Pastrami & Swiss Sandwiches

I made this for the Super Bowl as a pre-St. Patrick’s Day test run. I did a half recipe because it was just going to be me and the MotH for the Super Bowl, but I used the other half of the dinner rolls for the Pull-Apart Cheeseburger Sliders. Made lots of sense. I was also really lazy and baked them in disposable foil trays. Not a bad idea when you get right down to it.D&D_2666

12 soft white dinner rolls*
6 Tbs Dijon mustard – divided
8 ozs thinly sliced pastrami
16 ozs Boar’s Head sauerkraut, drained very dry
8 ozs deli Swiss sliced medium
4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs grated yellow onion or shallot
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice rolls in half horizontally. Spread 4 Tbs mustard on tops and bottoms of rolls. Arrange roll bottoms in baking dish. Layer on pastrami, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. Season with black pepper and cover with roll tops.

Combine butter and shallot in a bowl. Microwave until butter melts and onion is soft, about a minute. Add Worcestershire, garlic salt, 2 Tbs mustard and stir to combine. Brush tops and edges with mixture, pouring remaining solids over sandwiches.

Cover dish with foil and let sit 10 minutes to absorb sauce. Bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is melted about 7 – 9 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

Source: Cook’s Country

*You can always use King’s Hawaiian Rolls for something like this, but you have to factor in the sweetness level of King’s  – personal preference. I got my rolls from the bakery department at the Publix and they were great. They held up well to all that was put on them.

These were quite good and reheated well – there were only a couple left and they made a very agreeable breakfast later in the week. I do eat odd things for breakfast, but to each his own – I’ve never been a cereal breakfast kind of person.

Chili Cheese Dog Bread

Love chili dogs? I do. Even as a decade-long vegetarian, I craved chili dogs when I was pregnant with the Boy. I really think there needs to be more research done on cravings while pregnant. Or cravings when you’re sitting in the hospital only able to have ice chips. Either way, more research – I will be happy to assist.

So this is, after all, just a really big chili dog for a crowd. Or just for me. This is also a total cheat meal / appetizer. You don’t cook anything really. You heat, shred, cut, top, bake, and garnish, but really cook absolutely nothing.

To me this is wide open for all kinds of adjustments, additions, and alterations. How about some alliteration?D&D_2673

1 loaf French bread
1 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar, shredded or more as needed
1 can hormel chili, no beans, heated in a small sauce pan
Nathan’s hot dogs
2 Tbs chives, minced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Slice French bread in half lengthwise and scoop out some of the bread to make a trench in each side. Take 1 cup of cheddar and divide between each half of bread. Place the hot dogs end to end and fit into bread. Feed any “extra” hot dog to patiently (Ha!) waiting dog.

Spoon chili over hot dogs and top with remaining cheddar. Place on baking sheet and bake 25 minutes. Let cool slightly and cut into 3 inch segments. Garnish with chives.

Source: Delish.com

Ideas:

Add cole slaw on top (this will lead to a rant I’m not quite ready to dive into …. yet) after all toppings are heated and cheese has melted. Placement, my friends is very important.

Chopped onions / scallions on top. Could also sauté onions until golden.

Well-drained sauerkraut on top of chili, but under cheese.

Steam dogs in beer first (with a sliced onion), dry and continue with recipe.

Sour Cream Cornbread Muffins

I finally decided to make my favorite cornbread recipe into muffins, and I’ll be damned if it did not work out amazingly. I just took my favorite cornbread recipe that I always make for chili and tried to make it in muffin form. I am happy to say it worked really really well. Super happy – yep. dd_1789

1 cup self-rising corn meal*
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 small can of creamed corn – Publix brand is great – like most Publix brands
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients well.  Line a 12-well muffin tin with foil liners and spray with cooking spray. Fill cups 3/4 full – or basically just make them all even so the baking time is the same. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Do the toothpick thing just in case you are wondering.

* 3/4 cup cornmeal + 3 Tbs
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

So this past week I have eaten really moist cornbread muffins for breakfast**. Split in half and put in the toaster oven and heat up and make a little crunchy. And then just go all in with the ridiculously rich European butter – that is some serious good eats. Might be better than biscuits for breakfast but that is almost blasphemy for a good Southern girl to say. Well ….

**Before, I just cut pieces of cornbread and brought them in. But then there was the problem of running out of cornbread for leftover chili, so I went all in – a pan of cornbread and then cornbread muffins – pretty good solution. And more cornbread for me. I didn’t even share this with the office. I think I just might be terrible, no, just selfish.

50 years – this is my life

This past year (2016) I turned 50 and it is only slightly amazing how many other things turned 50 too.  Who knew? I am guessing this happens to other people, but it seemed there were a few significant things. Well, at least significant to me anyway.

Every year I know how old I will be because I am the same age at the Super Bowl. Thank you January or February – which ever month the Super Bowl falls into. This does not make lots of sense because the first super bowl was in 1967, but just wait to see what they are saying about the 2017 Super Bowl  – it will be number 51 – LI in Roman numerals. I keep telling the Boy that is how to know how old I am. It works. Though he does flatter me and make my age way less than it is – it is trick, I know. But it is nice nonetheless.

A couple of Christmas traditions were also first aired in 1966 – The Grinch – which I watch religiously for Max the Dog.

dd_max-grinch-dog

Max – need I say more?

Then there is A Charlie Brown Christmas which I watch because this cartoon, along with the Grinch, had a real grasp on commercialism – in 1966. What does that tell you?

dd_charlie-brown-christmas-tree

I respect the tree. Snoopy, well …

Star Trek started in 1966. I only saw this show in reruns and even then was not interested. But hey we are talking about William Shattner after all. He is pretty cool – but you only learn to appreciate it when you are older – like me, crap. Ugh.

Apparently, Batman, the TV show, started in 1966 – another rerun for me. And honestly, not a great show, excepting when Ertha Kitt was on as Cat Woman – Loved that voice even as a kid. Shows that I have taste in even cheesy shows.

I guess the best thing about getting older means you are not dead. I will take older, thank you very much.

 

Spiced Pecans

I have many (many!) recipes for spiced nuts (more than I have ever used but I guess I need to D&D_1183remedy that situation). One of my favorite’s is my adapted version of Union Square Cafe’s Best Bar Nuts, but if a nut recipe has fresh minced rosemary I’m pretty much all in.  But, that said, I’m not a fan of nuts that use egg whites to coat. It’s not so much the taste, though that is a bit odd, but largely a texture issue.  I’m kind of a butter, sugar, and bake girl.

4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 cups pecan halves
2 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs Worcestershire
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp Tabasco
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
One wedge of fresh lime or more if it makes you happy

Heat butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Add pecans and cook, swirling pan constantly until pecans are toasted, 5 minutes or so. Add the chopped rosemary and swirl because it smells so good.

Add remaining ingredients except lime and stir to coat pecans. Continue cooking and keep stirring for 1 – 2 minutes. Add lime juice and stir for a bit. Transfer pecans to parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure they are in a single layer and let cool. Break up any large pieces.

Note: This is not in the original recipe, but I let the pecans sit in a low oven for about ten minutes. They are still sticky, but the humidity here is a bit of a hot mess (not much if a surprise really).

All that said, the flavor is fantastic or amazing. Might just be a new favorite – yep it is.

www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Jessicas-Spiced-Pecans

Super Bowl 50

A Year Ago – Salted Butterscotch Pecan Cookies

Bacon-wrapped Dried Fruit

D&D_1189I have made this play on the dried fruit wrapped in bacon thing once before, but I have no notes on it. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. I usually make comments if something is good or something bites. So I’m trying this again in a bit if faith that I can make it work. The flavored sounded great to me especially if I add my spin to stuff the dried fruit with some Bleu cheese which is always a good thing, in my opinion.

Cooking spray
12 Turkish-style Apricots, or Pitted Prunes
6 sliced bacon
Some kind of cheese to stuff in the fruit

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil and then add a baking rack on top. Spray baking rack with cooking spray.

Cut each slice of bacon in half cross-wise, about 4 inches long. Use a sharp knife, slit fruit down the middle, but not all the way through. Stuff with whatever cheese (and or nuts) you would like. Make sure you close it up. Then wrap with bacon. Secure with a toothpick and place on the rack seam side down and bake for 10 minutes. Turn with tongs and bake 10 minutes more. Rest for few minutes – really hot dried fruit can burn you – it’s the sugar.

Serve with lime wedges. Oh, yep, I’m so doing that. Citrus makes everything better.

Super Bowl 50

Source: Mollie Katzen – Get Cooking 2009 – great cookbook to get you started in the kitchen. My first experience with Mollie Katzen is probably the same as everyone else. Moosewood Cookbook, I’ve had this book for years – my edition is the 15th anniversary version from 1992 which if I do the math correctly means the book is 39 years old.

Notes: the Bleu cheese leaked out a bit which was unfortunate.  I did get them ready and refrigerate because I worried about that, but it was still a problem. 20 minutes did the bacon perfectly. The ones where the cheese stayed in were awesome, the others were good too, but in general I was a bit bummed about it. Need to figure out how fix it.

I will do this again to be sure. Just need to sort out the minor issue.

Next week’s feeding frenzy – Super Bowl & Mardi Gras

Sometimes the stars align in the food world and food-related holidays  – or excuses to eat as they are really known – are spaced out nicely. That is not the case this year. Both the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras are in the space of three days. Lord, that is a tall order.

We do the Super Bowl at home for who ever want to join us –  kind of just to watch the commercials – and we have a pot luck at work on Mardi Gras. So I have to sort out what I am going to do for each.

Pensacola has a happening Mardi Gras scene with something like 50 Krewes. (You do know the first Mardi Gras celebration wasn’t in New Orleans, right??). There is a krewe here for just about anyone: Krewe of Lafitte, Mayoki Indians, Krewe of St. Patrick, Krewe du Ya Yas,  Pyrates of Perdido Bay, Krewe of Divas, Krewe of Wrecks. The festivities start, usually, the first week of January around 12th night, and continue through till the real Mardi Gras – yep – Fat Tuesday. There are masquerade balls, loads of parades and just a general party atmosphere that gets us through the worst of “our version”of winter, which I am aware is not a real winter. Yes yes, I understand – we don’t have winter. This year Mardi Gras is bloody-friggin’ early – hence the collision with the Super Bowl.

Tonight is the Krewe of Lafitte lighted parade downtown and tomorrow is the big Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade. Sunday is the Wrecks Pensacola Beach Parade. Lord only knows what will happen on Tuesday, but I’m hoping a Bloody Mary will be involved.

So here are my plans for both:
Super Bowl 50 (yes, hate you Super Bowl, but I also do not understand your math)
Sun-dried tomato pesto torte
Spiced pecans
Roast beef and horseradish cream sandwiches
Bacon-wrapped fruit bites
Prosciutto Fontina pinwheels
Buffalo chicken rolls

Mardi Gras pot luck
Mardi Gras Sugar Cookies
Sun-dried tomato pesto torte – I always ask the office what they want me to make. And it’s pretty much always this. Fine with me. I love it. And I get it twice this week – score!!