here too.)
(Might want to increase the lamb to beef ratio.)
1 MED onion - (chopped fine - hide from kids)
2-3 TBS (abt.) Fresh chopped parsley. a "bunch"?
1/2 Cup plain yogurt
salt / pepper to taste
1 cup Ritz breadcrumbs (slightly less that a stack - crushed fine)
in a 2 qt. corningware caserole dish
350 deg. 1.25 hrs. uncovered.

untried options:
Cumin - how much?
mint - how much?

Basic Meatloaf Recipes

Three purposes: 1) Archive Recipes 2) Access them from any computer (cooking at friends) 3) Allow friends to experiment and improve. mmm....

Basic Meatloaf
1.5 LBS meat
1 Med. onion chopped fine (hide from kids)
1/2 cup sauce (Ketchup is trad. I like BBQ sauce)
1 Egg (Lg?)
salt / pepper / garlic / paprika to taste
1 cup Breadcrumbs (I make my own by crushing Ritz(r) crackers)
mix in a bowl with your hands - (you already washed them, right?)

should have consistency of meatloaf. Add more "sauce" or milk if not moist enough.

in a caserole dish
350 DEG. for 1.25 hours

This one orig. called for 2/3 C. Milk. It was too milky, so I cut it back.
1 LB meat (meatloaf mix or leaner beef - not 80%)
1/3 cup milk
1/4 C. ketchup
1/2 Cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped onion (again fine - see above)
1 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 egg

cook as above.