Sunday, October 24, 2010

Norwegian Meat Cakes with Roasted Root Vegetables

This week, I would like to thank a lovely young lady from Norway that I've had a pleasure getting to know. Tone Marie Berg sent me this recipe to try, and in doing so, I am able to share some classic foods from a different culture with you. This was a very comforting dish to eat, and though it is typically served with boiled potatoes, carrots, and broccoli, I did my own thing as usual. The directions follow after the recipe in case you are a novice at roasting. In any case, I think you will thoroughly enjoy this as much as I did, and I really hope you give it a try!

NORWEGIAN meatcakes in brown sauce:


1 lb. ground beef
1 tbsp. potato flour (all purpose will do in a pinch though)
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
7 oz milk
1 egg
½ onion
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice

Mix ground beef with potato flour, salt, pepper and milk. Add the egg and stir well. Finely chop onions and mash it into the dough. Season to taste with the spices, and add more salt and pepper if desired. Brown butter in frying pan and shape meat cakes with a tablespoon I made them the size of mini-burgers, or sliders) and fry them until nicely browned. Finish cooking meat cakes in the sauce.

Brown sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 ¼ cup boiling dark broth (beef broth does fine)
a little cream (I used about 1 -- 2 TBSP)

Brown butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and mix well. Stir the entire time! Browning does not take long, so pay attention or it will taste burnt! Remove the pan from the heat and add broth. Put the pan back on the heat and bring to a boil while stirring. Add cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the meat cakes the sauce and continue to let it simmer on low heat until meat cakes are cooked.

Serve with boiled potatoes, carrots and broccoli as is standard in Norway...OR, do what I did. I roasted mine!

Roasted Root Vegetables:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees

4 medium carrots
2 large russet potatoes
1 medium onion (you know I love Sweet Vidalia, but use whatever you please!)
1-2 TBSP olive oil
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried minced garlic
Sea salt to taste

Cut all the vegetables into large chunk size pieces. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil, and add the garlic and rosemary. Mix well with your hands to coat all the pieces. Place in a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil (LOVE you Reynolds Wrap for making this!!) and then salt to taste with sea salt. Add pepper if you like as well. Roast at 475 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring at least twice during this time. If you prefer your vegetable with more or less "char" adjust this time to your individual taste.

The gravy for the meatcakes tastes very nice on the vegetables too, but there are no rules here. New comfort food by any means, and I will be making this often over the years to come. Thanks again Tone for sending me this yummy recipe to share! ENJOY!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Baked Acorn Squash with Savory Sausage Stuffing

Baked Acorn Squash with Savory Sausage Stuffing:
Serves 4

The idea for this recipe came from a viewer request…20 years ago when I was in junior high; I had a friend by the name of Michelle Fahr. She has since been married and has two beautiful children, so it was because of this old friend of mine, now Michelle Berry, that I am showing you how to make stuffed acorn squash today. I didn’t have a stuffing recipe to follow, so I just winged it on this one, but was incredibly delighted with the result. But feel free to get creative with your own stuffing, playing with the flavors and ingredients YOU like. Or, make what I did! It was VERY delicious!

2 medium acorn squash, halved and de-seeded

Line a 13x10-inch baking pan with foil; lightly grease the foil or spray with nonstick olive oil or cooking spray. Heat oven to 350°.
Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Spray cut sides with olive oil spray or nonstick cooking spray and place, cut side down, on the foil. Add about 1/2 inch of water to the pan then cover with foil. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until tender.
1 lb Italian sausage
4 pieces of dry bread, crumbed
1 TBSP olive oil
½ cup chopped mushrooms
½ diced bell pepper
½ diced onion
1 clove garlic, diced
1 tsp basil
½ cup tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce if you prefer)
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese

In a large sauté pan, cook sausage until no longer pink. Add olive oil to sauté pan, along with mushrooms, peppers, onions, garlic, and basil. Cook until tender. Remove from heat, and add bread crumbs, tomato sauce, and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Stuff squash with sausage mixture and put back on the baking pan. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until hot. Add cheese and continue baking for a few minutes longer or until cheese is melted. ENJOY, I know you will!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shrimp Ravioli ala Sydney

Ravioli ala Sydney

So my niece Sydney (honorary, of course) had a request for my show. And far be it from me to deny her! She is, after all, the daughter of one of my very best friends in the whole world! My only stipulation in the agreement was that she had to help me with the show, and be my very special taste tester! I did make sure the recipe was up to her standards as well, making sure there was nothing weird or too green involved. First of all, I found it impossible to locate any fresh pasta sheets locally. So as a last resort, I decided I’d take the plunge and make my own pasta, from scratch. If you have ever made a pie crust, you can make pasta, it’s NOT very difficult! And the filling was a collaboration between Sydney and I…she wanted seafood, and I decided the details. This is what we came up with, and it was very, VERY tasty!

Homemade Pasta:
3 cups all purpose flour
5 egg yolks
½ tsp salt
½ cup water, give or take a bit…

Mix flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat the egg yolks and water in a small bowl separately and then add to the flour mixture. Mix dough with your hands. If the dough is too dry, add more water (1 tablespoon at a time) and if the dough is too wet, add flour (1 tablespoon at a time). Once you have developed a nice firm but sticky dough – continue to knead for about 10 minutes. Then, to let the proteins relax a bit to make rolling easier, let dough sit (covered) for about 20 minutes.
Divide dough into 5 equal pieces. On a floured board, roll out each piece with a rolling pin, using flour to prevent sticking, and flipping until you have reached a thin enough dough to see your hand through. Lay each sheet on top of parchment paper, and stack as you complete each new sheet. If you are not going to use dough right away, you can refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to one month. Roll dough up in parchment paper and cover well in plastic prior to storing. If you plan on using it immediately, cut the dough into squares or circles with a glass or pasty cutout. Fill pieces with your choice of filling and wet edges with a little water before sealing with a fork. Once filled, you can freeze on a cookie sheet until firm before transferring to container, or you can boil right away. Boiling fresh takes about 5-7 minutes, and from frozen can take up to 10 minutes.

Shrimp filling:
1 lb bag pre-cooked shrimp, peeled and tail removed
1 bunch flat leaf parsley (about 1 ½ cups loose packed)
3 cloves garlic (or 1 TBSP jarred minced garlic)
1 TBSP lemon zest (from 3 small lemons)
Olive oil…between ¼ and ½ cup
¼ tsp salt

Place half of the shrimp, and the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a paste. Rough chop the other half of the shrimp with a knife, and mix that in with the paste mixture. This will give a lovely texture inside the ravioli. Use about a tablespoon of mixture to fill each ravioli depending on the size you make. I made large ravioli and a tablespoon was perfect. Adjust accordingly. Either fold the pasta over the filling and wet with a dab of water and crimp with fork, or put a piece if pasta over the top if making larger ravioli like I did. Either way, make sure you are securely sealed around the edges before cooking.

Alfredo Sauce:
5 TBSP butter (or margarine)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
2 cups half and half (or heavy cream if you prefer!)
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
¾ cup grated mozzarella (gruyere or swiss would be lovely too!)

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium/low heat. Add the garlic, cream, and pepper and bring mixture to a simmer. Stir often. Add the Parmesan cheese and simmer sauce for 8-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened and is smooth. When sauce has thickened, add the mozzarella cheese and stir until smooth, (don’t freak out if it seems too thick or stringy…it will smooth out!). STIR FREQUENTLY. While the sauce cooks, boil ravioli for 5-7 minutes. Place ravioli on serving plates and spoon sauce over pasta. And then, ENJOY!!!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nutty Chick

Nutty Chick

I have been making ‘viewer requested recipes’ in the past weeks, but this week is different. After watching some of my cooking videos, my friend Misty Hamilton told me I had inspired her to take some time out of her ultra busy schedule to cook more. BRAVO Misty!! I know how busy you are, so I am impressed! At any rate, she told me about a recipe she threw together one night off the top of her head, and how much her family loved it. So I requested the recipe to make for BellinieBits! Now I forgot one of the ingredients while I was filming and had to go back and fix it, but maybe you’ll have better luck getting it all right the first time! Here’s the recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (create a pocket in each one)
1 cup peanut butter (I used chunky for texture)
1/8 cup honey (or more to taste)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground black pepper
4 chicken bouillon cubes, mashed
¼ cup honey mustard

Mix the last 6 ingredients (all but the chicken) together in a bowl. If it is too stiff to mix, heat up the microwave for 20-30 seconds to soften. Inside each pocket of the chicken breast, spoon a heaping tablespoon of the mixture in. On the top of the chicken, add a little more, and then drizzle with extra honey. Once all 4 breasts are dressed, loosely wrap the chicken in some foil, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. The chicken will be fork tender and juicy. Serve with a side of cold sesame noodles, or ramen noodles and assorted vegetables for a nice and easy dinner. Thanks Misty! This is a dish you are sure to ENJOY!