Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
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Archive for May, 2011
Posted: May 25th, 2011

Celebrate new pork-temperature guidelines with this tenderloin recipe from the Food Network.

And there was much rejoicing.
According to the New York Times, the USDA said Tuesday that you only have to cook pork to 145 degrees for it to be safe. This is a good thing because cooking it to the previous suggestion of 160 degrees made it practically inedible.
Do not freak out if you try this and the meat is still a little pink. That’s OK. If you cook it until it’s all gray, you’re wasting moisture and flavor.
The new recommendation doesn’t apply to ground pork, which should be cooked to 160 degrees, and poultry, which should get up to 165.
The New York Times said USDA has been telling chefs and food manufacturers that 145 was fine, but didn’t trust this information to regular consumers.
This can’t have been helping pork producers, whose customers were being trained to ruin their meat.
This would be a good time to invest in a digital meat thermometer, which can tell you for sure that the pork has reached the right temperature and you don’t have to play the guessing game, or slice it too early just to see inside.
This would also be a good time to try cooking this pork tenderloin from the Food Network.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 24th, 2011

My big gardening night will end well with a Fried Egg Sandwich.

Gardening season just hit me like a Mac truck. I had all manner of well-organized plans to prevent this. But rain and this darned job thing scuttled my good intentions and now I’m flying blind into the all-important Memorial Day weekend.
My mother-in-law will be at my house serving as director of operations on Tuesday, and I have a long way to go to be ready for that. She’s been growing vegetables since my own mother was a child, and her advice and experience are essential to the success of my second serious gardening season. She lives two hours away, and it was quite a task for us to find a good date to get together, what with her own gardens and my work schedule.
So she’s coming and I haven’t amended or tilled, let alone put in the cool season stuff she gave me at Easter. So, tonight I’ll be out there regardless of the weather, which brings me to my point. The boys are going to have to find their own dinner tonight. I’ll probably settle for a fried egg sandwich.
Come to think of it, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. Fried egg sandwiches always remind me of my Great-Granny Geisler, who used to make them for me when I was a kid. It’s time for one of those.
Fried-Egg Sandwich for One
1 whole-wheat Arnold’s sandwich round
A few scrapings of butter for bread
2 tablespoons chopped sweet onion
1 large egg
1 slice Kraft Deli Deluxe 2% American cheese
2 tablespoons ketchup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Toast the sandwich round slices and scrape them with butter.
2. Drop a tiny dice of butter into a small skillet, melt and saute the onions until soft.
3. Leave the onions in the skillet, crack the egg over them and cook until white is set. Gently turn the egg over and cook another minute or 2, until egg is over-medium. (Granny made them over-easy, but I don’t think the food-safety police will let me say that.)
3. Stack the round with the egg, cheese, ketchup, salt and pepper.
4. Sit on couch. Crack beer. Eat sandwich.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 23rd, 2011

I'll gladly raise a glass to Cabernet Burgers

I simply don’t understand the appeal of fast food hamburgers. Let’s face it: They suck. And yet they sell them by the millions every single day. A lot of these places actually have food that tastes good. Their fancy salads aren’t bad. I like McDonald’s chipotle grilled chicken Snack Wrap. The fries I almost understand, though a small serving is more than enough. But the burgers: Y.U.C.K.
Even though burgers rarely tempt me off the garden path, these did on Saturday. We ate them with the pickles I wrote about on Friday. Y.U.M.
I wrote about this recipe May 6, 2009. It bears repeating. And repeating.

2 cups cabernet sauvignon wine
1 tablespoon brown sugar
11/2 pounds ground chuck, lean
1/4 cup cabernet glaze (recipe included)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. In a heavy, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the wine and brown sugar. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat. In a large bowl, gently combine the patty ingredients and shape into 4 patties of equal size and thickness, about 3/4 inch thick. With your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a shallow indentation about 1 inch wide in the center of each patty.
3. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the patties over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until cooked to medium, 8 to 10 minutes. Brush them with remaining glaze every 2 minutes and turning them once when the patties release easily from the grate without sticking.
4. Lower the temperature of the grill to medium heat. Brush the tomato slices with oil, season to taste with salt, and grill over direct medium heat until soft, 2 to 4 minutes, turning once.
5. Build the burger with the greens on the bottom half of a bun, follow with the burger and then with tomato. Optional: thin slices of white cheddar cheese.
adapted from “Weber’s Way to Grill, ” by Jamie Purviance
Per serving (without bun): 338 calories, 19.3 grams fat, 0 fiber, 21.4 grams protein, 3.7 grams carbohydrate, 1,243 milligrams sodium, 78 milligrams cholesterol

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 20th, 2011

Pay no attention to the sliders. I'm after the pickles.

I love pickles. Who doesn’t love pickles? Well, a lot of people, I guess. But I love them. My husband loves them. His mom makes them every summer from her homegrown cucumbers, and those are cool. But they seem hard.
These do not seem hard. They seem awesome. And pickly. Not to be confused with prickly, which does not sound awesome.
I very much would like to go to get cucumbers right now and make these. But I’ll hold off until tomorrow. They’d go wonderfully with anything off the grill, especially barbecued chicken or hamburgers. Hmmm. Hamburgers. Yes, I’m feeling it now. That excitement for a beautiful weekend day when I’ll be free to cook whatever I want. I can already feel the burn.
Oh, yes the pickles. Here they are.
(For the complete recipe, including the Pulled Chicken Sliders in the picture, click here.)

Easy Summertime Pickles:
2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon non-iodized salt

1. Place cucumbers and sweet onion in medium glass bowl. Set aside.
2. Mix vinegar, sugar, celery seed, mustard seed and salt in medium saucepan. Bring to boil on medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.
3. Pour hot liquid and spices over cucumbers and onions. Cool slightly. Cover.
4. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator up to 2 months.
Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 18th, 2011

I have lime on the brain, too.

You might remember I was stuck on strawberries for a while there. Well, now it’s the citrus. It started with the lime squares I made for Easter. Then it was the Lemon Meringue Squares coming to Loaves & Dishes June 1. Now it’s this, an ingenious invention for the grill you can make tonight after a quick spin through the store.
As for those of you who are not drinking lime juice with a straw, sorry. Lately I get caught up in something and just can’t move on, kind of like this cat.

Barbecued Lime Shrimp and Corn
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 ears corn, each cut crosswise into 4 pieces
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cups cooked couscous

Combine the first 9 ingredients. Place lime mixture, corn, and shrimp in
a foil oven bag. Place directly on hot coals, or in a 450-degree oven. Cook
10 minutes. Serve over couscous.
Makes 4 servings
Recipes du Jour

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 17th, 2011

The weekend rain served as an umbrella excuse for baking.

It was one long, cold, wet weekend. Entertaining an energetic 5-year-old boy without going outside taxed every fiber of my creativity. I even considered going out to play in the rain before I remembered it was 45 degrees.
I’ve been trying to get the kid in the kitchen with me, and while he’s still too young to chop and saute, he’ll often come if I utter the words “chocolate chips.” He just recently got the green light to have a little bit of dairy at a time, so little pieces of chocolate are top of mind for him. As the rain came down in buckets, I pulled out the last arrow in my quiver and opened “Joy of Cooking.” I went over to the pantry, and we started the ritual. “Mommy, you put the things here and I’ll take them into the kitchen,” he said, as I handed him baking soda, sugar, and the like.
It’s a delicate dance figuring out what parts he can do and what parts I’d better take care of. But measuring flour and whisking in the salt and baking soda are all his. Also, turning on the stand mixer. I just tell him the setting and he cranks it up.
I think the only reason he gets involved is to sneak tastes of the batter while I’m doing something else. This time I had to physically remove him from the kitchen to save him from himself.
As he was finishing up his warm double chocolate muffin, his friend from across the street called. Could J.R. come over and play?
Sweet, sweet relief.
1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup Crisco
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-muffin pan or line it with paper liners.
2. Melt 1/3 cup of the chips, stir and set aside.
3. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
4. Combine in a small bowl buttermilk and vanilla.
5. Beat Crisco in a large bowl 30 seconds on high. Gradually add brown sugar and beat on high 4 to 5 minutes more until lightened in color and texture. Beat in egg and melted chocolate just until blended.
6. With the mixer on medium speed, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk mixture scraping the sides of the bowl until smooth.
7. Fold in remaining chocolate chips, and divide batter among muffin cups.
8. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in one comes out clean.
– adapted from Joy of Cooking

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 13th, 2011

My husband will have a ball.

My husband is running a half-marathon in Cleveland Sunday morning. That’s 13.1 miles as fast as he can go. It’s his third or fourth “half,” which is what the runners call it.
He’ll go to bed Saturday at 9 p.m., and leave our house at 4 a.m. Sunday drive into Cleveland in time for the race. I plan to be where sane people are at 4 a.m. — in bed.
Yes, he’s out of his mind. But I know running John and nonrunning John, and I prefer running John. (He’s a lot less cranky, for one.) So I do what I can to encourage his habit.
In this endeavor, tomorrow I will make protein-rich meatballs in the Crock Pot to serve over whole wheat pasta for carbs. He really likes sauce, so I’ll double the mixture for that. It only takes 5 hours in the slow cooker, rather than 8 to 10 for other recipes. So I guess you could consider it my “half.”

2 pounds ground pork
2 medium yellow onions, half of 1 scraped over the small holes on a box grater. The rest finely chopped
3 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
3 teaspoons hot smoked paprika, divided
5 tablespoons plain dried breadcrumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 teaspoon each coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

1. In a large bowl, combine pork, the grated onion, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika, breadcrumbs, eggs and 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, salt and ground pepper.
2. Combine gently with a wooden spoon and roll meat mixture into 25 1 1/2 inch meatballs.
3. In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. In 2 batches, brown meatballs on all sides, 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
4. Add chopped onion to the skillet and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker, along with remaining seasonings and tomatoes.
5. Cook on low until meatballs are tender, 5 hours.
Serve over cooked pasta.
– adapted from Everyday Food

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 12th, 2011

Books are piling up on my desk again, and if I’m going to keep sitting here, something has to go.

If you want one, or more than one, please e-mail me at jennie.geisler@timesnews.com with your NAME, HOME ADDRESS and TITLE OF THE BOOK you’re interested in. You can put more than one request in your e-mail.

Here’s what I have:
“Ultimate Camp Cooking,” by Mike Faverman and Pac Mac, includes recipes you can cook over an open fire. The authors are also stand-up comedians. 208 pages, somewhat water resistant cover.

“Food From Many Greek Kitchens,” by Tessa Kiros, an elegant, beautiful, very heavy 333-page tome including elegant, beautiful recipes and photographs. Would work as a coffee table book, or highly sophisticated cookbook for advanced cooks interested in authentic Greek cuisine. Also contains stories and personal photographs.

“Tomatoland,” by Barry Estabrook, formerly a contributing editor at the defunct Gourmet magazine. It’s another in what’s become its own genre of anti-agribusiness exposes. This one is about what big business has done to the people who help raise tomatoes and other produce. Highly recommended with cover blurbs from Eric Schlosser (the Godfather of the genre), Ruth Reichl, Jacques Pepin and others.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 11th, 2011

Hummus haters, Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Hummus might make a believer out of you.

I love hummus in limited quantities. It’s great with baby-cut carrots, green pepper strips and spread on crackers. I can’t eat a whole vat of it, but enough for a mid-afternoon snack.
If you just can’t get into hummus, it might be because you can’t get past the taste of tahini, a paste made of sesame seeds, like peanut butter, that’s integral to the distinctive flavor of the Mideastern staple.
Here’s some good news for hummus haters: This recipe doesn’t call for tahini.
Of course, this stretches the boundaries of what qualifies as hummus, but, in my book, if you include roasted red peppers, feta and cayenne you can call it anything you want.
Hummus lovers don’t despair. There is a can of chick peas lurking in there, providing fiber and lean protein. Give it a gander: Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Hummus

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 10th, 2011

I think my body is under this pile somewhere.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m on a strawberry kick. I’ve had them in one form or another every day for a lot of days.
When I was cooking this morning, for my June 8 column, I made Strawberry Goat Cheese Pizza. It’s awesome, if I do say so. Check it out.
While I was shopping for my cooking session, I found a good deal on berries and bought about twice what I needed.
So I’m going home to an embarrassing number of berries lying code blue on the counter. I’m planning to make the fastest shortcake ever, since it’ll be after yoga with bedtime coming up fast. But I insist on having it, because I’ve only had a strawberry yogurt smoothie and half a strawberry goat cheese pizza today, and this is unacceptable.
For shortcake, I like to quarter 4 cups of berries and pour about a quarter cup of sugar over them. Toss and let them sit for 15 to 20 minutes to let the juices flow. Then pour them over the
2 1/4 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Mix, drop about a quarter cup at a time onto a baking sheet.
3. Bake 8-10 minutes.
Makes 16 drop biscuits
Top with whipped topping, or just some cold milk.

Posted in: Uncategorized

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