Reuben Roll Ups

I do love a good reuben. I think my favorite recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Country. I find that I have not posted that here – an oversight I will have to remedy. But the flavors of a Reuben are some of my favorites. I make a Reuben casserole that is just – I will say it again – stupidly good. It is not exactly pretty food (no, really, it is not), but if you like a Reuben, it is pretty amazing. And the left-overs are, well, let’s just say they are better than the day you make it. I guess I make this in the early spring because it is still cool enough that a casserole works, and it seems to fit with St. Patrick’s Day – I mean, corned beef after all. Again, I have taken lessons from America’s Test Kitchen’s Reuben sandwich – read: no bottled thousand island dressing is involved.dd_1801

I am not typically a fan of crescent rolls, but it seemed to work here. Maybe allowances can be made? We shall see.

1 package of crescent rolls
4 ozs corned beef
4 ozs Swiss cheese
1 cup Boar’s Head sauerkraut*, drained and squeezed dry
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs chili sauce
2 Tbs sweet pickle relish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll the crescents. On each roll, place 1 Tbs sauce, 1/2 oz corned beef, 1/2 oz Swiss cheese, and 2 Tbs sauerkraut. Roll up and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 13 – 15 minutes or until slightly browned.

Serve with extra sauce because that just makes it a lot better.
Modified from : spendwithpennies.com.reuben-roll-ups/

*My go to sauerkraut. Always.



Thermopen

This was a bit of a splurge but it has been so well worth it.  I first saw this instant-read thermometer on America’s Test Kitchen and did not order it at first because the price put me off. I had a little thermometer that I really kind of liked and it worked just fine, but it was a bit pokey in indicating temperature and kind of meh, but it was ATK best buy and I did get along with that for several years.  So when America’s Test Kitchen sent an email that they were giving a discount on their “most trusted” Thermopen, I just had to go for it.

And I am glad I did. I am beyond thrilled with my Thermopen. No kidding. It is great for casseroles and even better for meat temperatures.D&D_0320But it is best for me for pound cakes. I know the skewer thing works, but this makes me feel so much better.

Nothing worse than slicing into a pound cake and finding out it is a bit raw inside. Blech. Yeah really blech.

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Bars

So when I buy buttermilk to bake something I try to find other things to make with what is left. I know, I know, you can freeze leftover buttermilk, but I never seem to do it.

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Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

 

It is funny I do not remember my mom making anything with buttermilk – really nothing. Not even biscuits and that is strange for a Southern woman. I do not have it on hand all the time, but most of the time.

Most recently, I have used buttermilk in Savory Herb Muffins and in Basil Sun-Dried Tomato Mozzarella Bread, and of course, Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze which was the original intent of the buttermilk purchase. And now another recipe with just a bit of buttermilk in it.

In the grand scheme of things, it is kind of a test. What can you do with it, and make it different. Not just cake or biscuits or whatever – try to make a variety of things. I am sure the next time I have buttermilk (like now) homemade ranch dressing will be in my future as is often the case in the spring. And that always means spinach and mushroom quiche. One of my favorite things ever and a recipe I have had since before the boy was born – way before.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs canola oil
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup roughly chopped pecans (Renfroe’s, of course)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9 x 13 inch baking pan*, spray with baking spray and line with parchment and spray again.

Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and both sugars. In a small bowl, crack egg, add canola oil, vanilla, and buttermilk. Add flour a little at a time. Stir in chocolate and pecans.

Spread dough, it will be thick, into pan making sure to get dough all the way into the corners. Bake 30 – 35 minutes until center is set and the edges are golden. Cool bars in pan and the cut into bite-sized pieces with a plastic knife because you do not want to jack up the pan with a metal knife.

Source: Baking Bites – one of my favorite baking sites. Must, at some point, figure out how many recipes that I have used from this site. I think there will be several.

* Love William-Sonoma Gold Touch Pans – they really are the best. Thank you America’s Test Kitchen for showing me how amazing these pans are. They really live up to all the hype.

Spiced Kumquat Chutney

So my lovely mother-in-law gave me a nice bag of kumquats and I had no earthly idea what to do D&D_1043with them until I saw a Bon Appetite article for citrus you don’t use but you should. Lots of citrus ideas of lots of citrus I have no access to, but I do have a bag of kumquats. So let’s get to it.

12 ozs kumquats, quartered lengthwise and seeded (who knew from seeds?)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 shallot, minced
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 star anise in cheese cloth to be removed later – or just fished out. That’s what I did.

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Boil until kumquat skins are tinder and mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove star anise. Transfer to a bowl until cool. Cover and store (in a mason jar) in the refrigerator. Can be kept for two weeks.

D&D_1171Notes: I really like this, but the cloves are a bit strong. Next winter I may leave that out. Even though kumquats grew around me all the time as a kid, I’ve never really bothered with them. Do hope to get a nice supply next winter. Always hopeful.

On an aside: star anise is one of those spices I keep whole and don’t get to use often. But it is nice to have when you need it. I also keep whole nutmeg. There is nothing better – those things last for damn near ever. Just use a microplane grater on it. Thank you AB – but I had a few of these before I ever “met” you.  And on the recommendation of America’s Test Kitchen I keep fresh peeled ginger in a jar of sherry in the fridge.  Fresh ginger any time you want it.

All the thing you learn as you get on in cooking. Excellent.

Kuhn Rikon Garlic Press

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My new garlic press

This handsome (!), stainless-steel garlic press makes quick, easy work of pressing garlic.

Place unpeeled garlic cloves inside and get the pressed garlic you want.

Designed to fit into the palm of the hand of a small person like me; engineered to require far less effort to use than other presses which I totally need since I’m a bit of a wimp.

Sieve hinges out to flush clean under water; can also be washed in the dishwasher – duh – dishwasher every time.

Well, my old garlic press finally gave up the ghost. Understandable, given how much it was used. It was good, but sometimes I could not get large cloves through it without the help of either the Boy or MotH, and how sad is that? I knew ATK had reviewed garlic presses, so I scoured my recent magazines and found a recommendation for the Kuhn Rikon Garlic Press. I knew I had seen this before, but I did my research and even though it was affordable, I always hesitate at spending money on things for me. But that rational didn’t really work, because it is something I use almost every day, so why not.

How sad is it to get excited over this? Not sure, but seems to be. Sigh.

T-fal 12-inch nonstick, oven safe, saute pan (name long enough?)

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t-fal saute pan – 12″ – yeah!

T-fal E93808 Professional Total Nonstick Oven Safe Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Fry Pan / Saute Pan Dishwasher-Safe Cookware (thing), 12-Inch, Black – longest name ever – just saying.

  • Prometal Pro nonstick interior is exceptionally durable and scratch resistant, safe for use with metal utensil – will never do that – thanks to Get it Right spatulas.
  • The unique T-fal Thermo-spot heat indicator shows when T-fal pan is perfectly preheated for cooking.
  • Riveted Silicone Handles for comfort grip. Isn’t that just so cute? Not really sure what it means. I’m blonde. No, really.
  • Dishwasher safe; Oven safe to 350 degrees F.
  • Safe for all cooking methods including induction – cool!*

On Amazon, this is usually about $40, which isn’t bad for a saute pan, especially one with praise of American’s Test Kitchen. In fact, if you watch that show, or its companion, Cook’s Country, you’ll see this pan used a lot.
I had it on my wishlist on Amazon and the MotH went to purchase some water filters for the refrigerator, and receive a notice that the price had dropped – to $26 – really? Super cool! So he asked and said yes (yep, this happened 13 years ago too) – no brainer there (either time). He bought it for me. And I love it. I’ve been hand washing it – that’s how much I love it. Crazy, right?

*stole all the bullet points from Amazon. But snarky comments are my own – surprised? I hope not.

Thing of the month – Chef’s Choice Professional Sharpening Station 130

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Pretty fancy knife sharpening thing – It has a real name, but …

I base many of my purchases on Cook’s Illustrated Magazine recommendations and their accompanying PBS television programs. I love this knife sharpener because there is nothing worse, or more dangerous, than a dull knife. One of my favorite restaurants has someone come in weekly to sharpen knives. It’s a true skill. One that I do not possess.

The reason I like this sharpening station (I just won’t be typing out its slightly ridiculously long name again) is because it’s idiot proof. And in this, I am an idiot. It’s quick to sharpen and I do sharpen my knives about once a week – just to keep them in good shape – sometimes longer if I haven’t used a particular knife very much. It does take up some room on the counter, but I keep it in a drawer just below the part of the counter where I do my prep.

One caveat  – the noise is almost unbearable. Imagine the dentist, but worse. Not kidding.  I just put my headphones in and get all zen like about it. But it does not seem to work. I’ve never read the instructions, but the notes on the machine are all you really need.

It steels a blade too and that sounds so cool, but I’m not quite sure what that means. This is not cheap, but I paid about $150 for mine and I think it is well worth it. Dull blades are bad things.