Monday, April 25, 2011

Asparagus...Who Knew?

That's right. Who knew asparagus could be so tasty? We have already been asparagus fans, but our happy idea in seasoning really ramped up the asparagus-eating experience.

We needed something to accompany our rib-eye steaks last weekend. And, unlike the fact that we forgot peaches are not in season, we knew asparagus was in season. We have sauteed asparagus before, but Jo had the ingenious idea of roasting the asparagus.

We started by cutting off the woody ends.

Next we lined a baking sheet with tin foil and drizzled some olive oil onto the foil. Then we rinsed the asparagus and laid it in a single layer on top of the foil.

More olive oil was poured over the asparagus.

Lou generously sprinkled salt and pepper.

We decided these little asparagi needed a little kick. At first we thought we'd go to our now old friend, Mr. Cayenne, but then opted for Senor Smoked Chipotle Powder. Oh dear. We are awesome. Excuse us, we got carried away. We mean to say we loved the ground chipotle pepper. Best decision of the day.

Next best decision of the day? Roasting the asparagus. This was put into the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

When you remove the roasted asparagus from the oven, it will look a little shriveled. Do not be discouraged. The roasting softens the plant and makes for yummy, toasty tips. These were a big hit with the fellas (and us ladies, of course).

Happily full,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Spy with My Little Rib Eye...

...some whiskey cream sauce.

Yes, our readers, time for a man meal. Rarrr!

Uncle He-Man has half a cow in his freezer. And like all good friends would (and should) do, we offered to make a sacrifice and help him eat some of that thar beef he done got. Ouch, that hurt to type. He provided us with eight rib-eyes for Rib-Eye Steak with Whiskey Sauce (p. 166).

This was our first time with two things. One: cooking with whiskey, and two: cooking steak in a skillet. It was much simpler than we had imagined. And, thankfully, Ree gives great guidance on how to properly and successfully sear the rib-eyes - more on that later in the post - keep a-readin'.

We began by dicing half a medium-sized yellow onion. By doing so, we doubled Mrs. Drummond's recipe. We melted butter in a small saucepan and added the onion. This cooked on the stove top until the edges of the onions were lightly crispy and browned.

Next, we removed the pan from the heat, so as to not catch our hair on fire, and poured in a half-cup of whiskey.

We stirred this together until much of the alcohol evaporated, then poured in a half-cup of beef broth. Salt and pepper were added to taste.

A couple more tablespoons of butter were added to the sauce. This was then brought to a boil for about 30 seconds. We lowered the heat and added a half-cup of heavy cream. Ree's recipe calls for light cream, but we had some leftover heavy cream from our last adventure. Plus, who's counting calories at this point anyway? We sure aren't.

We left this to thicken as we prepared the rib-eyes. The rib-eyes asked to be salted and peppered. We obliged.

In a large skillet we melted a couple tablespoons of butter. Once the butter began to sizzle, we placed two of the rib-eyes into the skillet.

Ree recommends two minutes per side for a medium-rare steak. This is what we did for the fellas. We recommended to ourselves to cook the steak a wee bit longer for our preference. We'd rather have less mooing on our plates. We know, we know, it's un-American, and more acurately, un-Midwestern.

Because we made a fairly large number of steaks, we did decide to clean the skillet partway through the operation to avoid burning the butter, smelling up the kitchen and scaring away the neighbors. After our first batch we started having flashbacks to our onion strings and the smokiness that ensued. So don't worry, the rib-eyes were spared.

We tasted the sauce, added a touch more salt, and were ready to dish up - rather, plate our gourmet steaks.

The Maker's Mark whiskey that we used has a very oakey characteristic. Even after the alcohol evaporated, you could still taste the savory flavor. This, combined with the sweetness of the yellow onion, made for a wonderful compliment to the already tasty beef.

Thanks, Uncle He-Man, for the steaks. We'll help you out any time!

Happily full,

Monday, April 11, 2011

We love Margie!

Today we are taking a detour from our beloved P-Dub recipes. Instead, we are sharing with you a recipe we have ingested since we could eat solid food.

This recipe comes from Lou's mom, Margie. Margie has always called this dessert Chocolate Chip Bars. But - over the years of cousin get-togethers, Jo renamed them Margie Bars. It is not only a technically correct title, it is also a very endearing title. Margie always had a pan of her bars ready, awaiting the arrival of Jo's family whenever they would visit. They are now a family tradition. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Our friend, Al, helped us make the Margie Bars. On the same day as the enchilada debacle. What a dear Al is.

She started by creaming together both brown and granulated sugars and shortening. If you prefer not to use shortening, butter will suffice, although shortening is the way to go. We're just sayin'.

Then add vanilla and eggs. This was beaten into the sugar mixture.

At this point, the mixture should look a little somethin'-somethin' like this.

Next, Al sprinkled in flour, salt and baking powder. The dry ingredients were combined with the wet ingredients.

Margie always uses semi-sweet chocolate chips. We've also tried white chocolate chips and chopped pecans for a little zip of variation.

The mixture is then spread evenly in a greased 9x13 baking dish or two 8x8 dishes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Bake to a golden goodness.

Margie Bars are served best (like the majority of our desserts) a la mode.

Margie Bars

1/2 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 c. flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. (or more) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream sugars and shortening together; then add eggs and vanilla; beat. Add flour, baking powder and salt (if too thick, add milk). Bake in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Happily full,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

We are just Peachy, thank you.

Why, hello there! We are back from a short hiatus. Our absence from the blogosphere took us hither and yon. Hither being western Kansas, and yon being Oklahoma City. Shortly after arriving back from our travels, Jo's household became a veritable mucus machine. Nast. Which is worse than nasty, folks. This is the first time we've been able to sit down together to write in three weeks. We were starting to feel like slackers. But this cookbook won't cook itself, so here we are!

We thought it would be a wonderful spring-time snack to make Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce (p. 230). What we failed to think about was the fact that peaches are not in season in early April, especially in Kansas. So instead of peeling fuzzy peaches in Jo's kitchen, we peeled them right out of a freezer bag. Please don't judge us for our naivete.

For this recipe, the first thing we made was the maple cream sauce, as it needs to chill for awhile in the refrigerator. To start we poured one-and-a-half cups of heavy whipping cream into a sauce pan.

Next came five tablespoons of pure maple syrup and three tablespoons of corn syrup. And we stirred and stirred and stirred, rather Lou stirred, for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, Jo combined the dry ingredients for the crisp. This included flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and salt.

Next, she sliced cold butter into small pieces.

This was mashed together using a pastry cutter to create the crumbly crisp topping.

Next we put the freezer peaches into a large bowl and squeezed lemon juice over the top.

We added lemon zest. We didn't have a specific zester tool, but did use Jo's grater box, which fit the bill nicely.

Lou's eyes were wide with excitement. Har. Har.

Lastly we poured maple syrup over the peaches and tossed to distribute the syrup evenly.

These were dumped into the beautiful, purple dish.

Next Lou scooped the crumble for the crisp over the peaches. Oh, divine.

This was put in the oven to bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes with a covering of tin foil. The remaining 30 minutes, the crisp was baked uncovered. We ended up baking the crisp an additional 20 minutes because we chose to use two whole bags of peaches - more than was required for the crisp.

The crisp in its untouched glory. Drum roll, please.

Secret's in the sawce (use a Southern accent, please). The maple cream sauce is a sweet compliment to the tartness of the peaches.

Uncle He-Man helped us scoop ice cream, ten times faster than we could have, to create the final result.


Happily full,