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.



Pecan Toffee Shortbread – Cook’s Country

I have a thing about shortbread. It really is kind of magical. I think it is the butter that makes it so good – a shortbread is a butter cookie after all. I do love a recipe that you can mix a day or two ahead and then bake it at your leisure. They say “marry in haste and repent in leisure.” Cookies are not that way – leisure can totally fit into the picture and I think cookies that sit in the fridge for a day or so are always better – when you have the time, that is. They can be convenient if you plan a little ahead,  which I always (almost always) do – because that is just me. I made this recipe the first time in 2009 and I thought it was good, but I think I may need to make improvements to this recipe – see my notes below.dd_1763

I am not a fan of a dough you have to roll out. I think that tells you lots about me. I am lazy-ish mostly – even in baking. Sigh.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
12 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped pecans – Renroes, of course.
1/2 cup toffee bits
Confectioners’ sugar*

Sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt over a piece of waxed paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter, both sugars, and vanilla until smooth. Add flour mixture, chocolate, pecans and toffee. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for an hour or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters, re-rolling as necessary. Place cookies 1 inch apart and bake until edges are golden brown, about 12 – 14 minutes, rotating half way through. Cool 10 minutes on baking sheet. Sift confectioners’ sugar over to serve. 

Notes:
This is a good recipe, but somehow it just has too much stuff in it to be a shortbread. It is a bit of a pain to roll out – mini chips, toffee, pecans (and I did make them small). I tried to make it simple, but I also wonder if I could not make the same cookie and then roll it into a log and slice and bake – yes, the lazy is coming right back. I do not like rolling out dough, sugar cookies being the exception (and there are several examples of that). I do the same thing with cheese crackers – just give me a slice and bake and I am a very happy girl.

*I kind of skipped the confectioners’ sugar for this and went for sanding sugar. Confectioners’ sugar sort of disappears after a bit (read: very short period of time), but I do like sanding sugar, and since I have been making sugar cookies recently, it was what was in my mind and I thought it worked well.

2015 – Two years ago – Sweet Tomato Chutney

Sausage Balls – Cook’s Country

It just would not be Christmas morning without the ubiquitous sausage balls. I love these and eat them from Christmas through January. And then I’m done. I feel like if I made them any other time of year they just would not be special. That may be stupid, but it is how I feel.

My mom made the bisquick version and I did the same for a long time. But honestly, that was the only time I used bisquick and I would end up throwing it out at a certain point between the holidays. Seemed wasteful so when I came upon this Cook’s Country recipe, I knew I had what I needed. This is no more complicated than the bisquick version either. Dead simple.

So once again, one of my favorite Christmas treats, for breakfast, of course. With grape jelly, that goes without saying. Fred always liked mustard with his, but I eat sausage balls like I eat sausage biscuits with grape jelly. I find that I am not the only person to do that and that makes me less like a strange one. I get that mustard works, but I love the sweet with the hot sausage. Then again, I also like maple syrup with hot sausage and that does not make a lot of sense, unless you are me.dd_1705

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
8 ozs hot breakfast sausage
4 ozs sharp cheddar, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper an cayenne until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal about 12 pulses. Add sausage and cheddar and pulse until combined, about 8 more times. Place mixture in a nice sized bowl and stir in buttermilk until just combined.

Wet your hands and roll dough into 1 1/4 inch ball (about 1 Tbs each). Space evenly on baking sheet and bake until golden brown between 20 – 22 minutes, rotating baking pan halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm. With grape jelly. Yum.

You can make these ahead and bake, cool, and then freeze and just reheat in the oven at 200 degree for 15 or so minutes. Just test one and see if it where you want it to be for reheating.

24 December 2014

24 December 2016 – for Christmas Day brunch/lunch

 

 

 

Magnum Pepper Mill

This is my Thing of the Month (which month, honestly, I have lost track. I may just have to stop naming these posts that way) – the Magnum Pepper Mill from Unicorn Mills.
This is another product that was recommended by Cook’s Country and it does not disappoint. It is simple and easy to work with, and at only $45 it is a great value for something you use multiple times every day. And I do use it multiple times a day.
The grinder is fast, and though a large size – the grinder is 9 inches tall – it is not too big for my rather small hands.D&D_1525

The large storage capacity for my Tellicherry Peppercorns is easy to refill – way easier than the one I was using, that is for certain.
Another thing I love about this pepper grinder is that it is made in the USA – on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts and the company has been in business since 1986.
Looking at the site makes me really want a travel-sized grinder to carry with me. Yep, I am that dork. But it really does not bother me. Much.

I am thinking of getting a salt mill but that opens an entirely different train of thought – salt – and my slight obsession with salt. Lord, if I went on with all the salts I have – once again, a dork.

 

Wednesday Cooking School

So tonight The Boy and I made carrot cake. It is one of his favorites.  I have made carrot cake for D&D_1233him many, many, many, years  – big birthday cake for him. When I said The Boy and I made a carrot cake, I really mean just him. I am kind of the director in this movie. Suggesting, demonstrating, etc. To me, you learn by doing, so I let him do the doing.

So I get home from work and he’s here already – good start. As I go up to change (I’m a mess when cooking, so I have to change my clothes), I say to him, start peeling the carrots. Simple enough, right?  A few minutes later he’s still peeling that first carrot … There was almost no carrot left. I said, what are you doing? Do you not know how to peel a carrot?  Apparently not. So I explained how to peel a carrot. And then explained for the cake we would be grating the carrots for the cake. Poor guy, he just didn’t know.

Lesson: don’t assume things in Wednesday Cooking School.

I am not a fan of making cake after work, but this wasn’t too horrible. Only about 2 1/2 hours, but excellent time spent hanging out with The Boy. Yes, that’s the best part.  Indeed.

I’m kind of excited that his next choice is Eggs Benedict with homemade hollandaise. I started this stupid idea on New Year’s Day of 2009. What the hell – make a very complicated thing for New Year’s Day – does anyone do that? Apparently I do. And we did it weekend after weekend that year. But since The Boy is coming over after work, it will be for dinner, and in my small brain, that is a good thing.

Christmas Brunch

When I was growing up we had a few things for Christmas breakfast that were basically snack-able. To me that was an excellent thing. Toasted Banana Nut Bread – honestly, to me the only way to eat it. It was crunchy and smeared with some imitation butter that I immediately changed to real butter once on my own as a grown up. You only live once, why the hell eat margarine? Another was sausage balls – we had them served with a side of mustard, usually brown, and my personal, kind of slightly wrong. choice, grape jelly (do not judge until you try a sausage biscuit with a little grape jelly).  There might have been other things, but those are the two that stick our for years and years and years.

I have made some changes for our Christmas morning since then beyond just going with really rich salted European butter, but that was an excellent call on my part, not too many real changes. First, it is not breakfast. It is brunch around 11:00am-ish (isn’t funny how adding the suffix “ish” gives you lots of wiggle room with time?). In past years, I have added latkes which works well with my Christmas soundtrack. The Boy says it isn’t Christmas with out The Klezmatics and he is correct. How this started, I don’t know, but I love to listen to them on Christmas morning – full playlist below. Latkes I love with sour cream and freshly sautéed Granny Smith apples (not applesauce). They are not something I make often, but something I really really enjoy. Another change I’ve made is to make sausage balls without using pancake mix (Bisquik) and just using Cook’s Country’s recipe – superior in every way and with things I have on hand.

So this year, I was trying to sort out what to make and decided that simple and tasty were good enough. I made banana nut bread ahead of time (Banana Nut Bread Challenge) and decided to make sausage, as a nod to sausage balls, and scrambled eggs – super quick and easy.

There is a story behind the scramble eggs and sausage though. As as child, and to a large degree even now, I was allergic to damn near everything. Consequently, I wasn’t fed eggs as a kid – hell, I didn’t get the MMR shot until in my 20’s because the vaccine was grown (yes, back then – ugh) in eggs and no one wanted to risk it. So I never ate eggs as a young kid. Enter my elementary school age, and my mom would make sausage and scrambled eggs and I loved it, but that was the only way you could get me to eat an egg.D&D_1054.jpg

Let me explain how this process works. In a large non-stick skillet, cook a pound of  bulk breakfast sausage of choice (there is only one choice – hot) until it is cooked through. In a bowl. whisk together with a fork, 5 eggs and a splash of cream or milk. While the sausage grease is still hot, add the scrambled eggs and cook them as you would any other scrambled eggs. Serve while nice and hot.

Dead simple and pretty much amazing. Oh, and they really reheat well with a smidge of time in the microwave the next day, but it is highly unlikely there will be any left over. The three of us polished all that off with no problems whatsoever. And some salted butter soaked banana nut bread. Simple, sometimes is the best thing ever.

Lemon Sour Cream Cookies

D&D_0385

Lemon Sour Cream Cookies with Lemon Glaze

These Cook’s Country Lemon Sour Cream Cookies have a cake-like texture that is very different from any other lemon cookie I make. To me, they fall into the tea cake or Madeline family of cookies. The lemon glaze makes it. I have done them with no glaze though. They are very good, but I prefer them with the glaze. The cookies themselves are not too sweet, so I guess that is why the glaze works so well.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies | with slight adaptions.

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks – yep  lots of butter, but that is a good thing – just saying.)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons grated zest and 1/4 cup juice from 2 lemons

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle racks and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.

With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. Reduce speed to medium-low. Mix in sour cream and zest. Add flour mixture and mix until incorporated.

Refrigerate until slightly firm, about 1 hour. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. Bake until just golden around edges, about 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Cool on baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough.

Combine lemon juice  and whisk in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Top each cooled cookie with 1 teaspoon glaze or thereabouts.  Cookies can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.

Cook’s Country

4 August 2012 vg very cakey

28 December 2013

28 January 2014

22 August 2015

Yes, worth doing over and over again.