Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kugel Noodle Casserole

Miss Jackie
This week's Sunday supper is dedicated to my friend Jackie who introduced me to this unbelievably yummy dish when we were in college.   On Sopranos Sundays our senior year we would make a big family meal to eat during the show.  Usually it featured Italian dishes but one Sunday Jackie made her mom's kugel.  My mind was BLOWN.  I never had anything like this before.   It kind of reminds me of our pineapple stuffing which is super sweet and warming.   Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did.   It will make a perfect "break the fast" dish for this weekend!! 

Jackie and I back in college

Kugel Noodle Casserole
(recipe from Mom Granata)
1 lb pkg no yolk medium noodles
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
4 tablespoons of cold butter cut into cubes (roughly 12 cubes)
4 eggs beaten
2 small boxes of raisins
8  oz can crushed pineapple with juice
2 large apples, sliced
brown sugar & cinnamon to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F
Grease a rectangular pan 9" x 13". 
Boil noodles 2 minutes under recommended time. Wash off in cold water.  Melt butter into noodles.  Add beaten eggs, apples, raisins, pineapple, sugar.  Mix all together.  Put into prepared pan.  Dot with cubed butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. 

Bake for one hour.  Be sure to check periodically to make sure top is not burning.  If it begins to brown heavily, cover with foil.  


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's all about the butter...

Embrace the Buttah
I'm pretty annoyed at how hot it is outside today.  This past weekend teased me with chilly nights and brisk mornings.  I was all ready to break out the sweaters, get my hot chocolate kettle out and sit in on chilly fall nights watching whatever is on the boob tube.  Then today comes around with its ninety degree temperatures and ruins all my fall weather dreams.  So, despite the horrendous temperatures today, I want to feature a recipe that practically screams fall.  For this recipe, as said in the title, is all about the butter.  Don't be alarmed by the amount because without it you will be dealing with a crumbly mess in your lap instead of a delicious smores delight.  
Can't wait for fall in Boston!

Smores Cups
The campfire treat sans campfire

1 stick of butter melted
7 rectangles of graham crackers
12 jumbo marshmallows
12 Hershey chocolate nuggets
cupcake liners
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F

Using a food processor, grind graham crackers until they are a fine powder.   Add confectioner sugar and pulse until combined.   Add butter and pulse until powder starts to clump.   Add more butter until you can compact the powder to almost a dough.

Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.   Pat down cracker mixture.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Place one Hershey's nugget on top of each.  Place back in oven for another 4 minutes.   Remove from the oven and smear around chocolate to cover the entire top.   Place a jumbo marshmallow on top.   Return to oven for 3 minutes.  Turn on broiler to high and keep smores in oven until marshmallows are golden brown.


"You want a smore?"
"How can I have some more if I haven't had any?"
"You're killing me smalls...."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Baseball and Boat Shoes and Crabs! Oh my!

Sailing into Baltimore

Mom on the helm

A few weeks ago, David and I had the opportunity to spend the weekend on the Chesapeake with my parents on their sailboat.  My parents are avid sailors, navigating the waters to most points surrounding their Rock Hall, MD marina.  On that particular weekend, we set sail for Baltimore praying to the wind gods to give us a push.  Historically (and I am not pointing any fingers...or maybe I am) any time David has gotten near the boat, the winds have died and we have stayed put in the marina, settling for an early happy hour.  However, our prayers were finally answered and we were able to have a gorgeous sail to Baltimore.  
At the aquarium

The weekend was action packed with visits to the National Aquarium, Fell's Point and Camden Yards to see the Orioles play all while wearing our Maryland uniform, our Sperry boat shoes.  The icing on the cake of our memorable weekend was our visit to Harbor Shack Sunday evening to dig into some Maryland blue crabs.  Harbor Shack doesn't typically offer crabs on their menu but, for those with inside information, you can call ahead to order however many dozen you want.  They then contact local fisherman to buy from them.  When you arrive, they are steamed and smothered in Old Bay.  It really doesn't get any fresher than that.  With a surgeon's precision, you dissect and retrieve every ounce of crab meat.  The meal is delicious but also a fun experience.

Go Orioles!
While I am certainly not suggesting we can recreate this feast at home, I thought I would pass along an Old Bay based Maryland crab soup to hold you over until your next (or your first) Maryland blue crab experience! 


Maryland Crab Soup
Serves 10

  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup frozen lima beans
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen yellow sweet corn
  • 2 tablespoons McCormick Chopped Onions
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 pound lump crab meat
Combine tomatoes, water, broth, lima beans, carrots, corn, onions and Old Bay in 4-quart saucepan.

Bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.  Add crabmeat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Caffeine Charged Beef

So I made a major mistake this Sunday.   A major delicious mistake, but nonetheless this dish I made had me up till all hours of the night. It was Katie's last Sunday in Boston so I had her over for a big Sunday dinner.  I wanted to make something reminiscent of my grandma but kicked it up a notch with a different flavor profile.   Nothing says Grandma Louie like a roast beef with some mashed potatoes.   That was my dinner of choice for this Sunday, with a side of sauteed string beans sprinkled with crispy panchetta.   It wasn't the healthiest of meals but it was delicious.   

To make the roast beef more interesting I wanted to make a rub similar to something I had at this local place called Towne.  It's a coffee rubbed prime rib.  This is where my mistake happened.  I didn't have coffee...I had espresso beans (fancy I know).   I coated this beef with the equivalent of about 10 shots of espresso.   TEN SHOTS.  I was shaking with so much caffeine was going through me.   It was so delicious I had three slices including the "butt" that was completely coated in the rub.   If you are to try this at home, I suggest decaf or eating before a long night of going out.  Enjoy!!

Espresso Rubbed Roast Beef

4 to 6 pound roast 

Espresso Rub
4 tablespoons of espresso beans
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoon black peppercorns

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Blend all ingredients in the rub in a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder is what I used) Rub completely over the roast making sure to coat both sides.   Place in a roasting rack and place into oven.   Cook for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours or until internal temperature reads 145 degrees F.

Remove from oven and tent with foil for thirty minutes.  Slice then serve.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm Going (going) Back (back) to Cali (Cali) the Notorious B.I.G. reference but back I go to San Francisco this week for work.  Although I will miss David terribly, the cool northern California temperatures are a nice break from the sweltering, sometimes 3 digit, heat we've been having in Philadelphia.  To tie in my west coast travels to this week's post, I thought I would show a little love to one of my favorite foods and a recent household staple, the California native Haas avocado. 
For years I thought the sole use for avocados was to make guacamole (my previous recipe linked here) which honestly I was fine with since I am a huge guac fav.  However, I've found other ways to incorporate this healthy fruit? veggie? oh whatever... delicious green thing... into other everyday meals.  And speaking to the health aspects for a second, avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C,K, folate, and B6.  

One easy way I've incorporated avocados into my diet is through using it as a spread on toast in the morning.  A small drizzle of agave which has a low glycemic index and won't spike your insulin levels and a pinch of salt and pepper, gives it the perfect combination of sweet and savory to leave you satisfied until lunch.  I also opt for Ezekial bread because it is made with real ingredients and largely unprocessed. 
A quarter of an avocado has about 80 calories and 7 grams of good fat (there is a difference I promise).  And a little secret to keeping your avocado from turning brown is to put the avocado still in the skin in a plastic bag with the pit still in it into your fridge.  By doing this I am able to use one avocado over four days.  

If you're not an avocado fan yet, I hope you give them a try!