Friday, February 23, 2018

Easy Bierocks With Help From Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's has some pretty decent products, that is why I don't feel too funny plugging their name.  The ingredient lists are fairly pure and that is why I use them for a few shortcuts sometimes.  This idea cuts out the bread dough making time for Bierocks by using TJ's pizza crust dough.  The assembly for these meat and kraut  pockets is still a bit time consuming and fiddly, but this trick helps quite a bit and is well worth it.  This is the sort of recipe for a busy weekend meal, or make ahead lunches.

I have to give credit for this idea to my son-in-law Chris. It was his idea to use the dough to make Bierocks, or what he called Krautburger.  Filling ingredients may vary...

* 2 pkg.TJ's pizza dough
* 1 jar TJ's sauerkraut, drained, I separate the large pickles and chop them smaller, add back to mix
* 1 onion, chopped in med. dice
* 1 lb. lean hamburger mince
1 egg yolk for egg wash

Sweat the chopped onion and add the mince.  Cook through and make crumbly.  Add kraut and mix evenly, season. Set aside to cool.

Make egg wash with egg yolk and a bit of water. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 deg. F.

Open your packages of pizza dough and divide in half, then each half in half...etc. until you get 8 pieces. You can scale the pieces if you want.  I just eyeball them and redistribute until they are even.

Then, roll into a smooth ball, and flatten a bit, as pictured above.  Let rest a few minutes, up to 5 min.

Follow the pictures below on a well floured working surface:

1. Roll out into an oblong.
2. Pile high with the filling in the centre.
3. Pinch together in the middle.
4. Move along the entire edge, pinching it completely closed.
5. Lay flat and press down slightly.
6. Do pinch pleats along the edge. Press the edge together a little bit.

Place on a parchment lined baking tray.  Leave room for them to grow as picture below.

Egg wash:

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Guess what I'm making next:


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine Springerle

Yes, the blog is still going after a long break.  The best way to restart this thing is with a sweet treat.  I missed the traditional, German Christmas boat to make Springerle biscuits.  After looking for a press to make these biscuits, there was a bit of sticker shock.  The wooden presses are so elegant, but pretty dear to purchase. 

The idea of a Valentine biscuit took hold.  Springerle biscuits can be made weeks in advance, they are actually better with a bit of age.  

The search for heart themes were not completely unfruitful, but again expensive.  Then, I can across Chinese moon pie presses being advertised for cookie presses. They are plastic, but fairly cheap.  The thought being, I can give the inexpensive route a go and if I get good at making the biscuits, then invest in beautiful wood presses and collect them.
Just a casual trip to a home goods store and the inexpensive, interchangeable silicone stamps with a wooden handle were found.  A Valentine theme?  Even better!

I used the recipe in the first video below:


Rolled out my dough.

The first trick to getting a good impression, is copiously flouring the stamp.  I found that letters need the most finesse.

Ok, the reason for the blog grinding to a halt for awhile.  I have a new grand biscuit stamper.

For my designs a good ole pint glass made a great cutter for the larger ones.  I cider sample glass was best for the smaller designs.

Another of the important tricks to keep your design after baking is to dry the pressed, and cut dough.  The best results are after 24 hours.

Pleased with how they turned out, there will be vigorous hunts at charity shops and online for wooden presses.  I saw some really nice celtic designs that could be saved for.

                                                They look great all packaged up for gift giving!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Chicken Milanesa Richardo

Hungry for Milanasa but not wanting another dish with tomato sauce, for the moment, this dish was created.  Chicken Milanesa Richardo.

The elements of the pan sauce version of Richardo Sauce include:

Sweet banana pepper rings and a few pepperoncini added, chopped onion, garlic butter, and white wine.

You will need:

4 chicken breast (remove silver skin and pound out flat).
A plate of seasoned flour (I season mine with salt, pepper and smoked paprika).
2 eggs with a tad of water beaten smooth.
 A plate full of panko that has been processed in a blender, into a smaller grit.
4 large sweet banana peppers
1 cup white wine
Juice of one lemon
Garlic butter made by grating 4 cloves of garlic into 1/2 c. butter (melt cooking the garlic a bit).
A few handfuls of flour.

For the sauce start by softening the onions and peppers in a tad bit of olive oil (do this slowly and on med. heat). Coat the veg with a few handfuls of flour, brown the flour a bit. Stir in the garlic butter.  Next add the wine and lemon juice, thicken into a sauce. 

Handle the chicken as you would do for any breaded application- You know the drill- flour, egg wash, then crumbs.  Fry until golden, then drain.

It is nice served on a bed of wilted greens with the sauce dolloped on the side of the chicken.

Some people like a flash of red pepper flakes on the Richardo Sauce, as well.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Cider Brined Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Take a Iowan staple and elevate it with cider. I was born in Iowa, so I guess that means a vow to the Iowa camp

For my version, you will need 2 cups cider, water to cover the meat completely, lovage (or celery leaves), 2 cinnamon sticks, a few dashes of smoked paprika, 1 cup fine sea salt.

The cider brine adds a dimension of flavour and tenderises the meat, almost like biting a breaded fluffy cloud.

Cover and the meat in the brine and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When done brining, pat the meat dry on kitchen towels.  Pound the meat flat. Do the ususal routine of flour, egg and in this case, panko.  The breading is only seasoned with pepper as the meat was brined in gobs of salt.

Shallow fry the breaded meat, until golden.  Serve with your favourite toppings and with a cold glass of, you guessed it, cider!


Saturday, June 18, 2016

MISS ISS I PP I Pot Roast Sans Packets

I'm not known for using packets of anything, with very few exceptions. Here is a recipe I found on Pinterest that called for a packet of ranch dressing and au jus mix....Both definitely out for me.

I start with my garden and pick a large handful of each of these herbs:


Carry to your prep area, wash and dry, then set aside.

Then I carmelise a large onion.  Just use a smidge of oil and add sliced onions, sprinkle with a pinch of brown sugar.   Cook slowly, about 20 minutes with a stir now and again.  Place in a slow cooker.

Next, Brown both sides of a 3 lb. chuck roast in the same pan as the onions.  Place the roast on top of the onions in the slow cooker.  Deglaze the pan with 2 cups veg, or beef stock and a splash of Marsala, and a dab of Marmite.  Pour all this into the cooker. Next mix together dashes of garlic powder, onion powder, and smoker paprika, salt and pepper into 1/4 cup of cornstarch.  Put this mixture over the meat rubbing it in a bit.

Now comes the fresh herbs, grind them up in a food processor and put on the meat.  It is time to adorn the roast with 6 pepperoncinis chopped into rings. The shining glory on the top is a stick of butter. 

Slow cook for 8 hours.  Forget about it!

You will left with a tasty gravy ready to serve with the meat and over potatoes of your choice.  Garnish with a few more pepper rings for a bit of jestiness and color.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Capers with Dandelions

The word is out about the health benefits of dandelions.  Here we will talk about the edible treatments of the flowers, buds.  In a future time we can discuss the benefits of the leaves and roots.  On another blog we made infused oil and hair rinse - Salve, Rinse, Repeat

The buds can be used as capers!  The capers shown here are pickled in a sweet and sour brine.

 I also used some flowers to make an infused syrup.  

Collect your flowers and buds.

Leave some for the bees!


Dry the flowers in a low heat oven.  As low as your oven will go.  Leave for a few hours, until dry.  

The buds will be placed in a jar waiting for the company of the rest of the ingredients.

For the caper brine:

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. honey

Heat until bubbly and pour all at once into the jar with the buds.  Add a few pinches of juniper berries and a few pinches of pink peppercorns.  Let cool and then cover.  Put into the refrigerator to mature, about a week.  Use as you would use bought capers in dishes like chicken piccata. 

For the syrup:

1 c. dried dandelion flowers
1 c. cane sugar
1 c. water

Bring the sugar and water to the boil.  Pour over the dried flowers in a jar.  Cool.  Cover and put in the refrigerator to infuse over night.  Strain.  This can be used in any dessert you want to try it on.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Quest For More Mushroom - Mushroom Ketchup

Mushroom flavour is a great addition to juicy steaks, or a chicken dish.  Chunky slices of mushrooms and even a shaker of dried porcini powder add the desired effect.  Another way to capture mushroom essence is in a mushroom ketchup.  The "ketchup" turns out differently than I first thought, it has a consistency of Worchestershire sauce.  I was expecting a thick sauce, don't be surprised when it is very liquid-like.

500 grams or 2 punnets of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. mixed spice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
200 ml malt vinegar
2 tsp. brown sugar

 Layer the mushroom slices with salt in a large bowl and leave overnight.  Drain the mushroom juice.  Place the juice and the remaining ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Bottle and process in a hot water bath.