Sunday, February 19, 2017

Korean Spaghetti

I made this for my daughter and her boyfriend, the chef, yesterday.  This is seriously good spaghetti.  It's so cute that someone who cooks for others all day long every day, loves me to cook for him.

  • 2 pounds of assorted mushrooms
  • 4~ 5 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp of gochujang paste 
  • 4 tsp of flour
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano cheese, plus more to sprinkle
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-1/2 pounds of spaghetti cooked al dente

Saute the mushrooms in the oil until browned on both sides.

They should be very golden.  Make sure you do this because it really makes the mushrooms very flavorful.  Remove them and set them aside.

Brown the pork in the remaining oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add the onion and the garlic. Cook for a couple minutes.

Add the tomato paste and the gochujang.

Stir it in until it evenly coats the meat.

Sprinkle with the flour and cook it a few minutes stirring all the while.
Add the milk.

 Cook until it begins to thicken.

Add the mushrooms.

Then the cheese.

Stir it until the cheese melts and add the spaghetti.  Taste it and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve it sprinkled with more Parmesan, sliced green onions and some diced cilantro. 

This is not very spicy.  If you want more spice, add more gochujang.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Easter Wreath

I guess I better start wrapping my head around winter being over.  We are going to be close to 70 degrees this weekend and well into next week.  My crocuses are up as well as my daffodils. No winter this year.  My daughter loves having seasonal wreaths on her front door so I made her an Easter wreath yesterday.

I find ugly old wreath castoffs at thrift stores for 1.00.  I rip off whatever they are covered with and use the base to make a new one.  Easy and very affordable!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

I made this cake for my husband for Valentine's Day.
The recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 extra large egg
  • Topping:
  • 8-oz package cream cheese
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 16 ounces confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  1. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan
  2. For the cake, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In another mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, melted butter and egg. Add in flour mixture then spread on bottom of the baking dish.
  3. For the topping, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Reserve two tablespoons of confectioners sugar for finishing. Add remaining confectioners sugar to cream cheese mixture along with melted butter. Pour over top of cake dough, spreading evenly over the entire surface of cake. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until top is set and obtains a golden brown crust but is still gooey and soft. Remove from the oven and cool. Sprinkle top of cake with reserved confectioners sugar. Cut cake into 16 squares.
I placed a piece of waxed paper over the cake portion and pushed it into place.

Pour the topping over the base.
This is what it looks like out of the oven.

Let it cool and then sprinkle it with the powdered sugar.

It has a shortbread like bottom.

And a gooey buttery vanilla center.   Very easy to make.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Some of My Favorite Spices

 I like to use all sorts of salt and spices in my cooking and I am always on the lookout for new ones to incorporate into my dishes.  I collect lots of different salts and this is one of my favorites.  Truffle salt is great sprinkled on steaks and burgers because it adds a depth of flavor.  It is particularly good on french fries and popcorn too.

 Mahlab is the pit of the sour cherry.  Ground up, it has a sweet-sour nutty flavor that is delicious in breads, cookies and scones.

 I love this Krakow Nights Polish seasoning from Penzeys.  It's great on all kinds of meats, in soups and of course, in halushki.

 I now use this almost exclusively instead of red pepper flakes. Korean chili flakes are earthy, fruity and smoky.  They waken up any dish and depending on how much you use, they can brighten a dish or add a kick to it.

 Sumac berries are widely used in Mediterranean cuisine.  Sometimes it's sprinkled on food as a condiment. It has a lemony flavor which adds a fruity sourness to sauces.

 I add truffle zest to dishes when I want them to have an earthy flavor.  It's especially good in meatloaves and meatballs.  I add it to rice and soups and gravies.

 Aromat Seasoning is a good all purpose seasoning to use on just about anything.

Sazon Goya can be found in most grocery stores or Latin American markets.  I use this a lot!  The garlic and onion can be used in almost all soups, stews and sauces.  The Coriander & Annatto is used in stews, soups, pasta, rice, beans and mixed into cooked vegetables.

 I think we get used to adding the same spices and flavorings to our food.  I like to experiment with flavorings, especially from other countries, to see how they improve and enrich the food I make. If you want to take your cooking to the next level, give some of these a try.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Korean Garlic Beef Bowl

I made this for dinner yesterday and everyone over ate.  Rather embarrassing. It means the food was really good but we are piggies!  I served this on sticky rice which was perfect.

  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of gochujang
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into 1/4" thick wedges
  • 3 cups of shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced kimchi
  • 2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger
While your rice is cooking, saute' the beef in the sesame oil until brown.  Add the garlic, ginger, kimchi, cabbage and onions and cook for a few minutes until it starts to soften. In a separate bowl, mix the soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, gochujang, fish sauce and black pepper.  Pour this over the beef and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and adjust.  Serve over rice. 

I'd double this because 4 of us wiped this out.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Soft French Bread

This is a new bread recipe that I made this morning.  It said that it is a soft French loaf but it seems more like Italian bread to me.  Which ever it is, it's terrific.
 Mix 2-1/2 C. water with 1 T. of rapid rise yeast.  Add 2 tsp. of salt and 1/2 C. of sugar.  Mix in 6 cups of all purpose flour.  Add a bit more flour if it's too sticky and knead until you have a smooth ball of dough.  Place it in a buttered bowl, cover it and let it rise for 2 hours.

 Cut the dough in half and roll one half out on a floured surface into a rectangular shape. 

 Roll it tightly into a long loaf.  Do the same with the other piece, cover and let rise for 1 hour.

 Bake it in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes, just until it starts to brown.

Place them on a rack to cool.
Brush them with butter.
 The bottom should be golden.

 This recipe makes two large loaves.

Wonderful bread. One of the best I've ever baked.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

My Love/Hate Relationship with Fiestaware

My favorite color is black.  So, Fiestaware  was something I was never interested in until I found that I lived a couple hours away from the factory.  I found myself checking out their "seconds shop" every time I was in the area on one of our trips. I bought myself a set of dishes in chartreuse and chocolate.  For me, this was very colorful!
 A few days ago I saw that they had a sale going on in the "seconds" shop so I jumped in the car and headed there.  I wanted to purchase a pair of mixing bowls.  Unfortunately, they didn't have all of the sizes or the matching colors I wanted.  These bowls are great for a bread baker.  They hold heat so they are perfect bowls to help your bread rise.  I didn't want the trip to be a waste of time so I bought a red medium bowl.

 The only other sizes they had were in navy blue.  They were so cheap I couldn't pass them up.  Notice how quickly I'm getting colorful? I justified my decision by telling myself they would look good on a 4th of July buffet.

 Then I found these green prep bowls that match my dishes.

 I started to lose my mind a little bit.  I saw this beautiful yellow crock that I thought would look great on my new potting table. (More on that later).

 And this navy utensil holder to hold garden tools.  How very Provencal it will look.

 And these two vases because they matched the last two pieces.

 And this one just because it was there.  My dish cabinet now looks like the LGBT flag.  I've promised myself to never use them all together at the same time.  That would push my OCD into overdrive