Well, I probably shouldn't do this, but I've started another Blog. Like I don't already spend too much time at the MacBook. As some of you might have guessed, I like to cook and I love to eat. So I thought I'd share my recipes, humble as they may be and an occasional dinner menu at our house. I am somewhat "reluctant" to share this project right now, but caution to the wind. The plan is to be discovered by the Food Network for my cooking show Cranky Franky's in the Kitchen.
Am I ready for critics? Probably not. I know my instructions are not always clear or precise. Let me know if something doesn't make sense. Anyhow, if you're interested, check out "Dinner's Ready"

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Beef Stew

beef stew is like stone soup - you put the stuff in the pot and cook it, minus the stone, of course. Simple. Great for these cold winter days we're having in almost the entire country.

Cube and brown the beef in a little oil and garlic. I used 2 pounds and sauteed in two batches because too much meat in the pan will not brown well. Add some salt while the meat is sauteing.

Add some red wine, a little more.

Add some sliced mushrooms

Add some onions. I used four medium sized onions.

Let everything start cooking together

Add some chopped celery.

Add some carrots - I used the ones that are ready to cook.

Add some potatoes. We're cutting down on starch and carbs, so I used less than I could have.

I decided to transfer the whole stew to a crock pot/slow cooker which is larger than the pot I had started with. But I did this mainly so I wouldn't have to check on the cooking quite as often.

Add some tomatoes - you can use stewed tomatoes or diced tomatoes in their own juice.

Add salt and pepper and several bay leaves

This stew cooked in the crock pot for about 5 hours. Add a little water as needed during cooking if stew is too dry.

I added a can of peas about a half hour before serving. You can use frozen peas which are probably better, or even some green beans if you don't have peas. Discard the bay leaves as you find them.

It was yummy!

Dinner's Ready!

"You better not touch MY stew"

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cauliflower - with a different slice

I am tempted to call this Cavolfiore alla Parmigiana - a variation on a theme - although my Google search brings up Italian-based website recipes all of which include tomato. This is "plain" - no sauce.

Alla Parmigiana, to my mind means the egg-dipped breaded, fried (or baked or sauteed) vegetable (eggplant) or meat (veal, chicken, even pork cutlets) with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top - whether or not it gets baked again in a casserole with tomato sauce and more cheese.

I've done this before, (Cavolfiore alla Nonna) but this version is prepped a little differently. The pieces are easier to bread and fry when sliced like this and they look nice on the plate.

Take a head of cauliflower and put it whole into a deep sauce pan with a little water on the bottom and steam it for about 4 or 5 minutes until just barely cooked, not too tender.

Remove the whole cauliflower and slice it into slices not much thicker than 1/2 inch. These hold together fairly well. If pieces break off, no problem, just proceed with dipping, breading and frying the smaller ones as with the larger pieces.

Dip the slices in beaten egg, dredge in flavored bread crumbs and fry in olive oil (or place on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil, and bake at 375 in the oven) until the slices are golden brown; if frying, turn to brown on both sides.

This method will soak up a fair amount of oil; baking will use a minimal amount of oil.

Remove from pan or oven and sprinkle with grated parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) cheese.

This makes a great antipasto or contorni. Can be served at room temperature. We had it tonight along with a bought roasted chicken from the market. (At $3.99 on sale for an already cooked whole chicken, who can go wrong?)

Leon made a pineapple upside down cake for dessert.

Dinner's Ready!

Buon Appetito!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Home Made Egg Noodles with Cauliflower and Tuna

Pasta all'uovo con Cavolfiore e Tonno.

I had intended to make a tuna noodle casserole tonight but didn't get to the market for noodles and cream of mushroom soup. Actually I was going to use fresh mushrooms to avoid any additives and fat that might be in canned soup unless it was labeled "organic and all natural" which my local IGA does not specialize in.

So I decided to use what I had on hand - and ended up skipping the casserole all together.

Now I haven't made home made egg noodles in a long time, but it is really easy. The hardest part is cleaning up. Although I try to keep flour confined to a small area, I tend to be a bit messy and, well, there's white all over the counter and me.

To get back to what I did have on hand: Eggs, flour, canned tuna,  a nice big cauliflower, garlic of course, red pepper flakes, olive oil, Italian flavored bread crumbs.

So I decided on home made egg noodles with cauliflower and tuna. To be honest I had some doubts about how this combination would taste, especially after I added the tuna...

I didn't take pictures while I was cooking - only the final dish - nor did I measure it all out. If you need details on home made egg noodle manufacturing you can check out  How to make egg noodles at this website.

I used 3 large eggs and about 2 to 2.5 cups of flour. Just break the eggs into the mound of flour and stir with a fork until the flour is incorporated a little at a time. Continue until a a soft/stiff dough forms, just past the sticky stage. Let the dough rest a few minutes, roll out thin (1/8 inch or less) on a well floured board, cut into strips or squares. Do not pile up the noodles - keep them separated and lightly floured until ready to cook.

This amount  turned out to be enough for four people or three hungry people. We had leftovers again. Here's the rest of the recipe.

Cut up the cauliflower and immerse the florets in a pot of boiling, salted water for about 4 minutes and removed all the florets with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Keep the pot boiling.

Saute two or three cloves of garlic in some olive oil - enough to cover the bottom of a large cast iron skillet - and add a good teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Cook on high heat until the garlic just begins to brown, lower heat and add three cans of tuna, drained. You don't want to fry the tuna - just heat it through. Add the cauliflower and toss it well to coat the cauliflower with the garlic oil.

Put the noodles into the salted boiling water and cook until two or three minutes after the noodles come to the surface. Remove noodles with a slotted spoon into serving dishes and top with the cauliflower and tuna mixture. Add a little pasta water to make a "sauce" and top with a dusting of Italian bread crumbs which give just enough flavor to make this dish actually better than I had anticipated.

Another simple, delicious and nutritious meal. Dinner's ready! Buon appetito!