Saturday, March 28, 2015

Salisbury Steak ~ Guest Cook: My Nephew Rick Mason

This is a dish many of us remember from our childhood and was served in TV dinners and at schools and church events.  It's made from a blend of ground beef which is shaped to resemble a steak, and is usually served with brown gravy.

Rick's Salisbury Steak
Salisbury steak was invented by an American physician, Dr. J. H. Salisbury (1823–1905), an early proponent of a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss. The term "Salisbury steak" has been in wide use in the United States since 1897 when the USDA set standards for processed, packaged "Salisbury steak" which still require a minimum content of 65% meat.

This recipe is from my nephew, Rick Mason, who prepared the dish and shared the photos and recipes. Thanks Rick!  I've now made the dish myself and it's presented here just as he submitted it to me. It's really delicious and easy to make.

8oz ground round
2 tbsp. each minced onion and fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper

2 strips thick cut center cut bacon
1/2 cup sliced onion
4 oz mushrooms sliced
2 tsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. each tomato paste, minced garlic, and sugar

1/2 cup each dark beer and beef broth
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Combine ground round, minced onion, parsley, salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Shape mixture into two 3/4 inch patties.

Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet until crisp; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.  Brown patties in drippings in same skillet over medium-high heat, approximately 3-4 minutes per side; transfer to plate. Add sliced onion and mushrooms to skillet and cook over medium heat until onion softens, about 8 minutes.  Stir in flout, tomato paste, garlic, and sugar.  Cook 1 minute.

Deglaze skillet with beer, scraping up any brown bits.  Stir in broth, dijon and 1/4 tsp. pepper; bring to boil and cook 1 minute to thicken.  Return patties to skillet, cover, reduce heat to mediu-low, and simmer until cook through, about 10 minutes more.  Serve steaks with gravy and garnish with bacon crumbles.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Herbs, and Garlic

Nothing says spring like a roasted leg of lamb. If you haven't made one, I encourage you to give it a try. It is not difficult to prepare and will be much better than what you might recall from your childhood, with a few simple steps.

Julian's Boneless Leg of Lamb
First, you can now purchase a nice boneless leg of lamb that has already been well trimmed and is ready for roasting. Gone are the days of doing all of the bone, sinew and fat removal that your mother had to deal with. In fact that's one of the reasons your mother's leg of lamb may not have been so good. She had to become a skilled butcher to prepare the meat. Thankfully today even Costco has nice boneless legs of lamb available at reasonable prices. Give it a try!

Use fresh herbs for best flavor!
Second, lamb and especially the leg, is known for its rather strong flavor and smell while roasting. It simply doesn't give the house that lovely smell that you get from a roasting turkey. As such, a simple rub with herbs and garlic helps to address this matter and also nicely flavors the meat.

Ingredients for Herb Rub
Herbs mixed and ready for use.
8 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coarse salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for Lamb
leg of lamb, trimmed of fat, boned, and optionally butterflied by butcher (4 to 4 3/4 pounds boneless)
1 lemon

Julian's Leg of Lamb Ready for Roasting
Make herb rub:
Finely chop garlic and in a small bowl stir together with remaining herb-rub ingredients.

With tip of a sharp small knife held at a 45-degree angle cut 1/2-inch-deep slits all over lamb, rubbing herb mixture into slits and all over lamb. Marinate lamb at room temperature 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.

Put lamb in a large baking dish or roasting pan prepared with food release.  Place the roasting pan in middle of a 425°F oven about 25 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer horizontally inserted into meat registers 125°F for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let rest for 15-30 minutes, lighted tented with foil.

Cut lamb into slices and serve.

Starfleet Grads Love Roasted Lamb!

Julian's Roasted Leg of Lamb

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Asian Beef Short Ribs ~ Crockpot Cooking

This dish makes for a nice change of flavors from the traditional American barbecued short ribs. The texture is more like classic pot roast as it's fork tender. I like this recipe because the meat and the vegetables cook together, leaving me only with rice to prepare.

Julian's Asian Beef Short Ribs with Sauce
I'm making them in a crockpot (slow cooker) but you could as easily make them in the oven. Serve them with rice. Don't worry that the sauce doesn't initially cover all of the meat and vegetables. As they cook, additional moisture will be created so that all of the meat and vegetables are covered in sauce.

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Main Ingredients
6-8 boneless or bone-in beef short ribs
4 medium carrots, peeled and halved crosswise
1 1/2 medium onions (yellow Spanish)
1 small green cabbage, quartered (note)

Finishing Sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)

Combine the sauce ingredients in small bowl. In large slow cooker, add the short ribs, onions and carrots arranging in a single layer as much as possible. Pour the sauce over the ribs and carrots. Lay the cabbage on top.

Note:  You can substitute Chinese cabbage, but it doesn't require as long a cooking time. If you do, separate the top delicate leaves from the lower harder stem portions. Place the harder stem portions on top of the ribs/carrots, about 1 hour before serving. Add the tender top leafy portions about 15 minutes before serving.

Cook, covered, on high for 6 hours or until the meat is tender.

Fork Tender Beef Ribs Ready for Serving
Transfer the cabbage, short ribs, and carrots to plates. With a large spoon, skim the fat from the cooking liquid and discard. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water until smooth. Whisk into the cooking liquid and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil. Spoon the sauce over the short ribs and vegetables and sprinkle with the optional scallions.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits ~ Red Lobster Style

These biscuits are so delicious your guests won't need butter for them. They are savory and buttery all on their own. I made a couple versions to get the recipe just right and after testing them on several unsuspecting dinner guests, I think I have the perfect version.

Julian's Cheddar Garlic Biscuit
You can actually buy boxed biscuit mix sold by Red Lobster for their famous "Cheddar Bay Biscuits" but it's mostly just the same thing as Bisquick with garlic powder and dried shortening. So if you already have Bisquick in the house, which I always do for my 7-Up Biscuits, then why not just use it to make these. They will be better than the dry box mix from Red Lobster.

The reason they are better, and I tested the Red Lobster box mix to compare, is that the below recipe includes milk and butter. You just can't get the texture you want for a really good biscuit, if you don't include some fresh dairy fat. The room temperature shortening included in the dry mix is no substitute for real butter.

Brushing with the garlic butter mixture.
You can make these biscuits well before your dinner guests arrive, as they hold well. Simply warm them in a 200F degree oven for 5 minutes, and then brush on the topping when you are ready to serve.

Ingredients (makes 12 biscuits)
2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
4 tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 heaping cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cup cold whole milk

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch salt


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the cold butter into small pieces. Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Using a pastry cutter or a large fork work the butter into small, pea sized pieces. Do not over mix. Add cheddar cheese and ¼ teaspoon garlic, then the milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. This will result in a wet, sticky dough.

Drop approximately 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto the lined baking sheet. I used my number 40 cookie scoop which made easy work of the job, but you could use an ice cream scoop, spoon or measuring cup. This makes about 15 biscuits.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

Remove from oven.  Melt butter for the topping mix in a small bowl in a microwave. Stir in garlic powder, dried parsley flakes and salt. Use a brush to spread the garlic butter over the tops of the biscuits.

A Classic Biscuit with Seafood